I am a 3A coach and should know better than to stick my nose into the business of 5A regions, but I think I have an idea here that could work. And, I'm thick-skinned enough to let folks take pot shots at it if they like.
As background, there were 60 5A teams listed in this year's cross country bulletin, though Far Northeast ended up not fielding a team. So, effectively, we had 59 5A teams. With the new classification changes, and assuming Regis Jesuit stays 5A for girls, we will have 58 teams, plus one if Far Northeast has a team next year. Vista Ridge and Pine Creek move up, while Pomona, Grand Junction Central, and Coronado move down.
So, if we stay with five regions, each region must have 11 or 12 teams.
To this point in time, 5A regions have not reflected a lot of geographic continuity. Rather, gerrymandering has been the rule. We also have an issue that's been persisting for a few years now of 5A Region 5 being the toughest 5A region--and typically by more than just a little bit.
What I propose below won't perfectly balance the regions (nothing will, in fact), but it does move closer to balance, and it minimizes travel distances for schools. You will find very little in the way of flagpole annexations in these regions. And, since CHSAA has a mandate to minimize travel distances for playoffs, this should be an idea worth exploring.
Here we go...
Region 1 (think east Denver metro) - Arapahoe, Aurora Central, Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest, Gateway, Grandview, Hinkley, Overland, Rangeview, Regis Jesuit, Smoky Hill
Region 2 (think west Denver metro and Grand Junction) - Arvada West, Bear Creek, Chatfield, Columbine, Dakota Ridge, Fruita Monument, Grand Junction, Heritage, Highlands Ranch, Lakewood, Mountain Vista, ThunderRidge
Region 3 (think Boulder, Denver proper, and Highway 36) - Boulder, Broomfield, Denver East, Denver South, Fairview, Legacy, Monarch, Northglenn, Ralston Valley, Thornton
Region 4 (think northeast Denver metro and points north) - Adams City, Brighton, Far Northeast, Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge, Greeley West, Horizon, Loveland, Mountain Range, Poudre, Prairie View, Rocky Mountain
Region 5 (think Colorado Springs and eastern Douglas County) - Castle View, Chaparral, Doherty, Douglas County, Fountain-Fort Carson, Legend, Liberty, Palmer, Pine Creek, Rampart, Rock Canyon, Vista Ridge