Sentinel Blogs

Courtney Oakes

Sports Editor for the Aurora Sentinel, grand stands


With one glittering class inducted, Eaglecrest High School is looking for nominations for the second class of its Athletics & Activities Hall of Fame.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the school established the Hall of Fame to recognize the best and brightest from the school’s history in athletics and other activities (music, drama, student leadership, etc.) and is looking for the community to nominate selections to be part of a yet-to-be-determined number of selections for the second class.


Candidates must have graduated from Eaglecrest at least five years ago, earned all-state or other accolades in their respective sports or activities and “be of high moral character, outstanding citizenship and the ideals embodied in the mission of Eaglecrest High School that includes the building of character, promoting cooperation and achieving excellence.”

Coaches, administrators and volunteers connected with the school are also eligible for nomination and consideration.

Click here or find the EHS Hall of Fame tab on the Eaglecrest Activities & Athletics home page to download the nomination form and email completed form to athletic director Vince Orlando at by Sept. 1.

A panel of current and past Eaglecrest personnel, representation from school parents and the community and one media member, Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor Courtney Oakes, selected the first class of six — athletes Ben Baum, J.J. Billingsley, Damian Brown, Stacey Jennings and Tara Mendozza (DeCrescentis) and Broadway actor Andy Kelso — who were recognized at the inaugural induction ceremony last December at Blackstone Country Club.

Eaglecrest High School opened in 1990 and owns five Class 5A state championships: Football (1993), Boys Track & Field (2002), Softball (2005), Volleyball (2006) and most recently, Boys Basketball (2013) and also dominated the state in cheer under current principal Gwen Hansen-Vigil in the mid-1990s and early 2000s.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Congratulations to some local golfers who have recorded recent holes-in-one on Aurora golf courses. To report holes-in-one, have courses send faxes to 720-324-4965 or email

May 2: Paul Proctor, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 5, 96 yards, sand wedge. Witnesses: Luke Chavez, Bill Chavez.

May 17: Mike Perez, Meadow Hills G.C., No. 15, 192 yards, 5 iron. Witness: H. Hasen.

May 18: Rey LaTorre, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 3, 166 yards, 7 iron. Witness: Mike Kapsalakis.

June 6: Tim Waner, Murphy Creek G.C., No. 8, 183 yards, 5 wood. Witnesses: Bill hess, Al Pologar, Jim Fallon.

June 8: Richie Bleakley, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 13, 168 yards, 6 iron. Witnesses: Sean Walsh, Ed Walsh.

June 21: Ulysses Norris, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 9, 132 yards, 9 iron. Witnesses: Three (names unavailable).

June 28: Patsy Hyde, Springhill G.C., No. 10, 108 yards, 7 iron. Witnesses: Marcy Greene, Peg McKechnie, Jan Campbell

With a few differences, the second version of the Continental vs. Centennial Challenge boys basketball tournament opens Wednesday.

The three-day round-robin tournament hosted by Heritage High School in Littleton features a total of 16 teams from the Centennial League — including Aurora schools Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview and Overland — and the Continental League, including Aurora’s Regis Jesuit.

Another city team joined the mix this season when Rangeview of the EMAC was added into the Centennial League side to replace Smoky Hill, which pulled out as it is in search of a new head coach this offseason. Lakewood joins the Continental League group in place of Highlands Ranch, which also is transitioning to a new coaching staff this offseason.

The Continental League earned bragging rights at last season’s inaugural Continental vs. Centennial Challenge as all eight of its teams finished with at least a .500 record and ThunderRidge — which later made it to the Class 5A state championship game during the regular season — came through a perfect 6-0 to lead the way, while four other teams — including Regis Jesuit, which had Aurora’s best mark — posted 5-1 marks.

Eaglecrest finished with the best record among Aurora’s Centennial League teams at 4-2, starting off 4-0 before dropping its last two contests.

Summer teams are often missing several key players and coaches, but can still give a glimpse of some of the new talent on rosters. Some of the key role players on Overland’s 5A state championship team played in last season’s tournament.

A rematch of the 5A state title game between Overland and ThunderRidge is set to take place at 2 p.m. June 18 in the Main Gym.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes


June 17-19 at Heritage High School

Continental Teams: Chaparral, Heritage, Lakewood (added), Legend, Mountain Vista, Regis Jesuit, Rock Canyon, ThunderRidge

Centennial Teams: Arapahoe, Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Mullen, Overland, Rangeview (added)


8-9 a.m.: EAGLECREST vs. ThunderRidge (Main Gym); Arapahoe vs. Heritage (Auxiliary Gym); 9-10 a.m.: Heritage vs. EAGLECREST (Main Gym) ThunderRidge vs. Arapahoe (Auxiliary Gym); 10-11 a.m.: CHEROKEE TRAIL vs. Chaparral (Main Gym); Rock Canyon vs. GRANDVIEW  (Auxiliary Gym); 11 a.m.-noon: Rock Canyon vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Main Gym); Chaparral vs. GRANDVIEW (Auxiliary Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: REGIS JESUIT vs. RANGEVIEW (Main Gym); Lakewood vs. Cherry Creek (Auxiliary Gym); 1-2 p.m.: Cherry Creek vs. REGIS JESUIT (Main Gym); Lakewood vs. RANGEVIEW (Auxiliary Gym); 2-3 p.m.: Mountain Vista vs. Mullen (Main Gym); Legend vs. OVERLAND  (Auxiliary Gym); 3-4 p.m.: Legend vs. Mullen (Main Gym); Mountain Vista vs. OVERLAND (Auxiliary Gym)


8-9 a.m.: REGIS JESUIT vs. GRANDVIEW (Main Gym); Heritage vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Auxiliary Gym); 9-10 a.m.: REGIS JESUIT vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Main Gym); GRANDVIEW vs. Heritage (Auxiliary Gym); 10-11 a.m.: EAGLECREST vs. Mountain Vista (Main Gym); Lakewood vs. Arapahoe (Auxiliary Gym); 11 a.m.-noon: Arapahoe vs. Mountain Vista (Main Gym); EAGLECREST vs. Lakewood (Auxiliary Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: Legend vs. RANGEVIEW (Main Gym); Chaparral vs. Cherry Creek (Auxiliary Gym); 1-2 p.m.: Legend vs. Cherry Creek (Main Gym); Chaparral vs. RANGEVIEW (Auxiliary Gym); 2-3 p.m.: ThunderRidge vs. OVERLAND (Main Gym); Rock Canyon vs. Mullen (Auxiliary Gym); 3-4 p.m.: Rock Canyon vs. OVERLAND (Main Gym); ThunderRidge vs. Mullen (Auxiliary Gym)


8-9 a.m.: Heritage vs. RANGEVIEW (Main Gym); Cherry Creek vs. Mountain Vista (Auxiliary Gym); 9-10 a.m.: Heritage vs. Cherry Creek (Main Gym); Mountain Vista vs. RANGEVIEW (Auxiliary Gym); 10-11 a.m.: Arapahoe vs. Chaparral (Main Gym); EAGLECREST vs. Rock Canyon (Auxiliary Gym); 11 a.m.-noon: Arapahoe vs. Rock Canyon (Main Gym); Chaparral vs. EAGLECREST (Auxiliary Gym); Noon-1 p.m.: GRANDVIEW vs. ThunderRidge (Main Gym); Legend vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Auxiliary Gym); 1-2 p.m.: Legend vs. GRANDVIEW (Main Gym); ThunderRidge vs. CHEROKEE TRAIL (Auxiliary Gym); 2-3 p.m.: Lakewood vs. OVERLAND (Main Gym); Mullen vs. REGIS JESUIT  (Auxiliary Gym); 3-4 p.m.: Mullen vs. Lakewood (Main Gym); OVERLAND vs. REGIS JESUIT (Auxiliary Gym)

Eight Aurora prep athletes and a coach make their way to the annual Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games, scheduled for June 9-13 at Adams State University in Alamosa.

The 59th edition of the event includes a variety of sports and activities featuring many of the best recently graduated senior athletes from around Colorado in multiple classifications.

The largest group of Aurora athletes is set for the CHSCA All-State Softball game, as infielders Emily Supercynski and Kat Maynard — who helped lead Grandview to its first-ever Class 5A state softball championship in the fall — were selected and will play for a team coached by Wolves’ coach Dave Thies, as will Eaglecrest outfield standout Lauren Buckley.

The city’s two selections for the All-State Football game will be on opposite sides, as Vista PEAK’s Noah Butler is slated to play for the North Team, while Rangeview’s Alonzo Neal is on the South Team roster.

Aurora Central’s Juan Fraire, who placed sixth in 5A at 182 pounds at the state wrestling tournament, is set to compete in the Wrestling competition, while Grandview’s Mick Norton will run the All-State Cross Country race and Smoky Hill’s Sydney Gray was selected for the All-State Spirit competition.

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



Team 1: Courtney Baeckel (Mountain View); Shelby Belloni (Lakewood); LAUREN BUCKLEY (EAGLECREST); Alex Dufour (Frederick); Samantha Gill (Valley); Bridget Gleason (Cheyenne Mountain); Cheyenne Hamilton (Frederick); Savannah Heebner (Castle View); Bridgette Hutton (Valley); Tiffany Maul (Erie); KATELYN MAYNARD (GRANDVIEW); Courtney Robbins (Rocky Mountain); EMILY SUPERCYNSKI (GRANDVIEW); Coaches: Roger Dufour (Frederick) & DAVE THIES (GRANDVIEW)

Team 2: Julianna Alvarado (Prairie View); Analece Apodaca (Wheat Ridge); Berkley Calapp (Fossil Ridge); Alyssa Geist (Legacy); Kara Jones (Rampart); Murphy McRoberts (Fossil Ridge); Kayla Michel (Brighton); Kendall Ohman (Valor Christiam); Whitni Oquist (La Junta); Rebecca Pannunzio (South); Haley Smith (Legacy); Taylor Thoms (Prairie View); Sandy Van Ert (Strasburg); Coaches: Michelle Woodard (Strausburg) and Wes Madril (Green Mountain)


North Team: Marcus Cassin (Evergreen); Jay Frye (Northridge); Austin Yahn (Caliche); Austin Hartman (Silver Creek); Alex Kinney (Rocky Mountain); Austin Norton (Columbine); Brian Nichols (Strasburg); Jacob Smith (Strausburg); Kyle Rosenbrock (Brush); Jake Phelan (Meeker); Alex DeLaCroix (Greeley West); NOAH BUTLER (VISTA PEAK); Kyler Sigsbee (Fort Collins); Daniel Frantz (Platte Valley); Greyson Lincoln (Evergreen); Brenden Fulton (Northridge); Kyle Leoffler (Arickaree); Jack Martin (Ralston Valley); Tre Blake (Littleton); Trevonte Tasco (Denver South); Kalib Geer (Conifer); Jackson Stephens (Monarch); Kolt McDaniel (Platte Valley); David Eusea (Thompson Valley); James Maxie (Ponderosa); Martin Torres (Burlington); Max McDonald (Rocky Mountain); Sebastian Garcia (Westminster); Willy Clements (Holy Family); Nathon Putallaz (Roosevelt); Shane Coombs (Strasburg); Matt Gaiter (Chatfield); Zach Fees (Fort Collins); Coby Cline (Elizabeth); Brandon Saunders (Wheat Ridge); Jose Rodriguez (Brush); Andrew Miranda (Lutheran); Sean Glenn (Longmont); Austin Walton (Resurrection Christian); Cesar Hernandez (Roosevelt); Scott Leach (Ralston Valley); Joel Simianer (Paonia); Kyle Emery (Ralston Valley); Talon Schaller (Green Mountain)

South Team: Javonte Stewart (Ellicott); Kevin Ribarich (Pueblo East); Matthew Hamilton (Moffat County); Randy Haley (Montezuma-Cortez); Eric Stowers (Vista Ridge); Koy Palmer (Granada); Marques Combs (Palisade); Brendan Ike (Mountain Vista); Justin Littrell (Doherty); Dylan Draper (Discovery Canyon); Nathan Spinuzzi (Pueblo South); Hayden Smith (St. Mary’s); Darrian Stickney (Doherty); Wyatt Aaberg (Falcon); Matthew Heery (St. Mary’s); Bryce McCracken (Crowley County); Cody Norris (Simla); Patrick Telck (St. Mary’s); Kyle Hicks (Lamar); Austin Lopez (William J. Palmer); Sonny Arellano (Pueblo East); Jordan Smith (Fountain-Fort Carson); Mike Rocha (Montrose); Rob Quick (Springfield); Mitchell Wilson (Centauri); Jake Levy (Basalt); Sam Long (Pine Creek); Eddie Bratton (Falcon); Nate Finnell (Rocky Ford); Mitch Mulso (Florence); Kellen Gatzke (Dolores); Aiden Raider (Palmer); ALONZO NEAL (RANGEVIEW); Dawid Balczek (Gunnison); Dylan Sundeen (Douglas County); Jacob Edson (Legend); Austin Shepherd (Rifle); Brenden Reeves (Pueblo Central); Matt Maestas (Montrose); Marcus Fotenos (Doherty); Patrick Stauffer (Discovery Canyon); Marcus Garcia (Delta); Tyler Rouse (Eads); Preston Troxel (Mountain Vista)


Jacob Beltran (Sterling); Conrad Cole (Brush); Patrick Cunnion (Durango); John Daniel (Arapahoe); Dane Drimmer (Chaparral); Randen Espinoza (Palisade); JUAN FRAIRE (AURORA CENTRAL); Maurisio Garcia (Northglenn); Zechariah Garcia (Fort Lupton); Clark Jett (Platte Valley); Tel Kelley (Alamosa); Matthew Lavengood (Durango); John Lopez (Buenta Vista); Ruben Lucero (Valley); Dakota Macy (Fort Lupton); Colter McMenimen (Bayfield); Demitrius Miller (Pueblo Centennial); Zachary Milner (Paonia); Rocky Nava (Northglenn); Jacob Ornelas (Fort Lupton); Julian Prieto (Holy Family); Joseph Prieto (HOly Family); Chance Randolph (Dove Creek); Payton Tawater (Arvada West); Taylor White (Pine Creek); Coaches: John Gurule (Durango), Tom Galicia (Fort Lupton), Brian Hufford (Northglenn), John Pfeiderer (Platte Valley)


Katie Benner (Mountain View); Riley Cooney (Mountain View); Caroline Foster (Mountain View); Abby Stewart (Mountain View); Tyrell Clock (Hotchkiss); Michael Franta (Custer County); Taylor Hensley (Olathe); Scott Kordziel (Arvada West); Dillon Lanzi (Central G.J.); Corey Lewenkamp (Custer County); MICK NORTON (GRANDVIEW); Jericho Ulibarri (Alamosa); Andy Van Matre (Rampart); Julian Von Holten (Mountain View); Zachary Watson (Lamar); Coaches: Erik Melgoza (Lamar), Kevin Clark (Mountain View), Larry Zaragoza (Alamosa), Max Oliver (Pine Creek) and Brady Archer (Mancos)


Micala Bruce (Denver East); SYDNEY GRAY (SMOKY HILL); Korrie Jean Hurt (Grand Valley); Natasha Jordan (Glenwood Springs); Alexandria McCallum (Holyoke); Kallysa McGeary (Springfield); Madison Milner (Hotchkiss); Kelsey Peter (Salida); MacKenzie Piggot (Pine Creek); Brittany Reddy (Legacy); Kayla Schmunk (Valley); Dawn Warren (Strasburg); Coaches: Erin Brueggeman (Erie), Terita Berry (Denver East) and Linda Elliott (Sheridan)

Cherokee Trail Boys Volleyball Team

One state tournament that won’t be affected by the weather this weekend is boys volleyball, as the state’s best teams in the non-Colorado High School Activities Association sanctioned sport play for a title at Cherokee Trail High School.

The top seed in the 5A portion of the tournament is Cherry Creek, which includes athletes from a variety of different schools, including Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Overland and Cherry Creek.

Cherokee Trail’s boys volleyball team poses after winning the 2014 state championship. Now playing out of Cherry Creek, the team featuring athletics from Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland, Smoky Hill and Cherry Creek will aim to win a second straight championship on May 9 at Cherokee Trail High School. (File photo)

Playing as Cherokee Trail last season, the team posted a 25-0 mark and won the state championship under coach Terry Miller — who coaches the Cherokee Trail varsity girls team in the fall — and enters this season’s state tournament at 18-0.

Matches begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for students with IDs.

The Cherry Creek Blue team plays its first match at 12:15 p.m. on Court 1 against Cheyenne Mountain, with the winner advancing to a semifinal against Ponderosa Black or Niwot at 2:45 p.m. The bottom half of the bracket includes Doherty Blue against Ralston Valley and Pine Creek against The Classical Academy.

The 5A championship match is scheduled for 5:15 p.m., following the 4 p.m. championship match for the 3A Division, which also includes a Cherry Creek team.

Of the Cherry Creek team’s three seniors, at least two will play college athletics, as Jason Rhee (who attends Cherokee Trail) just signed a national athletic letter of intent to play at Johnson & Wales University’s campus in Providence, Rhode Island, and Ryan Swan (Overland) is headed to play basketball at the Air Force Academy. Swan played on the Overland boys basketball team that won the Class 5A state championship in March.

Last season’s, Matt McLaren of Grandview moved on to play at Penn State.

Boys volleyball and rugby continue to work towards CHSAA sanctioning, but face hurdles presented by Title IX complications — which has to do with equal participation numbers for boys and girls sports — among others.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

After a successful debut last summer, Heritage High School is bringing back the Centennial vs. Continental Challenge boys basketball tournament.

Overland guard Reggie Gibson played for the Trailblazers in last season’s Centennial vs. Continental Challenge boys basketball tournament in the summer. Gibson and Overland went on to win the Class 5A state championship. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

In a message from Heritage head coach Jentry Byleveld, who started the tournament last season, the two powerhouse conferences — which combined to have seven of the final eight teams in the Class 5A state tournament, three of the Final Four teams and the state champion in Overland — will get together June 17-19 at Heritage in Littleton.

Sixteen teams will be in the field, which won’t be exclusively from the two leagues this time, however, as Lakewood was added to make up for the absence of the Continental League’s Castle View and Highlands Ranch, who each made coaching changes in the offseason.

Byleveld believes adding Lakewood will keep the tournament — which features a round robin format of league vs. league — will “keep this the most competitive summer tourney in the state.”

The tournament schedule isn’t finalized yet, but play is set for 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.

The Continental League earned bragging rights at last season’s tournament as all eight of its teams finished with at least a .500 record and ThunderRidge came through a perfect 6-0 to lead the way, while four other teams — including Regis Jesuit, which had Aurora’s best mark — posted 5-1 marks.

Peter Anderson, right and Eaglecrest finished 4-2 at the inaugural Centennial vs. Continental Challenge boys basketball tournament last summer. The Raptors went on to make the 5A Final Four. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Eaglecrest posted the best record among Aurora’s Centennial League teams at 4-2, starting off 4-0 before dropping its last two contests.

Summer teams are often missing several key players and coaches, but can still give a glimpse of some of the new talent on rosters. Some of the key role players on Overland’s state championship team played in last season’s tournament.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Texas' Clark Smith, left, celebrates on the victory stand after winning the 500-yard freestyle during the NCAA men's swimming and diving championships, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. The former star at Aurora's Regis Jesuit High School posted the second-fastest 500 freestyle time in school history and finished in front of Florida's Dan Wallace, right. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Texas’ Clark Smith, left, celebrates on the victory stand after winning the 500-yard freestyle during the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. The former star at Aurora’s Regis Jesuit High School posted the second-fastest 500 freestyle time in school history and finished in front of Florida’s Dan Wallace, right. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Clark Smith and Hennessey Stuart hadn’t competed in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships before, but the former Regis Jesuit High School and Denver Swim Academy club teammates made the most of their chance once they got there.

Smith, a sophomore at the University of Texas, was the big winner among locals in the March 26-28 meet at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa, as he won both an individual and team national championship.

Among six individual event titles for the Longhorns came Smith’s championship on the opening night of the meet, as he became the second-fastest 500 yard freestyle swimmer in school history with his time of 4 minutes, 9.72 seconds, which put him at the wall in front of Florida’s Dan Wallace (4:10.48). Smith, who came into the meet as the No. 5 seed with a top time of 4:13.32, had dropped a 4:11.17 in the prelims early in the day.

Smith earned NCAA gold the same as both of his parents, John — part of the Longhorns’ 400 medley relay champion in 1984 — and Tori (Trees), individual 1985 champion in the 200 backstroke. Both of Smith’s parents swam for longtime Texas head coach Eddie Reese.

Texas swimmers celebrate with the trophy after winning the team title at the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships, Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. Two former Aurora prep swim stars — Regis Jesuit grad Clark Smith and Grandview grad John Martens — contributed to the Longhorns’ 11 all-time national title. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Still coaching the team, Reese guided Texas to the program’s 11th all-time national champion and first since 2010. The Longhorns laid waste to the field with 528 points to finish well in front of defending champion Cal’s 399 points, which helped Reese to CSCAA Swimming Coach of the Year honors.

Clark Smith also made the championship heat of the 200 breaststroke as the No. 4 seed, but was disqualified for a one-hand touch on the wall.

Grandview grad John Martens swam in three events for Texas at the NCAA meet, but did not advance out of prelims in any of them, with his best result a 23rd-place finish in the 400 individual medley. He came in before a pair of other former Colorado prep stars as Cherry Creek grad Jake Markham of Georgia finished 24th and Legacy alum Steve Schmuhl (Indiana) came in 27th.

Pomona grad Nolan Tesone (Louisville) had the top result among former Colorado prep swimmers when he qualified for the consolation finals in 15th and moved up a spot with a 14th-place finish.

Stuart — Smith’s former Regis Jesuit teammate — contributed to North Carolina State’s eighth-place team showing, best for the program in 39 years.

Stuart was the lone freshman to make the championship final of the 200 backstroke, taking the third-fastest time from prelims in the final. Stuart touched the wall in 1:40.39 to finish seventh in his first NCAA championship final.

Though he failed to make the championship or consolation finals in his other two individual events, Stuart improved in both. Coming in as the 55th seed in the 200 individual medley, he rocketed up to the 28th spot in prelims and he finished 22nd in the prelims of the 100 backstroke after coming in seeded No. 26.

Two swimmers from Aurora high schools also were part of a team championship the previous week at the NCAA D-I women’s championships, as Regis Jesuit grad Missy Franklin and Smoky Hill grad Caroline Piehl each were part of Cal’s winning squad.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

University of Texas sophomore Clark Smith, a Regis Jesuit High School graduate, is seeded in the top five of two events going into the March 26-28 NCAA men's swimming championships in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo from

Three former Aurora prep swim stars will take aim at the NCAA Division I men’s championship meet starting Thursday.

University of Texas sophomore Clark Smith, a Regis Jesuit High School graduate, is seeded in the top five of two events going into the March 26-28 NCAA men’s swimming championships in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo from

Regis Jesuit grads Clark Smith and Hennessey Stuart and Grandview grad John Martens — who won a slew of Class 5A individual and relay state championships in high school among them — are among the 270 participants (235 swimmers, 35 divers) set to compete in the March 26-28 meet at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

All three former Aurora standouts compete in the NCAA championships for the first time in their careers.

Smith, a sophomore, and Martens, a junior, have a chance to be part of a men’s championship, as their Texas team is considered one of the favorites to win the title. The Longhorns — who will try to win  an 11th national championship for coach Eddie Reese, who coached Smith’s parents John and Tori (Trees) at Texas as well — finished second behind Cal last season and the two teams expect fight it out for the crown again this season.

Stuart, a freshman on an up-and-coming North Carolina State team that won the ACC championship after a 25-year drought, has a chance for individual glory as the No. 2 overall seed in the 200 yard backstroke.

Swimmers from Aurora schools set a high bar last week at the NCAA women’s championships, as Regis Jesuit grad Missy Franklin and Smoky Hill grad Caroline Piehl each contributed to Cal’s national team championship.

Individually, Smith is seeded fourth in the 200 yard butterfly with a best time of 1:41.42 coming into the meet, while he’s also the No. 5 seed in the 500 yard freestyle (4:13.32) and sits 17th in the 200 freestyle (1:34.07).

Martens, meanwhile, is the No. 18 seed in both the 400 individual medley (3:42.82) and the 200 butterfly (1:43.05), plus was among 40 swimmers invited to compete in the 200 IM, where his time of 1:44.74 ranks 34th in a field of 71 entrants.

Stuart already owns the North Carolina State school record in the 200 backstroke and won the ACC championship in the event, while his time of 1:39.37 puts him second only to Cal sophomore Ryan Murphy, who checked in with a 1:38.34. Stuart is also seeded 26th in the 100 backstroke (46.42) and 55th in the 200 IM (1:46.32).

The prelims of the 500 freestyle and 200 IM are contested on Thursday in a session beginning at 10 a.m. MT, with the finals slated for 6 p.m.

The 400 IM and 200 freestyle prelims take place in the 10 a.m. MT session Friday, with finals at 6 p.m. MT, while the 200 backstroke is scheduled for the 10 a.m. MT session Saturday, with finals at 6 p.m. MT.

Other former Colorado prep swimmers in the meet include Jake Markham (Cherry Creek-Georgia), Nolan Tesone (Pomona-Louisville) and Stephen Schmuhl (Legacy-Indiana).

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

The University of Wyoming athletic department provided an update on the status of former Eaglecrest High School star safety Xavier Lewis on Tuesday, saying that the 19-year-old is in Denver undergoing rehabilitation from the stroke he suffered in early December.

Lewis’ family is using the athletic department to release information about Lewis, a mechanical engineering major who completed his sophomore year with the Cowboys’ football team.

From an email from the family included in the press release: “Xavier wants to let you know that he is undergoing rehab. Things are going quite well. There unfortunately is not a timeline as to which Xavier will finish rehab, but he is definitely looking forward to returning as soon as possible.”

On Dec. 10, 2014, Lewis was rushed to the hospital by teammate Eric Nzeocha after signs appeared of a stroke according to a story by Mike Vorel of the Casper Star-Tribune.

The quick action gave Lewis the best chance of recovery and he had improved measurably just a few hours after the stroke happened. Eaglecrest football coach Mike Schmitt visited Lewis just hours after he had been airlifted from Laramie to Denver and said that Lewis had no major blockage or discernable damage to the brain during his stroke, which quite possibly came as the result of dehydration mixed with physical exertion.

Lewis, the 2012 Denver Post Gold Helmet Award winner, was “one of the faces of Eaglecrest” over the past few years in the words of many still around the school.

With the Raptors, Lewis racked up double-digit tackles in five games as a senior in 2012 and led Schmitt’s team with a total of 84 on the season — 75 solo — and was selected first team All-Centennial League. It was his third consecutive first team all-league accolade. Eaglecrest made the Class 5A state quarterfinals that season.

He finished the 2014 season as the No. 3 safety on the Wyoming depth chart. Lewis played in 11 games for the Cowboys and recorded five solo tackles and four assists and has 27 tackles for his career.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Regis Jesuit tight end Conor Shea (46) and offensive lineman Tim Lynott (56) each made the All-Continental League North first team. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Regis Jesuit offensive guard Tim Lynott (56) is one of two Colorado prep football players selected to play for the West team in the fourth annual Semper Fi All-American Game on Jan. 4 in Carson, California. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Regis Jesuit star offensive guard Tim Lynott will strap on his pads one more time at the high school level before heading off to play college football next year.

The University of Colorado commitment is one of the players from the western portion of the country selected to the fourth annual Semper Fi All-American Bowl, scheduled to be played on Jan. 4 at The StubHub Center in Carson, California. The game will be aired live on Fox Sports 1 between 7-10 p.m. MT.

Lynott is Aurora’s lone representative and one of two Colorado players in all selected, joining Valor Christian defensive back Eric Lee, picked at the “culmination of a nationwide All-American player selection tour that collectively celebrates academic excellence, proven physical fitness and quality of character; values that parallel those of the Marine Corps” according to a press release from the Marine Corps Recruiting Command.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Lynott was a first team All-Colorado, All-Continental League North and All-City selection following a season in which he helped Regis Jesuit win a league championship and finish 10-2 overall after a Class 5A playoff loss to eventual state champion Cherry Creek.

After the playoff loss, Lynott said he would be lifting weights with Regis Jesuit defensive line coach and former Denver Bronco Harald Hasselbach to get ready to play in college.

The Semper Fi All-American West team is made up of the Colorado players, plus Arkansas, Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington, while the East team is made up of players from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington D.C.

Lynott was also nominated for the 2015 U.S Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 3 along with Lee and Pine Creek’s Avery Anderson, but none of the Colorado players were selected.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes