As usual, preps sports in the area continues to excite local communities and spectators around the state. In the 2009-10 academic year, the number of …
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As usual, preps sports in the area continues to excite local
communities and spectators around the state.
In the 2009-10 academic year, the number of state championship
moments and highlights are too many to count and/or mention.
However, below is a list of 15 of the most exciting moments of the
past school year in no particular order, generated by the Colorado
Community Newspapers sports staff, regarding the high school teams
in its South Metro coverage areas.
Heritage football wins Class 4A championship
Eagles football coach Mike Griebel had been given a sports-drink
shower by his players, and with those young men, one of them his
son, he accepted a trophy. The emotion of the moment was tough for
the Heritage High School coach to put into words.
“It’s a dream come true,” Griebel said after Heritage captured
its first state football championship. “It’s been a magical
Powered by the all-around excellence of their senior quarterback
and a stifling second-half performance on defense, the Eagles were
the Class 4A title holders after a 42-28 win over Longmont on Dec.
5 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver.
“It’s the perfect end to a perfect season,” Heritage quarterback
Mitch Griebel said.
Griebel ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more. He
also punted, returned punts, had a sack of the opposing quarterback
and made a key second-half interception. He finished with 142
passing yards and another 131 rushing.
“I knew this was my last game,” Mitch Griebel said. “I let it
all hang out.”
Heritage finished the season 13-1, its only loss coming in the
season opener against Columbine. The Mile High victory was the
culmination of the prep football careers for all the Eagles’
seniors, a number of whom came up huge on Colorado’s biggest
Jacob Snider wins fourth state wrestling title
Qualifying state championship grapplers had their annual season
finale Feb. 17-20 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Ponderosa High
School Mustangs won their eighth consecutive state title by less
than 20 points over second-place Coronado. Three state gold
medalists came out of the Mustangs’ lineup of four finalists
between the 145-189 pound classes.
Definitely, a standout of the entire event was senior Jacob
Snider, who became the 16th high school wrestler to win four state
consecutive championships. He is also the school’s first to do
Snider’s road to the finals included a first-round pinfall in 2
minutes, 48 seconds over Donovan Busnardo of Lakewood, a pin at
1:44 against Rocky Mountain’s Derick Padilla and a clean 15-0
technical fall over Andrew Onorato in the semifinals. Coronado’s
Jared Rieck, whom Snider faced in the finals, appeared to not have
a clue how to approach the future-four-timer. Snider eventually
took advantage in points to win his fourth gold medal with a 7-2
Castle View baseball wins Metro league title
Castle View High School baseball seemed to mature this season,
being its fourth year since the school opened and only its second
season of true varsity ball. It’s also the first season with a crop
of fourth-year seniors, and their efforts culminated into the
team’s first league championship.
The Cats earned their first league title from the defending
Class 4A champions Cheyenne Mountain May 6 in Colorado Springs. The
9-4 win to close out View’s regular season schedule was the final
entry in a nine-game win streak going into the post-season.
In the game against Cheyenne Mountain, a loss for the Cats would
have left them with a co-championship with the Indians, but View
coach Shawn Wyss said the team wanted to win the league’s top spot
outright. After taking a few bruises in tournament action in
Arizona to start the season, the Cats returned with a resolve to
improve on a breakout season of sorts in 2009. Last year, View was
only three outs away from being one of the final eight teams in the
“We started believing in ourselves,” Wyss said. “That experience
helped the kids understand that we can compete. [This year], in
every game, someone new has been stepping up. We’ve been taking
pride in what we do and the kids to a great job. … They’ve done a
nice job building to this point.”
Connor Winter wins three distance titles at state
Arapahoe High School’s Connor Winter had a trifecta as a
distance runner at the state meet this season.
The Warriors junior took the gold medal in the 800-meter run,
the 1,600 and the 3,200 at this year’s Class 5A high school track
and field state championship May 20-22 at Jeffco Stadium in
Winter won the gold medal in the boys 800-meter run with a time
of 1 minute, 52.56 seconds. Winter also won the 1,600 championship
title with 4:22.52 on the timer, and in the 3,200, he won the gold
medal after posting a time of 9:17.17.
The performance at the state track meet came after Winter
finished as the state’s runner-up in the 5A boys cross country
state championship meet in 2009.
Ponderosa, Ranch go five games for volleyball title
With two tie breakers in front of them coming out of pool play,
Ponderosa volleyball all of a sudden became the underdogs of the
Class 5A state championship tournament.
And like the end of a inspirational sports movie produced by
Walt Disney pictures, the Mustangs walked away the state title
winners after a five-game epic battle with Continental League
powerhouse Highlands Ranch in the championship finals. Ponderosa
won the 5A state championship Nov. 14, 2009, at the Denver Coliseum
in Denver after a 3-2 final over Ranch.
Mustangs coach Rob Graham said, “We had to win one tie breaker,
then a second tie breaker, and then we had to go beat Grandview
who’s been rolling over everybody. … We just couldn’t be stopped.
Everything was working, even when we had doubts. We were so
In the finals, Ranch went up 1-0 with a score of 25-23.
Ponderosa came back to handily take the second game 25-10. The
Falcons dominated most of Game 3 to win 25-20, but the Mustangs
forced a fifth game after a 25-18 score in the fourth. Game 5
appeared to go to Highlands Ranch until the Mustangs rallied to
catch up and eventually win the final game 16-14. Falcons coach
Lous Krauss said he and the team fully expected to see Ponderosa in
the state finals.
“After we lost to Ponderosa during the regular season, we
figured we see them again in the state finals,” Krauss said after
the tournament was over. “We got there in a kind of weird,
convoluted way, but it worked out. … The only surprise is that we
got here with all the injuries we’ve had. I felt we were the two
best teams all year, so I’m glad it worked out that way.”
Valor Christian wins 3A football championship
Valor Christian High School football, in its second year of
varsity action, won the school’s first state championship gridiron
title Dec. 5 at Legacy Stadium in Aurora, beating the Steamboat
Springs Sailors 41-14 in the Class 3A finals.
Quarterback Brock Berglund threw three touchdown passes in the
first quarter. Braxton Peats, a sophomore, caught the first
touchdown air attack for 17 yards. Junior Sackett Keesen caught the
second touchdown pass for 15 yards, and junior Blake Froistad
hauled in the third one on a 43-yard launch. Freshman Cameron Gray
also had a 64-yard touchdown run prior to halftime to help the No.
2-seeded Eagles accumulate a 35-14 lead. Valor booked 279 yards of
total offense in the first half and only had to punt on one
“Obviously, the D-line is one of our strengths,” Eagles coach
Brent Vieselmeyer said of Valor’s defensive heat on Sailors QB
The Eagles’ secondary left Hinder no options downfield to keep
the No. 4 seed out of the end zone in the second half. Hinder was
picked off twice. Valor’s biggest opponent in the second half was
its penalties, which racked up into double digits and 104 yards by
the time the champions headed back to Highlands Ranch; however,
Berglund eventually found receiver Blake Froistad for a 20-yard air
strike for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the nail in the
Rock Canyon baseball in 3-way battle for state title
Rock Canyon High School baseball came as close as they ever have
this season to the Class 4A state championship. Having won its
district title and earned a spot in the 4A regional/state bracket,
the Jaguars went two games into the tournament before losing to
As the No. 6 seed, entering the state tournament with a 16-5
record, the Jaguars defeated Greeley West on the backside of the
double-elimination tournament. Canyon beat West 12-2 in six innings
to advanced to one game away from a shot at the 4A title.
At All-City Field in Denver on May 29, Canyon faced No. 7 seed
Broomfield, which had defeated No. 1 seed Mountain View the week
previous and lost to the Jaguars earlier in the tournament 7-4.
However, this time around, the Jags weren’t as lucky against the
Eagles. Rock Canyon lost the rematch 7-1 to finish the season third
among 4A teams. Mountain View went on to defeat Broomfield for the
4A championship that afternoon.
Heritage girls basketball makes Final Four
Heritage High School girls basketball made its way into the
Sweet 16 round of the Class 5A state championship playoffs as the
No. 3 seed in the Carol Callan Region this year. With the win over
No. 2 Grand Junction Central in the Round of 16, Heritage advanced
to the Great 8 March 6 at the Denver Coliseum in Denver to face the
No. 1 seeded Chaparral Wolverines, whom the Eagles beat during
Continental League play 58-50.
The Wolverines came out strong on the inside, with Heritage
capitalizing on turnovers where they could. Lauren Huggins, Kim
Lockridge on the inside and Sullivan Zeigler everywhere helped cut
Chaparral’s first-quarter lead down to nothing with just over a
minute left in the half. Heritage finished the half with a 27-26
“Our outside players like Lauren Huggins, Sullivan Zeigler, they
were all attacking and left the middle open for me,” Lockridge
In the third quarter, Heritage didn’t miss a step. Both teams
started to play more physical. Last few trips to the hoops, the
Wolverines couldn’t hit the net, allowing the Eagles to finish the
quarter with a 40-37 lead. Heritage’s inside game started to work
well with strong passing around the outside.
Nothing was stopping Lockridge from sinking a shot under the
basket, helping Eagles pull away to 13-point lead. Heritage
eventually won 58-48 and advanced to the Final Four. The Eagles
were later defeated by eventual state champions Denver East during
the semifinals round in Boulder.
Ranch co-op swimming ends Regis’ reign at top
It was the ending of a 16-year dynasty with Highlands Ranch High
School’s co-op swim and dive program taking the Class 5A state
championship team title for the first time after Regis Jesuit’s
reign since 1994. Ranch won the title May 22 at the EPIC Center in
After defeating Cherry Creek and Regis in meets during the
regular season and finishing second to Regis at state the season
prior, the team set a goal from the first practice to win that
“It has been a dream of mine and also the team’s for at least
four years,” swimmer Kyle Noser said. “It took awhile to kick in
that we won, and for everything to go right like it did all season
is just unbelievable.”
Highlands Ranch finished with 373 points with Cherry Creek
finishing with 341.5 and Regis Jesuit with 277 points. Some of the
highlights from the day were the 200 medley relay with Ranch
setting a new state record with the win in 1 minute, 33.50 seconds,
and junior Ian Woon took the 50-yard freestyle title.
Cherry Creek boys take 5A lacrosse title
Cherry Creek, the Class 5A boys lacrosse state championship
playoffs’ No. 2 seed, had a bye from the first round of action. In
the second round, the Bruins defeated the No. 21 seeded Columbine
Rebels 13-6. With the win, the Bruins advanced to the quarterfinals
to face Mullen, the No. 7 seed, and beat the Mustangs 11-1.
With Arapahoe eliminated in the semifinals, Creek had a clear
sky ahead to bring home its fourth state title after beating No. 6
seed Kent Denver 8-5 to earn a trip to the trophy game May 22 at
Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver against Regis. There, the
Bruins beat the Raiders for the championship 11-4.
In the title game, Kendall Williams scored four goals for Creek.
Scot Hewitson scored three, and Brian Maierhofer snuck two into the
cage. Henri Halle and Hogan Dannenberg each scored once. Between
the pipes, Bruins goaltender Chris White finished with eight
Elizabeth gymnastics finally wins 4A state title
The Elizabeth High School gymnastics team ended its 2009 season
at the top, taking home the 4A state championship. The state meet
on Nov. 7, held in Thornton, was the meet for the Cardinals, with
each team member hitting their personal best scores to earn the
championship. Not only did the team take the top spot, but so did
junior Katie Cordova winning the all-around competition with a
score of 36.75.
“They really pulled it together and fed off each other’s energy
which was all positive,” Cardinals head coach Stacy Folmer said.
“We didn’t watch the scores but knew our performances were where
they needed to be. It was so gratifying to see these girls’ hard
work pay off.”
The girls were honored for their accomplishment by the community
and the entire high school student body as they arrived at the high
school in a limo escorted by the Elizabeth Police Department and
the Elizabeth Fire Department.
Chaparosa lacrosse takes Continental League crown
For the first time in the program’s six-year history, Chaparosa
lacrosse had won its league bragging rights.
Chaparral High School’s unified girls lacrosse team with
Ponderosa, which also includes one player from Elizabeth High
School, won the Continental League championship for the first time
since coach Dix Baines moved from the program at Douglas County to
the Wolverines’ field.
Baines said the biggest difference over the past couple seasons
has been its junior varsity players rising to the occasion. With
Chaparosa’s JV team winning back-to-back league titles, the varsity
has benefited with new talent working as a cohesive unit.
“Theres no question we graduated some good talent [in 2009],”
Baines said. “I had a feeling last year that we’d be better this
year. Everybody had a chance to step up. … We’ve done something
we’ve never done before.”
With eight seniors on the varsity roster, the Wolverstangs
finished its regular season undefeated in the league at 6-0.
“I’m happy with this team, cause they play so much together,”
Baines said. “It’s so true in sports that you can have athletes who
play hard, but until they play together and play smart, you’ll
never get to be successful until you have all three ingredients
Huskies’ soccer hosts first playoff in years
With a record of 9-4-2 and the No. 16 seed, Douglas County
played host to its first Class 5A state championship playoff game
at home in years. The Huskies’ season was strong as the Continental
League was difficult to predict as it started to play out. County
lost only two league games to Heritage and Mountain Vista, tied two
times against Highlands Ranch and ThunderRidge and closed the
regular season schedule with a five-game streak without a loss.
Their Round 1 playoff game against No. 17 seed Poudre and put up
a 2-1 win over the Impalas. Mallory VanHout and Hailey Seeman each
had a goal in that game, while goalkeeper Mariah Maykowski had five
saves. Speed has been a weapon for County this season, and coach
Ron Kingery said, at the start of the season, he felt the Huskies
could compete in the playoffs this year.
“We are bigger, stronger and faster than we have been for quite
some time,” Kingery said at the start of the 2010 season. “The
girls have an improved work ethic and a fantastic attitude.”
County went on to face No. 1 seed Cherry Creek in Greenwood
Village in the second round of action. The Huskies didn’t go
quietly with a goal against Creek in the first period for a 2-1
score at halftime. The Bruins eventually ended County’s season on a
3-1 final. Andrea Conover had the lone goal for the Huskies. Keeper
Maykowski booked six saves.
Englewood breaks lacrosse losing streak
The losing streak stretching back to 2006 came to an end April 5
as Englewood’s boys lacrosse team defeated Ridgeview Academy,
“This win was huge for morale,” Pirates coach Mark Baker said.
“It was a battle between two evenly-matched teams. We played hard
and got a win that was big for our team.”
For the past few years, the Pirates’ lacrosse efforts to be
competitive have been difficult as Englewood consistently struggled
with small rosters made up primarily of young, inexperienced
players. That was the case again in 2010, with about a third of the
kids playing lacrosse for the first time. However, when they met
another young, inexperienced team, they got their much-needed
“Although the kids are young and many are just learning the
game, they have gotten better, because they have worked hard on
their lacrosse techniques since we started practice back in March,”
the coach said. “All that hard work paid off against Ridgeview. We
played four good quarters of lacrosse against them (Ridgeview) and
I am hoping this will build the confidence of our players and we
can build on this as we look for another win.”
The April 5 win came on the Pirates’ home turf between two
evenly-matched teams with the score tied 3-3 at halftime and 4-4 at
the end of the third period. The Pirates got the winning goal in
the final period when Josh Ruybal got an assist from Dallas Harmon
and his shot beat the goalie for what proved to be the margin of
Littleton boys soccer picks off Rangeview
While the Lions finished their 2009 boys soccer season at the
middle of the Continental League with a 6-4-1 record, one exciting
moment to remember was their come from behind win over a tough
Rangeview Raiders (8-3-0) team Oct. 15 on the road in Aurora.
With help from Martin Nandith, James Rucker snuck a shot past
Littleton goalkeeper Colin Shepard to help Rangeview to a 1-0 lead
at halftime. Nick Bates answered back in the second half,
unassisted, to tie the score at 1-1 for the Lions. Later, Charlie
Mann found Ethan Sumlin available to score the winning goal for
Littleton. Shepard finished with six saves against the Raiders.
Littleton finished its 2009 season with a 7-7-2 overall
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