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Rod Sherman is excited about the upcoming high school football season. I know because he used the word “excited” several times in a brief conversation.
Yes, I know, that statement might sound silly since Sherman has been associated with the Valor Christian football program that has won 112 games over 10 seasons and seven state championships. Most people would be excited about coaching within the program that exists at Valor.
Sherman was the Eagles’ head coach the past five seasons, but Valor announced in December that he was out as football coach.
He examined other opportunities but was named on Feb. 15 the new coach at Arapahoe, a program that has gone 8-15 the past two seasons.
“We just felt like this was right,” said Sherman. “I think sometimes when you get pushed out of the nest you take a step back and say: `Where is the opportunity for impact and where is an opportunity to maybe hopefully do something that is great?’ My wife and I feel that opportunity exists at Arapahoe. We’re really excited about it.”
Sherman has met with Arapahoe players and their parents. He explained his visions for changing the culture at Arapahoe.
“When I was at Valor I helped set the athletic culture,” said Sherman, who was Valor’s first athletic director. “There are adjustments when you are changing cultures versus when you are starting from scratch. There are probably more similarities. Sometimes communities, schools and football programs don’t understand they can be great.”
He mentioned Pomona, which ranks 65th in CHSAA enrollment figures, as an example that big things can be accomplished. Pomona has an enrollment of 1,432, but the Panthers over the past few years have won state championships in football, wrestling, gymnastics and boys track.
Arapahoe’s enrollment is 2,155, the 14th-largest in the state.
Sherman said players have been receptive to his ideas and he is creating his coaching staff with members of the Warriors staff, coaches he has coached with before and some former players.
“There is great excitement at Arapahoe, and that’s not a statement that there was not excitement in the past,” added Sherman. “I am incredibly excited. I didn’t take this job because I have a son I want to coach. I didn’t have to have a football job. I took this job because of how excited my family and I are to build the program at Arapahoe High School that can ultimately be synonymous with excellence in football.”
Boys volleyball, girls wrestling and unified bowling are closer to becoming Colorado High School Activities Association’s sanctioned sports.
All three activities were approved Feb. 21 by the board of directors to begin pilot seasons.
Under a newly adopted bylaw, the three sports were the first to present pilot programs for consideration. The Classification and League Organizing Committee, the Sports Medicine Committee, the Equity Committee and the Legislative Council need to support the new sport.
The boys volleyball pilot season will be this spring. Girls wrestling will start its pilot season in the 2018-19 winter season. The timetable for co-ed unified bowling will be revealed at the April meeting of the board of directors.
Boys volleyball and girls wrestling will have two-year pilot seasons.
There are 23 states that currently sanction boys volleyball and seven states, including Colorado, considering the sport. There were 50 club boys volleyball teams competing in the Colorado Boys Volleyball Association in 2017.
Only six states sanction girls wrestling but Georgia, Oregon and Colorado are considering adopting the sport. During the recently completed season there were 235 female wrestlers who competed on boys teams and there were several girls-only tournaments.
Spring is approaching, as official practice for spring sports teams started Feb. 26. Baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming, girls tennis and boys and girls track are the spring sports.
Defending area state champions are Valor Christian in 4A baseball, Ralston Valley in 5A girls golf, D’Evelyn in 4A girls soccer, Mountain Vista in 5A girls soccer, Valor in 4A boys lacrosse and Cherry Creek in 5A boys lacrosse. Cherry Creek is the defending 5A girls tennis champion. Lutheran is the defending 3A boys track and field champion.
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 email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.
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