Courtney Oaks
Sentinel Blogs

Courtney Oakes

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


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

From left, United States' Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, and Carli Lloyd celebrate after Lloyd scored her second goal of the match against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
From left, United States’ Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday, and Carli Lloyd celebrate after Lloyd scored her second goal of the match against Japan during the first half of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. The U.S. finished off a 5-2 victory to bring home the country’s first World Cup title since 1999. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The best day of Brittney Lewis’ life came Sunday.

On a visit with family in Canada, the junior-to-be at Aurora’s Smoky Hill High School and University of Denver soccer commit wandered down in Vancouver near BC Place to soak in the atmosphere around the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final, which pitted the U.S. women’s national team against Japan.

Brittney Lewis holds up the two free tickets she ended up with for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup championship final played on July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver. The Smoky HIll junior-to-be and soccer standout witnesses the U.S. women's national team beating Japan 5-2. (Photo courtesy Brittney Lewis)
Brittney Lewis holds up the two free tickets she ended up with for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship final played on July 5 at BC Place in Vancouver. The Smoky HIll junior-to-be and soccer standout witnesses the U.S. women’s national team beating Japan 5-2. (Photo courtesy Brittney Lewis)

Inside the stadium, Lewis’ favorite player — midfielder Carli Lloyd — and the U.S. women hoped to beat Japan to bring home the country’s first World Cup championship since 1999.

Then, the unthinkable happened. A random stranger wandered up to Lewis and her family and handed over two tickets to the title game for free, telling them to “go have fun.”

“Fun” didn’t begin to describe the experience for Lewis, as she and her cousin took the tickets and sat in Section 236, Row KK, Seats 10 and 11 as part of the 53,341 people who watched the Americans roll past Japan 5-2.

Lewis sat on the end where Lloyd scored all three of her goals — including one from just inside midfield — to become the first woman in World Cup history to score a hat trick in the championship match.

“Highlight of my life and I won’t forget it!,” Lewis said in a series of Twitter messages. “Happy I got to go and watch the U.S. win…Happy to have gone & feel the vibe, and see the U.S. beat Japan as revenge! They deserved it, and they made it a great game to watch!

“Still in shock with how lucky we were to get tickets!!”

Lewis sat near a core of fans rooting for Japan — which beat the U.S. on penalty kicks in the 2011 World Cup final — so she made sure to cheer extra loud for every American goal, three by Lloyd and one each for Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath.

A family sitting behind Lewis from Switzerland also threw their support behind the U.S.

“Every time the U.S. scored, we would be loud!” she said.

Lewis, who is a defender for the Smoky Hill team and played her way onto the Aurora Sentinel All-City Second Team for the 2015 season, couldn’t believe the performance of Lloyd, who won the Gold Ball as the tournament’s top player and the Silver Boot as its second-highest goal scorer.

Smoky Hill junior-to-be Brittney Lewis (top) during the 2015 girls soccer season. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)
Smoky Hill junior-to-be Brittney Lewis (top) during the 2015 girls soccer season. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

“She played her heart out yesterday, and for her to get a hat track and two awards…She was the first woman ever to get a hat trick in a World Cup final! She’s an amazing player and never stops working. She carries the team!,” Lewis said.

While continuing to count herself extremely lucky, Lewis advises any sports fan to take the chance to see the World Cup in person if they can.

In 2019, that would mean a trip to France, the next destination for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, while the men’s World Cup is slated for Russia in 2018.

“If anyone ever has the chance to get to go to the World Cup, take the opportunity!” Lewis said. “It’s amazing to go watch in person and hear everyone cheer rather than sit at home and watch it on TV!”

Junior-to-be Courtney Schmidt, a standout midfielder/forward at Cherokee Trail, also attended the World Cup final along with her mother, using tickets they’d secured prior to the start of the World Cup.

Sporting her No. 15 Megan Rapinoe jersey, Cherokee Trail junior-to-be Courtney Schmidt watched the U.S. women's national team beat Japan 5-2 in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup championship game on July 5, 2015, in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy Courtney Schmidt)
Sporting her No. 15 Megan Rapinoe jersey, Cherokee Trail junior-to-be Courtney Schmidt watched the U.S. women’s national team beat Japan 5-2 in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship game on July 5, 2015, in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy Courtney Schmidt)

“We would have gone even if the U.S. didn’t make it, but it made it a lot more fun that they did,” Schmidt said in a message.

Schmidt’s favorite player on the national team is Megan Rapinoe and she ended up getting her autograph to highlight the experience.

“Being at that game was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Schmidt added.

— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

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.

Eaglecrest
EAGLECREST

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 vorlando@cherrycreekschools.org 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 sports@aurorasentinel.com:

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

2015 CONTINENTAL VS. CENTENNIAL BOYS BASKETBALL CHALLENGE

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)

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17

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)

THURSDAY, JUNE 18

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)

FRIDAY, JUNE 19

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 sports@aurorasentinel.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

2015 CHSCA ALL-STATE GAMES

SOFTBALL

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)

FOOTBALL

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)

WRESTLING

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)

CROSS COUNTRY

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)

SPIRIT

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)

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 Boys Volleyball Team
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)
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)
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)
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

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