I have admitted this before, but often I have a tendency to like the old way that things were done. However, I welcome the change the Colorado High School Activities Association adopted for the state …
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I have admitted this before, but often I have a tendency to like the old way that things were done.
However, I welcome the change the Colorado High School Activities Association adopted for the state volleyball tournament with the elimination of pool play.
The tournament will now be a three-day affair instead of two days and matches will have a good chance to start when scheduled. Along with the extra day, many fans will still have to deal with the adventure of maneuvering their cars around the dips in the parking lot at the Denver Coliseum.
But, at least after getting parked, they won’t have to watch a meaningless pool play match between two teams that have already been eliminated from advancing by the third team in the pool.
All five classes will qualify 12 teams for the state tournament, which will be held Nov. 8-10 at the Denver Coliseum. An Olympic cross-over double elimination bracket format will be used to determine the semifinal teams and then it will be single elimination.
Regional tournaments will be held Nov. 3 and the 12 regional champions from three-team regional pools advance into the state tournament.
“I am looking forward to the new format,” said Lutheran coach Alicia Oates who is in her 14th season as Lions coach. “I feel like 3A this year will have a really strong bracket across the board, so it will be exciting to see how it plays out. A team could lose in the first round and still come back to win the entire tournament.
“It will also be beneficial to not have tie-breakers pushing back start times. As with any change, I am sure there will be some feelings of `I liked it better the old way’ but in the long run I think it will be great competition, a fun environment and a welcome change.”
Valor Christian coach Kaitlyn Hastings also casts a vote in favor of the change.
“I really do like the new format,” she said. “The majority of us coaches in Jeffco were in agreement that this avoided a lot of the issues we saw with the old format. There is no need for tie-breakers which at times would often set up one or more teams for a disadvantage coming in to the semifinals and finals, having played many more sets than the opponents.
“There are not matches that are being played that don’t have an impact on the outcome of the tournament.
“It keeps things running on time so that the state championship match is at a set time and not dependent on tie-breakers and delayed until late evening as it has been every year we have been at the tournament.”
Hastings, the third-year Eagles coach and a former head coach at Denver West and Hart County in Hartwell, Georgia, had to adapt to less preparation time during the state tournament..
“In Georgia where I was previously coaching, we had one round of the playoffs each week, so it was spaced out and you could really prepare for the one team you were going to play and we played at the higher seed which gave the upper seed a home-court advantage,” she explained. “I definitely like elements of this as well but there is something to be said about the great atmosphere that is at the Coliseum with all the teams vying for a championship.”
The 5A football regular season wrapped up Oct. 27 and there were a few teams that have made big turnarounds this season and deserve to be mentioned.
Castle View, Westminster and Smoky Hill struggled in 2017 and finished with 1-9 records.
The Sabercats and Westminster headed into their final regular season games with 7-2 records and Smoky Hill was 9-0. Todd Casebier is the first-year coach at Castle View and Tom Thenell took over as Smoky Hill coach. Kerry Denison is in his 10th season as Wolves coach and has restored the program after back-to-back 1-9 seasons.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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