COVID has once again caused havoc with schedules, as a number of events were either postponed or altogether canceled. Still, there were plenty of important competitions throughout the eastern portion of the state.

The Holyoke girls swim team turned in solid performances at both the Thompson Valley meet on Tuesday, and in Fort Collins on Thursday. Their 200 medley team finished third in Fort Collins, posting a time that missed qualifying for state by only one second. They are in action this Thursday at Estes Park.

With the wrestling tournament in Eads being canceled due to a combination of COVID concerns at several of the involved programs, and a lack of entries, quite a few teams were left scrambling to find other competition. Wiggins was one of the beneficiaries, as their meet gained more entries.

Limon finished third in the team race at that tournament, with Merino (4th), Akron (6th), and Wiggins (8th) also taking home top-10 finishes. The Badgers had individual titles from Ky Bandy at 160 pounds and Keon Bandy at 170. Coen Schmidt (113) and Tyler Frank (132) took championships for Merino, while Akron’s Xavier Livesay took the crown at 220, and Wiggins’ Pepper Rusher earned the title at 182.

Brush took a top-10 team finish in the ultra-competitive Mel Smith Invitational in Florence over the weekend, as the Beetdiggers ended the two-day event ninth overall. Sterling claimed 20th, while La Junta and Fort Morgan stood 25th and 26th, respectively. None had a wrestler stand on the top of the podium, but Brush saw Nick Dardanes (113) and Dominick Ontiveros (220) both take second to be the top area finishers.

The schedule for girls wrestling was impacted in a major way by COVID, with almost every event canceled last week. With the postseason coming up in a hurry, the area ladies are hoping that that does not become a common occurrence down the homestretch.

Fleming’s girls continue to be unbeaten in Class 1A girls basketball, after navigating their way through another tough week of games. The Lady Wildcats are one of only three remaining teams without a blemish in the classification, after they defeated Lone Star (52-40) and Stratton (54-36) last week. At 9-0, they are one win ahead of league rival Briggsdale, who beat Union Colony Prep (67-14) last week.

Right behind those two is a large pack of teams with one loss. That includes Merino, who got a monster double-double from Taysa Conger in their 48-35 league win over Caliche on Friday. Conger posted 20 points and 29 rebounds in the contest. Cheyenne Wells, Kim/Branson, South Baca, and McClave are also part of that one-loss pack as the week begins. Springfield and Stratton lead the two-loss teams in the field.

Holyoke and Limon have two of the longest winning streaks in Class 2A, as they picked up their sixth and fifth consecutive victories, respectively. Both have just one loss, as does Sedgwick County, who also earned a sixth straight win last week. The classification only has two teams without a loss, including Rye, who still has two match-ups with one-loss Hoehne in Santa Fe play. Those are in early February.

Burlington was a tough luck loser twice last week. After making the second round of the state tournament last season, the Lady Cougars have only been in the win column once this season. Last week, they were unable to hold off Wray, falling 66-64 after leading by as many as eight points in the second half. That was followed by a 54-51 loss at Yuma later in the week. The Lady Cougars have not played a single Union Pacific league game to date, but that slate includes games with Limon and Stratton.

It’s been a very tough season for the area teams in Class 3A, with only La Junta and Lamar having winning records. La Junta moved to 7-5 overall after going 2-1 last week. Following wins over Pueblo Centennial and Banning Lewis, the Lady Tigers fell in a heart breaker to Colorado Springs Christian, 35-32.

Switching to 1A boys, there are five teams without a loss, with four standing at 7-0 or better. Granada and Briggsdale are both 8-0 on the season, and are strong contenders for the crown this year. Cheyenne Wells and Wiley both sit at 6-2 as the week begins, and there is a large pack of teams with three losses, setting up important contests the rest of the way.

Merino is part of that next group, as the Rams earned a big win over Genoa-Hugo (also in the three loss group), 57-50, on Saturday. Derrick Alber recorded eight blocks the night before, in a win over Caliche.

Not only is Merino a challenger in Class 1A, but the Rams are also chasing 2A leader, Yuma, in the LPAA standings. The Indians are 9-1 to begin the week, after claiming wins over Akron (82-35) and Burlington (81-53) last weekend. They have their league contest with rival Wray on Friday. That game has lost a bit of its luster, with Wray losing guard Chris Arambula to an injury in a win over Akron two weeks ago. The Eagles, who won the crown in 2020, are 7-3 after beating Burlington (69-35) and Holyoke (47-43) last weekend.

Crowley County is tied for the longest winning streak in the classification, as the Chargers have reeled off five straight. That’s one more than Fowler, who is tied with the Chargers for the lead in the Santa Fe league at 3-0. They don’t play until Feb. 8th, and that game could very well decide the league title.

Speaking of winning streaks, Sterling has one that stands at seven games as the Tigers enter the week. That’s tied for fourth best in Class 3A. They opened Patriot League play with wins over Strasburg (63-31) and University (64-46) last week. After visiting Liberty Common on Tuesday, the Tigers have a tough home clash with Platte Valley on Friday.

Fort Morgan is among the league leaders in the 4A Longs Peak, as the Mustangs sit one game back of the three teams atop the standings. Following a 50-49 loss to Severance early in the week, Fort Morgan bounced back to beat Riverdale Ridge 69-66, despite being outscored 22-11 in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs have a road game at Frederick on Wednesday. The Warriors are one of the three co-leaders in the league race.