Brad Cochi / Staff Photographer
AAron Ontiveroz / THE DENVER POST
Brad Cochi / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — The spring sports season isn’t yet over and this has already been an eventful school year for Jefferson Academy junior Riley Welsch.
In the fall, Welsch won a Class 5A state championship as a starting cornerback on the Pomona football team, for which he is allowed to play because Jefferson Academy does not offer football. In the winter, Welsch thrived in a new role as the Jefferson Academy boys basketball team’s point guard. This spring, he has been nothing short of terrific for a Jaguars lacrosse team that is putting together the best season in the program’s short history.
For a young man that hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy, Welsch appears to be doing some early preparation by proving to himself that he can succeed at a high level throughout a rigorous and regimented year-round schedule of his own design.
So far, he’s been more than up to the task.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” Welsch said. “I wasn’t even supposed to be starting at Pomona and I worked my way up at corner. We worked all the way to a state championship then I came right to basketball and that was crazy too, playing point guard and doing whatever I could to help the team out as much as I could. Now lacrosse season is going great so it really has been a crazy year so far.”
A key component of the Pomona football team’s title run, Welsch made 33 tackles and was second on the team with four interceptions. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound junior also played quarterback during a blowout against Hinkley and registered a 51-yard punt in that game. In the playoffs, Welsch returned an interception for a touchdown that helped Pomona clinch a 42-20 win over Grandview in the semifinals and made four tackles in Pomona’s 56-49 win over Eaglecrest in the championship game.
During basketball season, Welsch led the team with 12.3 points and 7.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Through nine games this spring, Welsch leads the Jaguars lacrosse team with 43 totals points, which included 24 goals and 19 assists and is tied for 13th most in the state.
Welsch also runs track and field and takes AP classes at Jefferson Academy so it’s a wonder he is able to set aside some time for sleep.
“I just work hard every single day,” Welsch said. “Every day I wake up at 5 a.m. and work out. Then I stay up late every night and do homework. That’s how it goes most of the time.”
The Jefferson Academy boys lacrosse team has taken a giant leap forward in its third season with a varsity program after winning a combined four games in its first two seasons. The Jaguars (7-2, 1-2 Pikes Peak) have only lost to top-ranked Dawson and by just two goals to Windsor.
Without players like Welsch leading the way, Jaguars head coach Cory Hughes knows his team likely would now have been able to build towards success as quickly as it has.
“He’s a special player in every sport he seems to play,” Hughes said. “The thing that I’m most proud of Riley for this year is his maturity. He’s grown up a lot and his maturity on and off the field has surpassed anything that, as a coach, I could have hoped for. It’s made him a better lacrosse player, a better teammate and a better overall person. His future as a player and a young man is endless.”