Ready to ride into 2016, the undefeated Ignacio boys will host Ridgway on Friday, Jan. 8, looking to keep pace in the CHSAANow.com Class 2A rankings with top-ranked Sanford and #2 Loveland Resurrection Christian.
Following third-ranked IHS (5-0, 1-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) in the most recent poll – issued Dec. 21, 2015 – are Julesburg/Ovid Revere co-op crew Sedgwick County, Meeker, Rye, Holyoke, Paonia, Simla and surprising Center – whose only loss came at the Bobcats’ claws on Dec. 11.
Maybe not yet in Ignacio’s sights, but always a prime mental target, Sanford stands 6-0 with just one game decided by 20 points or fewer going into their 1/8 game at Del Norte. RCS, meanwhile, travels on the 8th to Greeley Union Colony standing a solid – a shaky overtime over 3A Alamosa aside – 7-0 and victorious in 32 of their last 33.
The lone loss came against Sanford in last season’s State Championship, and SHS – now the classification’s two-time defending champs – will face DNHS trying to extend an awesome winning streak to 53.
Ironically, Ridgway’s run of 73 consecutive conquests between 1993 and ’96 still stands as Colorado’s record (Merino’s 56 between 1978-80 ranks second). And then-head coach Steve Hill, who never ventured far from the Demons’ program – girls’ or boys’ – after multiple attempts at retiring since 1998 (he first ‘came back’ in 2001, helming the Montrose boys) since 1998, will oppose Chris Valdez for the Friday night feature inside IHS Gymnasium, with RHS off to a reported 2-1 (0-0 SJBL) start.
The Cats, 53-4 overall since 2013, will then go to Montezuma-Cortez on Jan. 9 for a 2:00 p.m. tip against Michael Hall’s Panthers (2-3, 0-0 4A/5A Southwestern). M-CHS fared well in December wins over 5A Aztec, N.M., and most recently 1A Monticello, Utah, but struggled in between against three Arizona foes at the 37th Annual Navajo Generating Station Holiday Classic and will have just hosted 3A La Jara Centauri before Ignacio’s visit.
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Also off to a 5-0 start overall, Ouray will get into the second half of their season’s slate standing #6 in the CHSAANow.com Class 1A poll, with Dove Creek listed as a ‘Receiving Votes’ team. Fittingly, Shawn Carroll’s Trojans and Ty Gray’s Bulldogs (4-1) square off on the 9th, with OHS having traveled to Norwood the night before to prepare.