Courtney Oaks
Sentinel Blogs

Courtney Oakes


After urging from the Regis Jesuit crowd, Neil Devlin lines up for a half court short during a boys basketball game between Regis Jesuit at Denver East on Jan. 20, 2015, at Regis Jesuit High School. Devlin airballed the shot, but he scored a ton of points with Colorado prep athletes, coaches, administrators and others during 36 years of work as prep sports editor at the Denver Post. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

People will probably pose for selfies with Neil Devlin until the end of time, but unfortunately they won’t be able to read his stories in the Denver Post anymore.

On Thursday night, the longtime prep sports editor announced his departure from the Post after 36 years as he and veteran scribe Irv Moss — who has been there since 1956 — accepted buyouts as part of the latest round of casualties of an ownership group that has gutted much of what was once a juggernaut of a newspaper.

I still know a handful of incredible writers, editors, web people and photographers at the Post who continue to shine, but the number continues to dwindle and my stomach hurts for each and every one of them each time the news of more impending cuts comes down. While anybody who has worked in newspapers for 36 years has the end of a career in sight, I never would have dreamed it would end like this for Neil.

As a budding sports writer with the Spotlight — Denver East High School’s student newspaper — in the 1990s, I vividly remember reading Neil’s game stories and Sunday columns religiously after I snatched the sports section of the Postwhich used to be massive — while my parents read the rest of the paper. Sometimes Neil covered the Angels at a game I went to and I matched his take with mine. It was also hard to ignore the long hair that made him so unique.

It was just five or six years after that when I first covered a game with Neil, though I don’t remember our first encounter. Since then, I can’t begin to count how many times  I covered games with him on the sidelines, in a gym or behind a backstop and took pride in becoming one of his peers (and actually knowing why he always uses Yo! in texts, tweets and emails).

The last game we covered together was a month ago when Cherokee Trail won the Class 5A state baseball championship and Neil watched the proceedings from the top of the bleachers at All-City Field wearing a classic Star Trek T-shirt and shades (the lingering byproduct of his questioning of the powers that be who resided in the press box). It was another memory of many laugh-filled encounters and times I watched kids ask to take pictures with Neil, hold up cutouts of his face at games or encourage him to take a half court shot like he did many times with good humility at Regis Jesuit.

Is it possible for somebody to know everybody at a prep game? Chances are Neil did. He’d hug table workers, give a nod to just about every referee and have a chat with just about anybody who approached him like he knew them forever.

The admiration for Neil shone through in the reaction to his announcement on Twitter. A large number of his 8,056 followers — which gives him a commanding lead over me, as he continually has reminded me this season, ha! — reached out to support him and share memories. I strongly encourage you to check out his heartfelt string of tweets (@neildevlin) about his time with the paper.

The best part about Neil is as much as he covered Denver and the entire state, his heart was and still is clearly in Aurora. In the 1980s, Neil’s brother, John, was the standard by which all Aurora Sentinel sportswriters should ever be measured and Neil always had a soft spot for Aurora squads and athletes, especially during this past boys basketball season.

The tougher part is losing the voice of another person who was so dedicated to celebrating community accomplishments and shining light on the best and brightest in a time with so much turmoil. I urge everyone to continue to consume and care about local news and those who dedicate themselves to trying to tell you stories. It’s something we can’t afford to lose.

So to keep it short, Neil, enjoy a Guinness or two, indulge at Fontana Sushi, play 18 holes (and shoot under 80 again) and know how appreciated you have been and still are. I have no doubts you’ll be back at it in some capacity before we know it.

And hopefully I’ll see you around and maybe get my picture with you for the first time!

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Alijah Halliburton (21) made the All-Centennial League first team in both football and basketball during the 2015-16 athletic season, credentials that helped him receive the male Kurby Lyle Award for the year. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Overland’s Alijah Halliburton and Smoky Hill’s Rachel Whipple both earned the highest distinction possible for a prep athlete in the Cherry Creek School District, as they were awarded the Kurby Lyle Award for 2015-16.

The award — named after former CCSD athletic director and Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Famer Kurby Lyle — has been given annually to a male and female prep athlete in the district (as selected by district athletic directors) since 1998.

Halliburton and Whipple were surprised with the honor at the senior awards ceremony at their respective schools in May. Both had significant qualifications on and off the playing field.

The multi-talented Halliburton starred in both football and basketball at Overland and earned All-Centennial League first team honors in both sports as a senior to cap a fantastic prep career that surprised even him.

In the fall, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound University of Wyoming-bound safety racked up 125 tackles (86 solo) as a safety for the Trailblazers and just represented his school in the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State football game.

In the winter, Halliburton was a key piece in Overland’s second straight Class 5A boys basketball state championship and also earned his way into the inaugural A-Town All-Stars Game.

After he committed to Wyoming in December, Halliburton told the Sentinel he hopes to study graphics and animation 3D and minor in business and finance.

He was unaware of the Kurby Lyle Award before he won it and Overland athletic director Stephen DeSchryver sprung his selection on him at the awards ceremony.

Smoky Hill’s Rachel Whipple, winner of the female Kurby Lyle Award for 2015-16, signed to play volleyball with the University of Colorado in April. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

“I was just really shocked that I won the award and just to be named the best multi-sport athlete in the Cherry Creek School District is very honoring to me,” Halliburton told the Sentinel. “There’s a lot of great athletes that have accomplished so much and just to think I could win this is crazy.”

Whipple’s primary sport is volleyball and she signed to play Division I at the University of Colorado in April. The two-time All-Centennial League first teamer originally committed to Virginia Commonwealth before a coaching change in Boulder made it possible for her to play there.

She also competed with Smoky Hill’s varsity girls swim team in the winter season and worked with the school’s Unified basketball team.

Whipple also had no idea that she would be receiving the Kurby Lyle award, but was humbled to be chosen.

“To be selected by the athletic directors of each school is very honoring,” she told the Sentinel. “It definitely was a great way to end my high school sports career.”

To be eligible for the Kurby Lyle Award, athletes must have: earned varsity letters in at least two sports during his/her senior year and graduate from a CCSD high school, attend CCSD his/her entire high school career, be accepted to an accredited college or university and plan to compete in athletics in college, plus express and show maturity of purpose and have unquestionable integrity.

The award honors the late Lyle, who spent 12 years as a basketball coach at Cherry Creek High School, which has its main gymnasium bearing his name. Lyle went on to be the district athletic director for CCSD and he was also one of the founders of the Colorado Athletic Directors Association (CADA) and was inducted into CHSAA’s Hall of Fame in 1994.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Eaglecrest's Colbey Ross is on the Team East roster for the A-Town All-Stars Game on March 26 at Aurora Central High School. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Eaglecrest senior-to-be Colbey Ross, the 2015-16 Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year, is part of a large contingent of returning players from the 5A state runner-up Raptors set to play in the C3 Challenge — scheduled for June 14-16 at Heritage and Rock Canyon high schools — according to coach John Olander. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

With a significant makeover, the C3 Challenge — formerly the Centennial-Continental Challenge — boys basketball tournament gets underway June 14 and runs through June 16.

Formatted the past two years to pit the full compliment of teams from the Centennial and Continental leagues against each other in summer play, the new-look tournament now includes a variety of quality teams from around the metro area plus visitors from Fort Collins (Fort Collins), Colorado Springs (Doherty and Rampart) and Grand Junction (Grand Junction Central).

Smoky Hill's Kenny Foster is on the Team East roster for the A-Town All-Stars Game on March 26 at Aurora Central High School. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Smoky Hill sophomore-to-be Kenny Foster will be one of the top boys basketball talents on display at the 2016 C3 Challenge tournament June 14-16, 2016, at Heritage & Rock Canyon high schools. The Buffaloes will be missing a few regular players, but coach Anthony Hardin expects them to be competitive in the 24-team tournament. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

Heritage coach Jentry Byleveld, the originator of the tournament, added the other teams to increase the already quality level of the tournament, which features the two Aurora teams who met for last season’s Class 5A state championship — Overland and Eaglecrest — and a slew of other talented teams. Byleveld plans to rotate invitations to other teams based on how strong they are expected to be in the season ahead.

“This allows the tournament to have different Colorado teams each year and makes the tournament the most competitive in the state,” Byleveld said.

The 24-team tournament has a new format — two days of pool play, followed by a 1-day tournament on June 16 based on the results — and has added a new venue, as Rock Canyon High School will play host to eight games per day, while the majority of the tournament will still take place at Heritage. Every team will play two games per day.

Aurora teams in the field include the Trailblazers and Raptors (the only city team that will play at Rock Canyon), plus Cherokee Trail, Grandview, Regis Jesuit and Smoky Hill.

Some won’t have the full compliment of players or coaches they’ll have in the upcoming winter season, but plenty of talent should be on display, including 2015-16 Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year Colbey Ross and Smoky Hill sophomore star Kenny Foster among others.

The other newcomers to the tournament are Chatfield, Monarch (now led by former Vista PEAK coach Josh Brenning) and Valor Christian.

A 10-player all-tournament team will be selected when play is completed.

Admission is $5 for a three-day pass or $2 per day, while kids under 6 years old are free.


June 14-16 at Heritage & Rock Canyon high schools

GROUP A: Chaparral, Fort Collins, Heritage, Lakewood, Mountain Vista, Mullen, OVERLAND, ThunderRidge; GROUP B: Arapahoe, Chatfied, CHEROKEE TRAIL, GRANDVIEW, Legend, Monarch, REGIS JESUIT, SMOKY HILL; GROUP C: Castle View, Cherry Creek, Doherty, EAGLECREST, Grand Junction Central, Rampart, Valor Christian

At Heritage High School

DAY 1 (June 14)

8-9 a.m.: Mullen vs. ThunderRidge (Main Gym), Heritage vs. OVERLAND (Aux. Gym); 9-10 a.m.: Heritage vs. Mullen (Main Gym); ThunderRidge vs. OVERLAND (Aux. Gym); 10-11 a.m.: Chaparral vs. Lakewood (Main Gym); Mountain Vista vs. Fort Collins (Aux. Gym); 11 a.m.-noon: Mountain Vista vs. Lakewood (Main Gym); Chaparral vs. Fort Collins (Aux. Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: Chatfield vs. Arapahoe (Main Gym); Monarch vs. GRANDVIEW (Aux. Gym); 1-2 p.m.: Chatfield vs. GRANDVIEW (Main Gym); Arapahoe vs. Monarch (Aux. Gym); 2-3 p.m.: REGIS JESUIT vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Main Gym); Legend vs. Smoky Hill (Aux. Gym); 3-4 p.m.: Legend vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Main Gym); REGIS JESUIT vs. SMOKY HILL (Aux. Gym)

DAY 2 (June 15)

8-9 a.m.: ThunderRidge vs. Fort Collins (Main Gym); Heritage vs. Lakewood (Aux. Gym); 9-10 a.m.: Heritage vs. Fort Collins (Main Gym); ThunderRidge vs. Lakewood (Aux. Gym); 10-11 a.m.: Chaparral vs. OVERLAND (Main Gym); Mountain Vista vs. Mullen (Aux. Gym); 11 a.m.-noon: Mountain Vista vs. OVERLAND (Main Gym); Chaparral vs. Mullen (Aux. Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: Monarch vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Main Gym); Chatfield vs. SMOKY HILL (Aux. Gym); 1-2 p.m.: Monarch vs. SMOKY HILL (Main Gym); Chatfield vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Aux. Gym); 2-3 p.m.: Legend vs. Arapahoe (Main Gym); REGIS JESUIT vs. GRANDVIEW (Aux. Gym); 3-4 p.m.: GRANDVIEW vs. Legend (Main Gym); REGIS JESUIT vs. Arapahoe (Aux. Gym)

DAY 3 (June 16)

Schedule depends on results of pool play

At Rock Canyon High School

DAY 1 (June 14)

10-11 a.m.: Rock Canyon vs. G.J. Central (Main Gym); Rampart vs. Castle View (Aux. Gym);  11 a.m.-noon: Castle View vs. G.J. Central (Main Gym); Rock Canyon vs. Rampart (Aux. Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: Doherty vs. EAGLECREST (Main Gym); Valor Christian vs. Cherry Creek (Aux. Gym);  1-2 p.m.: Valor Christian vs. EAGLECREST (Main Gym); Doherty vs. Cherry Creek (Aux. Gym)

DAY 2 (June 15)

10-11 a.m.: Rampart vs. Cherry Creek (Main Gym); EAGLECREST vs. G.J. Central (Aux. Gym); 11 a.m.-noon: G.J. Central vs. Cherry Creek (Main Gym); Rampart vs. EAGLECREST (Aux. Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: Rock Canyon vs. Doherty (Main Gym); Castle View vs. Valor Christian (Aux. Gym); 1-2 p.m.: Doherty vs. Castle View (Main Gym); Rock Canyon vs. Valor Christian (Aux. Gym)

DAY 3 (June 16)

Schedule depends on results of pool play

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Former Gateway star CJ Sanders, left, will get another chance to terrorize defenders as part of the South Team at the annual Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games football contest at 7:30 p.m. June 10 at Adams State University. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Before they head off to college, a number of graduated Aurora athletes get the chance for one more prep competition at the annual Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games, which run June 8-11, 2016, on the campus of Adams State University in Alamosa.

Athletes selected for the All-State Games in a variety of sports and from schools of all classifications and ares around Colorado, get the chance to stay on the college campus and take part in practices and play in games scheduled at a variety of venues.

Aurora’s largest contingent will be part of the All-State football game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. June 10, as a total of nine players from city programs appear on the North and South team rosters.

The South features the lion’s share of Aurora players, including former Cherokee Trail teammates Ashton Torres and Anthony Holmes (who will play for a coaching staff featuring former Cougars’ boss and current Legend head coach Monte Thelen), plus former Rangeview teammates George Marpaung and DeVante’ Wheaten, former Centennial League foes Alijah Halliburton of Overland and Eaglecrest’s Charles Roberts as well as ex-Gateway star CJ Sanders.

Vista PEAK’s Alex Hawkins and Aurora Central’s Mike Retland appear on the North Team roster.

Eaglecrest’s Tayler Mashburn appeared in the opening game of the weekend, the All-State softball game on June 8, while wrestling and basketball are next up on June 10.

Grandview’s Tanner Patterson is among the wrestlers involved in the All-State match (2 p.m. at Plachy Hall), while Aurora Central wrestling coach Conrad Parra is part of the coaching staff.

Cherokee Trail’s Jaleesa Avery and Regis Jesuit’s TaeKenya Cleveland suit up for the White and Red teams, respectively, in the girls basketball competition, which is slated for games at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Alamosa High School. The football game caps the day’s action.

Cross country, volleyball and boys basketball finals will be contested June 11, though no Aurora athletes are on hand for those sports.

Grandview’s Elizabeth Humston is among the All-State spirit members selected who will be participating throughout the weekend.

Full rosters for each All-State Games competition, here.


June 8-11, 2016, at Adams State University

Football: North Team — Alex Hawkins (Vista PEAK); Mike Retland (Aurora Central); South Team — Alijah Halliburton (Overland); Anthony Holmes (Cherokee Trail); George Marpaung (Rangeview); Charles Roberts (Eaglecrest); CJ Sanders (Gateway); Ashton Torres (Cherokee Trail); DeVante’ Wheaten (Rangeview); Coach: Monte Thelen (Cherokee Trail, now Legend)

Girls Basketball: White Team — Jaleesa Avery (Cherokee Trail); Red Team — TaeKenya Cleveland (Regis Jesuit)

Softball: Tayler Mashburn (Eaglecrest)

Wrestling: Tanner Patterson (Grandview); Coach — Conrad Parra (Aurora Central)

Spirit: Elizabeth Humston (Grandview)

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Versatile DeVante’ Wheaten (5) of Rangeview is one of nine Aurora seniors selected to play in the 2016 Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Football Game, scheduled for June 10, 2016, on the campus of Adams State University in Alamosa. A large number of city seniors in a variety of sports were chosen for the June 8-11 All-State Games. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

ALAMOSA | Rosters for the 2016 Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games set for June 8-11, 2016, on the campus of Adams State University. Aurora athletes bold and uppercased:

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel



NORTH ROSTER: Zane Alsdorf (Bennett); Brandon Anderson (Sedgwick County); Alonzo Archuleta (Roosevelt); Matt Brady (Ponderosa); Bryce Buderus (Holy Family); Owen Burke (D’Evelyn); Matt Caesar (Dakota Ridge); Colton Cline (Elizabeth); Jon Cole (Columbine); Thomas Creese (Fairview); Larry Trai Crook (The Academy); Luke Cross (Resurrection Christian); Chase Daniels (Golden); Charlie Davis (D’Evelyn); Nathan DeWitte (Longmont); James Doyle (D’Evelyn); JT Gentry (Columbine); Kielar Harpham (Fort Collins); ALEX HAWKINS (VISTA PEAK); Daniel Henriquez (Kennedy); Matthew Hoffman (Platte Valley); Parker Joens (Platte Valley); Otis Johnson (Rocky Mountain); Todd Jones (Boulder); Nolan Lanckriet (Windsor); Elijah Larry (Horizon); Tim Lenhart (Mountain View); Trent Leoffler (Arickaree/Woodlin); Jake Lowry (Columbine); Jeremy Lujan (Dakota Ridge); Alex Mai (Fort Morgan); Christian Majszak (Roosevelt); Mitchell Martin (Strasburg); Toby McBride (Fort Morgan); Will McKissick (Kent Denver); Zach Mollendor (Holy Family); Trevor Olsen (Faith Christian); Dillon Pace (Westminster); MIKE RETLAND (AURORA CENTRAL); Kaeson Risner (Wiggins); Gerardo Rodriguez (Westminster); Clay Shaver (Brush); TJ Shelton (Meeker); Zachary Spears (The Academy); Buck Thenell (Mullen); Taylor Walters (Paonia); Coaches: Troy Hoffman (Platte Valley); Rich Martinez (Kennedy); Kerry Denison (Westminster); Jim Kreikemeier (Fort Morgan)

SOUTH ROSTER: Broden Baker (Legend); TeQuan Baker (Doherty); Tyler Bosshardt (Rifle); Cole Bryant (La Junta); Bryce Buhr (Crowley County); Payton Cain (Heritage); Jonathan Curti (Palmer); Josh Cusworth (Pueblo County); Joe DeLine (Steamboat Springs); Caine Farmer (Kit Carson); Presley Garcia (Monte Vista); Spencer Gatlin (Dove Creek); Ray Haas (Arapahoe); Jayce Hall (The Classical Academy); ALIJAH HALLIBURTON (OVERLAND); Jayden Hilferty (Limon); ANTHONY HOLMES (CHEROKEE TRAIL); Rafe Hutches (Springfield); Noah Loutherback (Bayfield); Darian Lujan (Trinidad); GEORGE MARPAUNG (RANGEVIEW); Daniel Martin (Pueblo East); Nick Pavlik (Lewis-Palmer); Stelios Peroulis (Moffat County); Kyle Peterson (The Classical Academy); Zane Phelps (Bayfield); Tim Pless (Heritage); CHARLES ROBERTS (EAGLECREST); CJ SANDERS (GATEWAY); AJ Sena (Pueblo Centennial); Matthew Steele (Doherty); Tyler Spence (Roaring Fork); Ryan Strabala (Coronado); Zach Thatcher (Pueblo Centennial); ASHTON TORRES (CHEROKEE TRAIL); Elway Tubbs (Vista Ridge); Juan Toscano (Eagle Valley); Michael Valdez (Monte Vista); Keegan Wentz (Buena Vista); DEVANTE’ WHEATEN (RANGEVIEW); Jack Wibbles (Pine Creek); Matt Yockey (Mountain Vista); Trey Zupancic (Rye); Coaches: MONTE THELEN (CHEROKEE TRAIL, now Legend); Jeff Krumlauf (Doherty); Justin Rich (TCA); Jerry Duran (Monte Vista)


WHITE TEAM: Caden Eastin (Wiley); Jared Foss (Eaton); Jason George (Simla); Brandon Gorman (Briggsdale); Trevor Hurlburt (Idalia); Ivan Mendoza (West Grand); Jadyn Michael (DSST-Green Valley Ranch); Ben Pratt (Frontier Academy); Michael Scheid (Windsor); Tyler Woodhams (Sedgwick County); Coaches: Dustin Duncan (Eaton) and David Guy (Simla)

RED TEAM: Clayton Brubacher (Alamosa); Quincy Bryant Jr. (Mitchell); Justin Duran (Cheraw); Jordan Ernst (Dove Creek); Luke Fick (Resurrection Christian); Jesus Martinez (The Pinnacle Charter); Maximo Medina (DSST-Stapleton); Morgan Murray (Ellicott); John Parker (Grand Valley); Patrick Vasquez (Fort Lupton); Coaches: Terry Dunn (Sierra) and Scott Parker (Grand Valley)

BLUE TEAM: TJ Clark (Liberty); Durham Clark (Edison); Gray Hill (Shining Mountain Waldorf); Maleek Johnson (Pueblo South); Cole McKinley (Revere); Blake Meredith (Fleming); Jose Orrantia (Mountain View); Cameron Pearson (Chatfield); Jesse Santala (Flagler); Noah Saunders (Falcon); Coaches: Robert Tyler (Pueblo West) and Kerry Sherman (Weldon Valley)

BLACK TEAM: Miles Caldon (Sanford); Chance Canty (Sanford); Josh Ennis (Eagle Ridge Academy); Briar Erskine (Pagosa Springs); Matthew Florek (Limon); Kyle Freel (Sangre de Cristo); Connor Hale (Rye); Wyatt Hayes (Ignacio); Jesus Loya (Holyoke), Brett Wilson (Pritchett); Coaches: Chris Valdez (Ignacio) and Matt Lucero (Sierra Grande)


WHITE TEAM: JALEESA AVERY (CHEROKEE TRAIL); Kanecia Cooks (Sierra); Haley Dollerschell (Prairie); Megan Gerk (Haxtun); Taylor Lee-Hammer (Pagosa Springs); Madison Lewis (Pagosa Springs); Tairaius Lucas (Englewood); Hannah Moore (Rocky Ford); Josie Sanchez (Del Norte); Ciarra Tate (Walsh); Coaches: Gil Sanchez (Del Norte) and Dan Dallas (Del Norte)

RED TEAM: TAEKENYA CLEVELAND (REGIS JESUIT); Karleigh Cooley (Sangre de Cristo); Cheylin Corman (Burlington); Samantha Kisiel (Evergreen); Jenna Knudson (Sterling); Dana Lenz (Sanford); Jenna McKinley (Sangre de Cristo); Jillian Shew (Skyview); JazMyne Snipes (ThunderRidge); Holly Tehan (Middle Park); Coaches: Billy Salaz (Adams City) and Marvin Martinez (Del Norte)

BLUE TEAM: Taryn Book (Genoa-Hugo); Nicea Eliley (Rampart); Veronica Fringer (Centauri); Madisen Gaibler (Longmont); Heidi Hammond (Valor Christian); AJ Miller (Akron); Shannon Sanchez (Pueblo West); Ellie Seibel (Ignacio); Symone Starks (Highlands Ranch); Torrie Thompson (Stratton); Coaches: Mike Knaus (Longmont) and Bob Wiley (Longmont)

BLACK TEAM: McKenna Bishop (Lakewood); Kristina Cavey (Berthoud); Mackenzie Forrest (Lakewood); Danielle Freeman (Cedaredge); Darian Hale (Briggsdale); Maggie Hartman (St. Mary’s); Maya Love (Kent Denver); Taylor Nittler (Kim); Miranda Schowalter (Plateau Valley); Ashley VanVleet (Paonia); Madison Zielinski (Kiowa); Coaches: Steve Latuda (Highland) and Scott Rinks (Paonia)


Taylor Armitage (Berthoud); Shannon Bass (Chaparral); Tayllor Bruntz (The Academy); Caitlyn Charlesworth (Palisade); Riley Craig (Mountain Range); Christina Cunningham (Woodland Park); Casey Esquivel (Pine Creek); Samantha Galley (Cedaredge); Katie Glaze (Erie); Kaitlyn Hanks (Strasburg); Hailey Hinson (Windsor); Bre Hamilton (Windsor); Clara Larson (Douglas County); Emily Marcus (The Academy); TAYLER MASHBURN (EAGLECREST); Jailen Minnich (Pueblo East); Mae Mitchell (Frederick); Andriann Oakley (Strasburg); Valerie Ortega (Mountain Range); Alyssa Patterson (Pueblo Centennial); Taylor Renaud (Eaton); Mercedes Salazar (Pueblo Central); Jordan Smith (Chaparral); Rylie Strong (Ralston Valley); Coaches: Dane Craig (Mountain Range); Kelsey Massaro (Pueblo East); Harold Simmons (Erie); Bob Knudson (Sterling)


WHITE TEAM: Tacie Canfield (McClave); Elise Hill (Montrose); Kylie Hurst (Windsor); Brooke Mitchell (Sargent); Keely Ruby (Mountain Vista); Olivia Seng (Poudre); Erica Sinclair (Sangre de Cristo); Maggie Smith (Platte Valley); Rayanne Vega-Perkins (St. Mary’s Academy); Shaelynn Wood (Campo/South Baca); Coaches: Laverne Huston (Windsor) and Tom Hunter (Poudre)

RED TEAM: Rebecca Abrahanson (Clear Creek); Taylor Carsten (Paonia); Emily Crossley (Custer County); Alexandra Hirst (Green Mountain); Christa Kennedy (Norwood); Angela McGownd (Loveland); Mallory Noble (Yuma); Julie Smith (Kiowa); Tara Traphgan (Yuma); Taylor West (Community Christian); Coaches: Jenny Noble (Yuma) and Krista Carsten (Paonia)

BLUE TEAM: Lauren Addington (La Junta); Karli Baker (Fort Morgan); DLanee Doyle (Walsh); Kenzie Henderson (Cedaredge); Jennifer Lau (Woodland Park); Jenna Mansfield (Rye); Mikaela Parker (Calhan); Caiden Rexius (Eaton); Audrey Stansberry (Olathe); Brooke Trujillo (Alamosa); Coaches: Lori McCoin (Elizabeth) and Lori Currier (CSCS)

BLACK TEAM: Kylee Kuntz (Otis); Lissette Lefforge (Otis); Victoria Macaluso (Rock Canyon); Santana Mestas (Pueblo West); Antonia Schaffert (Otis); Bailey Schumacher (Eaton); Reagan Shaffer (Idalia); Elise Tolley (Alamosa); Raquel Valdez (Mountain View); Taylor Ziska (Mountain View); Coaches: Bonnie Wallin-Kuntz (Otis) and Kylie Chamberlain (Idalia)


Breanna Clayton (Roosevelt); Sydney Clayton (Roosevelt); Mackenzie Dill (Highland); Makayla Garcia (Sargent); Maria Montes (Sargent); Angelina Riggs (Sargent); Alyssa Settles (Lamar); Cori Small (Elizabeth); Faith Stults (Sargent); Kayli Short (Custer County); Sydney Fesenmeyer (Salida); Isaac Bernatchez (Sterling); Jake Boss (Elizabeth); Kaleb Crum (Lamar); Elijah Grewal (Berthoud); Matthew Hartshorn (Lamar); Cole Hiigel (Lamar); Ro Paschal (Mancos); Jacob Rogers (Lamar); Logan Sessums (Sargent); Conner Shaver (Fort Morgan); Brandon Sheard (Eagle Valley); Taylor Stack (Salida); Isaac Yoder (Eaglecrest); Justin Gonzales (Moffat); Matt Jordan (Eagle Valley); Russel Orris (Salida); Jesse Oris (Salida); Coaches: John Swartz (Custer County); Brett Shanklin (Frontier Academy); Mark Stenbeck (Dakota Ridge); Kelly Christensen (Palmer Ridge)


Eric Allen (St. Mary’s); Garrikc Arias (Woodland Park); Case Baughman (Dove Creek); Diego Calderon (Poudre); Colton Cordova (Hotchkiss); Zach Damian (Valley); Kris Davis (Widefield); Sabyn Diamond (Buena Vista); Macoy Flanagan (Valley); Morgan Fogg (Highland); Samuel Freeman (Mesa Ridge); Chayden Harris (Olathe); Ben Hinds (The Classical Academy); Michael Johnson (Lamar); Owen Lamb (Poudre); Christopher Martin (Centauri); Jesus Morales (Battle Mountain); TANNER PATTERSON (GRANDVIEW); Sam Raphael (The Classical Academy); Dalton Robertson (Weld Central); Jacob Robles (Pueblo East); Devin Roettger (Mesa Ridge); Eduardo Rojas (Greeley Central); Nick Snyder (Canon City); Coaches: Eddie Soto (Pueblo County), CONRAD PARRA (AURORA CENTRAL), Erik Goodling (Battle Mountain)


Ambrosia Anderson (Centaurus); Diane Arias (Alamosa); Alexis Bowman (Strasburg); Jasmine Burns (James Irwin Charter); Hannah Carver (Palisade); Desarae Gomez (Alamosa); Sierra Gosch (Berthoud); Dustin Howland (Sheridan); ELIZABETH HUMSTON (GRANDVIEW); Morgan Laverty (Chaparral); Jordyn Martinez (Pagosa Springs); Fatima Martinez (Basalt); Savannah Medina (Sheridan); Alicia Navajo (Sheridan); Brooklyn Newberry (Rock Canyon); Elizabeth Petersen (Arapahoe); Sarah Prater (Palmer Ridge); Mikayla Rahman (Pine Creek); Taylor Ramsaur (Skyline); Randy Rochford (Strasburg); Haydin Warehime (Berthoud); Bailey Weland (Chaparral); Coaches: Jana Blue (Denver East), Heather Acampora (Castle View), Suzie Triplett (Skyline)

Congratulations to some local golfers who have recorded holes-in-one on Aurora golf courses in April, May and June of 2016. To report holes-in-one, have courses send faxes to 720-324-4965 or email


June 7: Aaron Sandager, Murphy Creek G.C., No. 8, 182 yards, 6 iron. Witnesses: Martin Alvarez, Paul Summers.

June 7: Bob Shirazi, Springhill G.C., No. 17, 124 yards, 9 iron. Witness: Bob Clay.

June 2: Lawren Cary, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 9, 142 yards, 6 iron. Witness: George Rausch.

May 31: Jim Strouse, Springhill G.C., No. 18, 165 yards, 8 iron. Witness: Brad Alston.

April 23: Bryan Park, Springhill G.C., No. 6, 154 yards, 7 iron. Witnesses: Jason Lee, Jong Lee.

April 13: Mike Keffer, Springhill G.C., No. 14, 184 yards, 5 iron. Witnesses: Bob Anderson, Cal Adler, Skip Cunningham.

April 9: Matt Reichel, Springhill G.C., No. 6, 159 yards, 9 iron. Witness: Sebastian Lomeli.

April 8: Noel Frakes, Murphy Creek G.C., No, 5, 127 yards, 8 iron. Witnesses: Dan Milliron, Frank Milliron, James Milliron.

The Aurora Saracens and Regis Jesuit prep rugby teams face off in the semifinals of the High School Boys League at 9:30 a.m. May 14, 2016, on the turf field outside Infinity Park in Glendale. (Aurora Sentinel file photo)

Though not yet a sanctioned sport by the Colorado High School Activities Association, prep rugby is flourishing in Aurora, as both teams that include city athletes have advanced to the state semifinals of the High School Boys League.

Regis Jesuit and the Aurora Saracens — a mix of players from a variety of Aurora high schools — face off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on the turf field outside Infinity Park in Glendale, seeking a spot in the May 21 championship game.

The Colorado Springs Grizzlies and Denver East Angels meet in the other semifinal at 11 a.m.

Regis Jesuit — coached by Zach Fenoglio, a member of the Glendale Raptors and part of Team USA — owns an 10-0-1 mark on the season, best among the nine teams in Division I, which includes a 69-7 steamrolling of Arapahoe in its previous playoff game May 16. The Raiders’ lone tie came back on Feb. 27, a 17-17 deadlock against the same Aurora Saracens squad they will face in the semifinals.

The Saracens hammered Fort Collins 58-14 in their postseason contest to improve to 8-2-1 on the season. Both of the Aurora team’s losses came to the teams in the other semifinal, Denver East and Colorado Springs.

Head on out and see Aurora’s best rugby players square off, including a number of them who will play together with Rugby Colorado this summer at the Rocky Mountain Challenge in June at the Aurora Sports Park.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Tom Southall, left, a longtime Aurora track & field coach, has been selected as part of the 2016 induction class for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Hall of Fame. As an athlete at Steamboat Springs High School from 1979-81, Southall helped the Sailors to a 2A state football championship and three state track & field titles, while he won the Fred Steinmark Award in 1981. Southall is now a teacher and coacha t Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora and works closely with paralympic athletes. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Tom Southall, left, a longtime Aurora track & field coach, has been selected as part of the 2016 induction class for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Hall of Fame. As an athlete at Steamboat Springs High School from 1979-81, Southall helped the Sailors to a 2A state football championship and three state track & field titles, while he won the Fred Steinmark Award in 1981. Southall is now a teacher and coacha t Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora and works closely with paralympic athletes. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Tom Southall has been a key figure in Aurora track & field for many years as a coach, but his exploits as a prep athlete at Steamboat Springs High School have landed him a prestigious spot in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Hall of Fame.

Southall — who now teaches and coaches at Cherokee Trail — is part of the 12-member 2016 Hall of Fame class that includes a wide swatch of athletes, coaches, officials and administrators from across the country.

The NFHS Hall of Fame — started in 1982 to “honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and performing arts programs” — will add Southall and the rest of its 34th induction class to close its 97th annual Summer Meeting on July 2 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nevada.

“It was nice of them to remember when I was up in Steamboat and for it to come to fruition like this, holy cow!” Southall told the Sentinel hours after the announcement.

In a press release, the NFHS lauded Southall — who was born without his right hand and wrist — for his performances in football, basketball, track & field and music at Steamboat Springs between 1979 and 1981. He was winner of the coveted Fred Steinmark Award, twice won Colorado player of the year honors in football and led the Sailors to the Class 2A state title in 1979, while he helped the school’s track team to three straight titles and set the 2A state long jump record with a leap of 23 feet, 4 1/2 inches in 1981.

Southall thought back fondly on his time as a prep athlete at Steamboat Springs — which had just around 400 students at the time — and has a different appreciation for it now that he is immersed in the coaching ranks.

“We had some really great coaches and then for a small community like that, we had some really tough kids and good athletes,” Southall said. “We had a perfect storm of coaches, athletes and community support.

“We had local kids and then every year for about six years, we had somebody move in that added either speed or some other element in track or football or basketball. It was a perfect melding of the elements you need to have a strong athletic presence in the state.”

Southall’s talents didn’t lie completely on the athletic field, however, as he also played trumpet and flugelhorn. He was in the band, but avoided marching at halftime of football games because he was playing. He said his siblings had more of the artistic talents.

“One of the advantages of being at a smaller school is that everybody has to pitch in different areas to make things work,” said Southall, who is a big believer in athletes playing more than just one sport if possible.

Following his successful high school athletic career, Southall went on to play football at Colorado College and led the nation in punt return yardage, while he was also the Tigers’ four-time MVP on the track.

According to the Colorado High School Activities Association, Southall will be the 22nd Colorado member of the NFHS Hall of Fame and the eighth from the state to be inducted as an athlete.

He was flattered to be included among the state’s athlete inductees, a group that includes Chauncey Billups of George Washington, Tracy Hill of Ridgeway and others.

Southall is a regular official at the state track & field meet working the long jump and he also works closely with paralympic athletes.The NFHS Hall of Fame class also includes some notables, including former NFL player and longtime NCAA football coach Steve Spurrier as well as Marlin Briscoe, who played quarterback for the Denver Broncos franchise in 1968 in the AFL.

After spending the last week of June in Salt Lake City helping out with the 36th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, Southall will head to Reno for a press conference on July 1. The NFHS induction ceremony is the following day.

“It’ll be great and hopefully we make a little bit of a family vacation out of it,” said Southall, who hopes to have wife Shannon and his two sons along with him for the ceremony.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Regis Jesuit players Kale Lone (6), Jack Jordan (8) and Michael Baer (11) help team managers collected the stuffed animals thrown onto the ice during the Raiders' Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 11, 2015. For the fourth season, the team collected animals thrown by fans after their first goal to be donated to Children's Hospital Colorado. The Raiders topped Resurrection Christian 7-1. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Regis Jesuit players Kale Lone (6), Jack Jordan (8) and Michael Baer (11) help team managers collected the stuffed animals thrown onto the ice during the Raiders’ Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 11, 2015. For the fourth season, the team collected animals thrown by fans after their first goal to be donated to Children’s Hospital Colorado. The Raiders topped Resurrection Christian 7-1. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Sam Gartner has seen a lot of stuffed animals fly onto the ice in his four years on the Regis Jesuit hockey team, but none bigger than came down Friday night.

The Regis Jesuit senior goaltender, who doesn’t cut the largest figure in the net, swears he saw at least one epic-sized bear come down at the Family Sports Center during the Raiders’ fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Hyperbole aside, that bear — possibly supplied by Regis Jesuit defensive lineman Ace Escobedo — helped fill part of one of 20 garbage bags of stuffed animals thrown down by fans after the home team’s first goal that are destined for Children’s Hospital Colorado as presents to provide Christmas cheer to young patients in the coming weeks.

“There was at least one bear that was bigger than me, it was huge,” Gartner said with a smile after his team’s impressive 7-1 win over Resurrection Christian.

Regis Jesuit team managers and players remove stuffed animals from the ice at Family Sports Center on Dec. 11, 2015, after the Raiders' annual Teddy Bear Toss. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Regis Jesuit team managers and players remove stuffed animals from the ice at Family Sports Center on Dec. 11, 2015, after the Raiders’ annual Teddy Bear Toss. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

“That was awesome,” he added. “It was the most I’ve seen in four years of doing this. It just shows the Regis community and the animals go to the kids in the hospital, so it’s a win-win.”

With fans itching to throw the stuffed bears, giraffes, lions, elephants, monkeys, pandas, dogs and various Pokemon characters they came with, senior Eamon Duffy finally made it possible with his power play goal just eight minutes in the game,

It wasn’t the fastest goal in Regis Jesuit’s Teddy Bear Toss history, which stretches back to 2012. That distinction still belongs to Jacob Frishman, a then-senior who scored just 1 minute, 5 seconds into a 9-0 rout of Cheyenne Mountain in 2013 that brought the animals onto the ice.

The event began for the Regis Jesuit ice hockey team in 2012 after team members saw a viral video of a minor league hockey team in Winnipeg, Canada, which collected an estimated 25,000 stuffed animals at their event. Raiders’ fans filled four garbage bags on that occasion.

Regis Jesuit students throw stuffed animals onto the ice during the annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 11, 2015, at Family Sports Center. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Regis Jesuit students throw stuffed animals onto the ice during the annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 11, 2015, at Family Sports Center. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

Best of all, the Teddy Bear Toss seems to bring out the best in Regis Jesuit’s play, as coach Dan Woodley’s team is 4-0 in those games and outscored opponents 30-5.

Woodley was grateful for the showing and hopes the fans come out to watch his talented team, even when there’s no Teddy Bear Toss.

“The fans sure did a great job of bringing teddy bears and they were very supportive of our team and were very loud,” Woodley said. “I thought it was great fan support and I hope the boys continue that throughout the year. It really does make it a nice environment throughout the year to have that kind of excitement in the stands.”

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

The Rangeview football team will play host to USMC Gunner Sergeant Brian Jacklin the day before and do of its Homecoming game against Hinkley on Friday at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.


According to information provided by the Rangeview Football Booster Club, Jacklin — a member of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion USMC Special Operations Command — will serve as honorary captain for the coin toss ahead of the 6 p.m. kickoff between the 1-3 Raiders and 1-4 Hinkley.

The entire Rangeview team will also hear Jacklin speak on the football field on Thursday according to head coach Justin Hoffman.

Jacklin, who did not attend Rangeview but is coming courtesy of the Marine Public Affairs office, was awarded the Navy Cross — the second-highest honor given for valor — for his action in Afghanistan in June of 2012.

“He’s a legit guy and seems like a real class act,” Hoffman said of Jacklin, who he believes has a football and wrestling background.

The Marines revived the name “Marine Raiders” for its special forces units this past summer and so Rangeview — which has Raiders as its mascot — will wear a helmet decal with the Marine Raiders logo during its game.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes


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