BRIGHTON — Brighton’s boys soccer team may not have made it to the state 5A tournament in the fall. But there is a piece of hardware in the school that is the result of the team’s academic success.
BHS earned the Les Schwab Academic All-State award from the Colorado High School Activities Association and Les Schwab Tires. Brighton’s collective grade point average for the soccer team was 3.68, the highest of any 5A program in the state.
CHSAA’s eligibility rules (one grade of “F” in five classes forces a student-athlete to the sidelines) aren’t as strict as the ones Brighton uses for the soccer team. Coach Kevin Barnes said student-athletes with grades below “C” run the risk of being ineligible. The three-step process to improve those grades includes restrictions to just practices to not playing to not being on the team.
“We can’t throw them out without a lifeline,” Barnes said. “The teachers in the school have been very supportive of what we are doing. They recognize what we are doing. The student-athletes’ job is to be in class. We honor CHSAA’s rules. But if they can get their grades back by the end of the week, they are eligible.”
Barnes said teammates are known to jump in and help those who are struggling academically, even to the point of sitting together on the bus rides to and from matches.
“At the Prairie View game this year, I had five seniors who were taking an advanced-placement test in anatomy who were studying before the match,” Barnes said. “I went to Mines. I know what that’s about. And for me, that’s the sort of stuff where we’re turning the corner. Coaches understand the commitment to the team and what it takes to get the good grades.”
Barnes said some of the academic success comes from the type of team Brighton fields.
“The kids like to play together. It’s a good group that’s comfortable with each other, and camaraderie comes from that. It’s a family environment,” Barnes said. “We played in a competitive league. We played three games a week, and the kids need time to get their grades back up. I’m impressed.
“I wasn’t smart when I was in school,” Barnes added. “I had to apply myself. And I also know that they want kids to be successful. But the kids have to show the teachers that they are working with them.”
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