Sentinel Blogs
Aurora's haunted Stanley to get cash exorcism Marla Keown

Aurora’s haunted Stanley to get cash exorcism

When I first moved to Colorado I happened to come upon an abandoned building with a fellow photographer friend. I never thought that some years later I’d officially be allowed inside to snap some shots!!

Aurora Prep

Eaglecrest Invitational again a strong early volleyball test

As usual, the 2014 Eaglecrest Invitational volleyball tournament is a doozy.

One of the better collections of teams from a variety of classifications is set for Friday and Saturday at The Nest, with the host Raptors, defending Class 5A state champion Grandview and Aurora Central representing Aurora in the 13-team field.

Split into three three-team pools and one four-team group, the tournament is set to run pool play beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and concluding Saturday morning before bracket play to decide places.

Coach Tanya Bond’s 1-1 Eaglecrest team is the No. 1 team in Pool 2 — which also includes Brighton (2-1) and Legacy (0-2) — while coach Patty Childress and Grandview (1-2) sit as the top team in the four-team Pool 4, which also features Aurora Central (1-0) in addition to 3A undefeated Eaton (6-0) and fast-starting Denver East (6-1).

Helming Pool 1 is 4A undefeated Cheyenne Mountain (4-0) — which beat Grandview in four sets on Sept. 4 — while Pool 3 is topped by Fossil Ridge (2-1) and also includes Pine Creek (2-1), which swept Eaglecrest in the opener for both teams on Aug. 28.

Other 3A teams in the field include University (3-1) and Faith Christian (2-1).

Last year’s tournament had to be condensed to a single day and adjusted from 16 to 12 teams due to the massive rainfall and flooding that occurred a few days prior and kept teams from north of the metro area from attending.

Grandview won last season’s championship.

2014 EAGLECREST VOLLEYBALL INVITATIONAL

POOL 1: 1. Cheyenne Mountain, 2. Mountain Vista, 3. University; POOL 2: 1. EAGLECREST, 2. Brighton, 3. Legacy; POOL 3: 1. Fossil Ridge, 2. Pine Creek, 3. Faith Christian; POOL 4: 1. GRANDVIEW, 2. Eaton, 3. Denver East, 4. AURORA CENTRAL

THREE-TEAM POOL PLAY

Sept. 12 — 4 p.m.: No. 1 vs. No. 3; 30 minute break; 6 p.m.: No. 2 vs. No. 3; Sept. 13 — 8 a.m.: No. 1 vs. No. 2

FOUR-TEAM POOL PLAY

Sept. 12 — 4 p.m.: No. 1 vs. No. 3; 5 p.m.: No. 2 vs. No. 4; 6 p.m.: No. 1 vs. No. 4; 7 p.m.: No. 3 vs. No. 2; Sept. 13 — 8 a.m.: No. 4 vs. No. 3; 9 a.m.: No. 2 vs. No. 1

CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET PLAY, SEPT. 13

10 a.m.: No. 1 vs. No. 4; 11 a.m.: No. 2 vs. No. 3; Noon: Loser vs. loser (third-place); 1 p.m.: Winner vs. winner (championship)

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Overland, Gateway wage marathon battle on softball diamond to tune of 27-26 Aurora Prep

Overland, Gateway wage marathon battle on softball diamond to tune of 27-26

Chance Siegele hasn’t seen a lot of seventh innings in his season-plus stint as Gateway softball coach.

Either on the winning or losing end of blowout decisions, the Olys rarely have been in games in which the mercy rule (a lead of 10 runs or more after five innings) hasn’t been invoked.

Gateway did that and more on Tuesday at Overland, where it waged a nine-inning battle that lasted 3 1/2 hours and nearly fell victim to the fading daylight. In the end, the Trailblazers walked off into the sunset with a 27-26 walk-off victory.

“Kelly (Overland coach Jones-Wagy) and I talked before the game and I mentioned that one of my goals before the season was to make it to the seventh inning and hopefully we can get there today,” Siegele said. “We made it. …I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. It was nuts.”

Siegele’s team remained winless in seven games this season, but had plenty of chances to win this particular game. The Olys surrendered a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, a three-run advantage in the bottom of the eighth and finally gave away a five-run edge in the ninth inning when Overland scored six times to get its first win of the year.

It took the Gateway scorekeeper two pages in a scorebook to keep the stats and even those ended up fairly illegible. From memory, Siegele believes his cleanup hitter, Sarah Alvarado, drove in at least 12 runs and his starting pitcher, Iva Griffiths, worked the entire nine innings and would have easily had double-digit strikeouts if not for a number of dropped third strikes.

Griffiths and Alvarado — the only two Olys with significant playing experience — were proud of the team’s effort.

“We have a really new team, but that didn’t stop the ladies from trying their hardest, stretching the game to two extra innings and playing their hearts out,” Griffiths said. “I was so proud of them and the way we refused to give up no matter how the game was going.”

Siegele also looked forward to the potential impact playing in a game like that could have on the team for the rest of the season.

“We’ve played some pretty good teams, so most of the time, I’m telling them ‘let’s learn and eliminate mistakes and I want you growing as a player,’” he said. “Last night, it was like ‘let’s go out and win this!’ You could see the excitement and anticipation, so I think they still have plenty to be proud of.”

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Monster numbers put up by Eaglecrest, St. Cloud in Florida football shootout Aurora Prep

Monster numbers put up by Eaglecrest, St. Cloud in Florida football shootout

The most eye-popping result of the first week of prep football for Aurora teams? Clearly Thursday’s Eaglecrest and St. Cloud (Florida) contest at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando fit the bill.

A game so chock-full of action that Eaglecrest athletic director Vince Orlando ran out of battery power on his phone as he tried to provide updates on the school’s Twitter account, coach Mike Schmitt’s Raptors and the Bulldogs piled up 88 points in the first half alone and ended with a total of 125 on the scoreboard, 69 for St. Cloud and 56 for Eaglecrest.

When the dust had cleared on the video game-like contest, the teams combined for more than 1,200 yards of total offense and both had quarterbacks who threw four touchdown passes — Elijah Ross for the Raptors and Hunter Weismore for the Bulldogs.

Ross, a star for Eaglecrest’s basketball team, racked up 380 yards of total offense — 203 yards passing on 13 completions and 177 yards rushing on 12 attempts — and accounted for five touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes of 44 and 23 yards to Peter Anderson, 21 yards to Anthony Karmazyn and 5 yards to Matt Lally and ran for 3-yarder. Meanwhile, Glenn Washington ripped off 156 yards rushing for the Raptors.

Eaglecrest’s defense, meanwhile, has now surrendered a total of 132 points in its past 96 minutes of football, including the 63 points Valor Christian put up in the first round of last season’s Class 5A state playoffs.

While Eaglecrest’s defense gave up a lot of points, it also scored some of its own on a Tommy Johnson interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Surprise new uniforms give Hinkley football team some extra bounce Aurora Prep

Surprise new uniforms give Hinkley football team some extra bounce

Robert O’Brien knew that new uniforms were coming and couldn’t wait for his Hinkley football players to see them.

Christmas Day for the team came a day before the Thunderbirds’ Zero Week game against rival Aurora Central, when the players showed up to a team dinner to discover some new threads that amped them up further to get on the field.

Clad in the new all-dark gray adidas uniforms that featured ‘Thunderbirds” across the chest and white wings on each of the shoulders, O’Brien’s team soared to a quality 27-6 victory over the Trojans in front of 2,288 people at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.

“I’ve known about them for a couple of months, but we had an unveil last night and the kids went nuts,” said O’Brien, who got a win in his head coaching debut. “It’s really cool to give something to the community and to kids that don’t necessarily have everything. …They were proud to be out there wearing those uniforms and that’s what we want. They are proud to be T-Birds.”

Senior Ahonsi Ohimai put the new gear to good use, as he rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns and nabbed a key interception. He definitely attributed some of the team’s swagger to the new uniforms.

“They surprised us with them yesterday and it was like ‘Welcome to the new Hinkley,’” Ohimai said. “Everybody went wild. We weren’t expecting these, but we love them.”

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

PICTURE THIS: Oh, Solo Wheel Marla Keown

PICTURE THIS: Oh, Solo Wheel

Quincy and I got to play with a fun gizmo today today at work! Read about it in next week’s Aurora Sentinel

Grandview grad Erica Denney transfers from NCAA champion Penn State to Denver volleyball team Aurora Prep

Grandview grad Erica Denney transfers from NCAA champion Penn State to Denver volleyball team

Erica Denney is back playing volleyball in Colorado.

The 6-foot-5 former Grandview High School star middle hitter spent the past four years at NCAA powerhouse Penn State, but now will complete her college eligibility as a member of the University of Denver Pioneers volleyball team.

Denney played on the Wolves’ undefeated 2007 Class 5A state championship team and appeared in three 5A finals in four high school seasons before she signed with Penn State. With the Nittany Lions, Denney redshirted as a freshman in 2010, played in one set as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and appeared in six matches — for a total of nine sets — in 2012. She also missed the 2013 season — when Penn State won its sixth NCAA championship — due to injury.

“We are thrilled to have Erica join our program,” Denver head coach Jesse Mahoney said in a statement. “She is a quality person and an intense competitor who has played volleyball at the highest levels. She has battled injuries throughout her career at Penn State, but she is healthy now and excited to get back on the court. We are looking forward to seeing what her experience will bring to the mix as we start the pre-season.”

Denney — who graduated with a degree in Animal Sciences and is taking graduate courses at Denver — practiced with the Pioneers on Aug. 9 and is on track to play in their first match on Aug. 29 against Jackson State.

Denver assistant coach Katelin Batten is another former Grandview player, but Denney joins a roster that is currently loaded with players from one of Grandview’s main rivals, Eaglecrest.

The addition of defensive specialist/libero Taylor Loyd, a 2014 graduate, brings the tally of former Eaglecrest players on the Pioneers’ roster to three, as she joins middle blocker Ruth Okoye and setter Bailey Karst. Karst — who was part of the Aurora Sentinel All-City Volleyball Team along with Denney in 2008-09 — also transferred to Denver after starting her career at the University of Ohio.

The Denver roster also includes another former player from an Aurora school in middle blocker Sarah Schmid, a Regis Jesuit High School graduate.

Denney’s sister, Cat, is currently on the roster at Doane College.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

PERRYBLOG: Ann Coulter teaches us, 'better hate than ever' Dave Perry: Preoccupations

PERRYBLOG: Ann Coulter teaches us, ‘better hate than ever’

I love conservative columnist Ann Coulter. If I read her latest rant and vehemently disagree, I know that: 1. I am still alive. 2. I’m still on the right track.

I read her blathering today about rescued Ebola doc Kent Brantly being nothing more than a thrill-seeking missionary who got what he deserved. Her argument is that we have enough poor, wretched heathens at home, why go shopping for more in a place like Africa? She figures Brantly is just a narcissistic cowboy who shot himself in the foot, running up a $2 million evac tab along the way. Brantly was tabbed a hero, trying to save people in Sierra Leon who contracted the Ebola Virus. He got the disease himself, nearly died and is now being treated in Atlanta, Georgia.

What do you know? I’m 1. Still alive, and 2. Still on the right track.

I didn’t wake up this morning thinking that I would be defending Christian missionaries. My objection to their work comes from a different tact. They tend to end up places in the world where people already have plenty of problems. They don’t need Christian-vs -Everyone-Wars on top of their plights. That’s another story.

This story is about Coulter being dead wrong, again.  I know first-hand there are plenty of Christian do-gooders that get into the business because they want to right wrongs and help miserable people be less miserable, here and all over the planet. These people have two things that Coulter doesn’t: charity and compassion. They aren’t charitable and compassionate because they’re Christians, they’re Christians because they’re charitable and compassionate. Whether they believe all or parts of the God and Jesus story, I’m really not sure. I am sure that they believe in what they get out of reading about God and Jesus. Rather than working hard to stone homosexuals and adulterers, fight against birth control, promote guns, warfare and their religion, they work to feed starving people, take care of the sick, build houses, bury the dead, stuff like that. I’ve known these people first hand. The Rev. Lucia Guzman, now a state senator, and Sister Michael Mary Eagen, Aurora and Denver’s champion of the poor, come to mind. Both women have been on the front lines of Christianity, and both women are giants when it comes to compassion and activism for humans who don’t have great jobs and summer homes. Narcissistic toads? Hardly. They’re both confident and relentless. They probably would even have something kind to say about Coulter.

I, however,  don’t. She’s a nasty pseudo-intellectual who gets her jollies riling up a bunch of backward, paranoid bigots and xenophobes. Coulter is one of those people who believes everything in the Universe falls into two categories: American and un-American. Poor people dying of horrible diseases outside of the United States are somehow different than those who are suffering in Texas. People like Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin see the world that way, too. But people like Brantly see Africans just as people. Just like us.

That’s a concept Coulter and her clan can’t wrap their heads around. She wants to know why Brantly doesn’t take care of problems at home first, pointing out that people here have abortions, children without being married, and die from prescription drug overdoses. Coulter is the kind of person who thinks that, somehow, cataclysms in a country where so many die from Ebola Virus and AIDS is comparable to what’s happening to people in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Whether they’re there in the name of Jesus, Sponge Bob or Doctors Without Borders, I’m glad guys like Brantly want to go to wretched places where calamities are happening, in hopes of making things better for the people living through those nightmares. Coulter would never listen to the likes of someone like me. Perhaps somewhere in history someone could speak to Coulter. Someone she could relate to.  Maybe she and Marie Antoinette might have cake and tea together and talk about what can happen when the little people are expected to be someone else’s problem.

— Editor Dave Perry

Welcome home Marla Keown

Welcome home

In between local news channel interviews, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Cpl. Matt Foster welcomes home his military war dog Mick at Denver International Airport.

The two served together in Afghanistan hunting down Improvised Explosive Devices.

Junior Hayden Smith records hole-in-one during Regis Jesuit boys golf tryouts Aurora Prep

Junior Hayden Smith records hole-in-one during Regis Jesuit boys golf tryouts

The Regis Jesuit boys golf program has been a certified juggernaut in recent years.

Yet none of the many golfers who’ve moved along to the college level and contributed to an ongoing run of four straight Class 5A state championships had done what junior Hayden Smith did during tryouts Tuesday at Aurora’s Meadow Hills Golf Course.

Playing in the second-to-last of Regis Jesuit’s many groups, Smith used a 6-iron off the tee on the par 3 Hole No. 2, dropped his shot onto the raised green and watched the ball roll into the cup for a hole-in-one. Smith and his three playing partners rushed to the green to find the ball in the hole.

Longtime Regis Jesuit assistant coach Ted Schilling, who arrived on the scene just after the ace along with Steve Cavnar, said it was the first hole-in-one during Raiders’ tryouts in his eight seasons and veteran head coach Craig Rogers later confirmed it was the first one ever at tryouts in his long tenure.

Regis Jesuit had a hotly-contested tryout going to make the top five that will play in the first Continental League tournament on Thursday at South Suburban Golf Course.

Senior John Kane fired a 69 in the first round of tryouts and a slew of others shot in the 70s for the Raiders.

Last season, Smoky Hill’s Paul Cleveland recorded an ace at Saddle Rock Golf Course for the first hole-in-one in Centennial League regular season play in at least 12 years.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes