Summit High School girls rugby plans for spring season

Members of the Summit High School girls rugby program huddle before a tournament Sept. 7, 2019, at Summit High School's Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
Photo by Liz Copan / Summit Daily archives

BRECKENRIDGE — As Summit School District considers whether to play high school football in the fall or spring, the Summit High School girls rugby program continues to practice with the hope of a full-contact spring season.

Summit rugby head coach Karl Barth said if football decides to play in the fall, that could change some things for the rugby programming but likely wouldn’t lead to any interscholastic competition this fall.

“It’s kind of late to change that,” Barth said. “There might be an option to maybe do some tackling, I don’t know. It’s something we’d visit if that became an option. But right now, after all the excitement and disappointment that has come from football, we’ll just stick to the plan. If it’s a bridge we get to cross, we’ll figure it out then.”

Barth said the current idea for the storied program would be to play a shortened season in the spring at the same time as other fall sports that have been rescheduled. The Summit program historically has played via the Rugby Colorado association and is not governed by the Colorado High School Activities Association, which oversees and regulates other high school sports. Last month, CHSAA postponed its football, boys soccer and girls volleyball to Season C in March to May.

“The idea is to have a shortened season during CHSAA Season C,” Barth said. “So we would be similar to football if they play in the spring with a slightly abbreviated season and a few weeks to get ready for it. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to play, but those are the conversations.”

Barth said players have embraced the fall programming, with 1 1/2-hour practices four times a week at the Summit High School fields incorporating COVID-19 protocols. The team is not practicing with contact but is getting creative with objects like pool noodles to maintain distance and simulate gameplay angles, open spaces and contact.

“The kids have been good about it,” Barth said. “We talked a lot about, ‘It’s better to have today with a mask than nothing tomorrow. We are happy for every day we get, because we might not get tomorrow,’ kind of thing.”

Senior prop Maleena Mero and junior prop Jenna Sheldon said the creative solutions to practices have helped the players to better understand spacing, angles and openings during gameplay. The nature of practice, the team elders said, also is resulting in more interaction with younger players and an advanced learning curve for those newcomers.

“There’s so much more than just hitting each other,” Sheldon said. “You have to be able to read the field. But hopefully things will get better and we can add contact to it.”

“Everything right now is so controversial. Should restaurants be open or not? Should students be in school or not? The same with sports: Can contact sports happen or not? Is it even safe,” Sheldon said. “I think everyone in charge of that is doing their best to make sure everyone feels comfortable and safe.”

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