Contrived as a clip show in sitcoms, but not without heart, it’s time for our annual ‘Look back on (insert year)’ piece.
In 2022, the BoCoPreps.com coverage area of Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont combined for nine team state championships. And, well, we lost count of all the individual titles accrued.
Below are some of the moments that defined our preps scene this year.
Marshall Fire — recovery efforts ongoing after Dec. 30, 2021 blaze
Monarch High School was at the heart of the state’s most destructive fire. More than 1,000 homes were lost as the blaze caused around $2 billion in damages.
But the community showed its resilience, even through sport.
Many high school athletes in the area were displaced, but carried on for their respective teams that winter season.
And in relief of those who lost homes, we saw teammates, coaches and other people from across the area and state’s sports scene deliver a helping hand where they could.
Prep athletic community lends hand in Marshall Fire relief efforts
Four area wrestlers win wrestling gold — Feb. 19
The state wrestling tournament was back at Ball Arena, returning to the grand stage after the tournament was mired in the pandemic and shuttled down to Pueblo a year prior.
Individually, Broomfield’s Ryan Vigil came out on top for a second straight season, winning the 152-pound weight class. Erie’s Ramon Salazar won the 4A 126-pound title and Monarch Cole Carlucci, with a torn ACL, won at 5A 182s.
In girls wrestling's second year as a CHSAA sanctioned sport, Mead’s Jenna Joseph won the 161s title.
Wrestling: Close-knit Monarch takes fourth led by Cole Carlucci’s gold
Frederick boys and Mead girls reach basketball semifinals — March 11
Led by seniors like Bryce Conover and Jacoby Conway, it was the Golden Eagles' first trip to the hoops semifinals in 66 years. Getting there, they beat a Mavericks team featuring two-time BoCoPreps.com player of the year Elijah Knudsen, big-man standout James Shiers and emerging star Nick Basson.
The Mavericks girls’ team reached its first basketball semifinal thanks in part to its standout guards like Maddox Boston and Kyra Haan. Albeit a bit undersized collectively, the team played seamless basketball on both ends.
Present day: The Frederick boys and Mead girls look like contenders in 2022-23.
Boys basketball: Frederick bows out in first Final Four appearance in 66 years
Boulder’s Lily Chitambar wins second straight 5A No. 1 singles title — May 14
Beating Fairview’s Quinn Bernthal, who was just a sophomore, the Panthers’ now-graduated ace put the Boulder tennis program front and center for a second straight year. She’d beaten Smoky Hill’s Valerie Negin for her first the year before.
And get this: Her opening set loss to Bernthal in the 2022 final was her only dropped set of the season.
Girls tennis: Boulder’s Lily Chitambar nabs second straight BoCoPreps.com player of the year
Niwot girls and Longmont boys win 4A track and field title — May 19-22
For a sport predicated so much on preparation and small shoes, a snowstorm gave state track and field athletes another obstacle to clear.
In the cold, Connor McCormick, who is now at Princeton, nabbed a Class 4A meet record in the 1,600 and a meet record in the two-mile, leading the Trojans’ boys team to victory over area-power Niwot.
Funny enough, it was Longmont’s first track and field title since its coach Scott Dickinson was a Broomfield hurdler and his Eagles came second to the Trojans in 2012.
On the girls’ side, Madison Shults added three more golds and the Cougars won a third straight track and field title. If they win it again this spring, seniors like Shults will have completed a high school sweep of team gold in cross country and track and field.
Elsewhere at that meet, Holy Family broke the 3A 400-meter relay meet record and Peak to Peak’s Kourtney Rathke set the 3A meet pole vault mark.
Later that summer, Niwot’s Zane Bergen, who is now at Stanford, McCormick, and a few Cougars girls relays won national titles.
Track and field: Longmont boys and Niwot girls take home gold
Dawson wins second straight girls soccer title, Broomfield falls short — May 25
From their 2021 title, the Mustangs lost their coach and over half their starters, including superstar Degen Miller, who is now at Virginia.
The Mustangs reloaded, beating Crested Butte 3-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the Class 2A title game. Helen Leon, after scoring 19 goals, was the 2A player of the year.
In the 5A final, Broomfield looked to repeat but fell to Grandview later that night.
Girls soccer: Dawson overcomes obstacles to win second straight 2A state title
Ashton, Erie girls win first golf title — June 1
Then-freshman Hadley Ashton just won her first golf title in the spring — and believe or it not, there are already whispers of her going 4 for 4 when all is said and done.
Silly on the one hand as we’re three years away from that. Remember life in 2019 when masks were more for Halloween?
On the other hand, she’s really just that good.
Hadley beat Mullen’s Sofia Choi by four strokes for her first state title and the Tigers — including Logan Hale (seventh), Kait Park (17th) and Sydney O’Connor (63rd) — beat Mullen by 14 strokes for the team title.
Broomfield baseball beats Legacy for 5A title — June 4
Most state title games fizzle out, though this one didn’t.
Camden Ross, Mr. 600 himself, homered and reached base four times in the 7-6 finals win. Gavin Speirs drove in the winning run in the sixth and Noah Scott stranded the tying run at third in seventh at All City Stadium.
Ross, finishing the season with a .627 batting average, was the first player in five years to hit .600 in the large-school classification. He was the 5A and BoCoPreps.com player of the year.
Baseball: Broomfield beats city rival Legacy for Class 5A state title
Monarch’s Michaels finally gets golf glory — Oct. 4
Monarch senior Caleb Michaels had been so good throughout his high school golf career that it was a bit surprising that it never translated to the state tournament.
Until the very end.
Three years of frustration was gone. Washed away. He pumped his fist on the No. 18 green after clinching the 5A individual title with a five-foot par putt at City Park Golf Course in Denver.
Destiny strikes: Monarch’s Caleb Michaels tops Class 5A golf
Four teams make softball semifinals — Oct. 22
Erie made it in Class 5A, while Holy Family, Frederick and Mead reached in 4A.
Among things that made each of these teams so captivating was that their respective aces gave them a chance to beat anyone.
Junior Gracie Sackett was a flamethrower for Erie. Isabella Arroyo already has 30 career wins as a sophomore. Joslynn Veltien put an exclamation on a dominant career with the Mavericks. And senior Haley Howell had not one but two no-hitters for the Golden Eagles.
In the end, Holy Family was the only team to advance to the final before bowing out to Lutheran.
Final Four: Erie, Frederick Holy Family, Mead are into softball semifinals
Niwot girls and Mead’s Hoffman top XC stage — Oct. 29
Winning their fifth straight state title, Niwot girls tied their own 4A meet record with 20 points at Norris Penrose Event Center.
From this year’s group of Cougars, another (yes, another) star runner made her mark here in freshman Addison Ritzenhein. Daughter of famed-runner Dathan Ritzenhein, she helped continue a high school XC dominance that’s become the norm.
Their gold was expected by many.
Mead's Nolan Hoffman's wasn't.
The Mavericks senior surprised the 4A boys field with the individual win, holding off Battle Mountain's Porter Middaugh in the final meters. He is committed to run at the Colorado School of Mines.
Broomfield gymnastics repeats in 5A —Nov. 3
Mia Ritchie finished fourth in the all-around competition, leading the Eagles to their second straight 5A title. They trumped second-place Mountain Range 183.50-180.95.
Niwot finished third as a team in 4A.
Back to back: Broomfield gymnastics steals second straight 5A championship
Dark horses Fairview and Peak to Peak reach boys soccer title game — Nov. 9
The 12-seed Knights were led by star goalie Shane Williams, who averaged around 14 saves per game. Clutch late in games during the postseason — two late winners from Hugo Harezlak, a PK clincher by Joseph Lee — they made the 5A final despite being the lowest-ranked area team from the Front Range League South division.
Speaking of clutch, and not the bag, Class 3A No. 7 Peak to Peak won on an overtime goal from Jorden Gyaltsen at Jefferson Academy in the quarterfinals. Micah Thengvall sent the Pumas to the 2A title game with a goal with 49.2 seconds remaining against Coal Ridge.
Fairview eventually lost 1-0 to Denver East in its final. Peak to Peak fell 2-1 to Colorado Academy.
Perfect Lee: Midfielder’s precise PK sends Fairview soccer to 5A finals
Broomfield wins its first football title since 1984 — Dec. 3
As the early weeks of the season waned on, Broomfield more and more felt like a team of destiny in 2022.
From its charismatic quarterback Cole LaCrue, who played for his late father — to do-it-all senior Canon Juarez (who even hit a game-winning basket for the hoops team a week after football) — to its disrupting defensive end, Garrett Keeler.
And who could forget the interception-machine Mikhail Benner, who led the state with 11 picks.
These Eagles had everything that makes a championship team. And they didn’t cave under the pressure of it.
In the semifinals, they got a goal-line fumble recovery by Gio Toledo after star quarterbacks LaCrue and Erie's Blake Barnett dazzled in a 36-32 Broomfield win. They then went on to beat Loveland 24-14 at Empower Field at Mile High.
Put a ring on it: Broomfield football ends perfect season with 4A state crown
Erie spirit wins fifth straight cheer title — Dec. 9
The Tigers won the 4A all-girl cheer title at the Denver Coliseum. It was their seventh overall spirit title in history.
Other moments from 2022? Let us know in the comments.