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Lyons wrestling, Jefferson Academy hoops among leading winter storylines so far

Looking ahead to first week of 2020 preps action

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Lyons’ David Gardner, seen here competing at the state tournament in February of 2019, has worked his way to a pair of top-three invitational placings already this season.
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While it has been a light schedule for the Lyons wrestling team with just four events having been completed, the Lions are making their mark in the Class 2A ranks and appear to be on the rise heading into a treacherous schedule that greets them in January 2020.

Jumping into the top five of the CHSAANow.com/On the Mat rankings on Friday, the Lions will have a chance to really come out aggressive next Saturday, when they’re scheduled to be part of the annual Gary Daum Classic at Niwot.

Along with the Boulder County Invitational swimming event next Saturday, the Daum presents one of the bigger things to look forward to as prep sports returns to action. But no matter what the playing surface, the short week will set the tone for a lot of different teams and players.

Here’s a look at a few things to watch for:

Huffin’ and puffin’

As previously mentioned, the Lyons wrestling team has three tournaments and one dual match to its credit so far this season, but already a number of individuals have put themselves on the radar. Oran Huff is undefeated so far at 126 pounds with 10 pins to his credit; 106-pounder Hunter Powell finished off strong at the Maverick Duals; and David Gardner has a second place (Mike Stanley Invite), a third place (Limon Badger Invite) and a 13-2 record at 145s. Karson Bean has not lost yet at 182 pounds, a perfect 7-0 with five falls.

The Lions will be a small fish in a much bigger pond at the Gary Daum, with a mix of 5A and 4A schools predominantly making up the list of teams. Included are Boulder, Erie, Frederick, Holy Family, Longmont, Monarch (Class 5A No. 7), Niwot, Silver Creek and Skyline. Thompson Valley, 4A’s No. 9 ranked squad, will also be present.

BoCo buoyed by Fairview once again

The Fairview swim team may be headed by a new coach, but don’t think the Knights have ultimately changed any of their goals. Bob Smartt had the Boulder County Invitational as one of his three must-win meets — the others being the Coaches Invite and the state championships.

Some excellent swimmers dot rosters all across the area, even the newest team at Holy Family. Current times are essentially moot at this point in the season because of various training regimens and club meets taking their toll on the high school scene, but MaxPreps figures show Fairview has the state’s second-fastest 200 medley relay, third-fastest 200 free relay and third-fastest 400 free relay.

The Knights may still toy with relay lineups at the BoCo meet, but depth has always been something no other area team can compete with.

Looking at some of the individual placements state-wide thus far, Niwot’s Mary Codevilla has the fastest 200 free time in Colorado (1 minute, 50.78 seconds) and second-fastest 100 breaststroke time (1:03.16); Legacy’s Sabrina Rachjaibun has the second-fastest 200 individual medley time (2:03.78); Fairview’s Edith Simecek has the second-fastest 100 butterfly (55.04); Monarch’s Katey Lewicki is second in the backstroke (55.80).

Many of those swimmers will be on display at the VMAC next Saturday.

Looking Sharp(ley)

Somehow, some way, longtime coach Mark Sharpley is putting Jefferson Academy’s basketball programs on his back — both boys and girls teams — and they have performed spectacularly thus far. The boys squad is 7-0 and has Elian Soto rocking the rim, while the girls team has made significant strides this season and is currently 4-2.

Soto scored 38 points in the Jaguars’ most recent win and is among the state’s leaders with a 25.0 scoring average in his senior season. The boys will not get the opportunity to take the court again until Jan. 8, but there’s no doubt Sharpley is hoping Soto’s hot hand somehow survives the lengthy break.

As far as the girls, who play Standley Lake next Saturday, Sharpley has done wonders in getting the girls up and down the court and playing at a good tempo. They are averaging 50 points a game, with three seniors (Rachel Moreno, Lily Thimsen and Brooklyn Kirkpatrick) and a sophomore (Jordan Neely) leading the way. Moreno and Thimsen in particular are headed towards career bests in scoring.

Coyote call

Monarch’s hockey team ended the first part of the season on a sour note, as Valor blanked the Coyotes 3-0 on Dec. 21 — this coming after MoHi had outscored its previous opponents 29-3. However, the rude awakening is long gone, and the Sports Stable should be rocking next Saturday night as Monarch hosts Cherry Creek in the first of two regular season meetings.

The Bruins were ranked No. 7 when the last CHSAANow.com polls were released and drew two ties thereafter. They own a win over Valor, though, and the history between the two programs that will be on the ice next Saturday is certainly intriguing.