No matter how many times he does it, Larry Bull can’t wait for the dawn of a new athletic year in the Cherry Creek School District.
With each new year comes change, especially in a district as large and successful as CCSD, and Bull notes quite a few differences as the 2017-18 prep athletic season that begins with official practice for all fall sports Aug. 14.
Bull for one, is ready to go.
“We’re excited to get the school year going and get the kids active, participating and competing,” said Bull, CCSD’s longtime athletic director. “For us in athletics and activities, it’s fun when the kids are in school and we get to do what we do.”
Located on the campus of Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Stutler Bowl has long been a major hub of athletics for the district.
The aging facility needed a facelift and it got one this summer thanks to some existing bond money.
The turf at Stutler Bowl was state of the art when it was installed many years ago, but recently had shown significant wear and tear. Crews began to tear up the turf shortly after Cherry Creek’s graduation in late May and finished ahead of schedule in July. The turf has lines woven into it for all the various sports that are played on the surface: football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.
At the same time, a sparkling new track was installed at Stutler Bowl, which is a heavily-used venue for meets in the spring along with Legacy Stadium at Cherokee Trail High School, which also got a new track surface in the recent past.
Bull did a walkthrough of the revamped facility on July 20 and was pleased with how both projects turned out.
Meanwhile, Legacy Stadium is getting a shed built to store track equipment.
Also new to CCSD facilities this season will be some new technology offered by the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS). The district purchased eight Pixellot cameras, which will help live stream many more games in the upcoming season.
A change in CCSD that impacts more than just athletics is a change in start times, as the district pushed back start times for all of its schools. High schools see the most drastic change, as CCSD has traded in the normal 7:10 a.m. start for 8:20 a.m.. Classes will be dismissed at 3:30 p.m.
Bull said that on top of the benefits research has shown for teenagers who get more sleep, some other positives of the later ending time include an increase in the number of teachers from elementary schools that may be able to coach in high school as a result.
The change shouldn’t make an impact on the start times of games in the fall as games must be scheduled so they can finish before daylight disappears regardless.
CCSD has just one change in athletic directors, as Wes Smock has taken over at Grandview in place of Rob Matuschek, who returned to teaching after one year as AD of the emerging powerhouse. Smock has a longtime connection with Grandview and has coached football and baseball at the school.
Steve Carpenter (Cherokee Trail), Jason Wilkins (Cherry Creek), Vince Orlando (Eaglecrest), Ryan Knorr (Overland) and John Thompson (Smoky Hill) remain in their posts as ADs.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel