PLAYERS TO WATCH
Quinn Carrigan, Sr., Fairview: The team's highest-scoring returning player, Fairview will be counting on his production.
Connor Fox, Sr., Boulder: Committed to play for Georgetown next season, the returning Denver Post 5A all-state player will lead the Panthers again in 2016.
Chad Kreuzer, Sr., Monarch: A ridiculous 68 goals and 39 assists came from his stick in 2015 and that added up to 107-point totals, which was second best statewide and enough to earn him BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year honors.
Gavyn Pure, So., Dawson: His team-leading 102 points (47 goals, 55 assists) as a freshman last season were good enough for the fifth-best total in the state.
Wyatt Watts, Sr., Dawson: A big, strong player who is hard to stop when he gets going, he's also one of four strong captains on the preseason No. 1 team in 4A.
Riley Welsh, Fr., Jefferson Academy: Had a good showing in the Jaguars' first-ever game and figures to be a factor in their success for years to come.
Derek Coleman, Sr., Monarch: A Denver Post all-state honorable mention last season, he returns to anchor the Coyotes defense.
All regular season competition must be completed by May 7, with the 4A first round to be completed by May 10 and the 5A first round to be completed by May 11. The semifinals for both classifications will be held May 18 with the championships to follow May 20 at Sports Authority Field.
Coach: Collin Knowles (third season).
Last year: 4-11.
Returning starters: Ira Ah (Jr., LSM); Sage Banashek (Jr., M); Connor Fox (Sr., A); Boe Gold (Jr., A); Eli Haynes (Jr., A); Cleveland McCarty (Sr., D).
Others to watch: Liam Lewis (Sr., M); Connor Thornton (So., GK); Ben Warn (Fr., D).
Outlook: The Panthers have some good senior leadership in a pair of captains - Fox and McCarty - who are both four-year varsity players. After a four-win season a year ago, they would love to compete for a Front Range League title and show well against the other teams in the Boulder area. They're hoping a Spring Break trip to Tampa, Fla., will help get them ready for the rest of the season.
Coach: Peter Devlin (sixth season).
Last year: 11-7; lost to Aspen in the semifinal round of the 4A state tournament.
Returning starters: Chad Dunnell (Sr., GK); Andrew Lanham (Jr., M); Gavyn Pure (So., A); Jesse Rosenblatt (Sr., A); Jack Shams (So., M); Kyle Sudol (Jr., M); Wyatt Watts (Sr., M).
Others to watch: Aidan Abrams (Sr., D); Sage Gardner (Fr., D); Will Rosenblatt (Fr., LSM); Hunter Watts (So., A); Mac Zee (Jr., M).
Outlook: The Mustangs went all the way to the Final Four last season for the first time ever and they're hoping to build on that momentum. While the team graduated last year's stud Chase Brown, it also returns a pair of Colorado's top point-scorers in Pure and Rosenblatt and enters the season ranked No. 1 in the CHSAA poll. If they can fill in effectively at the defensive end, the Mustangs could be primed for a big 2016 season.
Coach: Matthew Kelley (first season).
Last year: 5-10.
Returning starters: Quinn Carrigan (Sr., A); Nick D'Esposito (Jr., D); Roland Mollenberg (Jr., D); Daniel Rahn (Sr., M); Mason Ryan (Sr., LSM).
Others to watch: Austin Bush (Sr., D).
Outlook: The Knights are getting a new coach this season in Matthew Kelley, who spent the past four years as an assistant coach at Dawson and 12 years as Boulder's head coach before that. The program is also in the midst of a rebuilding process but still expects to improve on last year's record despite playing in a tough league.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Cory Hughes (first season).
Last year: This will be the Jaguars' first season.
Returning starters: None.
Others to watch: Zach Rimbas (Fr., D); Tyler Roberts (Jr., A); Riley Welsh (Fr., M).
Outlook: Jumping right into the program's first season, the Jaguars are young but many have played youth lacrosse and bring a level of experience and knowledge that has surprised first-year coach Cory Hughes. The Jaguars, who have players from Legacy, Broomfield and other area schools, won their first-ever game, 9-3 over Green Mountain on Saturday. Hughes played at Colorado State University and was the defensive coach at Columbine in 2014.
Coach: David Auday (15th season).
Last year: 13-4; lost to Regis Jesuit in the quarterfinal round of the 5A state tournament.
Returning starters: Derek Coleman (Sr., D); Danny Kowalski (Jr., LSM); Chad Kreuzer (Sr., M); Brock Tausan (Sr., A); Ben Terry (Sr., M); Sammer Ziady (Jr., D); Andrew Zweirs (Sr., A).
Others to watch: Brendan Collison (Sr., D); Skylar Guess (Sr., D); Jared Hodell (So., M); Ethan Makender (Sr., M); Christian Mueller (Jr., M); Jackson Rose (So., A); Andrew Winans (Sr., GK).
Outlook: Coach Auday feels the Front Range League is the best in the state from top to bottom and to prepare for the conference gauntlet, the Coyotes have scheduled three in-state teams from last year's Elite Eight and will travel to face some tough out-of-state competition in San Diego. The Coyotes themselves enter the season ranked sixth in the CHSAA poll, so they have a good shot at another deep tournament run.
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