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Fairview defender Ava Welty, right, runs ...
Daily Camera file photo
Fairview’s Ava Welty, right, leads the Knights’ defense as it competes in the Class 5A East league in 2021.
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League and team outlook
Boys
Class 5A
League Two
Teams and trends: Chatfield, Columbine, Dakota Ridge, Fairview, Lakewood, Monarch, Mountain Range, Ralston Valley and Rocky Mountain. Fairview and Monarch tied for first in league play during the 2019 season with identical 4-1 records. The league sent four teams to the 5A state playoffs and all four lost in the first round.

Fairview Knights
Coach: Matthew Kelly
The Scorecard: The Knights ended their 2019 campaign with an early exit in the 5A state playoffs but still managed to tie for first in an incredibly competitive league with a 4-1 mark (8-8 overall). Fairview will field an ultra-strong squad this year with a number of key returners: senior attacker Dillon Dickinson-Tooman, senior midfielder Liam O’Brien, junior defensive midfielder Owen Hoppert, senior defender Harrison Pfeiffer, senior defender Hudson Bush, senior long-stick midfielder Nick Horrocks and senior goalies Brooks Catlin and Colby Freeman. O’Brien and Dickinson-Tooman lead that pack with 23 goals apiece in 2019. Catlin made 114 saves in the crease. “This team has been playing together for a long time and has had a lot of offseason work,” Kelly said. “Its character has not diminished during COVID. Our players have only grown more resilient. They will be one of the stronger teams in Boulder County history. We’re very excited about the season and about proving that Fairview can compete among the top teams and perennial powers in the state.”

Daily Camera file photo
Monarch’s Braeden Wimer, center, is part of a potent and experiences Coyotes attack.

Monarch Coyotes
Coach: David Auday
The Scorecard: Monarch lacrosse fielded a good enough team two years ago to earn the No. 7 bid to the state playoffs but ultimately fell to Highlands Ranch in the first round. The Coyotes tied for the league title with Fairview, based solely on their 4-1 record (13-3 overall). They bring back studs in senior attackers Andrew Frey, Braeden Wimer and Kevin Mcmahon, senior defender Jake Hilliard, junior defender Sam Riecken and senior midfielder Quinn Jacobs. Wimer leads that group with 18 goals as a sophomore. “The Yotes have been working hard and after a very disappointing 2020 can’t wait to get on the field,” Auday said. “Every player is going to have to step up, as a 10-game season is going to be over in the blink of an eye. With so many good teams, we are going to have to find a way to win close games.”

Class 5A/4A
Metro League
Teams and trends: Boulder and Prairie View will contend for 5A postseason play. Denver North, Northfield and Rangeview will vie for 4A bracket placement. Boulder and Prairie View moved over to the Metro League from the Front Range League, which no longer exists. None of the teams made the 5A or 4A state playoffs in 2019.

Boulder Panthers
Coach: Nick Voigt
Teams and trends: Boulder boys lacrosse suffered a bit of a down year in 2019 as the Panthers won just three games. They bring in a mostly-new roster this season but return junior goalie Dewey Schreiner, junior attacker Ben Centeno, senior middy Noah Harding, junior defender/middy Leo Barringer, defensive middy Connor Berns, junior defender Connor McCullick and senior defender Elijah Graham. Harding led that pack with six goals as Schreiner defended the crease with 192 saves. “Very excited to be back and with this group of players,” Voigt said. “These guys are one of the hardest working groups I’ve had the pleasure to coach and with our schedule, I think we are going to be very successful.”

Class 4A
Northern League
Teams and trends: Dawson, Erie, Holy Family, Jefferson Academy, Thompson Valley, Windsor and Cheyenne Mountain. Erie won the Northern League title two years ago with a perfect 5-0 record in a league that looks nearly identical this year. Cheyenne Mountain is the only new addition. Cheyenne Mountain finished runner-up in the 4A state playoffs, losing by just one goal to Golden. The Northern League sent five teams to the 16-team postseason.

Dawson Mustangs
Coaches: Peter Devlin
The Scorecard: Devlin enters the 2021 season just within reach of the 100-win mark. At a 13-year career record of 97-54, he needs just three wins this season to hit the coveted benchmark. The Mustangs finished fifth in their league in 2019 with a 1-4 record (6-9 overall). They welcome back a number of top athletes this year: senior attacker Owen Hinrichs, senior midfielder Beau Reavey, junior middy Ben Perry, junior defender Alexander Klemp, sophomore middy Holden Walker, sophomore attacker Leo Ballanca and sophomore defender Finn Carpenter. Hinrichs leads that crew with 14 goals. “We couldn’t be more excited to be back together as a team and to have the opportunity to compete this year,” Devlin said. “The players have worked extremely hard over the last year and we are taking nothing for granted. We are enjoying each day of practice and we are focused on our preparation.”

Erie Tigers
Coach: Nick Mandia
The Scorecard: The Tigers enter the 2021 season with high hopes with a preseason ranking of No. 3 in the CHSAANow.com coaches poll. Erie, a fairly new program with just one full season under its belt, returns top talent at nearly every position. They’ll look to goalie Colin Selters to defend the crease as senior long-stick midfielder Hayden Sock aids him in that effort. Freshmen Charlie O’Brien and Liam Connors bring in a lot of fresh skill in the youngest class. Erie claimed the Northern League title two years ago with a 13-3 overall record and the Tigers believe they have what it takes to go the distance this season. “(All the athletes) play club lacrosse all year and travel around the country playing top club teams,” Mandia said. “We have a lot of talent, athleticism and motivations to work with here in this program as well. I think that’s what makes it fun.”

Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Kyle Doner
The Scorecard: The Tigers earned the No. 16 seed in the 2019 4A state playoffs but got swatted by top-seeded Cheyenne Mountain in the first round. They placed sixth in league two years back and finished 7-8 overall. Holy Family will rely on the leadership of senior middies Oscar Sena and Jonathan Stonehocker as well as senior long-stick middy Parker Sanchez. Sena led that trio with 12 goals as a sophomore. “Holy Family is a small private school and does not have the luxury of high numbers of lacrosse players,” Doner said. “That being said, we have been putting freshmen in more demanding situations than most coaches would like to. But because of that, our players evolve to become battle-tested upperclassmen/seniors that have experienced varsity-level play through all four years of playing. Strongest metals are forged in the hottest of fires and that is a part of HFHS lacrosse culture.”

Jefferson Academy Jaguars
Coach: Cory Hughes
The Scorecard: Jefferson Academy earned the No. 13 seed to the 4A state playoffs in 2019 but fell in the first round to fourth-seeded Steamboat Springs. The Jaguars finished fourth in league with a 7-9 overall record. They’re bringing back senior middy Aiden Shanks, junior middy Evan Shanks, junior defender Connor Gottlob, senior attacker Joe Cesario and junior attacker Seth Bins. Cesario blew the rest of his team out of the water with 49 goals as a freshman. “We are excited to just be back out on the field as a team again,” Hughes said. “Having a smaller program has been an advantage, as we have been able to virtually and remotely work with the players more. The coaching staff is excited for the opportunity to get coaching our new players in an effort to have them make an immediate impact with the team.”

Girls
Class 5A
5A East
Teams and trends: Arapahoe, Cherry Creek, Denver East, Fairview, Grandview, Mullen and Regis Jesuit. CHSAA realigned the leagues this year as Fairview made the move from the Metro League. Cherry Creek finished runner-up in the 2019 state playoffs as Denver East and Fairview each made it to the quarterfinals. Regis won its way to the final four before losing to Cherry Creek and Mullen only made it two rounds.

Fairview Knights
Coach: Kelsey Sheridan
The Scorecard: Fairview finished third in the Metro League two seasons ago. The Knights represent an all-district team as they pull athletes from schools in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley areas. They’ll look for guidance this season from senior attacker Isabela Bloomquist, senior middy Brooke Dietmeier, junior defender Ava Welty and junior goalie Thayer Hubbard. Bloomquist shamed the competition with 54 goals as a sophomore and Hubbard made 110 saves as a freshman. “We can’t wait to get back on the field,” Sheridan said. “Many of our athletes play year-round club lacrosse, play other sports or have been participating in our out-of-season practices, so we feel confident they are physically ready to compete this season despite missing last season. A big focus for us this year is team chemistry on and off the field. Our upperclassmen have done a great job welcoming our newcomers and helping them learn our attack and defensive systems.”

Class 4A
4A North
Teams and trends: Dawson, Holy Family, Horizon, Kennedy, Northfield and Thompson Valley. Much like many leagues this year, the North League saw a shift in teams as it kept Dawson, Thompson Valley and Holy Family but said goodbye to Windsor and Jefferson Academy. Thompson Valley finished second in the previous league. None of the North League teams made the playoffs two years ago with all girls teams playing in one bracket.

Dawson Mustangs
Coach: Jane Karger
The Scorecard: The Mustangs begin their first year at the varsity level and welcome a new coach after finishing their 2019 junior varsity slate with a 6-9 record. They’ve graduated 10 players since then. Dawson will welcome back the talents of sophomore middies Annabelle Biggar, Rowan Lavigne and Catherine Knight as well as junior attacker Sophie Gebhardt. Biggar led that group with 12 goals at the JV level. “We are thrilled to be able to provide playing opportunities for our girls lacrosse players,” Karger said. “It’s been so long since most of them have had a chance to play and it’s important for us to make the most of the games and practices we do have. This season looks different but it’s all about competing, having fun and playing the sport that we love.”

Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Sarah Brown
The Scorecard: The Tigers welcome former Centaurus star and CU lacrosse alum Sarah Brown to their coaching staff this year. Holy Family will lean on the expertise of senior middy Anna Hodell, freshman middy Julia Hodell and junior middy Sidney Edmonds. “I am extremely excited to be coaching for Holy Family this season,” Brown said. “Not only do we have some incredible athletes and seasoned players, but we have a lot of new players that have worked very hard this preseason to learn the game. They have all come together in such a short period of time to really work as a team and adapt to the new coaching. I’m very grateful to continue to grow the lacrosse game out in northern Colorado and introduce the sport I love to so many new players. … With the help of my assistant coach, Ida Farinholt, the Cornell and UNC-Chapel Hill grad, I believe we can quickly turn this team into a top 4A program.”

Bringing it home: recent state champions
2020 — No champions crowned (COVID-19 pandemic season cancellation)
2019 — Cherry Creek (5A boys), Golden (4A boys), Colorado Academy (girls)
2018 — Regis Jesuit (5A boys), Cheyenne Mountain (4A boys), Colorado Academy (girls)
2017 — Cherry Creek (5A boys), Valor Christian (4A boys), Colorado Academy (girls)
2016 — Regis Jesuit (5A boys), Valor Christian (4A boys), Colorado Academy (girls)

Point me to the postseason
The boys lacrosse regular season is scheduled to end no later than June 12 and the state playoffs will run from June 15 to June 22. The top 16 teams in Class 4A and Class 5A will get in based on the respective RPI rankings. The girls will end their regular season on June 15 and the postseason will run from June 19 to June 23. Eight teams will make each classification for the girls competition.