Courtney Oaks
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Courtney Oakes

SPORTS EDITOR FOR THE AURORA SENTINEL, GRAND STANDS — sports@AuroraSentinel.com @aurorasports on Twitter


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 sports@aurorasentinel.com. 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.

RANGEVIEW
RANGEVIEW

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

Regis Jesuit senior captain Garrett Suter, left, and mom, Bonnie, hold up their nails painted "Optimistic Pink" in support of Bonnie Suter, who is fighting advanced stage metastatic breast cancer. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Pieseski)
Regis Jesuit senior captain Garrett Suter, left, and mom, Bonnie, hold up their nails painted “Optimistic Pink” in support of Bonnie Suter, who was fighting advanced stage metastatic breast cancer. Bonnie Suter passed away over the weekend from the disease. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Pieseski)

Bonnie Suter, who inspired the Regis Jesuit boys swim team to paint their nails pink to support her fight against breast cancer and encouraged countless others with her battle (story, here), passed away from the disease over the weekend.

Suter’s sons Zach (a 2013 graduate) and Garrett (a 2015 grad) were key members of the Raiders’ program and part of the tight-knit Regis Jesuit swim community that banded together to support her since her diagnosis with advanced metastatic breast cancer in October of 2011.

Bonnie Suter, center, cheers for the Regis Jesuit boys swim team during a dual meet on April 21, 2015, at Cherry Creek High School. Fifty-four Regis Jesuit swimmers, plus some coaches and parents, painted their nails pink in support of Bonnie Suter, mother of team captain Garrett Suter, who is fighting advanced stage metastatic breast cancer. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Bonnie Suter, center, cheered on the Regis Jesuit boys swim team during a dual meet on April 21, 2015, at Cherry Creek High School. Suter, mother of team captain Garrett Suter, died after a courageous fight against advanced metastatic breast cancer. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

Zach Suter, now at swimmer and student at Seton Hall University, posted a message on Facebook in memorial to his mother.

“After a four year battle with cancer my mom passed away this morning. I am incredibly grateful for the time I was able to spend with her, and how supportive she was of me and my endeavors. I am lucky I had a parent willing to wake up at 4:30 AM to drive me to practice for years, as well as have a parent that was able to support me and my passion for music. I look forward to the future because of the values I was taught in the past. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to learn from and raise me.”

According to the Regis Jesuit High School website, a funeral service for Suter is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1, at Eisenhower Chapel located at Lowry. A visitation is scheduled for 10 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. and a reception at Fairmount Cemetery, Chapel in the Pines.

Everyone who attends the funeral is asked to wear pink.

At the time of her diagnosis, Suter was 45 years old and given just two years to live. She made it twice as long as expected and reached her goal of seeing both of her sons graduate from Regis Jesuit and move on to college, Zach to Seton Hall and Garrett to Seattle University.

Suter volunteered often for the American Cancer Society, encouraging women to get their annual mammograms so any early traces of breast cancer could be found. She said she had a clean mammogram two years before her diagnosis and was completely shocked.

“I never questioned why do I have it or poor me, my outlook has always been positive,” Suter told the Sentinel in April after she saw the team’s touching tribute of pink nails. “There’s a reason I have it, hopefully it is to inspire other people to move forward and work hard and do the best they can.”

Though it was difficult at times, Suter prided herself in making it to all but a few Regis Jesuit swim meets since her diagnosis, even donning a surgical mask — which she said she didn’t like because it muffled her cheering — to protect her from infection.

She was able to watch Garrett compete in the Class 5A state swim meet on May 15-16 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, when the Raiders finished second to Fossil Ridge.

Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Eaglecrest High School is set to induct the second class into its Athletics and Activities Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Nov. 19 at Blackstone Country Club.

EAGLECRESTSix of the best, brightest and most significant athletes, contributors to theater and the arts and volunteers from the school’s 26-year history — as selected by a pool of nominees by a panel of school administrators, representatives of Cherry Creek School District, the community and the media — will join the original class of six, which went in last winter.

Ralph Gorton (volunteer), Lisa Roberts (Sprague) (softball, lacrosse, basketball), Kristen Schevikhoven (volleyball), Kimberly Tedder-Avalos (theater), Stacey Timberman (cheer) and Gregory Treco (theater, dance, vocal music) make up the second Hall of Fame class.

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

Tickets for the induction event, which includes a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m., can be purchased through the Eaglecrest Athletic Department at 720-886-1083. Cost is $25 per ticket.

A brief bio of the six inductees in the second class:

Ralph Gorton, volunteer, 1992-2002

Gorton established and spent eight years as the club president for the booster clubs of both Eaglecrest football and boys lacrosse. His countless hours contributed greatly to the foundation of both sports at the school.

Lisa Roberts (Sprague), Class of 1996

One of the school’s most decorated athletes in a variety of sports, Sprague (nee Roberts) played a huge role in Eaglecrest’s athletics in the mid-1990s. She excelled mostly significantly in softball, where she won four varsity letters, earned all-conference first team honors three times and made the 1995 All-State second team. She went on to play shortstop for four years at University of Evansville and later had a stint as softball coach at nearby Grandview High School, where she is currently an assistant principal. Sprague also lettered four times in girls lacrosse and made the all-state team as a junior and senior and she received three letters as a varsity basketball player. Between her three sports, Sprague served as a team captain seven times.

Kristen Schevikhoven, Class of 2006

“Schevy ” as she was known at Eaglecrest in the early 2000s helped set the foundation of what has become a traditionally elite Colorado prep volleyball program under coach Tanya Bond. Schevikhoven resisted the urge to transfer to nearby volleyball power Grandview and helped the Raptors get on a path that would eventually lead to a Class 5A state championship shortly after she graduated. A four-year varsity player and three-time captain who played out of position with Eaglecrest by necessity, Schevikhoven made All-American, All-Colorado and All-state in 2005 and earned a Division I scholarship to Texas A&M, where she started for four years. She made the all-tournament team as a member of the Olympic Junior National Team in 2006.

Kimberly Tedder-Avalos, Class of 1996

Tedder-Avalos played several of the largest roles in the Eaglecrest theater department in the mid-1990s, including leads as Annie in “Annie” and Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden,” a production that won the National Thespian Competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dramatics Magazine featured Tedder-Avalos for her role as Mary Lennox. Off the stage, she was a member of the National Honor Society, a peer counselor and worked with Eaglecrest’s special needs students. A graduate of the Musical Theater Program at the University of Northern Colorado, Tedder-Avalos performed in “Madame Butterfly,” “The Tender Land,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Grease,” “A Course Line” and “Romeo and Juliet” before she graduated.

Stacey Timberman, Class of 2001

Cheer teams have been one of Eaglecrest’s most successful squads since the school’s inception and Timberman provided a face to the program in the late 1990s under coach Gwen Hansen-Vigil, now Eaglecrest’s principal. Timberman made the varsity cheer team in all four of her years at the school and helped the Raptors win state championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999, when she served as team captain. Timberman also was a member of the National Honor Society in 2000 and 2001 before she went on to a four-year cheer career at Colorado State University.

Gregory Treco, Class of 1998

Described as “outrageously talented and memorable,” Treco made his mark at Eaglecrest in theater, dance and vocal music. Most notably, he earned the lead role in the school’s production of “Chess” at the National Thespian Festival and took part in the production that traveled to Paris. He also was a featured soloist in many choir and dance concerts and his array of talents helped him land a full scholarship at the highly-selective musical theater program at Carnegie Mellon. Treco went on to earn roles in “Zanna Don’t” and “Taboo” on Broadway and recently appeared in “The Twelve” as part of a Broadway workshop at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

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

Former Grandview High School, Aurora, CO baseball star and current New York Yankees' first baseman Greg Bird, right, is greeted by third base coach Joe Espada (54) as he rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of a baseball game on Aug. 19, 2015, in New York. Bird hit two home runs in the game, his first two in the big leagues since he was called up on Aug. 13. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Former Grandview High School baseball star and current New York Yankees’ first baseman Greg Bird, right, is greeted by Chase Headley (12) after hitting a two-run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of a baseball game on Aug. 19, 2015, in New York. Bird hit two home runs in the game, his first two in the big leagues since he was called up on Aug. 13. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Since an 0-for-8 start to his career in Major League Baseball, Greg Bird has been simply raking for the suddenly hot New York Yankees.

Lauded by Yankees veterans including Alex Rodriguez and others for his patient approach to hitting, the sweet-swinging first baseman and former star at Aurora’s Grandview High School is beginning to find his groove since his call-up from Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 13.

Just ask the Minnesota Twins, who saw Bird mash two two-run home runs against them on Wednesday that produced all four runs in the Yankees’ 4-3 win. In New York’s three-game sweep of the Twins, Bird finished 5-for-9 (.555) with two homers, a double and five RBI.

In the opener with Minnesota, Bird doubled as part of New York’s winning rally in the 10th inning and he singled twice and knocked in a run in an 8-4 win on Aug. 18.

Combined with his first two games — against Cleveland on Aug. 13 (0-for-5 with 2 strikeouts) and Toronto on Aug. 15 (1-for-4, strikeout) — Bird now carries a .333 batting average and an OPS of 1.091.

Bird’s hitting prowess comes as no surprise to those around Grandview, who saw him hit .660 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI as a junior and win Colorado’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011 after he hit .553 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI.

Up next for New York is a four-game set against the Indians.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Curtis Cotton Memorial
A jersey for late Rangeview boys basketball star Curtis Cotton Jr. sits on a table during a memorial service on May 29, 2010, at Rangeview High School. Cotton Jr. died from injuries suffered in an accident on I-225 on May 7, 2010. The school honors his memory with an annual 3 on 3 basketball tournament. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Curtis Cotton Jr.’s legacy continues to live on at Rangeview High School in the form of the annual Curtis Cotton Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, which is set for Saturday.

The fourth annual tournament is played in honor of the late Curtis Cotton Jr. — aka “Chilli” — a 2004 Rangeview graduate who died on May 7, 2010, at the age of 23 from injuries suffered in a single-car accident on I-225.

Rangeview boys basketball coach Shawn Palmer said 13 high school teams — which include players from Aurora schools Rangeview, Cherokee Trail, Smoky Hill and Regis Jesuit, plus Dakota Ridge and Valor Christian — have entered as of Thursday, while five middle school teams will compete in the youth bracket.

There are a few less teams entered than in 2014 according to Palmer.

Games in the tournament run 20 minutes with running clocks. Winners are the first team to 21 points or whoever is ahead when time expires. Each team plays three pool play matches and all teams advance to a single elimination playoff.

The tournament tips off at 9 a.m., with an awards ceremony planned for 3 p.m.

In 2004, Rangeview put out its list of top 30 boys basketball players of all-time — a list put together by the only two head boys basketball coach in school history, Palmer and his predecessor Terry Taylor Sr. — which included Cotton Jr., an explosive 6-foot-3 guard, who ranks fourth on Rangeview’s all-time scoring list with 1,036 points scored between 2000-04.

He averaged 25.2 points per game for the Raiders as a senior in the 2003-04 season, in which he made the starting five of the Aurora Sentinel’s All-City Boys Basketball Team and also played in The Show All-Star Game at Pepsi Center as part of the top 20 players in the state.

Cotton Jr. went on to play two years at Western Nebraska and one at New Mexico Highlands. He had been accepted into Johnson & Wales University in Denver.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Grandview baseball players Kevin Gausman (left), pitcher, and Greg Bird, catcher, pose during practice March 9 at Grandview High School. (Heather A. Longway/ The Aurora Sentinel)
Former Grandview baseball stars Kevin Gausman, left, and Greg Bird pose at a Grandview practice on March 9, 2011. Gausman, a pitcher, is already in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, while Bird — a catcher turned first baseman — has been called up to play with the New York Yankees. (Aurora Sentinel file photo)

Greg Bird had the look of a future Major League Baseball player when he was slugging away in Aurora for Grandview High School.

On Thursday, he’ll get his shot as the New York Yankees have called up the burly 6-foot-3, 215-pound first baseman according to multiple media reports out of New York. Bird is expected to play first base and bat seventh when the Yankees face the Cleveland Indians at 5:10 p.m. MT.

New York is looking for a spark as its fallen out of first place in the American League East for the first time since July 1 as Troy Tulowitzki-led Toronto has caught fire.

The 22-year-old Bird, who New York drafted out of Grandview in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft and signed a $1.1 million contract with the team two months later, has hit 12 home runs in the 2015 season between a 49-game stint with AA Trenton and a 31-game runs with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre since his promotion on July 3.

On Monday, Bird was named the International League Player of the Week after he hit .348 for the week with Scranton Wilkes-Barre and collected eight hits (five for extra bases), plus a league-leading 10 RBI.

Bird has 48 home runs and a .282 batting average with an OPS of .878 in 347 career minor league games in the Yankees organization.

If Bird sticks with the Yankees, he could have a chance to face former Grandview batterymate Kevin Gausman when New York plays host to Gausman’s Baltimore Orioles Sept. 7-9.

Those chances could be good, as no less than Yankees star Alex Rodriguez gave this glowing assessment of Bird in a story written by John Harper of the New York Daily News:

““I mean, when you’ve been around for 20 years, you know who can play and who can’t. You see the way the ball comes off his bat,” Rodriguez said of Bird. “Then you see his work ethic, and how he watches and asks smart questions, and you know he’s got a great makeup. He’s going to be around for a long time.”

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

The Aurora Sports Park and other venues around the city will be put through their paces by more than 1,000 Special Olympics athletes, unified partners and volunteer coaches on Saturday during Special Olympics Colorado’s annual Summer Classic.

Aurora resident Chris McElroy, who recently won a gold medal at the Special Olympics World Games, is set to compete in golf at the Special Olympics Colorado's Summer Classic Saturday at Fitzsimons Golf Course. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)
Aurora resident Chris McElroy, who recently won a gold medal at the Special Olympics World Games, is set to compete in golf at the Special Olympics Colorado’s Summer Classic Saturday at Fitzsimons Golf Course. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

The five-sport state championship event — which includes athletes as old as 74 and as young as nine — features competition in bocce, cycling, softball, golf and tennis, and is slated to begin at 9 a.m. Spectators can view the competitions for free.

Bocce (with 125 players), cycling (with 40 athletes) and softball (with 315 players) take place at the Aurora Sports Park, while the 60-athlete tennis competition is set for Utah Park and 118 golfers challenge Fitzsimons Golf Course.

Among the competitors in the golf portion — held on an 18-hole course for the first time — is Aurora resident Chris McElroy, a freshly-minted gold medalist at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. He is scheduled to tee off at 1:16 p.m.

For a full story on McElroy, see next week’s Aurora Sentinel.

Denver’s Julian Hall, a tennis player who earned a silver medal at the World Games, is also scheduled to play beginning at 8 a.m.

Medals will be presented throughout the day in different divisions in each competition, with all events expected to be finished by around 3 p.m.

More information can be found at specialolympics.org.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

Ricky Hayes (51) and Grandview knocked off Valor Christian to win the Centennial League football championship last season. The Wolves and Eagles — who eeked out a win in the rematch when the teams met in the Class 5A state semifinals — meet again on Oct. 30, 2015, in a game to be televised by Altitude TV. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Ricky Hayes (51) and Grandview knocked off Valor Christian to win the Centennial League football championship last season. The Wolves and Eagles — who eeked out a win in the rematch when the teams met in the Class 5A state semifinals — meet again on Oct. 30, 2015, in a game to be televised by Altitude TV. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Three Aurora prep football teams get an extra boost during Friday Night Lights in the 2015 season with games included in Altitude television’s just announced lineup.

Of the eight high school football broadcasts Altitude plans for the season, four include city teams, beginning with Smoky Hill’s season opener against Rock Canyon at 5 p.m. Sept. 4 at Stutler Bowl. Under new coach John Trahan, the Buffs will look to avenge a 44-0 loss to the Jaguars last season.

Regis Jesuit and new coach Danny Filleman battle defending Class 5A state champion Cherry Creek — which swept the Raiders in two meetings last season, including a meeting in the 5A quarterfinals — in the Sept. 4 nightcap at 8 p.m. on the same Stutler Bowl field. Regis Jesuit’s league contest against Highlands Ranch at 5 p.m. Oct. 9 at Shea Stadium — a 43-0 rout by the Raiders a year ago — is also on Altitude’s slate.

Grandview’s Centennial League showdown with Valor Christian caps Altitude’s regular season coverage, as the Wolves visit the 5A runner-up Eagles at 7 p.m. Oct. 30. Coach John Schultz’s Grandview team won a 24-21 decision over Valor Christian to win the Centennial League title last season, but the Eagles won by a 14-7 count in the 5A semifinals.

Chatfield vs. Lakewood, Columbine vs. Bear Creek, Fruita Monument vs. ThunderRidge and Cherry Creek vs. Valor Christian round out Altitude’s announced schedule.

A list of Altitude’s channel number on various cable providers can be found with a zip code search on their website at www.altitude.tv.

AURORA 2015 FOOTBALL GAMES ON ALTITUDE

Friday, Sept. 4: Rock Canyon vs. SMOKY HILL at Stutler Bowl, 5 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 4: REGIS JESUIT vs. Cherry Creek at Stutler Bowl, 8 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 9: REGIS JESUIT vs. Highlands Ranch at Shea Stadium, 5 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 30: GRANDVIEW at Valor Christian, 7 p.m.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2015, file photo,ÊOlympic swimming gold medalist Missy Franklin speaks during a news conference in Berkeley, Calif. Franklin won the Honda Cup as the nation's top female college athlete Monday, June 29. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2015, file photo, Olympic swimming gold medalist Missy Franklin speaks during a news conference in Berkeley, Calif. Franklin won the Honda Cup as the nation’s top female college athlete on June 29. The graduate of Aurora’s Regis Jesuit High School and former Colorado Stars club swimmer then won the ESPY for Best Female College Athlete on July 15. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Missy Franklin stays winning, even when her car is on a tow truck.

The graduate of Aurora’s Regis Jesuit High School — who just turned pro after swimming two seasons at the University of California-Berkeley — won the award for Best Female College Athlete at the 23rd annual ESPY awards Wednesday in Los Angeles, though she couldn’t make it to receive the honor.

Franklin’s acceptance had to come via video on social media, as she shared her bit of car trouble with the audience at L.A. Live’s Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, as well as with the national television audience watching on ESPN.

“Wish more than anything I could have been at the ESPYs tonight. This is what is happening instead!,” the four-time Olympic goal medalist said in her video, standing in front of her car as it was put on a tow truck. “Car broke down in the middle of the road! But in all seriousness it was such a great honor to even be considered along with such incredible athletes. Huge congrats to all of the other nominees, you are all such a huge inspirations to me and countless others. And THANK YOU to everyone who voted.”

Update: Via Twitter, Franklin announced her car had been fixed and returned by the next morning.

The other nominees for the ESPY were Maryland lacrosse player Taylor Cummings, Florida softball star Lauren Haeger, Penn State volleyball player Micha Hancock and Brenna Stewart of the Connecticut basketball team.

Franklin had a tremendous resume, however, as she helped pace her Cal team — which also included Smoky Hill graduate Caroline Piehl — to its fourth NCAA championship in the past seven seasons in March. Individually, Franklin won individual national titles in the 200 yard freestyle (in American record fashion), as well as the 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley, plus she posted relay victories with the Bears’ 200 and 800 freestyle relays.

The NCAA Swimmer of the Year also won the Honda Cup as the nation’s top female college athlete in June.

Franklin landed a mega sponsorship with Speedo after turning pro and has returned to Colorado to train with coach Todd Schmitz of her former club, the Colorado Stars, in preparation for a number of upcoming international meets. Her focus then turns to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes