Fall sports primer: 10 area seniors we’re ready to see make a big statement

Mead's Quincey Coyle slams the volleyball ...
Daily Camera file photo
Mead’s Quincey Coyle slams the volleyball on an attack attempt against Coronado at the Class 4A state tournament on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Denver.

Cautious, in deep breath, and hopefully without jinxing anything — nervous cackle — the climate surrounding the upcoming high school sports year in Colorado feels a bit like a lazy beach day compared to the sand-in-eyes sensation many felt around this time a year ago.

Which, of course, is not saying a lot since high school sports were in flux then, and the general mood was more of an altogether harrumph.

But now, things are veering toward somewhat “normal” with the spread of vaccines and the current lift on most pandemic-restrictions around the country. Or maybe everyone is just tired — tired of the hate, the luxury space shuttles launched at the price of their goods, tired of worrying about what could be next.

Either way, the Colorado high school sports scene returns in a matter of days. The hope is it will go differently than 16 months ago when shutdowns due the pandemic were first introduced in Colorado. Back then, high schoolers, parents and their coaches were hit with closures in their schools and sports. A smoother ride for all this go-round would be the preferred consensus.

In this two-part series, we’ll focus on the things that excite us in the fall.

Today, let’s look at 10 seniors who we hope to see at the top of their game.

Zane Bergen, Niwot (cross country): The winner of last year’s Class 4A cross country title is coming off an impressive outdoor track season. He ran the fastest mile time in the state at 4:03.90 by a high schooler, fourth fastest in the country. His top 800, 1,600 and 3,200 times were all third-fastest in the state.

Quincey Coyle, Mead (volleyball): Poor girl on the other side of one of her blasts … Coyle can blast with the best of them. Last season, she had 209 kills, 48 aces and 107 digs as she led the Mavericks to a 4A runner-up finish.

Zane Doehring, Frederick (boys soccer): Not from the cerebral 5A Front Range League. But he certainly plays like a star. Just months ago, he led Frederick to its first playoff appearance in school history with a 4A-most 20 goals and 13 assists in 11 games. Bet the over going forward.

Abby Edwards, Holy Family (softball): The Boise State catcher commit hit .526 last season and combined to drive in seven runs over the state semifinals and finals for the 4A champ Tigers. Her defense was special, too, as she threw out seven of 16 would-be base stealers.

Maggie McCleskey, Centaurus (cross country): McCleskey won the NCAC League championship and took 14th in the Class 4A cross country race last year. In the track season, her 800 through 3,200 times were all inside the state’s top 15. Earlier this month, she took fifth in the 3,000-meter run in 15:27 at the Boulder Road Runners All-Corners Track Series at CU.

Grant Page, Fairview (football): Page is the third-ranked prospect out of the 2022 class in Colorado by 247Sports. The wide receiver/defensive back, committed to the University of Nebraska, can steer a game on both sides of the ball.

John Pastore, Erie (football): Only the truest of football fanatics enjoy highlights from the offensive and defensive lines, but 6-foot-6 Pastore might cater a bit more to common fan’s viewing. A stout lineman, yes — but he also blocked nine kicks in 2020. Nine. The kicking game is always among the most unpredictable plays in high school football — unless, of course, your kicker was Holy Family’s Liam Gray or Broomfield’s Matthew Eich last year — and Pastore adds another rousing element to that.

Luis Meza, right, of Broomfield had ...
Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Luis Meza, right, of Broomfield had a chance for a score on Ben Ray and Evan Sims, of Boulder, during the Boulder at Broomfield game on April 17, 2021.

Evan Sims, Boulder (boys soccer): The goaltender led the Panthers to the 5A quarterfinals and was named the team’s most valuable player last season after recording six shutouts in 11 games. He very well could be among the best keepers in the state this fall.

Conner Smith, Monarch (boys tennis): Smith was the ace for the Coyotes last fall and is one of the few Colorado high school players ranked on Tennis Recruiting Network. If he’s back for the Coyotes on the court, he could do some big things.

Emma Winter, Broomfield (volleyball): Broomfield was hit over and over by quarantines last season. With more consistency in their lineup on a daily basis, it’s a wonder how far Winter, the Front Range League player of the year, and D-I classmate Sophie Buschmann could lead the Eagles this fall.