Oh, 2011. How did south metro love thee? Let it recount the ways. No surprise, prep sports teams and athletes from area schools have plenty to look …
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Oh, 2011. How did south metro love thee? Let it recount the
No surprise, prep sports teams and athletes from area schools
have plenty to look back on from the calendar year of 2011. There
also were plenty of highlights in local sports outside the realm of
Between the winter post-season, the spring season, summer events
and an exciting fall, almost every month of 2011 leading up to New
Year’s Eve was memorable for sports fans in the area.
At the Pepsi Center last February, Castle View High School’s
Chris Frisbie won his school’s first individual wrestling state
championship at 215 pounds. He was one of two Sabercats state
finalists, the other being Gus Marker, who took silver at 189.
Frisbie, a junior last season, brought home the gold medal after an
exciting 6-5 decision over Coronado senior Jared Rieck.
“I couldn’t believe I actually won,” he said. “This never
happens. I feel great now. There’s no better feeling in the
The high school version of March madness included the
Continental League once again with three girls hoops teams in the
Final Four of the Class 5A state championship playoffs. However, it
was Highlands Ranch that was able to rise to the top for a seventh
state championship for the program. The Falcons won the
championship over Regis in the finals.
Having met Regis earlier in the season during Continental
action, Ranch post a 20-point win over the Raiders. Earlier in the
finals game, Regis came ready to play and stayed close to the
Falcons in the score. However, Ranch’s reasons for getting back to
Boulder came out once again and the Falcons consistently pulled
away from the Raiders in the second half.
Ranch junior Michaela Neuhaus said the difference between the
last meeting with Regis and the finals game was simply being the
state championship showdown.
“Both teams obviously wanted it really well. We had to come out
and work a lot harder this time,” said Neuhaus, who finished with
16 points, including four buckets from outside the perimeter.
This playoff run for the Ranch was reminiscent of the Falcons’
2008 state championship, when they beat ThunderRidge in the
semifinals, like they did again this season, and defeated Regis for
the championship as well.
For the spring post-season, area teams were busy creating
highlights. One such highlight was Mountain Vista girls soccer
winning the second Class 5A state championship in its history. The
championship finals weren’t easy for the Golden Eagles at first,
but eventually, as they had with every opponent through the season,
they figured out which pegs go into which holes to defeat Dakota
Ridge in the last game of the year.
Just over 15 minutes past the half, Vista’s Gabby Miranda, a
sophomore midfielder, drilled a long ball from nearly 35-yards out
into the corner of Ridge’s goal to tie the game at 1.
“I was in shock,” Miranda said. “We had been struggling all game
(until then). ... I’ve never worked so hard in my life.”
With almost five minutes remaining, senior Bri Pugh, who’d
failed to find the back of the net in the first half, finally
tucked one in the left corner of the goal, assisted by Tailor
Smith. Less than a minute later, Kortney Hix capitalized on a
bounce that went over the head of Dakota Ridge goalkeeper Haley
Millhollan for the nail-in-the-coffin goal. Jenna Owens was
credited with an assist.
“We couldn’t do our usual through balls,” Pugh said. “Once we
got them figured out, we got it like we have all season pretty
In the Class 4A championship finals, Valor Christian girls
soccer was able to improve its season finish as the runner-up the
two seasons previous for the school’s first soccer championship
over two-time defending champ Wheat Ridge 1-0.
“We’ve always tried to bring our A-game since that championship
game in 2009,” then-junior forward Meg Gegen said. “The commitment
and attitude of all the players has been a huge difference [from
the 2009 team]. We play as a team and are more unified. Our
chemistry is way better than last time.”
In the 5A baseball state playoffs, Highlands Ranch made an
exciting run to the state semifinals. Regis hit two RBI home runs
in the bottom of the fourth inning during the Falcons’ semifinals
game of the state series against the Raiders. Ranch pitcher Ryan
Burr scorched the mound until having to sit in the fifth inning.
Ranch had a five-run showing in the top of the second, but the
Raiders fought back to win 12-9 to send the Falcons home for the
In that semifinals game, Burr finished with seven strikeouts in
four innings before Tony Audino was brought in as relief.
At the state track and field championships, Arapahoe’s Connor
Winter, who has since graduated, repeated his junior year winning
three gold medals in the distance track events with first-place
finishes in the same events as a senior. The revisited trifecta
from Winter helped the Warriors boys team to a second-place finish
among 5A competitors.
Winter took the boys 800-meter run’s gold medal with a time of 1
minute, 53.23 seconds. He also added another 1,600-meter run title
with 4:19.74. And he won the 3,200 with 9:15.51 on the clock. But
Winter wasn’t the only Warrior to bring home hardware. Senior Taryn
Phipps took the silver medal in the girls 400-meter dash with a
time of 56.60. She was fifth in the 800 run, helping the Warriors
girls to a second-place finish as well.
On the links, Valor Christian girls golfer Lindsey McGetrick
finished her third year of Class 4A state championship
qualification with the individual title. This time at state, the
Eagle had the experience and confidence to bring in some lower
scores, Eagles coach SaraAnne McGetrick said.
“Lindsay has always had a fundamentally sound swing, but this
year, her short game really improved and helped her shoot some
lower scores. She worked very hard during the season,” coach
Lindsey McGetrick won the championship after shooting a
5-under-par 137. She was the only 4A golfer to shoot under par at
The downtown streets of Castle Rock were shut down for a series
of fast-flying cycling races. June 4 marked the newest addition to
the annual Elephant Rock cycling festival, the 2011 Subaru E-Rock
Twilight Criterium, a series of amateur and professional races,
which lasted between 40 and 75 minutes, from morning to
For the races, almost one mile of downtown roadway was closed
off, as well as nearby streets to access the course, to the public.
With public safety, American Cycling Association officials,
volunteers and hundreds of cycling sprinters on hand, the first
year of the criterium was only missing spectators. Only a handful
of on-lookers were present for the start of the races, which grew
in numbers later in the day.
“The toughest thing was getting the course agreed upon,” said
Dan Mieszala, a volunteer with Colorado Bike Law who served as race
director. “We wanted to have the least amount of impact to
surrounding businesses and still challenge the riders. ... There is
still one-block access to all downtown business, and the riders
seem to like the course.”
A collection of Mountain Vista runners in the 5A cross country
state championship race this year equaled a second-place finish for
the Golden Eagles team. Leading Vista was senior Stephen Chipman,
who took 11th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 30.79 seconds.
Just behind him was sophomore Andrew Walton in 12th place. Junior
Eric Steiner was 26th overall, and senior Mark Currie was next in
at 28th. The team came in at 107 points, 12 points behind Fort
Collins, which won the boys title once again.
Mountain Vista’s girls team had almost the same success in their
5A race, coming in third. Leading the Golden Eagles was junior
Karlee Schwartzkopf with a time of 19:30.50 to place 13th
After two seasons of third place, Hayden Sabatka, a junior at
Highlands Ranch High School, had enough of his 5A state tennis
championship finishes at No. 1 singles. This year, he shoved his
way into the state finals against Grand Junction’s Spencer
Weinberg, also a junior, and Sabatka won his first state title in
two sets. Sabatka hadn’t dropped a set in the entire
“I just tried to play my game and be real aggressive with my
forehand and come to the net whenever I could,” Sabatka said. “I
lost that first game, but from there I was just very fluent with my
Both Rock Canyon and Ponderosa’s softball teams had exciting
moments at the 5A state championship tournament this year. Rock
Canyon finished on the better end of a 10-inning marathon win over
Fountain-Fort Carson 4-1 in the first round. This year, the Jags
had something to prove, despite the runner-up finish the season
“Everyone thought we made it last year because of our pitcher
[White],” junior Alli McClosky said. “There were eight others on
that team, so we felt we owed it to ourselves to make it back to
McClosky’s game-winning homer in the 10th inning advanced the
Jags to the next round of the tournament, where Canyon finished
among the top four teams.
Ponderosa also found itself on the better end of an extra-inning
donnybrook in the first round. After nine innings, the Mustangs
defeated Rocky Mountain 1-0 when the Pondo’s Koo Maes was brought
across the plate by a single from April Hansen, despite Rocky
Mountain being one out away from heading back to the plate.
In the bottom of the inning, the Lobos loaded the bases with no
outs, but senior pitcher Shanna Christian held fast on the mound
like she did all nine innings. Christian pitched six innings
against Loveland and had nine strikeouts and four earned runs.
In boys golf, Valor Christian's Wyndam Clark was the Class 4A
state individual champion. At the state tourney at Pelican Lakes
Golf Club in Windsor, he helped the Eagles to a runner-up
Clark shot a 16-under-par 128. He recorded six birdies in the
first round and an eagle. In the second round, he had six birdies
and an eagle once again. He shot par on everything else between the
two days of the tournament.
November this year could possibly rival May as one of the most
exciting months for high school sports in the area. Heritage High
School boys soccer entered the 5A state championship playoffs as
the No. 24 seed but out-lived the seeding process to make an
appearance in the finals. Although the Eagles finished as the
state’s runner-up, they managed to take down No. 1 seed and
defending title holder Cherry Creek 2-1 after 90 seconds of
overtime in the championship quarterfinals.
A minute and a half into overtime, the game winning goal came
for the Eagles from John Bruno. Composure is what Buseck feels won
that crucial quarterfinals game.
“We have played a lot of tough teams, and our record shows we
lost to a lot of those,” Heritage coach Adam Buseck said. “Our guys
were composed because of it. They made clean passes and stayed
calm. Being composed and calm was a big part of it.
“The guys have been good all year, and we expected to be to this
point all year. We’ve had some doubts at times but we have believed
we were going to get there.”
Chaparral volleyball set a new benchmark for its program this
season with a 31-0 overall record, including its second consecutive
5A state championship. At the state tournament, the Wolverines,
albeit they had some close ones, didn’t lose a single match.
This second championship season not only marked the Wolverines’
first ever undefeated season, it also marked the first undefeated
team for coach T.R. Ellis in her 33 years of coaching volleyball,
15 of which have been with the Wolverines. Ellis said this second
championship team operated like a close-knit family, the basis of
the program’s theme this season, but also as an extension of last
year’s title-winning team.
“This team just matched that feeling,” the coach said. “You
never get used to it. It’s such a magical fun moment. ... These
players make this team, and I’ve been blessed with some amazing
talented players who have built it up together.”
Also in Parker, Lutheran High School followed up its 2010 2A
volleyball state-qualifying season with the schools first
championship title ever. The team earned the first state title in
school history, having won a 3-0 battle over Akron, the No. 2 seed,
in the finals.
Outside the CHSAA system, Castle Rock girls rugby also finished
its season as the state runner up after a mostly-dominating
schedule. In the state’s Division I finals, Castle Rock faced
Summit but lost the championship 27-0.
“Our team was prepared and more pumped up than I have ever seen
them,” All-State selection Hailey Howell said. “Of course it is
always a great game when we play Summit, and the outcome wasn’t
what we wanted. You want the No. 1 spot and that is what pushes
Valor Christian football did once again what its been built for,
win a state championship. The Eagles won their third consecutive
state title and second in Class 4A the first weekend of December
after a 66-10 trouncing of Pine Creek.
Valor walked away from Sports Authority Field at Mile High with
a 24-game win streak, stretching back to its 2010 campaign, and its
South Metro League and state championships.
“We accomplished everything we set out to do,” Valor senior wide
receiver Stephen Miller said. “We have to credit our coaches. The
are the best out there. It’s been a great season.”
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