Woodland Park’s one-sided rivalry

Emily Waite, Editor-in-Chief

Woodland Park High School and Manitou Springs High School’s high-tension relationship has caused issues for many years, but are they really rivals? While WPHS would say a resounding yes, MSHS would disagree. 

MSHS has a strong, healthy rivalry with St. Mary’s that they have worked hard to improve on and build over the past several years. Even including a meeting between the schools to discuss ways to improve the rivalry to ensure it stays fun and healthy. WPHS, on the other hand, does not have a good relationship with MSHS. 

Many MSHS students do not even consider WPHS to be a rival and haven’t for a few many years. “We just don’t like them. Manitou doesn’t like a lot of schools in a competitive aspect, but that doesn’t mean we’re rivals with all of them,” Tyler Maloney, senior at MSHS, said. “I honestly think Woodland Park has this fascination with us and they want to have some sort of a connection with us since we are so close to each other.”

This rivalry is thought to go back several decades according to Woodland Park alumni. “I remember it always being a big deal when we played games against Manitou since we were rivals,” Katie Waite, WPHS graduate class of 95’, said. “We called it the rivalry of Highway 24 and we were always messing with each other’s schools.”

Although this wasn’t the case for some Manitou alumni. “I don’t actually remember there being as big a rivalry with WP when I was in school.” Angie Glass, MSHS Athletics/Activities Administrative Assistant and MSHS graduate class of 96, said. “Although I do remember they have destroyed our property like, burning our football field, our wooden M and flipping our M on the mountain to a W.”

The wooden M that was burned was never replaced due to their actions. Alongside the M on the mountain, that was just recently renovated, because of a project started by Glass.

One of the main reasons MSHS doesn’t want to have a rivalry with WPHS is because of their actions at events. “They are honestly disrespectful, even though it’s not everyone at their school, it is a large majority,” Maloney said. “They just go over the top and you never know what they’re going to do before a game, and it freaks everyone out a little bit.”

Woodland Park has a history of being destructive to Manitou’s property before games. “Before games with Manitou, we have TPed their Mustang, forked their field and stole a football helmet,” Corbin Shirley, senior at WPHS, said.

Manitou does have some ideas as to why these actions occur. “I think they just get an adrenaline rush from being competitive and it becomes oh let’s go destroy their property,” Maloney said. “They don’t want to just win the sports aspect; they need to win with their student section also.”

While this relationship is very unhealthy, it may not be possible to make a change. “I want to say we could have a healthy relationship with them in the future, but I just don’t think we can,” Joseph Waite, senior at MSHS and previous Woodland Park School District scholar, said. “Their sportsmanship just isn’t there. To have a good rivalry there still needs to be respect and they just don’t have that.”

Woodland Park does agree it is not a good relationship. “We definitely don’t have the healthiest rivalry,” Shirley said. “But I wouldn’t want to have a healthier relationship with them, because it wouldn’t be as fun.”

Other WPHS students agree that they would not want to improve the relationship. “It’s honestly just not worth it. This is like a toxic relationship,” Sam Marquez, senior at WPHS, said.

Although it may not be possible to change this relationship, Manitou is open to the idea.“All respect goes to Woodland Park. I would love to work out something where we can have mutual respect,” said Maloney. “They just have to understand that they are not our rival and St. Mary’s is our rival.”