All the hard work and the grind of the regular season was all a prelude to the state tournament.
On Sunday, 13 BoCo area teams learned their fate when the CHSAA released the four girls state tournament brackets.
Starting in Class 5A and the reward for winning arguably the states best league, the Front Range, is the No. 2 overall seed for the Broomfield Eagles.
Coach Jim Davidson's teams always seem to hit their peak come postseason time and this crew should be no different. The Eagles (14-0-1), should they continue to win, will host the first three rounds of the tournament which opens on Tuesday evening against the No. 31-seed Legend. Looming in the second round for the Eagles could be a rematch with Fossil Ridge — the only team but a blemish on their otherwise spotless record with a 3-3 tie last month.
The day-in day-out challenge of every match of the Front Range allowed the league to get eight teams into the 32-team bracket, and perhaps no quadrant is more stacked than Quadrant 1.
Not only does the top overall seed, Grandview, loom at the top, but there are three FRL teams represented.
Boulder is the No. 17 seed, just missing a chance to host in the first round, and will have to travel to No. 16 Grand Junction on Tuesday for a date with the Tigers. If they were to advance, Grandview would be waiting in Round 2.
On the bottom half Quadrant 1 is No. 9 Fairview, who opens with No. 24 Ralston Valley. Should form hold, the Knights would travel to Fort Collins on Friday for a rematch — one week removed — with No. 8 Rocky Mountain, a team they just beat 2-0.
"It's not a great draw for us in the sense we have to turn right back around and (potentially) play Rocky Mountain again and then the No. 1 seed if we are fortunate enough to get through that," Fairview coach Jeff Frykholm said. "We played some of our best soccer against Rocky Mountain and I think it is a question now of them having to adjust to us as opposed to the reverse.
"We derived a lot of confidence coming out of that and we know we as good as anybody in the state."
In Quadrant 3, No. 21 Monarch will travel to defending state runners-up Arapahoe in the first round and No. 13 Legacy will host Heritage at North Stadium.
Moving to Class 4A, where the story of the season might be the sudden resurgence of the Tri-Valley League.
The TVL not only produced the No. 1 overall seed in the 4A tournament, Windsor, but also five total teams, including No. 3 seed Holy Family.
The Tigers on the strength of their early season success against a tough schedule never wavered from their spot near the top of the RPI and were thus rewarded for it with their seeding. Holy Family will host No. 30 Elizabeth on Wednesday.
The rest of the league will travel, including No. 21 Skyline at Ponderosa, No. 26 Erie at Evergreen and No. 23 Mead at Wheat Ridge.
The Northern League produced two top 10 seeds.
Rob Johnson's league champion Silver Creek Raptors are the No. 5 overall seed and will play host to No. 28 Palisade and No. 9 Niwot will welcome in No. 24 Lewis-Palmer.
In Class 3A, Jefferson Academy earned the top overall seed and with it, a first round bye.
The Jaguars will open their tournament at home on Saturday against the winner of the Florence at Peak to Peak match, set for Wednesday in Lafayette. The Pumas held their own in the Metro League and despite their 7-7-1 overall record, had a higher RPI rating and will host the 12-3 Huskies.
Finally in Class 2A, Dawson steam-rolled their 2A competition all season long and also earned the No. 1 overall seed. The Mustangs will also have a first round bye on Tuesday and will play the winner of the Ridgway/Cornerstone Christian match on Friday afternoon.
First round state tournament games (local teams only)
Class 5A, Tuesday (Times TBD)
(17) Boulder (9-5-1) at (16) Grand Junction (10-4-1)
(24) Ralston Valley (7-8) at (9) Fairview (12-2-1)
(21) Monarch (8-6-1) at (12) Arapahoe (11-3-1)
(20) Heritage (6-6-3) at (13) Legacy (11-4)
(31) Legend (6-6-3) at (2) Broomfield (14-0-1)
Class 4A, Wednesday (Times TBD)
(24) Lewis-Palmer (8-5-2) at (9) Niwot (10-4-1)
(28) Palisade (8-5-2) at (5) Silver Creek (13-0-2)
(21) Skyline (9-6) at (12) Ponderosa (11-4)
(30) Elizabeth (11-4) at (3) Holy Family (9-4-1)
(26) Erie (9-5-1) at (7) Evergreen (10-5)
(23) Mead (10-5) at (10) Wheat Ridge (10-5)
Class 3A, Wednesday (Times TBD)
(1) Jefferson Academy (12-2-1), bye
(17) Florence (12-3) at (16) Peak to Peak (7-7-1)
Class 2A, Tuesday (Times TBD)
(1) Dawson School (13-2), bye
(Will host winner of Ridgway/Cornerstone Christian in quarterfinals on Friday)