It’s early May, and in far more normal circumstances the only thing that would likely place a halt on spring sports is Colorado’s moody weather spats.
Whether it’s the track, the diamond, the grassy field or inside in the pool, the coming weeks are typically reserved as something of a beginning to an end. The last gasp before the conclusion of another high school sports calendar, this was supposed to be a final hoorah for the Class of 2020.
Supposed to be. But these times are masked a bit different. The grasping wreckage of the coronavirus has since seized spring sports at the college and high school levels, leaving no finality on the field. Meanwhile, athletes, parents and coaches are left only to wonder to what could have been.
Below are a few things we had hoped to see from area’s teams and athletes this season. (Our list will be updated in the weeks ahead).
Celebrating goals in girls soccer
Not too many keepers had an answer for Dawson girls soccer player Degen Miller, who scored 31 times and assisted on 17 others last season as she led the Mustangs to the 2A state title game. Though she had made an initial commitment to DA soccer that may have kept her off the playing surface for the Mustangs as a junior, she was on pace for more than 100 career goals with 56 through two seasons (just 22 games). Wherever she’d have been this spring, goal celebrations would’ve surely ensued.
Seniors Alexa Karsel of Silver Creek (a student at Lyons), Mallory Mooney of Broomfield and Peak to Peak’s Iris Zhang were scheduled to put up huge numbers again, too. Karsel had 25 goals last spring while leading the Raptors to the 4A semifinals. Mooney, the BoCoPreps.com player of the year, and Zhang, each had 22.
… and those who put a stop to them
Jefferson Academy goalie Brooklynn Kirkpatrick had 14 shutouts as a junior last season. Only two teams scored more than once with her in net. Her sister, Allie Jo, was set to join the team as a freshman.
Defending titles on the tennis court
Going for another team title would’ve looked far different for Peak to Peak, which won 3A the past two seasons before graduating No. 1 and 2 singles champs Trisha and Trini Somasundaram. And it’d likely been changed circumstances for Fairview’s Alexis Bernthal, too. As a junior, she had a chance to move up from 5A No. 2 singles champ to team ace predicated on her return. Last spring, she didn’t drop a single set.
… and those looking to edge in
Niwot won the 4A title in 2018 before finishing second to Cheyenne Mountain last spring. The Cougars were expected to be without ace Lucy Lu, who won the No. 1 singles title last year, but they were set to contend with nice contingent of young talent. Dawson would have been up near the top, too. The Mustangs, who took third for a second time in three years in 3A, also would have been strong as they were slated to bring back all three of their 2019 singles players in Bridget Bell, Aria Barbour and Alexis Gilio. Elsewhere, No. 1 players like Lily Chitambar of Boulder would have been on watch, too, if she indeed returned. As a freshman, she finished fourth at the 5A state tournament.
Taking one more step on the diamond
Silver Creek was a win away from claiming the 4A title last spring. The Raptors would’ve been without Spencer Rich and his seven 2019 homers, as well as Tanner Regan and his 7-0 record on the mound. But there was plenty to be excited about in a potential return bid for Brad Steward’s team. Michael Wegleitner hit .500 last season and had a 2.38 ERA. He was back, as were guys like Charlie Jackson, who batted .465 last spring, and Cam Hassert, who recently made his official commitment to Villanova.
… and those looking to take the next step
Peak to Peak won its first league title in program history and was set to bring back star middle infielder and pitcher Garrett Shriver. Meanwhile, the third-year varsity program at Prospect Ridge Academy won 12 games in its third varsity season after totaling seven the two prior. In Lafayette, Centaurus was coming off a 2019 where it won 16 games, 12 more than the season before.
Swimmers going for more gold
Broomfield’s Harrison Lierz won three 4A state titles a year ago, earning the BoCoPreps.com’s swimmer of the year honors for a second straight year. In 5A, Legacy’s Lukas Miller won the 200 freestyle as one of his two titles and set the state record in the event. Boulder’s Max Kreidl, in the meantime, won the 100 butterfly. All three would’ve been favorites to add to their bounty of gold before heading to D-I pools next year.
… and those continuing to rise
Silver Creek had a young roster last spring — including 4A state placers in sophomore Pierce Bigelow and freshman Jake Gutru — and moved up from seventh in 2018 to third. Boulder, a local-best sixth place in 5A, would have Kreidl back, as well as senior Luke Stapleton, a key part of the 200 medley relay that finished fifth and the 400 free relay that took third. Elsewhere, Broomfield cracked the top-10 at the 4A meet last spring, finishing seventh. Monarch went from 28th in 2018 to 19th in 5A. Legacy 13th to 12th.
Going for elusive No. 4
Holy Family girls golfer Hailey Schalk and Monarch pole vaulter Mia Manson were among the spring athletes vying for a fourth title in four years. Manson cleared 12 feet to win the event at last year’s 5A state tournament. Schalk was looking to become the first four-time winner in girls golf since the high school sport was sanctioned in Colorado 30 years ago.
… and those going into Year No. 2
Holy Family reached the postseason in its first year of varsity boys lacrosse. Erie’s new team, meanwhile, won the 4A Northern League in its inaugural year and reached the second round of the postseason.
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