Monarch's Andrew Barlow, the reigning 5A state champion in the pole vault, has signed with Cornell.
CLIFF GRASMICK
Monarch’s Andrew Barlow, the reigning 5A state champion in the pole vault, has signed with Cornell.

Perhaps no prep athlete’s stock skyrocketed more rapidly than Andrew Barlow’s last year.

The Monarch then-junior went from a solid, relatively unknown pole vault specialist to a Class 5A state champion — by a long shot. Barlow fully reaped the fruits of his meteoric rise on Wednesday, when he officially signed with Cornell.

Barlow, among five Monarch athletes to sign Wednesday, locked up the state championship in May with a jump of 15 feet, 6 inches. That was a personal best by two inches. With adrenaline running high, he soon shattered his own mark by clearing 16 feet, an achievement he had never previously attempted.

“State definitely helped with my recruiting process, just because I won and I put up that 16-foot mark,” Barlow said. “I think that 16-foot mark was a big step for recruiting, because you’re a little bit bigger to the colleges.”

He has already elevated to 16 feet, 6.5 inches this spring, a mark he achieved at the Longmont Invitational. But he’s not done yet. He’s cautiously eyeing the state record of 17-7.5 and the state meet record of 17-3.

“That’s the dream,” said Barlow, who also qualified for state as a sophomore but finished in a five-way tie for 10th place. “Right now my main goal is just getting over 17 feet, and I think I can definitely achieve that by the end of the season.”

Additional signees for the Coyotes were girls soccer goalie Kaylee Mickens (Fort Lewis), volleyball standouts Jessy Hibl (Black Hills State) and Libby Bell (Fairleigh Dickinson) and cross country/track athlete Tyger Roch (American).

Mickens is a key part of an on-the-rise Coyotes soccer program that recently graduated Cassie Owens, who was the only freshman starter for the Florida Gators this season. Monarch also has Villanova-bound junior defender Kristin Barbour in the fold.

Hibl and Bell combined to average 4.3 kills per set for a Monarch volleyball squad that improved from 5-18 in 2013 to 13-12 in the fall. Roch, a distance specialist, was part of Monarch’s school-record 7:58.67 performance in the 3,200 relay last season.

Peak to Peak also had four athletes represented on spring Signing Day, including a distance specialist of their own. That would be Dallas Frisbie, who will be moving on to Colorado Mines for cross country and track. Frisbie finished fifth in the Class 3A girls state cross country race in October and is part of an excelling Pumas girls track squad this spring.

“I was looking into their engineering and pre-med programs, so Mines was definitely on my list before they even wanted me to run,” Frisbie said. “I went for a visit and everyone was phenomenal. They said everything I needed to hear. They’re looking to build up their mid-distance program and I’m hoping to help them out there.”

Frisbie will join classmate Katharine Kia at Mines. Kia’s high-scoring basketball season has been well documented, a senior year in which she averaged 19.7 points and set a school record with a 36-point game against Colorado Academy. That performance included seven 3-pointers.

In addition, Pumas left-handed pitcher Nick Kakavas made it official with Otero Junior College. Kakavas has started the spring with a 5-1 record and an 0.95 ERA. He has struck out 59 batters in just under 37 innings.

“They just have a really good program going,” said Kakavas, who chose Otero over Central Arizona and Georgia Highlands. “They’re moving on a lot of kids to four-year schools and they’re developing really good players.”

Also at Peak to Peak, swimmer Elizabeth Peterson signed to swim at Cal Poly. Peterson is better known as a Broomfield athlete because she swims for the Eagles. Peak to Peak does not have a swimming team.

Paul Willis: willisp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/PaulWillis21