Mean Moose will play 2A football
The following is the first in a three-part series covering the CHSAA reclassification involving Alamosa and Monte Vista High Schools.
ALAMOSA — The Mean Moose are back and the Intermountain League will never be the same - it will be better.
Yes, Alamosa High School athletics returns to the Class 3A level of competition and there have been grumblings - good and bad - around the state. It matters not, as the decision has been made by the Colorado High School Activities Association, at least for the next two-year cycle.
It has been more than a score of years since Alamosa has faced the likes of neighbors Centauri and Monte Vista in a meaningful league contest. Sure, the schools have played one another in sports, but there was no league title at stake, just pride in being the better team in the San Luis Valley.
Many factors were considered before the decision was made, but ultimately Alamosa’s enrollment was such that it demanded a drop in classification and CHSAA made the necessary adjustment moving the Mean Moose to 3A sports.
Alamosa will play 2A football this fall for the first time in more than 20 years. The Mean Moose won two state titles (2001, 2007) in Class 3A and both were unblemished 14-0 seasons. Monte Vista will drop down to play 1A football, but will bounce back to the Intermountain League for all other sports.
Things will certainly change as far as home and away attendance for Alamosa. Gone are the days of the split crowd and the meager following of the Pueblo schools when they come over La Veta Pass. An Alamosa-Centauri football game or Alamosa-Monte Vista basketball game will undoubtedly mark the return one of the many strong rivalry games to the Valley.
The standing-room-only crowds may return to La Jara, Monte Vista and Alamosa. Local rivalries are a good thing in many ways. Back in the day getting into an Alamosa basketball game meant getting there when the junior varsity girl’s game was being contested.
It was the best of times for prep sports in the San Luis Valley. However, before the return of Alamosa is credited with the return of great contests in the Valley, there are a great many healthy rivalries in the Valley. Any Sanford-Centauri encounter is important to those involved and usually fiercely contested as well. The aforementioned rivalry is simply a sample of the sports-minded community the San Luis Valley has been for decades.
“What I would like to speak to are the returning of the days of the Alamosa-Centauri games and the reuniting with Monte Vista. It was a healthy rivalry,” Alamosa Superintendent Robert Alejo said in a recent interview. “When Alamosa played Centauri or when Alamosa played Monte Vista it was standing room only and I’m excited to get back to those rivalries because it was good for the Valley as a whole.
“We were playing schools with four figures in students. What I’m excited about is having our whole crowd. In years passed, our girl’s crowd would head to Pueblo and our boy’s crowd would be here.”
Financially, whether Alamosa is able to spend less money in its new league remains to be seen. The Mean Moose will now navigate Wolf Creek Pass in the dead of winter.
“When we start talking about any substantial savings with the new league, yes we will save money by not going to Pueblo twice a week. But when we round out our league schedule, we’re probably going to seek out some of the best competition in the state in basketball, volleyball what have you and I’ll be curious when we see the numbers at the end of next year. We may have a slight savings.
“However, when we don’t have to travel Tuesday and Thursday to Pueblo we’re not going to have tired kids. Basketball is notorious for the weather. We are able to take into account academics and we’re going to have more time in the classroom.”
There are many enticing aspects from a coaching standpoint as well. Friday Night Lights returns on the gridiron and that will certainly make the games more exciting, as well as alleviate many issues for Alamosa parents.
Valley success at the state level is certainly common in most any sport and it will continue to be that way for some time to come. Alamosa will simply raise the bar for the likes of Centauri and Monte Vista.
Tomorrow: The rivalry and competitive aspects of Alamosa dropping down to Class 3A.