PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gavyn Pure, Jr., Dawson: After two stellar seasons to start his prep career, everyone is watching to see what he will do after putting up 128 points last season.
Eli Haynes, Sr., Boulder: Last season's second leading point-scorer, he will face the challenge of filling some big shoes left by graduated senior and All-American Connor Fox.
Colton Campbell, Sr., Fairview: His team's highest returning points leader from last season, the senior will lead the Knights' attack in 2017.
Kyle Sudol, Sr., Dawson: One of the state's top face-off specialist and do-it-all guys, he returns as a versatile force for the Mustangs.
Danny Kowalski, Sr., Monarch: Last year's best long stick midfielder in the Front Range League, expect him to be a force all over the field yet again in 2017.
Sammer Ziady, Sr., Monarch: One of the top defenders in the state, he'll be called upon to lead the Coyotes in a number of ways in 2017.
Boys and girls state qualifiers will be determined by May 6, with the first round of the state tournament to be completed by May 10. The girls Final Four will begin May 20 at the University of Denver, with the state championship game to be play on May 24. The boys state semifinals will be play at Legacy Stadium on May 17, with the championship game scheduled for May 19 at Mile High.
BOYS TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOK
Coach: Eric Dance (first year)
Last year: 8-7.
Returning starters: Christian Adams (So., M); Sage Banashek (Sr., A); Nate Booth (Jr., D); Ryan Bullock (Sr., D); Timmy Dolan (Jr., M); Boe Gold (Sr., M); Eli Haynes (Sr., A); Connor Thorton (Jr., G); Ben Warn (So., D).
Others to watch: Ish Bouchta (Sr., M); Matt Fete (Jr., M); Jack Roser (Jr., A).
Outlook: At 8-7 last season, the Panthers produced their first winning season in a couple of years and they expect to build on that success in 2017. First-year head coach Eric Dance said the biggest difference that will help them accomplish that goal is that this year's players have put in more offseason work and are playing better as a team.
DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS
Coach: Peter Devlin (7th year)
Last year: 17-2. Lost in 4A state championship game.
Returning starters: Aidan Abram (So., D); Sage Gardner (So., D); Andrew Lanham (Sr., LSM); Gavyn Pure (Jr., A); Jack Shams (Sr., M); Kyle Sudol (Sr., M); Hunter Watts (Jr., A); Mac Zee (Sr., M).
Others to watch: Jackson Keener (So., M); Colin Petersen (Sr., M); Asher Walker (Jr., M).
Outlook: The Mustangs return 20 out of 28 players from last year's team that lost in the championship game by just a goal. Still, the team must fill a few large holes left by graduated seniors with talented young players. As it has been for several years, Dawson's goal is to advance deep into the playoffs and a challenging out-of-conference schedule should prepare the club well for the tough road ahead.
Coach: Matthew Kelley (2nd year)
Last year: 3-12.
Returning starters: Colton Campbell (Sr., A); Nick D'Esposito (Sr., D); Roland Moellenberg (Sr., D); Zach Ramirez (Sr., M); Jake Sheerin (Jr., M).
Others to watch: Tommy Hoag (Sr., LSM); Cole Teegarden (So., LSM).
Outlook: The Knights graduated 22 seniors following last year's three-win campaign, which makes this season a rebuilding project. But with solid leadership and a committed player base, the Knights are optimistic about what they may be able to construct in the program's second year under head coach Matt Kelley. Led by Campbell, who was fourth on the team in points last season, the Knights are expecting a number of young players to bolster their ranks.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Cory Hughes (2nd season)
Last year: 1-7.
Returning starters: Aron Baugh (So., D); Jacob Cardenas (So., LSM); Jonah Delisa (So., D); Nick Hoch (So., G); Christian Lindeman (So., A); Tyler Phelps (So., M); Ryan Reffel (So., M); Riley Welsch (So., M).
Others to watch: Will Dilullo (So., M); Nick Gardner (So., A); Lukas Klarich (So., A); Ethan Kupka (So., A); Hunter Rodman (So., A).
Outlook: After getting its feet wet in 2016, this second-year program is ready to dive in the Northern Conference play and is determined to compete for a playoff spot this season. It's a young group but head coach Cory Hughes has confidence in his talent pool and says the team expects to compete with every opponent it faces this season now that the Jaguars have set a foundation for the program to grow.
Coach: David Auday (17th year)
Last year: 14-3. Lost in 5A Elite Eight.
Returning starters: Jared Hodell (Jr., M); Danny Kowalski (Sr., LSM); Sammer Ziady (Sr., D).
Others to watch: Ty Bradley (Jr., M); Charlie Gifford (Sr., M); Travis Hitt (So., A); Griphen Jolly (So., A); Christian Mueller (Sr., M); Ian Rule (Jr., D); Drew Tausan (So., A).
Outlook: Although the Coyotes lost 80 percent of last season's goal-scoring, they do return 16 varsity players with a ton of experience. They feel like they've put the time in, move the ball with great skill and play aggressive defense. The Coyotes are changing it up this year and traveling to a new spring break destination in Arizona, and as lacrosse continues to grow and become more and more competitive, they expect their on-field IQ to help them win a number of close games this season.
GIRLS TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOK
Coach: Todd Breithaupt (2nd year)
Last year: 5-8.
Returning starters: Sage Ali (Sr., M); Campbell Breithaupt (Jr., A); Sarah Casey (Jr., M); Mayzie Moore (Sr., D); Morgan Pittser (Sr., G); Delaney Pratt (Jr., A); Carrollyn Rice (Sr., D); Kendall Werkmeister (Jr., D); Avery Westfall (So., D).
Others to watch: Kyra Barnes (So., M); Kolbi Dietmeier (So., M); Catherine Klemp (Jr., D); Ariana O'Brien (So., M); Tasha Ragland (So., M); Claire Rice (Sr, A) Claire Sullivan (Jr., A).
Outlook: Optimism, accountability and teamwork reign supreme for the 2017 Warriors, according to second-year head coach Todd Breithaupt. After having three coaches in as many seasons, the program is excited to have 100 percent of last year's coaching staff returning this year. Last year's transitional campaign allowed the Warriors to play a number of girls who return in 2017 and are ready and focused on earning significant playing time this season.
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