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A lookahead: Spring sports turn attention to postseason

Three sports conclude the regular season next week

Erie High School's Mason Boccia (No. 2) tries to make the catch for a tag as Longmont High School's Adam Benes (No. 8) slides into second base on Thursday, May 27, 2021.(Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Erie High School’s Mason Boccia (No. 2) tries to make the catch for a tag as Longmont High School’s Adam Benes (No. 8) slides into second base on Thursday, May 27, 2021.(Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

It’s well past the end of the school year, and finally, the waning days of the high school sports calendar are in scope.

Baseball, boys lacrosse and girls soccer wrap up their regular-season slates next Saturday, and girls lacrosse finishes its campaign three days after that on June 15 — all of it in front of a reworked postseason setup.

Elsewhere, in girls golf, regional tournaments begin next week as players and teams vie for a place at the state tournaments held June 21-22. The regular season meets for track and field and boys swimming, meanwhile, conclude June 19 — and will also be followed by their respective state meets.

The end in sight will put to bed a strange and often contemptuous high school sports school year.

Twenty-six sports under the Colorado High School Activities Association umbrella were able to have a season despite the challenges that arose from the pandemic.

Now, nine more sports (including boys’ volleyball) will crown state champions.

Here are some storylines to look out for from local teams across the sports landscape heading into next week.

Dawson and Broomfield soccer eye perfect finish

Dawson’s girls soccer team has won all eight of its games this season, outscoring teams 85-0.

Two more shutout victories and the rare immaculate regular season would be complete.

The Mustangs have reached the Class 2A state finals game in each of the previous five seasons. Their lone championship came in 2018.

In Class 5A, Jim Davidson’s girls’ soccer program can finish the regular season 10-0 if it can beat Rocky Mountain Tuesday.

A Broomfield win could also be vital for the postseason hopes of a pair of other local teams.

With the postseason condensed this year, the Front Range League can only send two automatic qualifiers, or the teams finishing one and two in the final standings. The rest will have to hope for one of just four remaining at-large bids in the 5A classification.

And while the Eagles have already nabbed one of the two automatic bids — outscoring FRL teams 54-5 through nine games — a win against the one-loss Lobos could open the door for the last league spot.
Fairview (6-2) and Legacy (6-2), both with two losses, are in position to make a run at Rocky Mountain (7-1) with a perfect finish.

Neither of the three teams would have a clear advantage in any tiebreaker scenario. Earlier in the season, the Knights beat Rocky Mountain and lost to Legacy, while the Lightning fell to the Lobos.

Elsewhere in the largest classification, Silver Creek at 7-1 is making a strong case for one of the other four at-large bids.

The Raptors can’t get an automatic spot since their league, the 5A/4A Northern Colorado Athletic Conference, doesn’t get a 5A automatic bid due to having too few of 5A teams (two). Holy Family (5-1) is currently behind Silver Creek in the league standings, yet is in position to nab the second of two 4A automatic bids from the league.

In the 4A/3A Longs Peak League, Niwot (7-1, 6-1) controls its postseason destiny with two games remaining. The Cougars face undefeated Thompson Valley (6-0, 5-0) Saturday before closing with Frederick (4-4, 4-4) Tuesday.

Jefferson Academy looks destined for the 3A postseason with one game to go. It has an 8-0-1 record in the 3A Metro League.

Fairview looking strong in lacrosse

Fairview’s boys lacrosse team (6-1, 6-0) remained perfect in its league — 5A League 2 — headed into Friday night’s game against Rocky Mountain (3-3). Monarch, which lost to the Knights earlier in the season, are right behind them in the standings at 5-1.

The top finisher in league will grab its lone automatic qualfying spot. The other will have to hope for one of eight at-large bids to reach the 12-team 5A playoff bracket.

Fairview and the Coyotes are both led by 5A top-10 goal scorers. Monarch senior Andrew Frey was tied for fifth in the classification with 27 goals in seven games. The Knights’ Liam O’Brien, who was named offensive football player of the year in the fall, was just down from that with 26 goals.

Elsewhere in 5A, Boulder (5-2, 2-2 5A League 1) will likely need three straight wins to close the season to punch its playoff ticket. The Panthers, after going 3-12 in the last spring season, have won four straight and are searching for their first postseason berth since 2011.

In 4A, Erie should be in position to grab one of the classification’s six at-large bids. The Tigers (7-1, 6-1) have won seven in a row since falling to 4A Northern League add-on Cheyenne Mountain (7-1, 5-0), which is in control of the league’s lone automatic spot.

In girls lacrosse, Fairview is a perfect 8-0 in 5A. Following five straight double-digit victories, the Knights edged Regis Jesuit 11-10 Wednesday. Sophomore Cami Johnson had three goals and Allie Hartman had two goals and an assist.

In 4A, Holy Family (2-5) knocked off Dawson (6-4) Friday morning.

In each class, the top 12 teams in the CHSAA seeding index will reach their respective playoff fields.

Who will slide under the baseball cutoff?
Well first, what is the cutoff?

In 5A-3A, the top 24 teams in RPI move onto the regionals with the top eight hosting and getting a bye. The winners of the eight regionals will then compete in a double-elimination state bracket.

In 2A, the 24-team, eight-region setup is the same. The winners, however, head into a single-elimination bracket. And in 1A, 12 teams reach regionals — 10 from district tournament bids and the remaining two based on RPI.  The winners of the regions move into a single-elimination bracket.

In 5A, Greysen Carter is hitting .457 and is 4-0 with a 3.55 ERA on the mound for Fairview (10-2, 9-1), which is fifth in RPI and currently leads the Front Range League.

Led by senior pitcher Tommy Valdes and his 3.35 ERA, Broomfield (12-3, 9-2) is ninth in RPI. Legacy (10-3, 8-3), propelled by Landen Sehr’s 1.96 ERA in 25 innings pitched, is 10th.

Both inside the 4A cutoff are Holy Family (11-1, 8-1 5A/4A NCAC) in fourth and Erie (8-4, 5-3) in 19th.

Holy Family has looked the part of a state title contender throughout the season, boasting a pitching staff with a 2.60 ERA and a team batting average of .369. At the front of it, Izaak Siefken has two wins on the mound and 44 strikeouts in 21 innings. He’s also hitting .528 with 19 RBIs.

Longmont (8-5, 5-4), meanwhile, is just outside of the 4A RPI cut — currently in 27th.

In 3A, Prospect Ridge Academy (6-6, 4-6 3A Metro) is in 21st and Jefferson Academy (5-6, 5-7) is on the bubble in 25th. Both teams have four games remaining, starting with double-headers on Saturday.

Down in 2A, Dawson (8-4, 5-3 2A/1A Mile High) is on the bubble sitting 15th in RPI. No local team is inside the top 25 in the 1A rankings.

Girls golf regionals
There will be four regionals in each of the three classifications beginning next week. Qualifying from each region will be two full teams and the top 13 individuals not from those teams.

In all, there will be 84 golfers invited to each of the 5A, 4A and 3A tournaments.

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