Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Here's a roundup of post-season possibilities for local high school athletics.
- First, to Class 3A's top-ranked football team - at least in a couple of polls, done mostly by people who either haven't seen Steamboat Springs play or may have seen the team once. But it's no lie. The Sailors are among the top four or five teams in their classification. If the team wins out, Steamboat should get a top-three seed in the state playoffs. That, if everything goes accordingly, should ensure at least two home playoff games. But before looking that far, an accomplishment that doesn't happen often needs to be recognized: Steamboat has now made the playoffs in five consecutive years. That's a lot of good football, a lot of good players and a lot of good teams.
- It'll be interesting to see where the Steamboat boys soccer team ends up in seeding. The Western Slope League champions deserve a top-eight seed, and they will have at least one home playoff game. The team seems to be coming into its own. Although it still can find it tough to score, Steamboat's back third can probably rival that of any team in Class 4A. With that defense, the Sailors have the potential to make a run in the playoffs. The guess here is that Steamboat finds a way to get it done and makes it at least to the second round, if not further.
- As for the Steamboat volleyball team, its fate depends on which team shows up for districts. Will it be the team that at midseason looked primed for a potential run, or the team that struggled down the stretch? The girls have a week to practice and figure things out. Steamboat pretty much knows it will be in Montrose for districts, in what could be one of the toughest brackets in Class 4A. It's sort of ridiculous looking at that bracket. How can Mullen - second-ranked in Class 4A but playing the regular season in 5A - be the second seed in that district? Nobody would ever accuse the Colorado High School Activities Association of Front Range bias, but come on. Really? Fine, let Mullen - who doesn't recruit, by the way - drop down to 4A for the playoffs. But let them host a district.
- The Steamboat cross-country team looks good, especially on the boys side. With Gus Allen running strong and a five-man team bound for state, Steamboat looks solid. We'll see how the team does at state in Fossil Ridge. Judging by the times recently produced, it should be expected that most of the runners come close to personal bests Saturday.
- The Hayden and Soroco volleyball teams will be in the district tournament. Neither team has seemed to hit its stride this season. But each team has had spurts when it played well. Soroco's a scrappy team that many teams want to see. Hayden, when the team gets in rhythm, is tough to defend at the net. If both teams find their stride, each has the capability of making a run.
- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org