It’s not hard to see where the high talent is going to come from for the coming high school sports seasons. Below is Colorado Community …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
It’s not hard to see where the high talent is going to come from
for the coming high school sports seasons.
Below is Colorado Community Newspapers’ account of the top 50
student athletes to keep an eye on in the 2009-10 academic sports
seasons, as determined by CCN’s sports staff. The list will be
reported in a five-part series, with 10 students described in each
installment. The final roster of 50 athletes is listed in no
Student athletes to qualify for the recognition are expected to
attend one of the high schools located in CCN’s sports coverage
areas. School athletics administration, coaches and readers also
contributed to the 50 selections by making their own suggestions
over a four-week period.
The following is the third set of 10 student athletes:
Jordan Serena, Chaparral
Coming into his junior year at Chaparral High School, Jordan
Serena should be seen in several Wolverine arenas through the preps
sports seasons; football, basketball and baseball. Last year,
Serena was quarterback Jerry Slotta’s No. 2 go-to receiver in a
successful Wolverines system, which took them to the Class 5A state
championship quarterfinals. Serena finished the season with 466
receiving yards, averaging almost 17 yards per catch. His 2008
performance earned him a first-team All-Conference honors as a wide
Serena has varsity football letters for both his freshman and
sophomore seasons. He feels his speed and agility are his strengths
as a receiver.
“I know I’m not the tallest guy, but if you throw the ball
somewhere, I can usually get there,” Serena said.
On the diamond, which has occupied much of Serena’s summer this
year, the Wolverine had a .472 batting average in his last high
school season. He is a two-year varsity baseball player as well and
garnered himself second-team All-Conference both his freshman and
sophomore seasons at infield. For the most part, preps baseball
fans can see Serena at the shortstop position.
“At shortstop, you have to be in pretty good position to throw a
guy out, and I think I do that pretty well,” Serena said.
Serena is presently involved in a 50-game summer schedule
playing in a college league with graduated seniors. With the
Chaparral summer team, he’s seen action this summer in Omaha and
visited a four-day camp at the University of Southern California.
Although it’s too early to say what kind of collegiate notice this
junior could be getting, he did recent receive an e-mail from a
University of Iowa coach about attending camp with them in August
before his next year of high school sports.
Derek Munsey, ThunderRidge
Derek Munsey has had his hand in several sports programs at
ThunderRidge High School, including football, wrestling and
lacrosse. Grizzlies football fans could see Munsey as the team’s
starting fullback during their second year in the Class 5A arena,
following up on an undefeated Southern League season last year.
Munsey has been in varsity action, even if its been special teams
or different packages, since his sophomore year.
“He’s a very physical football player,” Grizzlies coach Joe
Johnson said. “He’s a tough inside runner, a good blocker and a
good leader. He’s the kind of kid you want on a high school
football team for sure.”
Johnson said Munsey’s physical toughness, ability as a blocker
and the willingness to do the things the T-Ridge coaching staff
asks of him in tough situations.
“He finds a way to get it done,” the coach said. “He is quite
strong, but the physical and mental toughness are the things that
can’t be undervalued in my opinion.”
As a wrestler, Munsey finished a solid junior season in
February, having placed sixth in the 160-pound bracket of the Class
5A state high school championships. After losing to eventual
champion Austin Gabel of Ponderosa in the first round of his state
tournament, Munsey went on an impressive run in the consolation
fight to finish the season with a 35-10 record. Should Munsey stay
at 160, he could finish among the state’s top three or better,
given 11 state-qualifying seniors graduated from the bracket last
Elizabeth (Lizzy) Herzl, Heritage
Coach Tony Hurt has always put quality high school soccer teams
on the field at Heritage. One of the bright spots of next year’s
girls soccer roster could be Elizabeth Herzl. An incoming 6-foot-1
inch senior, “Lizzy” Herzl has been a key part of Eagle varsity
soccer and is expected to rise as one of the 2010 team’s leaders in
the back. As a defender, she has earned first-team All-Continental
League honors. In addition, outside the high school season where
she’s been varsity since her sophomore season, Herzl has been a
part of the state championship Storm Academy Copa club team for the
past three years and is presently being recruited to play the sport
at the collegiate level.
“Defense is my calling you could say,” Herzl said. “My speed and
my height make me strong in the back. Six feet is not easy to get
by, I guess.”
Like many Eagles who played varsity two seasons ago, Herzl’s
desire to return to the Class 5A state championship finals is a
driving reason for watching her over her senior year.
“Making it to the finals was huge, especially since I was just a
sophomore,” the senior said. “And losing, that just makes you want
it that much more. … The whole team wants to get back there
Outside of soccer, Herzl has contributed to the Eagles track
team for the past three seasons. Last May, during the Class 5A
state championship meet, Herzl ran a 2 minute, 26 second time in
her leg of the girls 3,200-meter relay. Herzl said the endurance
required for both sports have gone hand-in-hand through the high
school spring season.
“You cant let people pass you. That mentally goes for both,”
Herzl said. “I think when I do one track practice a week, that
practice really helps a lot with my speed in soccer.”
Kyle Milberg, Rock Canyon
A senior at Rock Canyon High School this coming fall, Kyle
Milberg finally turned a corner in boys swimming when he took the
Class 5A state championship title in the 100-yard backstroke as a
member of the Highlands Ranch co-op swim and dive team. Milberg was
also the state runner-up last season in the 200 individual medley.
In both events, he booked All-American times, but that was no
surprise for him. The swimmer made All-American times in both
events as a sophomore as well. Milberg said his training was key to
the success of his junior season.
“I think just cause I got bigger and older, it helped me,” he
said. “Just a little extra size and training from my club team. …
It’s definitely about the discipline. You have to train a lot and
be committed to the sport. It’s about all the training that goes
into it to be successful.”
Milberg, who has been swimming since the age of 8, has grown up
in a swimming family. He is the son of Rock Canyon girls swim coach
Ruthie Milberg, who helped the Jaguars girls to a state
championship last year, and brother to multiple state champion
Kirsten Milberg. Next season, Milberg expects to go for a second
consecutive state title in the 100-back, but he also may go for the
gold in the 100 butterfly.
Already, the senior has been contacted by several Division I
colleges to swim after graduation, including University of Denver,
Duke, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Harvard. Milberg said he
aspires to be a NCAA national league swimmer.
Kyla Wilkinson, Ponderosa
Kyla Wilkinson saw varsity action with Ponderosa High School
softball her freshman year, but she’s been a starter for the
Mustangs since her sophomore season. An incoming senior this fall,
Wilkinson should assume the team’s leadership role this season with
senior catcher Kelly Flynn. Last year Wilkinson earned first-team
All-Conference honors as a junior and a second-team nod as a
At bat, Wilkinson has consistently been among the team’s top
three hitters. Last high school season, Wilkinson hit .320 by the
end of the year. Her RBIs were down from the year before, but it
wasn’t like she took a dip in performance, said coach Richard
Tabola. Her consistency is her greatest strength.
“She’s been in that mid-to-lower .300 range ever since I’ve
coached her,” Tabola said. “She doesn’t get real rattled. … She’s
good enough to play D-2 or D-3 in college, but I’m not sure that’s
Also, Wilkinson is known for having a solid defensive glove,
making it easy for Tabola to play her at first base. As far as
being a leader, Ponderosa has also had solid senior leadership on
the team, but being Wilkinson’s senior year, Tabola expects her and
Flynn to step up.
“They are the two main seniors coming back and a couple other
girls who may not be starters,” the coach said. “This is something
she needs to do. The team needs it. It’s her time.”
Sean Joyce, Mountain Vista
An incoming senior at Mountain Vista High School, Sean Joyce is
one notable athlete to keep an eye on in the coming season in both
lacrosse and hockey, even though he aspires to play lacrosse at the
collegiate level. Joyce has played with the Golden Eagles’ varsity
team since his sophomore year and earned All-Conference honors as a
In some circles, Joyce has been consistently thought of as one
of the top three defensemen on the Vista squad since his sophomore
season and possible one of the best in the state, helping the
Golden Eagles to its first Douglas County League championship last
season. He was also named the team’s defensive MVP. The senior
plans to hit four — three out of state — lacrosse recruiting camps
this summer with the Mile-Hi All-Star lacrosse team and has already
been contacted by several post-secondary schools.
On the ice, Joyce also serves as a defenseman. He is a
three-year letterman for Vista’s ice hockey team. This year, he was
named team captain and MVP of his CAHA Midget Minor A team which
won a state championship. He’s been playing hockey for 13 years
with Littleton Hockey Association and Mountain Vista
Chris Allen, Valor Christian
Chris Allen has only been playing lacrosse for two years. He
hasn’t been developed from the area’s youth leagues; however, his
rapid growth has already raised the eyebrows of some Division I
collegiate coaches. An incoming senior at Valor Christian High
School, Allen started playing his sophomore year. Last season, as a
junior and the Eagles’ first varsity campaign, he earned first-team
All-Conference honors, as well as nods from Team Colorado 2009, the
Mile-Hi All-Stars 2009, and he made the Adidas All-Star Regional
Denver Team for both 2008 and this year.
David Neely, who used to be the head coach for Heritage High
School’s lacrosse program, said Allen’s jaw-dropping improvement
only underscores his potential to play D-I after graduation.
Allen’s determination to get better is unrivaled. In fact, after
Valor took a loss against Heritage, the team got back to the school
around 10 p.m., where Allen stayed until midnight practicing on
Valor’s turf field without the lights on.
“He has, more so than anything, fallen in love with the sport,”
Neely said. “He’s an extremely gifted athlete agility-wise and
strength-wise, but the bottom line is he just puts in the
Offering a leadership role for the team as well, Allen can be
seen as a defender but playing some long-stick middie as well.
Andrew Loudenback, Chaparral
It’s difficult to say Andrew Loudenback is one of 50 kids to
watch in the next high school football season without mentioning
Christian Gann, who backed up starter Jerry Slotta last season, in
the same breath. Presently, the two are competing for Chaparral
High School’s starting quarterback position. The only reason
Loudenback could be interesting to watch, if he gets to throw in
the Wolverines’ pocket, is he has two years (freshmen and
sophomore) of being a starting quarterback at Ponderosa already
under his belt. Having transferred to the Mustangs cross-town rival
program, Chaparral may prove to have a better system to match the
incoming junior’s strengths.
As a pocket passer, Loudenback has average statistics but he is
maturing and should flourish under the new system, given the
chance. Among a handful of other key players Chaparral football
should have this fall whom have grown up in the Parker Hawks
organization, Loudenback would be one of them.
Wolverines junior receiver Jordan Serena said he has worked with
both quarterbacks already and said both are equally talented and
strong in the pocket.
“Working with both all summer, from my point, they’re both
working very hard,” Serena said. “I don’t see much of a difference
between them, so they are really competing for that spot. Either of
them would be a great quarterback for us. It’ll be interesting to
Dustin Berg, Douglas County
An incoming junior, Dustin Berg and his family have always made
a conscious choice to have him play soccer at Douglas County High
School, even though his club soccer friends are all attending
Mountain Vista. Berg’s ability has been spotlighted in an
instructional skills video “Footibility,” produced by former
Colorado Rapids player Chris Martinez. The video went on to be the
top selling soccer skills video in America two years running.
Mostly a forward for the Huskies and on his club team, Berg
feels his strengths are his quickness and his ball handling
ability. The junior can finish pretty well too. Part of Berg’s
strength during the high school season comes from playing national
talent at the club level.
“Those players give me the chance to do a lot of good stuff
against high school players,” Berg said.
Huskies coach Chad Allen said Berg’s position for his junior
year isn’t yet determined. Although he’s gotten a little bigger
over the years, Berg’s size has forced him to work harder than most
high school age players. It’s the work that makes him unique, Allen
“What makes him unique is, he never takes a break,” Allen said.
“He never relaxes. He’s probably one of the most high-profile
players we’ve had at this school. … By the time Dustin is a senior,
he’ll be a first-team all-state player. We have some pieces in
place, but he’s the main piece.”
Grant Arthurs, Highlands Ranch
Grant Arthurs was instrumental on the Highlands Ranch High
School lacrosse team last year as a sophomore; however, he’s made
heavy contributions to Falcons football. An incoming junior,
Arthurs led the Falcons lacrosse team in goals last season and
finished among the top 20 scorers in the state. He was also among
the top 10 in the state on retrieving ground balls. Last year, he
was honored with first-team All-Conference accolades as a
midfielder after receiving an honorable mention nod his freshman
season. No other Falcons player received first- or second-team
All-Conference honors last year.
On the Falcons’ gridiron, Arthurs serves as an inside linebacker
and was only one of three sophomores at Highlands Ranch to letter
in football last season. This summer, he is the defensive signal
caller on the varsity football squad.
Part of Grant Arthurs’ success in lacrosse could be due to his
twin brother Eric Arthurs, the starting goaltender for the Falcons,
who was second in the state in saves and 16th in save percentage
“It’s one versus the other, and that’s what you need in order to
get better.” Falcons lacrosse coach Matt Thomas said.
50 student athletes to watch - Part 3
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.