Changes on the Horizon for Indoor

Changes are already afoot for the 2017-18 indoor season.

If you liked your indoor season, you can't keep your indoor season. It's going to be different next year. That much is already certain.

Now that we have that uncomfortable bit of truth out of the way, let's explore how next year's indoor season will be different.

The good news is that next year's indoor season for Colorado high school athletes will almost certainly be better than this year's.

I don't know what USATF-Colorado's plans are for next year. I'm pretty sure USATF-Colorado doesn't know what their plans are for next year yet. When you don't have your own building, you get to wait and see what's available after the folks with buildings have made their own plans.

Matt Sparks at the Colorado School of Mines has already told me that the Orediggers plan to be back next winter with their indoor series at Steinhauer Field House. There may be tweaks here and there, but the series will feel familiar to those who participated this year. 

I don't have word yet from Western State, but it's difficult to believe the Mountaineers want to mess too much with the success they've had with their meet. And, a big part of the fun at Western State's meet is that it's the only place that's offering kids a chance at the indoor steeple and weight throw.

It's possible, however, that Western State wants to look at a different location on the calendar next winter. Keep reading.

The Air Force Academy figures to keep the Air Force Holiday Open open to interested high school athletes next year, and the folks at the Academy are already exploring the possibility of making next year's High School Open in February a two-day meet instead of one. Those massive sets of sprint heats would most likely move to day one if that comes to pass.

Simplot will be back again next year, still on President's Day weekend and forever in Pocatello. There are only so many ways you can fill hotel rooms in Pocatello in February and the local Chamber of Commerce isn't about to let this meet go anywhere.

The Great Southwest Classic Indoor figures to be back again next winter, but there was a rumbling heard in Albuquerque this past weekend. The indoor meet put on in the Dallas Cowboys' training facility--the Dunamis Sports Group Prep Classic--figures to be back again next year. It's beyond question that major indoor meets in cities as (relatively) close as Dallas and Albuquerque are going to compete against each other, at least assuming those meets fall on the same weekend again next year.

It remains to be seen how this all settles out. The Great Southwest Classic is not without reasons to move to an earlier date on the calendar, but they also have reasons to stay put. Until now, at least, the reasons to stay put have prevailed. If Great Southwest and Dunamis Sports Group remain on the same weekend, though, a very large portion of the Colorado contingent is likely to shift to the Dallas meet. Airfares from Denver to Dallas are about half of what airfares from Denver to Albuquerque are, and with more flight options.

And, if the Dallas meet stays on the same weekend next year, that puts all the more pressure on Western State to consider moving to a different Saturday on the calendar. It won't be just the Albuquerque meet that will see clientele slipping away to the Big D.

So, one way or the other, there are some changes in the offing. 

Another major potential change is the opening of a new indoor track and field facility at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. The latest word I have heard is that the facility is scheduled for completion in January of 2018, and the Mountain Lions are anxious to move into their new digs. The location is essentially the intersection of Nevada Avenue and Austin Bluffs Parkway--very easy to get to as things go in Colorado Springs.

I've also heard rumors of a banked oval, but those remain rumors for the time being.

It should go without saying that the opening of a new facility does not necessarily imply access for high school indoor competition. We still have yet to see a high school meet at either the Adams State Bubble or the University of Colorado Indoor Practice Facility track. Nevertheless, the possibilities at UCCS are tantalizing.

So, be slow about setting your plans for next winter in stone. There is much that remains to be seen.

And, will anyone try to exploit the December niche? Right now, the Air Force Academy has that month on the calendar to themselves--at least as far as high school opportunities go. Whether or not something else moves into that vacuum is another something that remains to be seen.

I'm not sure if I'm a fan of this idea or not, but it's almost to the point where somebody could propose a scholastic indoor season here in Colorado...