The high school sports season has begun, with the start of regular season football games a little more than a week away.
As competition quickly approaches, coaches and select media members contributed to the CHSAANow.com preseason rankings. CHSAANow.com is the media arm of the Colorado High School Activities Association.
Class 2A defending state champion Bayfield High School was selected as the top football team in the Class 2A preseason poll. The Wolverines earned 111 points and nine first-place votes. La Junta came in second with 78 points and one first-place vote, while Kent Denver was third with 72 points. Platte Valley earned one first-place vote and 70 points to enter the poll in fourth. Rifle earned another first-place vote but was the sixth-ranked team with 59 points, eight behind fifth-ranked Faith Christian.
BHS competes in the 2A Intermountain League. Two other IML teams received votes. Salida was just outside the top 10 with 14 points, nine behind 10th-ranked Eaton. Alamosa also received 10 points.
Last year, the Wolverines entered the season ranked second behind Kent Denver. BHS was never the top-ranked team in the classification and won the state championship as the third-seed in the playoffs. BHS beat No. 4 La Junta 34-7 in last year’s state championship game in Bayfield.
“We got that target on our back,” said BHS senior Keyon Prior. “But we like being on top. We want to stay in the driver’s seat. Our mentality is to go out there and dominate every game no matter who we are lined up against.”
Durango High School will open the season ranked eighth in the Class 3A poll. The Demons earned 40 points. Palmer Ridge, the defending state champion, is the preseason No. 1 with all 13 first-place votes and 130 points. State runner-up Erie, which beat Durango in the state quarterfinals 35-28 last season, is ranked second with 98 points.
Last year, DHS was the 13th-seed in the playoffs and upset No. 4 Cañon City in the first round before falling 35-28 to Erie at home in the second round.
“We think about that all the time,” DHS senior Alex Hise said of last year’s loss to Erie. “I mean, we’re not holding onto it, but it’s key to have that in mind with everything we do. We lost on our home field, and that game could’ve taken us way deeper in the playoffs if we had won. It’s important to think about that when we’re working out, practicing and whenever it gets tough. We are doing everything we can to prevent that and get further this year.”
Durango is one of three 3A South Central League teams in the preseason top 10. Pueblo East came in third with 76 points, while defending Class 4A state champion Pueblo South, which moved down to Class 3A this season, is fourth with 72 points. Durango’s Week 2 opponent Palisade is fifth in the poll with 69 points.
VolleyballBayfield and Durango both appeared in the preseason volleyball rankings.
In Class 4A, the Demons received four points to come in the top 20. Powerhouse Lewis-Palmer of Monument was picked first with 99 points and nine first-place votes. Holy Family was second with 75 points, and Palmer Ridge, also of Monument, was third with 70 points and one first-place vote.
The Demons compete in the 5A/4A Southwestern League. Fellow league member Montrose earned five points.
The BHS Wolverines, once again led by head coach Terene Foutz this season after she took a one-year hiatus, earned only two points. Class 3A Intermountain League foe Centauri came in at No. 6 with 39 points. Pagosa Springs also earned five points to come in ahead of the Wolverines.
The northeast region of the state once again is picked to dominate the 3A volleyball scene. Eaton was voted first with 98 points and eight first-place votes. Lutheran is second with 90 points and two first-place votes, and University was third with 70 points.
In Class 2A, the Ignacio Bobcats earned eight points and would be ranked 14th if the poll extended past 10 teams. Yuma earned five first-place votes and 86 points to earn the top ranking. Lyons had 74 points and two-first place votes, and Denver Christian is third with 60 points. Meeker earned two first-place votes and is ranked fourth with 58 points.
Ignacio’s 2A/1A San Juan Basin League foe Dolores is ranked seventh in Class 2A with 25 votes. Dove Creek earned six points in Class 1A to get into the top 20.
Boys SoccerDurango, under first-year head coach Aaron Champenoy, will enter the season one position out of the top 10.
The Demons earned eight points in the preseason poll for Class 4A. That was two points behind Steamboat Springs for 10th.
Air Academy is the preseason No. 1 with 78 points and six first-place votes. Centaurus earned two first-place votes and 74 points to come in second.
Durango’s 5A/4A Southwestern League rival Montrose is ranked seventh with 30 points. Grand Junction, which also competes in the league, was ranked No. 10 in Class 5A with 18 points.