Just weeks ago, the makeshift high school sports schedule drew tirelessly to a close.
With the end date pushed back to the last full week in June this past year — another rescheduling courtesy of the pandemic — area programs played well past graduation and into summer break.
A time usually reserved for sunscreen-vacations in the summer was instead reserved for six new high school team champions and 30 individual champs.
Closing days started with Holy Family’s Jess Mason dominating the golf scene, then went through the Silver Creek boys’ reign in the pool, and concluded with the Niwot boys and girls owning the track.
Down in Colorado Springs, meanwhile, names like Degen Miller, Gianna Sandoval and Bailey Giddings etched their names in history as they helped wrap up soccer titles for Dawson, Holy Family and Broomfield.
In the final part of the defining moments series, we revisit how the odd, often divisive, and sometimes remarkable second half of the school year went.
If you missed it, we looked at the first half of the school year in Part I last week.
March 29 — Boulder’s long-awaited football season starts season a week after mass shooting
Players from Boulder and Mountain Range knelt along the hashmarks near midfield at Christian Recht Field. Boulder coach Ryan Bishop laid a No. 10 jersey in the middle of them, representing the number of lives lost at the mass shooting at the local King Soopers seven days before.
This was the Panthers’ first game in 514 days and it came after they’d opted out of the fall. They were then hit with a quarantine to start the spring.
It ended with a win.
April 10-24 — Boys soccer and volleyball ends regular season amid chaos
A number of postponements having to do with the virus meant many of the area’s volleyball teams had more matches than days left in the season by the final week.
In boys’ soccer, in the meantime, the oddity of a squeezed-tight postseason bracket meant a number of powerhouse teams wouldn’t even make it past the regular season. Like this: Boulder beat 2019 state champ Broomfield in the regular-season finale to oust the Eagles from contention.
April 23 — Niwot’s Mia Curry repeats as all-around champion
Curry had the top mark in the beam, the second-best score in the uneven bars, was third in the vault and fifth on the floor in an all-around win. She also won in 2019, prior to the spring season cancellation in 2020.
April 28 — Fairview moves onto soccer final as Niwot and Dawson are kicked
Fairview won a wild overtime affair over Liberty, while Niwot and Dawson each fell in its semifinal.
Niwot senior Keegan Stobbe, a consistent star for the Cougars during his illustrious career, sat on the field following the loss. After losing the 2020 season to the pandemic, and now finishing like this, Stobbe said he just wanted to soak in the last of the waning moments of his career.
May 1 — Fairview claims first-ever state title in boys soccer
Sebastien Mazur, the BoCoPreps player of the year, scored, again, and the Knights upended Cherry Creek in the 5A finals to finish the season undefeated at 13-0-1.
This spelled an end to a strange soccer season that was beset by a condensed regular-season schedule and small playoff bracket.
May 13 — Mead volleyball finished runner-up in 4A
Quincey Coyle was spectacular. One bruising kill after another. And Mead, led by its young coach Mikayla Martinez, rolled all the way to the 4A title match in Colorado Springs before falling to Palmer Ridge.
May 15 — Boulder falls to Far Northeast in spring title game
The Panthers played amid tragedy and an early-season quarantine. They even played in a storm that saw snow come up the top of their shins.
The strange, sad, yet prevailing road to the title game was their first since 1992. It also snapped a six-year postseason drought.
May 20 — Widely-hyped, Fairview-Legacy doesn’t disappoint
Major League Baseball scouts descended on Legacy High School to see Fairview pitcher Greysen Carter and his live fastball. They stayed for an instant classic.
The teams combined for 22 hits and four home runs — 10 runs in the sixth inning alone. Legacy won 11-8.
June 12 — Lily Chitambar wins No. 1 singles title
At the Gates Tennis Center, the Boulder junior won in three sets over Smoky Hill’s Valerie Negin to win the 5A No. 1 singles title. Fairview took second as a team.
June 17 — Monarch nearly slays goliath, area lax teams come up short in postseason
Every time Monarch fell back to Cherry Creek in the 5A quarterfinals, it delivered a resounding response.
Oh yes. The Coyotes had the Stutler Bowl shaken as they made quite an upset bid. In the end, though, it came up just short.
Elsewhere, Fairview lost to Mountain Vista by a goal in its quarterfinals.
June 19 — Erie lax falls to Cheyenne Mountain in 4A semifinal
The 4A powers were separated by just a goal in both their games in 2021 — both in favor of the Colorado Springs school. Elsewhere, the Fairview girls lost in its lax quarterfinal.
Erie, since joining the varsity lax ranks in 2019, has looked the part of a consistent contender.
June 22 — Jess Mason wins 4A title going away
Her 3-under 69 on Day 1, and 71 Day 2, was head-and-shoulders above the 4A competition at CommonGround Golf Course.
The Holy Family junior will next play in the Junior PGA Championship later this month in Kentucky. There, she’ll be joined by Aubri Braecklein, who won the 3A title for Jefferson Academy.
June 25 — Silver Creek wins 4A boys swimming title
Without winning an event, the Raptors rallied late to win the 4A tournament.
Before the last event, they trailed Cheyenne Mountain before leapfrogging the Colorado Springs school in the standings with a fifth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
June 26 — Dawson, Holy Family and Broomfield win soccer titles
It was a mighty end to a dominant season for Dawson, which beat Telluride 15-4 in the finale. A strong close as part of its 129-9 margin of victory over 2A/3A teams in 2021.
Then it was a Holy Family-kind of miracle for the Tigers, who jumped in glee as Gianna Sandoval swished a last-seconds goal to beat Evergreen.
And finally, it was redemption. Broomfield ended four consecutive losses in the title game with a win over Rock Canyon. At the forefront of it, Bailey Giddings put home a PK chance to break a 1-1 tie late in the second half.
June 26 — Niwot sweeps titles at state track and field
Taylor James and Zane Bergen are the latest track superstars to come out of Niwot. See previous, Elise Cranny. Cruz Culpepper.
This year, the Cougars won the boys and girls titles in 4A, wrapping up a weekend at Jeffco Stadium that saw a number of area athletes claim gold.