Sentinel Blogs

Courtney Oakes

Sports Editor for the Aurora Sentinel, grand stands

Boys volleyball serves up arguments for sanctioning Aurora Prep

Boys volleyball serves up arguments for sanctioning

It may be fighting a losing battle to become a sanctioned sport, but boys volleyball is beginning to thrive in Colorado and building an argument.

Girls volleyball is sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association and is played during the fall, while boys volleyball and rugby operate in a club format for the time being as Title IX complications — which have to do with level participation numbers for boys and girls sports — and other obstacles exist to its inclusion.

Terry Miller, who coaches the Cherokee Trail girls volleyball team in the fall and helms the Cherokee Trail boys co-op team, has long hoped to get the sport sanctioned. The game is fairly low-cost and uses the same equipment that exists for the girls season, while teams are used to odd practice times that wouldn’t conflict with other sports in school gymnasiums.

“I don’t know when or if it would ever get sanctioned by CHSAA; it’s kindof disappointing because there are a lot of guys who would come out and play and a lot of fans that would come out and watch and see what it’s like,” Miller said. “When I was playing in high school at a club level years and years ago, we were trying to get it sanctioned, but it was like running into a brick wall…I’d like it to be.

“If you’re looking at increasing participation for athletes in the state, not just girls, what better opportunity for boys to play another sport that isn’t necessarily a mainstream sport that is relatively inexpensive.”

A growing number of boys club volleyball teams exist for a variety of ages, while high school players can play in the Colorado Boys High School Volleyball Association.

The organizations state tournament is this upcoming weekend at Colorado Springs Christian School, and Miller’s team from Cherokee Trail — a mix of players from several Aurora high schools — is 22-0 and coming off winning its regional championship on May 2 at Grandview High School.

The Cherokee Trail team is led by senior outside hitter Matt McLaren, who is headed to play men’s volleyball at Penn State University after redshirting for a year. McLaren is the older brother of Haley McLaren, one of the key players on Grandview’s 5A state championship-winning girls team in the fall.

“I started talking to Penn State my sophomore year and verbally committed last summer to go out this next year,” McLaren said. “I could be on scholarship the next year after I redshirt, but you never know.”

Before he heads off to play in college, McLaren — who plays for a boys club team at Front Range — is eager to finish out the season with the Cherokee Trail team.

A new addition to the Cherokee Trail team this season is junior Ryan Swan, a move-in from Utah before the school year who was a standout with the Overland boys basketball team that made it to the 5A Final Four.

“Our team is all around; we thrive on offense, but we have a lot of kids who can hit,” McLaren said. “We’re like a family.”

Regis Jesuit has been a boys volleyball power for quite awhile under coach Laura Dunston, who also heads the girls team in the fall.

The Raiders beat University and Doherty to win their regional going into state.

Aurora Prep

Grandview’s Coach Greg Maestas gets lifetime achievement kudos

Aurora wrestling fixture Greg Maestas is set to receive an honor from the Colorado Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

At the organization’s 16th annual Hall of Fame Honors banquet on Saturday at the Marriott Hotel in Colorado Springs, the veteran Grandview High School wrestling coach will be one of seven recipients of the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award.

Maestas coach at Overland from 1988-1992 before moving over to Grandview when the school opened. His coaching resume includes 16 league or regional team championships, 10 top-five finishes at the state wrestling tournament and a total of 195 state qualifiers. Additionally, Maestas has coached nine high school All-Americans, 13 state champions, 84 state place winners and two national champions.

In addition to his work with his team, Maestas is active with the Colorado High School Coaches Association, the National Wrestling Coaches Association and USA Wrestling.

Joining Maestas in receiving the Lifetime Service awards are Bill Bragg, David DeGiacomo, Mickey DeRock, Harlan Hankins, Art Martinez and Harvey Starbuck.

Another Grandview coach will be honored at the banquet, as Ben Menzor was selected Youth coach of the year.

Menzor — who wrestled on Maestas’ team for two years in high school — has coached the school’s youth wrestling team for over six years and led it to top-five finishes at the Colorado Youth All-State Tournament five times.

Honorees get their names on the wall at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla.

COLORADO CHAPTER FOR NATIONAL WRESTLING HOF AWARDS

Youth coach of year: BEN MENZOR, GRANDVIEW

High school coach of year: Mike Caciari, Valley High School

College coach of year: Chuck Pipher, Colorado Mesa University

High school wrestler of year: P.T. Garcia, Bear Creek High School

Youth wrestler of year: Josiah Rider

Wrestling officials of the year: Ryun Mendoza and L.D. Powell

Wrestling media award: Tim Yount, On the Mat

Dave DeGiacomo Award: Steve Valdez

Special Merit Award: Kevin Bracken “Impact on success of Youth Wrestling at all Levels.”

— Courtney Oakes, sports editor

Courtney Oakes

OAKES: Former Regis Jesuit star Josh Perkins to play for national title in NYC

While the Regis Jesuit girls basketball team got denied the chance to play in the prestigious DICK’S Sporting Goods High School National Tournament by a Colorado High School Activities Association bylaw, Josh Perkins did not.

The former Regis Jesuit boys hoops star — who played three seasons with the Raiders, but moved to West Virginia for his senior season — plays for a Huntington-St. Joseph Prep team that is among the eight boys teams that have accepted invitations to play in the April 3-5 tournament to be played at Madison Square Garden and other venues in New York City and televised on ESPN.

Perkins — a Gonzaga signee — averages 8.0 points and 5.1 assists per game for Huntington Prep, which is 27-4 and ranked No. 5 in USA Today’s Super 25 rankings.

Huntington Prep had been kept out of the national tournament in years past because it wasn’t a member of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission, but a bill sent through the West Virginia Senate Education Committee helped make it possible this year according to the Huntington (W.Va.) Herald-Dispatch.

The other seven schools in the DICK’s tournament are also ranked by USA Today: No. 1 Montverde (Fla.) Academy; No. 3 Rainier Beach (Seattle); No. 4 Northside Christian Academy (Charlotte); No. 6 La Lumiere, La Porte, Ind.; No. 7 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.); No. 8 Findlay College Prep, Henderson, Nev.; and No. 18 The Sagemont School (Weston, Fla.).

Without the Regis Jesuit girls, the four-team DICK’s tournament field includes two ranked teams in No. 10 Riverdale (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and No. 18 Miami Senior (Fla.), plus unranked Freemont (Utah) and Edgewater (Orlando, Fla.).

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

Boys Basketball

OAKES: Keenon Clement gets one for family against Ken Shaw

Smoky Hill boys basketball coach Keenon Clement loves to call his father, Royce, on his way home from a game to talk about how his team did that night.

Clement knew his dad would be particularly glad to hear about what happened Saturday, as his seventh-seeded Buffs upset second-seeded Regis Jesuit 47-46 in a Class 5A second round state playoff game on senior Unwana Ekiko’s buzzer-beating layup.

Of particular note for the family is the fact Keenon got the better of a Raiders team coached by Ken Shaw, who played for Merino against a Bayfield team Royce Clement played on in the 1970 Class A state championship game. Shaw and Merino won the state title 68-52 that year.

“Ken Shaw is a legend and a great guy; what’s pretty awesome is my dad played him in 1970 for the state championship when he was with Merino,” Keenon Clement said. “I’m going to call my pops. He said he’s going to come over for the last game. He didn’t come for this one, he had confidence our kids would win, so we’ll have to catch up with him later.”

Royce Clement — who lives in Palisade, where he served as an assistant on Keenon’s staff when he coached there — is expected to attend the Great 8 round on March 7 at the Denver Coliseum if Smoky Hill can get past Arapahoe in its Sweet 16 game Wednesday.

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

OAKES: Grandview volleyball team gets state championship rings Courtney Oakes

OAKES: Grandview volleyball team gets state championship rings

The shiny cherry on top of the Grandview volleyball team’s state championship-winning season came Thursday.

The Wolves — who won the Class 5A state championship with a 25-22, 25-12, 25-17 sweep of Arapahoe on Nov. 9, 2013, at the Denver Coliseum — received their long-awaited championship rings at the school.

Each ring has a stone surrounded by Grandview’s Royal Blue school color and is engraved with “GHS 2013″ and “V-Ball” on one side plus the individual players’ first name and number on the other side.

“I love them! They are exactly what we wanted and I think everyone is very happy with them,” senior outside hitter Morgan Montgomery said.

Grandview volleyball coach Patty Childress now needs to just one more ring for the thumb. She’s collected 5A state championship rings in 2004, 2005, 2007 and now 2013.

She appreciated the current ring a bit when she saw it

“I really like the 2013 version a lot,” Childress said. “A nice size and design, large enough to notice, but not largely arrogant. The Grandview blue is awesome!!”

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

Blogs

OAKES: Rangeview honors its top 30 boys basketball players of all-time

AURORA | With only two coaches in 30-plus years of boys basketball, putting together a list of Rangeview’s top 30 players wasn’t as much of a challenge as it might be for some schools.

Only Terry Taylor Sr. and current coach Shawn Palmer have roamed the sidelines for the Raiders since the school opened in 1983, making the compilation of the best players to wear a Rangeview uniform in the last three decades a virtual slam dunk.

During halftime of Friday’s 7 p.m. non-league home game against George Washington, Rangeview will recognize 30 players selected by Taylor Sr. and Palmer who have helped create an illustrious history that includes 15 trips to the Sweet 16 round of the playoffs, 10 times in the Great 8, seven Final Four appearances and one state championship (3A in 1985) in three trips to the final.

“It was a lot easier for us to do than somebody who has to track down a bunch of different coaches,” Palmer said. “For us, it was one conversation and one email. It was really neat to work with Coach Taylor on this and recognize some great moments from the past.”

The two coaches got together and poured over the standouts in three decades of boys basketball at Rangeview, which has seen a stunning 444-258 overall record (a hefty .632 winning percentage), which includes the current Raiders’ 8-2 mark. Only twice in those 30 years did Rangeview fail to appear in the playoffs.

The top 30 list includes 14 players from the 2000s and eight each from the 1980s and 1990s. Eighteen played exclusively for Taylor Sr. — who stepped down after the 2002-2003 season when Palmer took over — while three played at least one season under both coaches and nine played just for Palmer.

“I think it was a pretty good balance,” Palmer said.

Palmer said a number of the players on the list wanted to attend, but many life out of state and can’t make it back for the ceremony.

Aside from two active players — seniors Jeremiah Paige (the school’s newly-minted scoring and blocked shot leader) and Trey Bridges — former players Jamal Wright (2008-2011), Marvin Jones (1991-1994) and Lorenzo Phillips (1985-1988) are scheduled to be in attendance. Taylor Sr., who was on the coaching staff of Class 5A state champion Eaglecrest last season, and his son Terry Taylor Jr., Rangeview’s all-time assist leader and No. 2 scorer in just two seasons (1983-84 and 84-85) also are expected to be there.

The late Curtis Cotton Jr., who played for both coaches and graduated in 2004, will also be recognized. Cotton Jr. died in a car accident in 2010 at the age of 23 and has been remembered at the school for the last two years with a memorial 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the summer.

Rangeview’s also had the same PA announcer (Rich Gomez) and bookkeeper (Bard Curtis) for the past 30 years.

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

Top 30 Players in 30 years of Rangeview Boys Basketball

Andy Gurzick (1998) – All-State ‘98, assists leader / played at Western State; Brandon Bacon (1991) – Honorable Mention All-State ’91 / played at Ft. Lewis; Brian Mueller (1992) – 2nd Team All-State ’92 / played at Southern CO; Bryan Schneider (1990) – All-State Tourney Team ‘89, 2nd Team All-State ’90; Chris Dennis (1987) - All-Conference selection / played at Mesa State; CJ Littlejohn (2005) – Honorable Mention All-State, ’05 / played at Otero Junior College and Bethany College; Curtis Cotton (2004) – Honorable Mention All-State ‘04 / played Western Nebraska and New Mexico Highlands; Gabe Solarin (2012) – Honorable Mention All-State ‘12 / currently playing at Northwest College; Jamal Wright (2011) – Honorable Mention All-State ’11 / currently playing Otero Junior College; James Wilson (1985) – All-Conference selection, All-State ‘85 / played at Hawaii and Youngstown State; Jeffrey Solarin (2011) – Honorable Mention All-State ‘10, 2nd Team All-State 2011, rebounding leader / currently plays for Idaho State; Jeremiah Paige (2014) – Scoring & blocks leader, 2nd Team All-State ‘13 / signed to play at CSU; Ken Turner (1989) – All-Conference selection / played at Metro State College of Denver
; Kellan Mclemore (2008) – Honorable Mention All-State ‘07 and ’08 / played at Carelton College; Kirk Robbins (1990) – All-Conference selection / played at Colorado College; Lars VanEtten (1989) – All-State 87-89 / played at the University of Denver; Lawson Williams (1991) – All-Conference selection, 1st Team All-State ’90; Lorenzo Phillips (1988) – All-Conference selection, All-State ’88 / played at Ft. Lewis; Marcus Holt (2011) – Leader in blocks in a single game / played at Paris Junior College and currently plays at Colorado State; Marvin Jones (1994) – Three point leader, All-State ‘94, All-State Tourney Team ‘93 / played at UNC Greeley; Mike Mcnish (1999) – All-Conference selection / played at Colo. School of Mines; Pat Boyle (1989) – All-Conference selection / played at Denver University; Paul Mayfield (2001) – Honorable Mention All-State ’01/ played at Trinidad State; Reggie Evans (2008) – 1st Team All-State ’08, leader in points in a season and game / played at Metro State College of Denver; Sonny Coleman (1988) - All-Conference selection / played at Fort Lewis; Terry Taylor Jr. (1985) – Leader in scoring average and assists in a season, CO Player of the Year and Steinmark Winner ’85 / played at Stanford University; Tim Koralewski (2006) – Second all-time in rebounds, All-Conference ’06; Trey Bridges (2014) – Second in career assists, Honorable Mention All-State ’13; Terry Davis (1993) – 1st team All-Tournament, leader in charges taken; Yoshio Allen (2009) – Honorable Mention All-State ’10 / played at Otero Junior college and currently plays for Black Hills State

Courtney Oakes

OAKES: Rangeview girls basketball feeder team holding tryouts

AURORA | Middle school girls interested in eventually playing high school basketball for Rangeview High School can try out for the school’s new feeder team, the Rangeview Express, Aug. 23-24.

Coach Chris Dolan — who enters his second season as the Raiders’ varsity head coach — is set to hold tryouts for girls in 7th and 8th grades who plan to attend Rangeview in the 2014-15 school year.

The tryout sessions are scheduled for the Rangeview gymnasium on both days, with the Aug. 23 session running from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and the Aug. 24 session set for 9-11 a.m.

For more information, contact Dolan at odolan@hotmail.com.

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

OAKES: Gateway football team has new look for new season Courtney Oakes

OAKES: Gateway football team has new look for new season

How Ashour Peera’s Gateway football team plays this season is yet to be determined.

Whatever they do, the Olys will look good doing it.

Peera — the first-year head coach who came to Aurora from the powerhouse Miami Northwestern High School program — has rewarded his players for their offseason work by outfitting them with brand new Nike uniforms for the upcoming season, which is just around the corner.

“Look good, feel good,” the coach said Monday as seniors Austin Hall and Calvin Weber got suited up in the new gear.

“Why not go get nice stuff?” he asked. “When I got the job they were talking about how school spirit was lost, so now we’re drumming it up.”

Peera’s previous team at Miami Northwestern — one of several high schools in Florida sponsored by Nike — had eight different uniforms to choose from, so he wanted to bring some variety to Gateway.

The uniforms feature several combinations of the school’s distinctive orange, black and white color scheme and come complete with black helmets with a magnified Olympian logo on one side and a large orange G on the other. The team traditionally wore white helmets with the G logo.

Four players modeled the uniforms for the team last week. They choreographed a routine with music, but got mobbed immediately by teammates when they came out into the remodeled weight room, as shown on this youtube video.

Hall, a promising safety, was one of the players to see the new uniforms for the first time.

“I came in first and brought my shoulder pads to the back room,” said Hall, sporting the No. 12 jersey. “I saw the box of tops and jerseys and I just started screaming. …We are blessed. We’ve never had gear like this, so it feels great.”

Uniforms certainly don’t make the player or the team, however.

Gateway still has a lot to prove on the field this season, especially with the graduation of Colorado State signee Zack Golditch and 26 other seniors from last season’s team that went 7-3 and earned a home game in the Class 5A state playoffs.

The Olys have a new coaching staff, a new system and now, a new appearance.

The new uniforms won’t block or tackle — despite Peera’s joking wish — but they certainly have the team feeling, and looking, the part.

“I’ve only seen jerseys like this in college, so when I saw these, my eyes popped out,” Weber said. “It doesn’t stop with the look. When you look good you have to play good.”

Gateway will debut the new uniforms in full against its former coach Justin Hoffman, who is now at Smoky Hill, as the Olys play the Buffs to open the season on Aug. 30 at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.

The Olys will also have a new look on offense, as Peera’s moved away from the program’s traditional run-heavy veer offense to a spread attack.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at sports@aurorasentinel.com or 303-750-7555. Follow @aurorasports on Twitter and find the Aurora Prep Sentinel page on facebook.

OAKES: Gateway's Devundrick Walker chases dreams in Detroit Courtney Oakes

OAKES: Gateway’s Devundrick Walker chases dreams in Detroit

Virgil Walker is running on fumes, but come 7 p.m. Friday, he’ll happily slide behind the wheel of his car and point it toward Detroit.

After weeks of scrimping, saving and doing whatever odd jobs he can find, Walker and a carload of family is heading across the country to meet up with his son, Devundrick — aka Booda — a senior-to-be at Aurora’s Gateway High School who is set to compete in the 2013 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Michigan. He is ranked first in the country in both the 800 and 1,500 meter runs.

The trip for the weeklong competition requires airline travel for Devundrick and one of his coaches, Virgil’s sister Latrina Walker, from Austin, Texas — where he’s been training all summer — plus gas money for the Walker family’s cross country drive, lodging and food at a cost of an estimated $3,500.

It’s money the family just doesn’t have in its budget, so Virgil Walker launched an online campaign to help raise funds for Devundrick’s trip in addition to small jobs washing cars, doing mechanic work, working as referee and DJ. The Gateway PTA kicked in with a very generous donation and the Walkers’ Indiegogo campaign had $960 pledged with eight hours to go before its deadline.

Walker is grateful for all the contributions and is looking forward to seeing his son — who told him he had a dream of running in the Olympics at the age of 6 — compete in the Junior Olympics and hopefully catch the eye of some big college track programs.

“I already told my landlord the rent is going to be late. …we might not get everything that we need, but we’re going to make this happen,” Walker said Thursday. “Devundrick is stoked. He told me, ‘Dad, I’m as strong as I’ve been,’ so we’re looking for good things.”

As a junior at Gateway, Devundrick Walker finished second in the 800 meters, 12th in the 1,600 meters and anchored Gateway’s 3rd-place 4×400 relay team at the Class 5A state meet in May.

Shortly after school, he went down to stay with family and run for an old coach in Austin, where’s he improved tremendously. Walker will run at the Junior Olympics under the International Flight club team banner, but has a lot of pride in Aurora and Gateway.

To contribute to Walker’s travel fund, visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/booda-s-olympic-dream

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at sports@aurorasentinel.com or 303-750-7555

Courtney Oakes

OAKES: Hinkley offering football camp for 2-8 graders

Hinkley High School is offering a camp for youth football players at the school July 25-26.

New Thunderbirds coach Jaron Cohen and his players will offer two sessions from 5:30-8 p.m. both days for boys and girls entering second through eighth grades.

Cost to register is $30 per camper, which includes the camp, a t-shirt and a ticket to a Hinkley football game in the fall.

The camp will cover dynamic warm-up, speed and agility training that can benefit athletes of any gender or sport as well as fundamental football skills.

All proceeds benefit the Hinkley football program.

Contact jaronmcohen@yahoo.com for more information.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at sports@aurorasentinel.com or 303-750-7555