Sentinel Blogs

Courtney Oakes

Sports Editor for the Aurora Sentinel, grand stands

Grandview volleyball coach Patty Childress, right, who has led her program to five Class 5A state championships and 10 finals appearances in 12 seasons, is part of the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s 2015 Hall of Fame induction class. The five-member class — which also includes Regis Jesuit boys basketball coach Ken Shaw — is set to be inducted on March 28. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Two of Aurora’s most successful prep coaches will be part of the 2015 Hall of Fame induction class of the Colorado High School Coaches Association.

Grandview volleyball coach Patty Childress and Regis Jesuit boys basketball coach Ken Shaw are among five honorees slated to be inducted in the 52nd annual ceremony of the CHSCA, scheduled for March 28, 2015, at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast.

Regis Jesuit boys basketball coach Ken Shaw, right, is part of the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s 2015 Hall of Fame induction class. Shaw is in his 40th season as a prep head coach and has a 669-223 all-time record. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

In November, Childress led her Wolves to a second consecutive Class 5A state volleyball championship with a sweep of Chatfield, which also netted the program’s fifth all-time state title. Under Childress, Grandview has made the 5A state championship match 10 times in the past 12 seasons and has a career record of 475-161 that includes previous stops coaching at Otis, Palisade, Ferndale and Colorado Mesa University. She served as president of the CHSCA in 2003 and has been a regular coaching at the CHSCA All-State Games in the summer.

On Tuesday, Shaw’s Regis Jesuit boys basketball team tips off at Overland as he begins his 40th season as a head coach. Shaw guided the Raiders to back-to-back-to-back 5A state hoops championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and he also won single state championships with Yuma and Sterling. Shaw — a former star Colorado prep player at Merino — has amassed a career coaching record of 669-223 (the third-most wins in state history) in stops at two Aurora schools, Regis Jesuit and Smoky Hill, in addition to Rocky Mountain, Yuma and Sterling. He’s been a member of the CHSCA for 41 years.

Former Merino High School volleyball coach Judy Beardsley, ex-Julesburg High School basketball and volleyball coach Dennis Tjaden and Kit Carson High School football/basketball/track coach Jim Trahern round out the 2015 Hall of Fame class.

Childress and Shaw are the first coaches from Aurora schools to be inducted in the CHSCA Hall of Fame since 2006, when Gateway’s Richard Anderson received the honor.

Other Hall of Fame members from Aurora include the late Bob Caviness (Hinkley, 1988), Guy Gibbs (Regis Jesuit, 1985), George Barrows (Aurora, 1971) and Bill Hinkley (Aurora, 1968).

The induction ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 28 at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast, 3155 S. Vaughn Way, Aurora CO 80014, following a reception that begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $42 per person. Make reservations via a form at or email CHSCA executive director John Burke at

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Players and coaches of the Grandview volleyball team pose with the 2014 Class 5A state championship trophy they won with a three-set victory over Chatfield on Nov. 8, 2014, at the Denver Coliseum. The Wolves won their second straight state title and fifth overall in 10 trips to the championship match — all since 2003. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

With two Class 5A state championships already to its credit and a football team that could add another in the coming weeks, Grandview High School is rolling in the fall prep sports season.

The Wolves’ first 5A state championship came on Oct. 25 when Emily Supercynski and the softball team topped Fossil Ridge 6-2 to win the first softball crown in program history. The school added another of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s new-look state championship trophies Saturday night when the volleyball team swept Chatfield in front of a massive cheering section at the Denver Coliseum to complete a repeat bid and win the fifth overall state crown in program history.

Yet to be decided is the 5A state football crown, for which 11-0 Grandview is a major contender. Coach John Schultz’s Wolves won the Centennial League championship, finished the regular season undefeated — capping it with a victory over vaunted Valor Christian — and has marched into the quarterfinals of the 5A playoffs without surrendering a single point thus far. Grandview’s first and only state football championship came in 2007.

Additionally this fall, Grandview senior Nathan Graham finished  an Aurora-best fourth in the 5A boys state cross country race.

With only one sport left to be crowned, no other Aurora school can match Grandview’s championship haul. Regis Jesuit is on the only other city school remaining alive in the football playoffs.

Only the co-op gymnastics team based at Overland High School has won a state title this fall among Aurora schools and even a few members of that team were from Grandview.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Eaglecrest High School is set to debut an Athletic and Activities Hall of Fame to remember its rich history.


The inaugural class, as selected from a pool of nominees by a panel of school administrators, representatives of Cherry Creek School District, the community and the media, is made up of J.J. Billingsley, Damian Brown, Ben Baum, Tara Mendozza (DeCrescentis) and Stacey Jennings.

Broadway actor Andy Kelso is also part of the inaugural induction class, but is unable to attend the ceremony as he is starring in the lead role in the Tony Award-winning production “Kinky Boots.”

Those eligible for the Athletic and Activities Hall of Fame must be graduated from Eaglecrest for at least five years.

Eaglecrest’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Dec. 11 at Blackstone Country Club following a dinner and cocktail hour. The next day, the Hall of Fame inductees will be honored during an assembly for Eaglecrest students at 8:53 a.m.

Tickets for the induction ceremony cost $25 apiece and will be available through the Eaglecrest Athletics Office. Contact Athletic Director Vince Orlando at 720-886-1083 or for more details.

A brief bio of each of the inductees in the inaugural class:

J.J. Billingsley (Class of 2002): Billingsley was arguably the finest all-around athlete to pass through Eaglecrest, as he played at an elite level in football and track & field and also lettered twice in basketball. On the football field, Billingsley played defensive back, linebacker and running back for the Raptors under coach Gary Thompson and earned a scholarship to play at the University of Colorado. Billingsley totaled 1,177 total yards as a senior, including 736 rushing with seven touchdowns and 441 yards receiving and five more scores. Billingsley was the driving force behind Eaglecrest’s 2002 5A boys state track championship — the only one in school history — in which he won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and helped the 4×200-meter relay team to first place and the 4×100 team to fourth place. Billingsley currently works in the Cherry Creek School District.

Damian Brown (Class of 1995): Brown helped lead an Eaglecrest football team coached by Ron Peterson to win the first state championship in school history in 1993 — just three years after the doors opened — with a perfect 14-0 run to the Class 5A state title back when Colorado had six classifications. Brown, a running back, rushed for 262 yards and four touchdowns — including the tying and go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter — as the Raptors rallied past Hinkley 37-29 in an all-Aurora 5A championship game played in front of an estimated 6,000 fans at Stutler Bowl. Brown went on to play at Iowa State between 1995 and 1997 before concluding his career at Northern Colorado. He is currently the athletic director at Adams City High School.

Ben Baum (Class of 1993): Baum, a 7-footer, was the first bonafide basketball star from Eaglecrest. As a senior, he averaged 25.7 points and 17.5 rebounds per game to win Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year honors as the Raptors posted a 17-5 record under coach Stan Adams in 1992-93. Baum — who was also a drum major and first trombone in the marching band and student body president — scored 51 points in a playoff game, which would rank first all-time among big schools and second in all classifications according to Colorado High School Activities Association records, and garnered interest from a variety of Division I men’s basketball programs, eventually signing with Oklahoma State. He was part of the Cowboys team that made it to the NCAA Final Four in 1995 and eventually spent some time in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, while going on to play professionally for five seasons in Europe.

Tara Mendozza (DeCrescentis) (Class of 1996): Mendozza still owns the all-Colorado state meet record in the 800-meter run, having clocked a time of 2 minutes, 7.52 seconds, in 1996 to break her own state record. Mendozza — who just missed a 2:05.4 that would have qualified her for the United States Olympic Trials — won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs in both her junior and senior seasons and was part of a relay team that set a national record in the rarely-run mile medley relay. Mendozza, who lettered in cross country and track & field four times at Eaglecrest and was an all-State performer in track in 1995 and 1996, went on to an All-American career at the University of Illinois.

Stacey Jennings (Class of 2002): Jennings is the most decorated softball player in Eaglecrest’s proud tradition in the sport, as she pitched her way to at least the all-state and all-conference teams all four years in high school. The right-handed pitcher — who set the school’s career records for strikeouts at 492, innings pitched (390), wins (45), and ERA (0.50), totals that stood until broken by Raya Johnson — also helped lead Eaglecrest to the Class 5A semifinals in 1999 and 2001, helping giving the program momentum that led to winning the 5A state championship in 2005. Jennings also lettered four times in track & field at Eaglecrest. She went on to play NCAA softball at powerhouse University of Tennessee and Maryland.

Andy Kelso (Class of 1998): Kelso contributed to the drama department during his time at Eaglecrest, both as a spotlight operator and eventually an actor in a variety of productions, then went on to study musical theater and straight drama at the University of Northern Colorado. Kelso earned the chance to perform in several shows in the Denver Metro area, including “Big River,” “Footloose” and “The Drawer Boy” before moving to New York City in 2003. He made his Broadway debut in “Mamma Mia” and held the role of Fiyero in the national tour of the acclaimed “Wicked.” Kelso currently holds the lead role of Charlie Price in the 2013 Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots.”

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

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


Aug. 9: Charlie Nicholson, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 11, 155 yards, 6 iron. Witnesses: Dwight Salisbury, Duane Mellinger, John Weber.

Aug. 9: Jeff Niblo, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 17, 159 yards, 9 iron. Witnesses: Don Hunt, Kent Staton, Gary Leiker.

Aug. 12: Rick Shaffer, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 3, 166 yards, 6 iron. Witnesses: Brandon Shaffer, Mark Wolfgang, Randy Dalke.

Aug. 17: Chet Wilmes, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 3, 165 yards, 7 iron. Witnesses: Roger Gunderson, Eric Martin, Kip Hoffman.

Aug. 18: Bob Hartman, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 3, 157 yards, 8 iron. Witnesses: Ron Paolucci, Scott McKimmy, Chuck Dekruif.

Aug. 20: Rick Thorstad, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 5, 89 yards, gap wedge. Witnesses: Kevin Maynard, Ron Markovich.

Aug. 24: Grant Foster, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 7, 175 yards, 5 wood. Witnesses: Richard Perovich, Reid Foster, Quinn Foster.

Aug. 25: James Beatty, Springhill G.C., No. 18, 160 yards, 6 iron. Witnesses: Jim Perry, Mike Keffer, Bill Chambers.

Aug. 31: Mallory Dively, Springhill G.C., No. 6, 139 yards, pitching wedge. Witness: Ryland Glass.


Sept 12: David Lehman, Meadow Hills G.C., No. 15, 192 yards, 3 wood. Witnesses: Brandt Demuth, Jack Rosenthal, Dominic Bazile, Tom Miller, Grace Castellanos

Sept. 16: Michael Menze, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 13, 183 yards, 5 wood. Witness: Ron Bakke.

Sept. 17: Bryant Kligerman, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 5, wedge. Witnesses: Ron Arnold, Sid Harriet, Bob Boyle.


Oct. 13: John Sheehan, Saddle Rock G.C., No. 16, 153 yards, 7 iron. Witnesses: Bob Baker, Brian Grouer.

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

The third annual RJ Demps Memorial 3-on-3 basketball tournament — rescheduled from over the summer — is set for Saturday at Regis Jesuit High School.

For the third time, the Regis Jesuit basketball program will honor the memory of the late RJ Demps — a well-liked point guard who helped lead the Raiders to the first of their three straight Class 5A state championships in the 2008-09 season — with a 3-on-3 tournament.

The jersey of former Regis Jesuit boys basketball standout, the late R.J. Demps, hangs above the team room in the Regis Jesuit Boys Division gymnasium. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Check-in is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Saturday, with play set to begin at 8 a.m. Applications must be emailed by Friday (Oct. 3) at the latest to Susan Shaw at or call 720-253-8907.

Demps passed away in December of 2011 as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident as he was headed to the airport to return home for winter break from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

The tournament features 3-on-3 competition in several divisions for teams of up to five players: youth (under ninth grade), high school (competitive and recreation) and adult (competitive and recreational).

Proceeds from the $100 entry fee per team go towards a scholarship at Regis Jesuit in Demps’ honor.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

The fervor in the intense rivalry between Cherokee Trail and Grandview high schools should reach fever pitch Thursday.

The Cougars and Wolves meet in powerhouse volleyball and football contests on the same night at the same place — Cherokee Trail — with fans of both schools now able to attend both contests because of a schedule change.

Originally scheduled for a 6:15 p.m. first serve, the schools agreed to move the volleyball contest up to 5:15 p.m., meaning it could be completed before the football teams are scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. across the parking lot at Legacy Stadium.

That might not be the case, however, as the Cherokee Trail and Grandview volleyball teams played a memorable five-set marathon Sept. 18 that ended with the Cougars prevailing 21-25, 27-25, 28-26, 36-38, 16-14.

Needless to say, the parking lots at Cherokee Trail will be filled to the brim, so get there early.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

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.


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


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


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


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

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-Overland softball scorebook, page 2 (Courtesy Chance Siegele) Gateway-Overland softball scorebook, page 1 (Courtesy Chance Siegele)

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

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.

Eaglecrest quarterback Elijah Ross threw four touchdown passes in the Raptors’ 69-56 loss to St. Cloud (Florida) on Aug. 28, 2014, in Orlando, Florida. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

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

Hinkley junior linebacker QuaSean Smith walks the sidelines sporting the Thunderbirds’ new uniform for the 2014 season. With the new gear on, Hinkley down Aurora Central 27-6 on Aug. 22, 2014, in a Zero Week football game. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

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