Sentinel Blogs

Courtney Oakes

Sports Editor for the Aurora Sentinel, grand stands

Aurora Prep

Regis Jesuit grad Bud Thomas, Mercer hoping for ESPY award for upset of Duke

Regis Jesuit High School grad Bud Thomas and his Mercer University teammates got their One Shining Moment with their upset of Duke in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and they looking for just a little bit more time in the spotlight because of it.

Thomas was one of five senior starters for the Bears, a No. 14 seed that knocked off third-seeded Duke — one of the most tradition-laden programs in college basketball — 78-71 on March 21 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Mercer, the Atlantic Sun Conference champion, became the 18th team all-time as a No. 14 to knock off a No. 3 and it put them in the running for the award for an ESPY award for Best Upset of 2014.

The annual ESPYs award show is scheduled for July 16 in Los Angeles and Thomas, his fellow seniors and coach Bob Hoffman plan to be there to see if they can top the two other candidates in the Best Upset category: Connecticut’s victory over Florida in the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game and Chris Weidman’s upset knockout of 10-time UFC champion Anderson Silva.

Fans can vote online for a variety of ESPY awards until July 16. To vote for Thomas and Mercer, click here and find the Best Upset category.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Aurora Prep

Eaglecrest looking for nominations to christen new Athletics & Activities Hall of Fame

Now just shy of 25 years old, Eaglecrest High School is looking to celebrate its big anniversary by honoring some of its best and brightest from the past.

Starting on June 1, the school began to take nominations from the public for the inaugural induction class for the Eaglecrest Athletics & Activities Hall of Fame, which debuts during the 2014-15 school year that begins in August.

Candidates must have graduated from the school 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.

The selection committee includes a number of current Eaglecrest personnel, representation from school parents and the community and one media member, Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor Courtney Oakes.

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.

Those selected to be in the first class will be notified and honored during a weekend of events in December.

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.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Grandview grad Kevin Gausman earns first Major League win as a starting pitcher Aurora Prep

Grandview grad Kevin Gausman earns first Major League win as a starting pitcher

Grandview High School graduate Kevin Gausman picked up his long-awaited first victory as a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball Saturday night.

Called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Norfolk, the hard-throwing righthander struck out six batters in a career-high seven innings to help the Baltimore Orioles post a 6-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards.

In his second start of the 2014 season, the 23-year-old Gausman allowed four hits and one run and walked one batter to earn the victory in his seventh career start spanning two seasons. He lasted just four innings in his first start of the year on May 14, as the Detroit Tigers reached him for five runs on six hits.

“It’s always huge when you get a win, especially against a team like the A’s,” Gausman told the Associated Press after the game. “They’re playing great baseball right now. It’s been a fun series to watch so far. Hopefully, we can win the series tomorrow.”

Gausman — the No. 4 overall selection in the 2012 draft and signed a $4.32 million contract — improved his career record to 4-6 overall, as his three previous big league victories came in relief stints in 2013.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter had high praise for Gausman, who reportedly topped out at 99 mph on the radar gun.

“Kevin was good, really good,” Showalter said. “Got his feet on the ground. I thought Caleb (catcher Joseph) and him worked real well together. I wanted Caleb catching him today. He had caught him, obviously, in Norfolk.

“Good split, got enough breaking balls over to show a third pitch, established the inner half of the plate. He’s got pretty good stuff. He got in a couple situations and went and got another level, which was good to see.”

Gausman went 5-3 with a 4.41 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings as a senior for Grandview, then was selected in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Unable to agree to a suitable contract with the Dodgers, Gausman went on to play at Louisiana State and drastically improved his draft stock when he went 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 123 2/3 innings as a sophomore.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Aurora Prep

Eaglecrest’s Tory Humphrey coached Colorado Rockies’ 1st round pick Kyle Freeland at TJ

While Tory Humphrey isn’t likely to have any of his Eaglecrest High School baseball players selected over the three days of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, one of his former charges went very early Thursday.

With the No. 8 overall pick in the first round, University of Evansville left-handed pitcher Kyle Freeland — who Humphrey coached for three years at Thomas Jefferson High School — went to the hometown Colorado Rockies.

Humphrey was at the family’s Denver home when the news came that the Rockies had taken Freeland, who went 10-2 with a 1.90 ERA and a 128-13 strikeout to walk ratio as a junior at Evansville.

“It’s crazy here,” Humphrey said in a message about the reaction of the 50-60 people gathered to watch the draft.

Humphrey also coached Freeland’s older brother for four years with the Spartans, who appeared in the 2008 Class 4A state championship game.

“Kyle was one of our BP shaggers! He’s come a long way,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey spent nine seasons at Thomas Jefferson, then moved on to a stint as an assistant coach at Metropolitan State College of Denver before he took over the Eaglecrest program prior to the 2012 season,

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Aurora Prep

Aurora holes-in-one, April & May

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 303-750-7699 or email


May 28: Dick Dean, Saddle Rock G.C., No. 14, 158 yards, 8 iron. Witness: Rich Silver.

May 27: Ryan Amsbury, Murphy Creek G.C., No. 8, 183 yards, 7 wood. Witnesses: James Anderson, Mike Maloney.

May 26: Scott Little, Murphy Creek G.C., No. 8, 196 yards, 6 iron. Witness: Anthony Glaziano.

May 24: Ed Kelly, Springhill G.C., No. 3, 143 yards, 8 iron. Witnesses: Regina Edmondson, Omar Montgomery.

May 22: Winnie Fleming, Murphy Creek G.C., No. 11, 120 yards, 3 wood. Witnesses: Terry Barbo, DeeAnn Knudsen, Gini Klein.

May 18: Doug Clark, Saddle Rock G.C., No. 16, 175 yards, 8 iron. Witnesses: Trevor Clark, Tyler Clark, Xander Opel.

May 18: Lonnie Olivar, Fitzsimson G.C., No. 9, 139 yards, pitching wedge. Witnesses: Kevin Albien, Chris Bruce, Eric Martin.

May 17: Nick Delap, Aurora Hills G.C., No. 3, 180 yards, 6 iron. Witness: Jeff Smith.

May 10: Kyle Waldschmidt, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 14, 206 yards, 5 iron. Witnesses: Drew Firebaugh, Jim Gordon.

May 7: Wes Sthole, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 11, 200 yards, 7 wood. Witnesses: Denny, Craig, Walter.


April 24: Gary Wardlow, Fitzsimons G.C., No. 9, 132 yards, 9 Srixon. Witnesses: Gary Gradosville, Bill Musselman, Scott Quigley

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Aurora Prep

Retirement party set for outgoing Aurora Public Schools AD Tony Antolini

Aurora Public Schools will bid adieu to one its fixtures of more than three decades with the retirement of district athletic director Tony Antolini.

A retirement party is scheduled for 3:30-5:30 p.m. on May 3o and will honor the 35 years of service in the district by Antolini, who has served as an assistant principal at Rangeview High School, a gym teacher at North Middle School and most recently the Director of District Athletics and Activities for the district.

The party is open to all former students, coaches or parents who want to wish Antolini well and is scheduled for the district’s Professional Learning Conference Center (PLCC), which is located at 15771 E. 1st Ave. Refreshments will be served.

In late April, APS announced the hiring of Palisade High School athletic director Michael Krueger to fill Antolini’s post.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Cherokee Trail caps unbeaten season with state championship in boys volleyball Aurora Prep

Cherokee Trail caps unbeaten season with state championship in boys volleyball

Not to be lost in the parade of state championships won in the last couple of weeks for Aurora prep teams is the Cherokee Trail boys volleyball team.

Coached by Terry Miller, the team with a mix of players from several Aurora schools and others in the Cherry Creek School District finished off an unbeaten season in Colorado Boys High School Volleyball Association play with straight set victories over Ponderosa and Ralston Valley on May 10.

The two victories in the championship tournament at Colorado Springs Christian School finished off a perfect 25-0 season for the Cougars.

“What a season!” said Miller, who coaches the Cherokee Trail girls team in the fall.

Cherokee Trail faced its toughest test in the semifinals, where it outlasted Ponderosa 26-24, 31-29 to set up a meeting with Ralston Valley.

The Mustangs didn’t have much left after defeating the other Aurora team in the field — coach Laura Dunston’s Regis Jesuit team — in the other semifinal and the Cougars rolled to a 25-12, 25-8 victory. The match was punctuated by a big kill from senior outside hitter Matt McLaren, a Grandview student who is headed to play men’s volleyball at Penn State.

Cherokee Trail’s roster included primarily volleyball players along with a sprinkling of multiple sport athletes such as Ryan Swan, who was a key member of the Overland boys basketball team that advanced to the Class 5A semifinals in the winter.

Faith Christian won the CBHSVA’s 3A state championship by defeating The Classical Academy.

Boys volleyball remains unsanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association, but holds out hope of inclusion in the governing body’s list of approved sports in the future.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

International play will have to wait for Grandview basketball star Michaela Onyenwere Aurora Prep

International play will have to wait for Grandview basketball star Michaela Onyenwere

Michaela Onyenwere burst onto the basketball scene as a high school freshman, but her international debut will have to come in the future.

The supremely athletic 5-foot-11 forward from Grandview High School accomplished just about everything a young player could dream of in her first season of high school varsity basketball — setting the school record for scoring average in a season (18.7 ppg), winning a league championship and advancing to the Class 5A semifinals, making the All-Colorado team and winning Most Valuable Player of The Show all-star game played at Pepsi Center — but she was unable to crack the final roster of Team USA’s U17 World Championship Team.

Onyenwere was one of 153 prep players from across the country to attend the tryouts May 23-24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where 12 survivors would make up the roster of the USA U17 team, which is set to play in the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship tournament June 28-July 6 in the Czech Republic.

Just a few days after collecting four medals at the 5A state track meet, Onyenwere survived the initial cut when the field of 153 players was trimmed to 96 on May 24, but she was among the 26 players let go later in the day when the ranks dropped to 70. Those 70 included just two Colorado players — Kylee Shook of Mesa Ridge and Oliana Squires of Sand Creek — and neither moved on as the numbers shrank to 46 and then to 12.

The 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team will reassemble at the USOTC for training camp June 12-17, before the team departs on June 18 for training and an exhibition tournament in Nogent sur Seine, France, from June 20-22.

From France, the team will travel on June 23 to the Czech Republic for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship that will be played June 28-July 6.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Five Aurora girls golfers receive Paul McMullen scholarships Aurora Prep

Five Aurora girls golfers receive Paul McMullen scholarships

Five Aurora girls received the annual Paul McMullen Junior Golf Scholarship from the City of Aurora on Tuesday.

Two players who just wrapped up their final rounds at the 2014 Colorado Class 5A girls state golf championship — Rangeview’s Julia Kim and Cherokee Trail’s Faith Hope — were among the handful of players honored with the McMullen scholarship, which has been awarded by the city every year since 1989.

The McMullen scholarship is named for Paul McMullen, who spent more than 20 years in Aurora golf and created the Aurora Junior Golf Program. Winners of the scholarships — which typically run around $1,000 — are selected by the Golf Course Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

Kim’s Rangeview teammate, Danae Bushman, along with Eaglecrest’s Jenn Danaher and Smoky Hill’s Katie Jeddeloh rounded out the recipients, which were presented by Aurora Parks, Recreation and Open Space Director Tom Barrett May 20 at Murphy Creek G.C.

Kim, who is headed to the University of Illinois-Chicago, was a three-time 5A state qualifier and posted her best career finish Tuesday when she tied for 35th overall in the 84-golfer field after two rounds at Raccoon Creek G.C. Kim — also the East Metro Athletic Conference individual champion — lists Aurora Hills G.C. or Springhill G.C. as her home course.

Hope, a Colorado Christian University signee, qualified for her only 5A state tournament in 2014 as a senior and finished 39th overall. The All-Centennial League second teamer considers her home course either Saddle Rock G.C. or Murphy Creek G.C.

Bushman qualified for the 5A state tournament along with Kim as a sophomore in 2012, but missed out the past two seasons. Headed to Colorado State, Bushman considers Aurora Hills G.C. or Springhill G.C. as her home course.

Jeddeloh was the top player for Smoky Hill and finished one spot short of making second team All-Centennial League this season. The St. Olaf College-bound Jeddeloh plays out of Meadow Hills G.C.

Danaher, who attended Eaglecrest, is set to go to University of Northern Colorado. Saddle Rock G.C. is her home course.

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor

Regis Jesuit state champs wrap up season at Froehlicher-Toll All-State Game Aurora Prep

Regis Jesuit state champs wrap up season at Froehlicher-Toll All-State Game

With the Class 5A state championship still fresh in their minds, the Regis Jesuit boys lacrosse team puts the icing on the 2014 season with seven players and a coach deservedly selected for Thursday’s Class 5A Froehlicher-Toll All-State Game.

The Raiders — who knocked off Cherry Creek 14-7 last Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to finish the season 18-1 — have players set to suit up for both the Black and Gold teams for the 5A all-state game, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at All-City Stadium, where Regis Jesuit beat Arapahoe in the semifinals.

Senior defender Will Deines, juniors Ben Bechter (attack), Chase Konkel (midfield), Brett Quartuccio (goalie) and sophomore face-off specialist Alec Barnes represent the Raiders on the Black Team, while juniors Matt Soran (attack) and Chet Dunstan (midfield) will oppose them on the Gold Team. One of the Gold Team’s three coaches is Regis Jesuit’s Jim Soran.

Following the 5A game, a presentation of awards is scheduled for 7 p.m. Among those recognized will be 13 All-Americans, 6 Academic All-Americans, the Doc Stabler, Zach Hills and Colin Cassidy awards, the Ken Ranta Sportsmanship award, as well as the Coaches of the Year and Man of the Year.

The 4A all-state game at 7:30 p.m. wraps up the event.



Attack: No. 1 — Jaden Franklin, jr., Kent Denver; No. 2 — Alex Womack, sr., Mountain Vista; No. 3 — BEN BECHTER, jr., REGIS JESUIT; No. 4 — Connor May, jr., Fairview; No. 5 — Griffin Heller, sr., Denver East; No. 6 — Jacob Larsen, jr., Chatfield; No. 7 — Evan Baker, jr., Highlands Ranch; No. 8 — Brandon Jacobs, sr., Boulder

Midfield: No. 9 — Mike Morean, jr., Cherry Creek; No. 10 — CHASE KONKEL, jr., REGIS JESUIT; No. 11 — Zach Runberg, sr., Arapahoe; No. 12 — Evan Wong, sr., Highlands Ranch; No. 13 — Joey Matarazzo, sr., Kent Denver; No. 14 — Brian Hancock, jr., Mountain Vista; No. 15 — Brady Brehm, sr., Mullen; No. 16 — Sam Horning, sr., Palmer

Defense: No. 17 — Trevor Pratt, sr., Colorado Academy; No. 18 — WILL DEINES, sr., REGIS JESUIT; No. 19 — Dylan Johnson, jr., Cherry Creek; No. 20 — Sam Ell, jr., Mountain Vista; No. 21 — Zach Anderson, sr., Rock Canyon

Goalie: No. 22 — BRETT QUARTUCCIO, jr., REGIS JESUIT; No. 23 — Addison Christensen, sr., Cherry Creek

LSM: No. 24 — Kyle Pless, jr., Mountain Vista; No. 25 — Lucas Leyba, jr., Columbine

F/O: No. 26 — Broderick Vitale, jr., Cherry Creek; No. 27 — ALEC BARNES, soph., REGIS JESUIT

D-Midfield: No. 28 — Trevor Halmet, sr., Kent Denver

Coaches: Bryan Perry, Cherry Creek & Jake Herman, Mountain Vista


Attack: No. 1 — Colton McCaffrey, sr., Valor Christian; No. 2 — Ryan Arthur, sr., Cherry Creek; No. 3 — MATT SORAN, jr., REGIS JESUIT; No. 4 — Anthony SanFilippo, sr., Columbine; No. 5 — Jack Thomas, sr., Colorado Academy; No. 6 — William Simonson, sr., Monarch

Midfield: No. 7 — Max Tuttle, jr., Castle View; No. 8 — Nick Philips, sr., Mullen; No. 9 — Colton Jackson, jr., Rock Canyon; No. 10 — Landon Kramer, jr., Columbine; No. 11 — Ryan Schneider, sr., Dakota Ridge; No. 12 — Keaton Komatz, soph., Heritage; No. 13 — Chad Kreuzer, soph., Monarch; No. 14 — TJ Florence, sr., Heritage; CHET DUNSTAN, jr., REGIS JESUIT

Defense: No. 15 — Sean Lavine, sr., Fairview; No. 16 — Jake Sawyer, sr., Denver East; No. 17 — Matt Goettleman, sr., Cherry Creek; No. 18 — Matt Pinto, sr., Kent Denver; No. 19 — Vito Leccesse, sr., Boulder; No. 20 — Ian Lewis, jr., Columbine; No. 21 — Blake Sandman, sr., ThunderRidge

Goalie: No. 22 — Marcus Stears, sr, Kent Denver; No. 23 — Jake Miller, soph., Columbine

LSM: No. 24 — Zack Yoshioko, sr., Cherry Creek; Sam Sweeney, sr., Colorado Academy

F/O: No. 25 — Joe Quatrochi, sr., Highlands Ranch; No. 26 — Dylan Compton, jr., Columbine;

D-Midfield: No. 27 — Larry Munson, sr., Columbine

Coaches: JIM SORAN, REGIS JESUIT & Matt Plitnick, Columbine & Randy Colley, Colorado Academy

— Courtney Oakes, Sports Editor