Peak Performers
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Chloe Welch, Mesa Ridge basketball

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Chloe Welch, Mesa Ridge basketball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Given the opportunity, Mesa Ridge girls’ basketball coach Jeff Beatty would love to clone his star guard, Chloe Welch, and play the senior with four of her duplicates. That’s because Welch does just about everything for the 8-2 Grizzlies. “She’s a great shooter, great ball handler, and she’s our best defender” Beatty said. “So she’s pretty much the whole package.” Listed at 5-foot-9, the senior does her fair share on the inside too, grabbing 9.7 rebounds and blocking 1.2 shots per game. “She’s the best rebounding guard we’ve ever had,” the Mesa Ridge coach said. “Most nights, she’s right around that triple-double line.” Related: David Ramsey: Here's how to prevent another Sierra 101, Mitchell 7 game In three double-digit wins last week, Welch averaged 14.7 points, nine rebounds, 7.3 assists, four steals and one block per game to earn Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week. Personal accolades don’t seem to mean much to the Davidson signee, however. When asked what her individual goals for the season were, nothing came immediately to mind. “Individual goals… umm…. I don’t know, just to win, really,” Welch said. There’s been a good deal of winning in Welch’s first three years as a Grizzly. After a first-round exit at the Class 4A state tournament in her freshman season, Welch helped Mesa Ridge to consecutive quarterfinal appearances as a sophomore and junior. All that’s left is another deep run in her final season. To this point, the Grizzlies’ only losses came against 5A opponents in early December. “I’m just hoping for a successful season and to reach our potential as a team and go as far in the playoffs as we possibly can,” she said. The Grizzlies appear to have the potential to make a run, as Welch is far from the only scoring option. Juniors Angelina Jackson and Ashley Bowen average 11.4 points per game, while two others add at least five points per game. As Saturday’s blowout of Elizabeth showed, Welch isn’t afraid to get others involved. Five of her teammates reached double figures, but she didn’t, registering eight points with as many rebounds and assists to go with five steals. “Five others scored double digits in that game because she got them the ball,” Beatty said. “She’s really unselfish, and that’s really nice to have as a coach.” If needed, or even if she wanted, the Grizzlies’ coach said Welch could average more than her team-leading 18.2 points per game. “Obviously other girls on the team can score, because they’ve proved it throughout the season,” Welch said. “Even if they put all the pressure on me, then I don’t have to worry about anything because I know that most other girls on the floor can score, just as I can.” Beatty, who’s coached his fair share of Division I products, says the only thing missing from Welch’s game as she prepares for the next level is a little bit of muscle. That’s not lost on the Mesa Ridge guard. “After this season, I can just work on getting better for college,” Welch said. “I’m going to get a long stronger and a lot better so I can be prepared.” Until that point, Welch seems intent on leading the Grizzlies as far as they can go without the help of genetic duplication. “You just can’t ask for more from her than what we’re getting,” Beatty said. Other Peak Performers Boys' basketball Ashton Rogers, Coronado Rogers opened a four-game week with 18 points, with four 3-pointers and 15 rebounds against Pomona. He closed the week with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Mullen. He finished the week averaging 17.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and hit 16 of 18 free throws. Hockey Lou Levy, Woodland Park Levy was instrumental in the Panthers’ first win in program history, a 5-2 win over Palmer on Saturday. Levy scored three times and assisted on his team’s two other goals. Girls’ basketball Charisse Fairley, Widefield Fairley posted 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals in a lopsided win over Woodland Park on Saturday when she hit 8 of 16 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from deep. Earlier in the week, she had 12 points, five rebounds and a steal in a loss to Mesa Ridge. Girls’ Swimming and diving Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain The senior led the Indians to a decisive win at the Pueblo County Hornet Invite this weekend. Wright won the 100 butterfly (56.21) and the 100 backstroke (57.74) individually and helped Cheyenne Mountain win the 200-medley and the 400-freestyle relays.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Darien Meyers, Palmer basketball

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Darien Meyers, Palmer basketball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Palmer High School junior Darien Meyers has taken his share of bumps on the basketball court, but he’s starting to hand them out. It started when he was learning the game from his grandfather, a former football player. “When I was smaller than him, I was the shrub in his forest,” Meyers said. “Making me come down in the paint, he used to always block me and always bully me.” That was good preparation for his first varsity experience, which came last season after Palmer lost 12 seniors from the 2015-16 squad. After spending his freshman season on junior varsity - practicing against those seniors - Meyers averaged 8.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in a sophomore campaign shortened to 15 games by a wrist injury. PHS limped to a 6-17 finish. “It was really rough,” Meyers recalled. “Emotionally, I don’t think I was ready for it. I was still a little kid. I still wanted to be a sophomore at heart. It just matured me. I realized that if I want to win games with this team, then I’ll have to give it my all, all the time.” That started with a strong summer with Boykins Basketball Academy.  Meyers returned more aggressive and confident this year, according to Palmer coach Jimmy Grantz. The results show growth, too. The 6-foot-3 wing is on the verge of averaging a double-double at 16.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, and Palmer already matched last season's win total with a 6-6 record despite a 1-4 start and Meyers missing two games to injury. In three 2018 games, Meyers has posted as many double-doubles to earn Peak Performer of the Week. The high point was a 33-point, 12 rebound effort in an overtime win against Sand Creek. “It was one of those games we felt like we were in control, but we could never quite put it away,” Grantz said. Meyers made 12 of 13 free throws in that game to reach a new career high in scoring. “I just kept having a mismatch that game, and my teammates kept feeding me the ball,” he said. “It ended up being a pretty good night for me.” He also had 18 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in a close loss to Fountain-Fort Carson and 13 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in a win over Hinkley. Now that he’s too big for Grandpa to bully, their workouts have focused on Meyers’ ability to score. That too appears to have paid off. He’s made 88 percent of his free throws and 36 percent from deep. His efficiency from 3-point range dipped after a combined 2-11 showing last week, but Meyers found other ways. “My grandpa has always told me, it’s like ‘We work on the 3-point shot, but if it’s not falling we always have the speed and the moves to get to the rim,’” Meyers said. The Terrors’ lack of size - only 6-foot-4 senior Jadin Burney is taller - forced Meyers to put an emphasis on cleaning the glass and defending other teams’ post player when necessary. “He’s been really willing to do that,” Grantz said. When it comes to rebounding, Meyers’ outlook is simple. “The ball helps you win. You score with the ball,” Meyers said. “I try to get that ball as many times as I can.” Whether its knocking down free throws, hitting the boards or blocking shots, Meyers has a knack for making winning plays. “He’s been a factor in everything we’ve done,” the Palmer coach said. “His effort has been great.” Last year, Meyers said the losing wore on him, souring his attitude on certain days. He says he knows better as a junior leader. “Now, one game is one game, you can’t dwell on the past,” he said. The past is littered with physical and metaphorical bruises and bumps. Meyers hopes the future holds more points, rebounds and wins en route to an opportunity to play in college. “I just want to win,” Meyers said. “I’ve started to get a really good bond with the kids on my team, and I like being a leader with them. And I love playing with them now. If I could average a double-double for the rest of this year and my senior year and just play with these guys and win, that would be just great.” Other Peak Performers Girls basketball Jayda Lyon, Liberty The 5-foot-7 senior reached double figures in all three of the Lancers’ games in the new year, helping Liberty to a 2-1 week. She started the week with 15 points in a win over Sand Creek before a cold shooting night saw her score 14 in a close loss to Doherty. She rebounded in a big way, scoring 25 of her team’s 54 points in a win over Fountain-Fort Carson on Saturday. Ice Hockey Spencer Sykes, Pine Creek Sykes had a hand in more than half of the Eagles’ seven goals in a win over Doherty on Saturday. He had three goals and an assist, as Pine Creek moved above .500 at 4-3 on the season. Swimming and Diving Meredith Rees, Lewis-Palmer Rees had a pair of top-two finishes to help the Rangers finish fourth at Saturday’s Boulder County Invitational. Rees won the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 56.44 seconds and took second in the 100 butterfly in 57.91. Wrestling Devin Lueck, Mesa Ridge Lueck, a senior 120-pounder, was one of the Grizzlies’ eight champions at the Mullen Invitational on Saturday as Mesa Ridge easily won the team title. Lueck advanced to the finals with ease, pinning his first two opponents in the first period before advancing the the finals with a 17-1 technical fall. In the final, he won a 6-2 decision over Regis Jesuit’s Clifford Pinkerton.
The Gazette Preps Girls' Cross Country Peak Performer of the Year: Isabella Prosceno, Palmer Ridge

The Gazette Preps Girls' Cross Country Peak Performer of the Year: Isabella Prosceno, Palmer Ridge

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Isabella Prosceno’s leap into the area cross country spotlight might have surprised some, but it came as no shock to those in certain running circles. Prosceno has been running for most of her life and started racing competitively in the past couple of years. The Palmer Ridge freshman’s mom tells stories of her daughter beating adults in races around the Larkspur community while Prosceno was still in elementary school. Rob Collins, the Palmer Ridge cross country coach, heard about her potential while she was in middle school. Prosceno showed the hype wasn’t hollow by running the fastest time of a Pikes Peak area runner at the state meet Oct. 28 when her 18-minute, 17.8-second 5K was good for second in Class 4A, earning the freshman Gazette Girls’ Cross Country Peak Performer of the Year. Only four girls' runners in all of the state had a better time. RELATED The Gazette Preps Girls' Cross Country Coach of the Year: Rob Collins, Palmer Ridge Gazette Preps Girls' Cross Country All-Stars “She just ran a great race,” Collins said. “That day Isabella was definitely on.” The adjustment to the 3.1-mile distance came gradually over the course of her first high school season. Isabella Prosceno - Palmer Ridge - The CHSAA state cross country meet was held Saturday, October 28, 2017 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Photo by Mark Reis   “Over the season, I kept on getting a little better each race,” Prosceno said. “I would learn from what I didn’t do in the previous one. The very last race at state, which was a pretty hilly course for all of us, I actually PR’d.” Collins said he cut the freshman loose in September at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic in California, where she finished 24th in a loaded field. Her personal best at the state race led the Bears to a second-place finish. Now, she’s looking to take the next step individually and for her team. “I didn’t expect to get any of the things I did, but of course I had a dream of doing that. I did a lot better than I thought, which was good, but of course I had my team that pushed me,” Prosceno said. “I was very satisfied. Second as a freshman, I was like ‘OK, if I can do this, maybe I can get first next year.’ I was happy.” Prosceno’s racing didn’t end at state, however. After the season, she helped her club team, the Parker Panthers, win the national championship in the 13/14-year-old division at the National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Florida. Prosceno finished the four-kilometer course in 14:20.2, good for 15th and All-American honors despite battling a cold leading up to the race. “For her being young like she is, it’s a great experience for her,” Collins said. Next year, Prosceno plans on racing in the Nike or Foot Locker national circuit, which could lead to recruitment from some top colleges. While the potential is undeniable, Collins tried to maintain a manageable workload for a young runner who transitioned from high school cross country to club running without much of a break. She also plans to run track in the spring. “I knew Isabella had a lot of talent and ability, but I wanted to remember she was a freshman,” Collins said. “We kept her miles pretty low.” With natural speed and a runner’s build, Prosceno appears to have all the tools to a build a special future - not that there’s any rush. “We’ve got plenty of time,” Collins said. “I’m really looking forward to working with her the next couple years.”
The Gazette Preps Boys' Cross Country Coach of the Year: Alan Versaw, The Classical Academy

The Gazette Preps Boys' Cross Country Coach of the Year: Alan Versaw, The Classical Academy

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The Classical Academy cross country coach Alan Versaw liked what he saw when his boys’ team came together to start the 2017 season, but he’s seen talented teams come up just short before. Talent is nothing new for the Titans. TCA finished second in Class 3A in 2016, 34 points behind Alamosa. The Titans were fourth in 4A in 2014 and 2015 and second in 2013. “ We started the year, all of us felt like, yes, this could be a state championship team,” Versaw said. “We had enough seconds lately, we knew not to count on anything.” The initial feeling came to fruition when the Titan boys topped the 3A podium for the first time since 2011. Sophomore Mason Norman took the individual championship, while seniors Ryan Moen and Canaan Lamberth added top-20 finishes, placing 11th and 14th, respectively. Juniors Nathan Bone and Brendan Johnston rounded out the team score, while freshman Josiah Cole and senior Isaac Bahr also competed at the Norris-Penrose Event Center course. “The guys stepped up and raced up to their potential,” said Versaw, The Gazette's Boys' Cross Country Coach of the Year. “The guys just ran a fantastic race.” The Titans’ depth could’ve been the difference. “We were stronger in our four, five and six than we have been in a long time,” Versaw said. Outside of the time spent wondering who would step in to fill out the back half of the varsity team, the TCA coach remembers the season being relatively stress-free. “In some sense, this year was so easy. The kids were easy,” he said. “It was definitely one of my most fun years coaching.” The Titans did well on the girls side, as well. After sweeping the Colorado Springs Metro League meet, TCA's girls fought adversity to a third-place finish at state, led by junior Kaylee Thompson in ninth. “They had a lot of reasons at the beginning they could have been discouraged,” Versaw said. “They refused to do that.” Highlighted by an individual and team title on the boys’ side, 2017 ended up being quite the season for the TCA coach. “It was just a lot of fun. It was a great group of kids, always willing. Team chemistry was fabulous. The team leadership was great,” Versaw said. “It’s the kind of season you dream of as a coach.”
The Gazette Preps Girls' Cross Country Coach of the Year: Rob Collins, Palmer Ridge

The Gazette Preps Girls' Cross Country Coach of the Year: Rob Collins, Palmer Ridge

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Palmer Ridge cross country coach Rob Collins believes the true mark of a strong cross country program is success from both the boys and girls teams. At Palmer Ridge, state championships seemingly have become the measure of success. If the Bears aren’t there already, they’re certainly getting closer. The Palmer Ridge boys won a second consecutive state championship this fall, the boys' third team title in the past four years. Collins helped the Bears girls continue their climb toward a Class 4A state title, coaching the team to a second-place finish Oct. 28 at the Norris-Penrose Event Center course to earn Gazette Peak Performer Girls’ Cross Country Coach of the year. “Our girls team really made a big jump through this last year,” Collins said. The Bears were fourth in 2015, and third last year before taking another step in the right direction this fall. That leaves one more step, chasing down a Battle Mountain program that had four runners - two seniors - in the top 16 at state. “Now the whole goal is getting them next year,” Collins said. “We know that we’re very capable. Right now, it’s just putting that puzzle together.” The 2017 pieces came in different forms. Collins balanced a trio of underclassmen in freshmen Isabella Prosceno and Maren Busath and sophomore Anna Busath - the Bears’ top three finishers at state - with seniors Nicole Phaneuf and Madeleine Bonneau - Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. Beyond that, first-year runner Riley Colby and junior Emily Gentry rounded out the seven state runners. Less than a minute separated Anna Busath and Gentry at state. “Our girls team just got stronger and better,” Collins said. Collins also had his work cut out for him on the boys’ side. The Bears lost three runners to the collegiate ranks from the 2016 championship team, and a rash of illness and injury hindered the 2017 squad for much of the season. The Bears didn’t have their best team race together until the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference meet. They were able to put it all together by the time regional and state rolled around, however. “We decided not to run other people’s race and decided to run our race,” Collins said. “It really paid off.” While the Palmer Ridge girls will miss the leadership and ability of Phaneuf - a Tulane signee - and Bonneau, the Bears have set their sights on the final step to the top of the podium in 2018. “The girls wanted to be known as being just as good as the guys,” Collins said. The Palmer Ridge coach is leading the girls down the right path.

The Gazette Preps 3A-1A Volleyball Peak Performer of the Year: Christine Ajayi, CSCS

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Christine Ajayi does whatever it takes to help her team. Which, in her senior year, meant stepping into a new role and out of the spotlight. Ajayi, who played as an outside hitter for her entire high school career at Colorado Springs Christian School, settled into her new position as libero, stepping away from her hitting ways and focusing on defense - which she did with flying colors. Her selflessness and success in a brand new position earned her The Gazette Preps 3A-1A Volleyball Peak Performer of the Year honor. “She humbly accepted the role knowing she wouldn’t be in the spotlight for kills,” said CSCS coach Lori Currier when she nominated Ajayi for Peak Performer of the Year. “She stated she wanted to do what was best for the team and the future of the program. Not only has she embraced the role, but she’s excelled at it.” RELATED Gazette Preps 3A-1A Volleyball All-Stars The Gazette Preps 3A-1A Volleyball Coach of the Year: Bethany Moss, Calhan Ajayi began playing as a libero with her club team early in her high school career, but stuck with hitting for the Lions because of her undeniable success on the outside. Her move meant CSCS was without one of its most productive hitters, as Ajayi racked up 330 kills with a .231 hitting percentage in her junior season. But where the Lions lost a hitter, they gained a defensive specialist with a natural gift. Christine Ajaya, a 3A-1A Volleyball player for CSCS, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   “(Moving to libero) was so much fun but it was a lot of pressure too,” Ajayi said. “The transition from hitting was interesting. When you’re hitting you just want to slam it, so I had to really work on watching the play and analyzing what was in front of me. It was a lot of fun though, and I felt like I had a lot more energy in the back of the court.” Ajayi was already a talented defender as a junior, with 398 digs, but she kicked it into high-gear for her senior campaign with 464 digs, ranking her in the top five in Class 3A, and received 544 serves with just 49 errors. She also ranked among the top five liberos in the class in assists with 33. “I was ready to be a leader,” Ajayi said. “As a senior you’re already a leader, but I felt being a libero put me in a higher leadership role because I’m telling them where to go because I’m their eyes on the court.” Her stellar defense caught the eye of opposing coaches, too, even those in higher classifications. “She’s an incredible player and leader,” said Air Academy coach Kristen Sciacca, who nominated Ajayi as 3A-1A Peak Performer of the Year. “She has a positive, inviting spirit on the court. She’s very talented defensively. We had a hard time scoring against her.”
The Gazette Preps Softball Peak Performer of the Year: Corah Price, Discovery Canyon

The Gazette Preps Softball Peak Performer of the Year: Corah Price, Discovery Canyon

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

It was hard to ignore Corah Price’s presence. This past season, she was the Discovery Canyon pitcher who stood 6 feet tall in the circle. Besides that, she could throw hard and fast and there was no denying that she was the star of the team. Price backed up each appearance with stellar stats. She threw a total of 180 strikeouts, the fourth-most in Colorado. And when it came time to step up, she didn’t let her teammates and coaches down. Her numbers were enough to land Price the honor of The Gazette Preps Softball Peak Performer of the Year. The Toledo-bound pitcher went 17-5 with an 2.51 ERA and nine shutouts. The Thunder advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament, the furthest of any area team. They lost 4-3 to Mountain View, which eventually moved on to win the championship. RELATED: The Gazette Preps Softball Coach of the Year is Dave Hyland of St. Mary's “Getting to state is an achievement within itself,” Price said. “Even though we didn’t win state, it was still a big accomplishment.” Discovery Canyon was one of area three teams that qualified for a state tournament. The Thunder did so with just four seniors on the roster. They finished the season 17-5-1, outscored opponents 213-66, captured nine of their last 11 games and had a first-round state tournament shutout win over Wheat Ridge. And throughout it all, Price always trusted the defense behind her. Corah Price, a softball player for Discovery Canyon, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   “I think having the defense that we had was a major help because as a pitcher, you’re not going to be able to strike out everyone,” she said. “You’re going to have those ground balls. I think having that reassurance that they can fulfill the play after you was great. It gives you confidence, it gives the team confidence and I’m glad they had that confidence in me to fulfill that role (as a pitcher).” Price was raised in a military family and grew up in Germany until her late teenage years. She moved to the United States and started attending Discovery Canyon. She had been a fixture for the Thunder ever since. In her career at Discovery Canyon, Price record 43 wins and 423 strikeouts in 386 innings. She’s now focused on the rest of her senior year, and then she’ll be off to college softball. She had other big-school interests. But she said she felt right at home with Toledo in Ohio, which made a scholarship offer during Price’s sophomore year. “They were there to make me a better player,” she said. “They weren’t there for the spotlight of the school’s name. They were there to help me get better and help the program get better. I think that’s a big aspect of college. You want to feel like you’re at home. You want to feel like you can end on a high note. And I feel like the coaches were a great example of people that I want to follow.” In other words, Price is expected to step in and become a big presence.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Deonte Bridges, Cheyenne Mountain wrestling

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Deonte Bridges, Cheyenne Mountain wrestling

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Cheyenne Mountain wrestling coach Tyler Seaney had plans for Deonte Bridges dating back to the Indians sophomore’s seventh grade year. Seaney was coaching middle school football when he noticed Bridges’ blend of size and natural ability. The coach helped Bridges get started with the Cheyenne Mountain club wrestling program, a decision that has paid dividends. “He took off right away,” Seaney recalled. Bridges flashed that ability and showcased his growth over the last three years by winning the 220-pound bracket at the Old Chicago Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament to earn Peak Performer of the Week. “It’s one of the top (tournaments) in the state every year,” Seaney said, adding that Bridges was his first wrestler in 15 years coaching to win the tournament. “It’s a huge deal.” The weekend left Bridges with a clear picture of where he wants to be at the end of the season. “I feel like this year, I could take state,” Bridges said. He’s got good reason to believe that’s achievable. Bridges finished third at 220 as a freshman. The defending champion graduated. Bridges pinned Mesa Ridge’s Dominick Fini, who knocked him off in last year's state semifinals, in Saturday’s championship. The Cheyenne Mountain sophomore won his first match via an 11-5 decision before three consecutive first-round pins set up a championship match with Fini. “Him beating me two times last year, I was kinda nervous going up against him,” Bridges admitted. Seaney remembered seeing Bridges take a conservative approach early, but when Fini missed a shot in the second period, Bridges countered with a lateral drop, leading to the championship pin. “It felt so good,” Bridges said. “I don’t know how to tell you (about) it.” As a freshman, Bridges relied on overpowering opponents. “His ability to wrestle a complete match and not rely on throwing... He’s got really good shots on his feet,” Seaney said, summing up Bridges’ improvement from last year.. “He’s an incredible athlete too. He can beat a lot guys in a lot of different ways.” Another step forward came between the ears. “Freshman year, I was hesitant wrestling anybody,”he said. “My head wasn’t in the right place.” Now, Bridges says he takes the mat with the mindset he’s going to beat his opponent regardless of record or rank. With a couple more years of growth and experience, the belief is Bridges can be special at Cheyenne Mountain and beyond. “His ceiling is really high. He’s probably one of the most gifted athletes I’ve ever seen and worked with,” Seaney said. “He could do some great things in this sport for sure.” The 15-year-old sophomore’s romp through one of the biggest wrestling tournaments in the state proves as much. Other Peak Performers Boys' basketball Joel Scott, Lewis-Palmer The 6-foot-6 junior has helped the Rangers to a 6-0 start. He started last week with a career-high 33 points with nine rebounds against Vista PEAK before making 9 of 15 from the field for 20 points in a win over Pueblo South. Girls' basketball Ashten Prechtel, Discovery Canyon The junior center helped the Thunder bounce back from a two-point loss against Pueblo East on Tuesday with wins over Rock Canyon and Ponderosa. Pretchel scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss before posting a 22-point, 20-rebound double-double in a 38-25 win over Rock Canyon. She closed the week with a 28-point, 17-rebound effort against Ponderosa on Friday. Hockey Connor McIlhany, Liberty McIlhany helped the Lancers pick up their first two wins of the season last week. He recorded a hat trick in a league win over Rampart on Wednesday. The Lancers then picked up a win over Steamboat Springs on Saturday after Friday’s loss at Standley Lake. Swimming Dominique Cos and Sara Conroy, Pine Creek Cos and Conway each won two events, as the Eagles improved to 4-0 in dual actions this season. Cos took the 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle, while Conroy won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Singles Peak Performer of the Year: Nick Lorenz, Discovery Canyon

The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Singles Peak Performer of the Year: Nick Lorenz, Discovery Canyon

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Nick Lorenz doesn’t want sympathy. He knows he could have done better. The Discovery Canyon junior boys’ singles player fell short again of the state title, finishing fourth in No. 1 singles at the Class 4A tournament. He lost in the semifinals and then to Colorado Academy’s Richter Jordaan in the third-place match. In the regular season, Lorenz beat both of them. “I just kind of choked,” he said. “That’s the way things go.” Still, his play this year earned him The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Singles Peak Performer of the Year. Related: The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Peak Performer Doubles Team of the Year: Michael Dashiell and Grant Leap, Cheyenne Mountain But now, the pressure is on. He has one more season to get it done. In his freshman and sophomore seasons, he reached the state title match but couldn’t prevail. He said he believes he can win it all next season, just like how his brother, Luke, did in 2013. So, that’s why he regularly travels up north to the Denver area to practice his hits and swings with other elite prep athletes, like the ones he faced in the state tournament. He doesn’t want to make the same mistakes he did this past season. In the semifinals, he lost 6-3, 6-3 to Kent Denver’s Moldenhauer. Nick Lorenz, a tennis player for Discovery Canyon, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   “I started getting tight and not playing how I usually play,” Lorenz said. “I can’t have any mental downsides at all. I have to get on with life.” The two played Sept. 8, and Lorenz won the match 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. He said the difference might not have been his actual play on the court. It was his mental game that he needed to overcome. But he kept playing and beat Valor Christian’s Carter Logan 6-1, 6-0 in the consolation round to advance to the third-place match. However, Lorenz ended the season with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Colorado Academy’s Jordaan. They played Sept. 7, and Lorenz won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. His coach, Mike Humphrey, told The Gazette after the match that Lorenz made progress this season, and that could help him next year. "He has been working a lot on making some big changes in his game, being more of a transitional player, working on his serve and adding some components to his game that he needs for that next level, meaning the college level," Humphrey said. "He's been doing well with it, but it's a learning process. He's made some big strides and his game is really starting to evolve, so I think this year, overall, he's done very, very well." Lorenz’s main objective next season: Capture state, of course. “I’m planning on winning,” he said.

The Gazette Preps 3A-1A football Peak Performer of the Year: Ty Evans, Palmer Ridge

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

With the minutes ticking down in the second quarter of a 3A state semifinal game, Palmer Ridge football fans collectively held their breath. Ty Evans, the three-star quarterback recruit, captain, and leader of the unbeaten Bears was down, writhing in pain on the sideline. “My whole arm was on fire and I got the wind knocked out of me,” Evans remembers. “It was the first big hit I took all season, so I was just laying there, and I was like, ‘I’m done. This is it.’ ” After what Palmer Ridge fans will surely recall to be the longest halftime they can remember, Evans trotted out of the locker room with a yellow wrap around his left elbow and began warming up on the sideline. Related: 2017 Gazette Preps 3A-1A football All-Stars It only took a few plays from scrimmage for Evans to tear the wrap off - dramatically, as his teammates will remember, and get back into position as if nothing had happened. Ty Evans doesn’t go down that easily. “I was trying to get out of bounds, but I got hit by like four guys at the same time,” Evans said. “A facemask hit me right in my funny bone, which I didn’t know at the time, and my arm was on fire. But after I calmed down and got my breath back I realized it was just a stinger, and nothing was going to stop me from playing in that game.” It’s a family trait, according to Evans. Get to know your 2017 @gazettepreps 3A-1A Football Peak Performer of the Year - @EvansTy18 . Find out who his biggest inspiration is, what he listened to before every game, and why he chose Rocky Creed as his #PeakPerformer poster. https://t.co/H9AufKHPPS pic.twitter.com/39SrCoNj8B — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) December 17, 2017 // “That’s our whole mentality in our family. Unless you’re in a wheelchair, you have to be out there playing and get the job done,” he said. His fight, raw talent and leadership on the road to the Palmer Ridge Bears’ first football state championship is why he is The Gazette Preps 3A-1A Football Player of the Year. Evans has always been good. He threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns last season in his first year at starting quarterback, which earned him Division I offers from across the country. He continued his success as a junior, topping the state in passing yards with 3,627. But it was his leadership that made the most impact on the Bears as they reached a perfect season. “I think I kind of transformed this year,” Evans said. “Last year I had to focus on me, because as a little sophomore, you have to step up and be that starting quarterback, you have to focus on you. But this year I was able to think and focus on the team to make sure everyone is focused and ready to play.” It started in the offseason when he transferred some of his incomparable work ethic to his teammates as they aimed to become the best program in the state - a goal five years in the making. “As a sophomore he executed at a very high level, and coming into his junior year he did a phenomenal job of working hard throughout the offseason with his teammates and putting in time beyond the halls here at Palmer Ridge as well,” Bears’ coach Tom Pulford said. “But the thing that I think gave him the most traction with his teammates is his personal relationships with the guys and the way that he treats everybody on and off the field.” Evans’ strive for greatness began in spring of 2016 when he decided to dedicate himself to his future on the gridiron. “I’m trying to go to the Hall of Fame,” Evans said. “I have offers, alright. I have a state championship, yeah. But I haven’t arrived yet. There are a lot of people with state championships out there, and there are a lot of people who play college football. But I’m trying to do bigger things.” And he’s certainly on his way.

The Gazette Preps 5A-4A football Peak Performer of the Year: David Moore III, Pine Creek

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

When you’ve made the state playoffs every year for the better part of a decade, and have a trophy case full of state championship hardware lining the gym corridors, the talent pool begins to fill up. Pine Creek is no exception. The Eagles, who are regularly ranked as one of the top teams in the state, have a roster stacked with football talent. But if you watch any Pine Creek game from the last two years - there’s one jersey number that stands out from the rest - No. 2, David Moore III. His spin-moves and quick feet are unmatched - unless of course you watched his father play at Southern Miss. Moore is not sure how he learned to break tackles and spin out of tight spots, but he has a feeling it’s a family trait. “I think it’s just genes,” Moore said. “My dad (David Moore II) was a good running back, and I think I just got it from him.” RELATED: Meet the 3A-1A football Peak Performer of the Year, Ty Evans of Palmer Ridge 2017 Gazette Preps 5A-4A football All-Stars 2017 Gazette Preps 3A-1A football All-Stars Get to know your @gazettepreps 5A-4A Football Peak Performer of the Year, @DM3_2020_RB (Hint - his most embarrassing moment is HILARIOUS) #copreps https://t.co/UjciVJb1dG pic.twitter.com/4r77fKjRIe — Lindsey Smith (@LindseySquints) December 17, 2017 // Moore’s success started early. Although only a freshman, Moore was vital in the Eagles’ 2016 state championship, as he rushed for 1,585 yards in his debut season for Pine Creek. He was the top freshman running back in the state - top 14 overall - averaging 10 yards per carry. And he avoided the sophomore slump like a true champion. David Moore III, a football player for Pine Creek, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   Moore stormed back for the 2017 season putting up nearly 2,000 yards rushing, once again topping the class of 2020 - and ranking third overall. “There was a lot of pressure because they were expecting more of me because of what I did my freshman year to help us win state,” Moore said. “But coach (Todd) Miller had trust in me, and if he had trust in me, then I believe that I could do it.” But his talents don’t stop on the ground. In 2017 Moore emerged as another reliable receiving threat for Pine Creek, broadening the Eagles’ already threatening offense. “I’ve gone to a few camps and played wide receiver because they had too many running backs,” Moore said. “So I developed that skill to catch and I would run the screen route when our primary receiver was getting covered.” He had 134 receiving yards, which pushed him above 2,000 all-purpose yards in 2017. Moore is just a piece of the talented class of 2020, not just at Pine Creek but around the Pikes Peak region. “Hopefully this class will make people start looking at Colorado because everyone always underestimates our football,” Moore said. “I want lots of people to look over here because the class of 2020 is great.” And if Moore’s success is any indication of what is to come for Colorado football, the future is bright.
The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Peak Performer Doubles Team of the Year: Michael Dashiell and Grant Leap, Cheyenne Mountain

The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Peak Performer Doubles Team of the Year: Michael Dashiell and Grant Leap, Cheyenne Mountain

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

When the stakes are high, don’t always expect Cheyenne Mountain senior Michael Dashiell and junior Grant Leap to take the situation too seriously. As the No. 2 doubles team for the Indians this past season, they were known not to let the pressure take over. That approach was key during the Class 4A state tournament. In the semifinals, they captured the first set against Colorado Academy’s Nicholas Dietrich and Nicholas Pulido before noticing a posse of opposing coaches coming to the court, a sign that they were taking things too seriously. Ultimately, Dashiell and Leap lost the final two sets but their attitude never changed as they went on to capture third place through the consolation bracket. Their finish helped them land the honor of The Gazette Preps Boys’ Tennis Peak Performer Doubles Team of the Year. It also helped them erase the sting of exiting in the first round of last season’s state tournament. “It was a long fight,” Leap said bout the semifinals match. “It was a lot of fun.” Grant Leap, a doubles player for Cheyenne Mountain, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   That statement basically sums up Leap and Dashiell. They took the game seriously but always enjoyed the moment. Their coach, Dave Adams, recalls seeing them laughing and high-fiving each other during matches all season. After Leap earned a point in one match, Dashiell shouted: “Someone get this man a Big Mac because he’s eating large tonight,” causing an uproar of laughter from spectators and teammates. “That’s what high school sports is really all about,” Adams said. Dashiell and Leap finished their second regular season as a duo with a 10-4 record. Entering the state tournament, they had one goal in mind - make it to the quarterfinals. In 2016, they were part of an Indians team that placed 16th overall, the worst finish for a program that has retained 16 state titles. That year, they were among a bevy of singles and doubles players who suffered first-round exits. Dashiell and Leap came through and helped Cheyenne Mountain to a third-place team finish despite not having anyone in a championship match. The Indians knew it wasn’t their year as the top team and happily settled with three third-place double teams, including No. 3 Robbie Metz and Max Schultz and No. 4 Carver Ward and Bennett Ziegler. “Last season’s ending was really tough,” Leap said. “A lot of the guys that we thought would make it all got knocked out in the first round. We were willing to do better than last year.” He and Dashiell did it their way. Michael Dashiell, a doubles player for Cheyenne Mountain, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   In the first round, they easily slipped past D’Evelyn’s Justin Allen and Dom Cushnie with a 6-1, 6-4 win. After the match, Leap recalls telling his partner, “We’re already farther than last year.” In the next round, they shut out Steamboat’s Kyle Nisson and Gabe Rabanal in straight sets. Then, they faced Colorado Academy and fell in three close sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. But they didn’t panic or pout. “There was no reason to get down on ourselves and just focus on the next match,” Leap said. “You shouldn’t throw both of your matches because you’re sad about one.” In the consolation rounds, they beat Valor Christian’s Trent Steese and Truman Osburn, and then Dawson School’s Phil Geraghty and Sam Troughton. It was an ending that they had always hoped for. “In the offseason, I probably picked up a tennis racket two or three times,” Dashiell said. “But when the season started, we were working pretty hard every single day.” It showed in the final team standings.
The Gazette Preps Boys' Soccer Peak Performer of the Year: Garrett Kramer, Sand Creek

The Gazette Preps Boys' Soccer Peak Performer of the Year: Garrett Kramer, Sand Creek

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The Sand Creek soccer team started the season with the one-word motto: “believe.” Belief was a necessity if the Scorpions wanted to reach their lofty goals of winning a league and state title after Sand Creek narrowly missed the playoffs in 2016. Senior striker Garrett Kramer instilled faith in his teammates by scoring 21 goals and adding seven assists as the Scorpions cruised to a 10-0 start. Related: 2017 Gazette Preps Boys' Soccer All-Stars After the Scorpions concluded a 14-2-1 campaign with a loss to Denver North in the second round of the state playoffs, Kramer led the state - regardless of classification - with 32 goals and 75 points to earn The Gazette Preps Boys’ Soccer Peak Performer of the Year. His final goal, good for the state’s golden boot, was a volley from roughly 30 yards out that brought the Scorpions level with sixth-seeded Denver North, eventually forcing overtime. The senior knew he got the strike right off his foot but was still left with a sense of shock watching it beat the keeper. “I’ll probably never forget that moment,” Kramer said. “It was pretty fantastic,” Sand Creek coach Jeremy Tafoya added. Garrett Kramer, a soccer player for Sand Creek, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   Unfortunately for Sand Creek, the Vikings scored the game-winner in second overtime, minutes after what could’ve been Kramer’s 33rd goal ricocheted off the post. “It just seemed like it was one of those games,” Tafoya said, feeling like the Scorpions were the better team for much of the action. Kramer ended his senior year with 11 assists and scored in a variety of ways. Outside of the run of play, the Sand Creek senior scored multiple goals off set pieces and finished a number of teammate Jesse Bridge’s long, looping throw-ins with his head. He was such an integral part of the Scorpions’ dangerous attack - the team scored more than six goals per game - Dakota Ridge man-marked him all over the pitch during a September game. “From the start of the game, they had a guy just following him around the field,” Tafoya said. “It didn’t matter where he went.” Tafoya moved Kramer all over to test the Eagles’ commitment to the rarely seen strategy, and the Scorpions’ star striker still managed a goal in a 6-2 win. Related: The Gazette Preps Field Hockey Peak Performer of the Year: Jordyn Isner, Palmer Ridge There were few teams capable of keeping Kramer out of the back of the net, as he scored in 15 of his team’s 17 contests, including 12 multi-goal games. Kramer started the year with a five-goal outing in a mercy-rule win over Coronado and later recorded hat tricks against Englewood and Vista Ridge. He would’ve traded those goals for a trophy, he said. “We just wanted to get there because we knew that this would be the year,” Kramer said. “It was definitely tough, but I just tried to do the best for the team.” The Scorpions added four wins to last year’s total with their only regular season loss coming at the hands of Air Academy, the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference and 4A state champions. Making the leap forward for his first trip to state was made better by the company. “I have a couple club teammates on the team that are seniors and a couple juniors I’ve known awhile,” Kramer said. “It just made it more special being with people you’ve known for awhile.” Sand Creek’s star will forge new relationships next fall, as he’s committed the Colorado Mesa men’s soccer team, a program that qualified for the Division II NCAA Tournament this fall. Tafoya said he thinks Kramer has the ability to help the Mavericks early thanks to his technical ability. More importantly, the Sand Creek coach believes Kramer will continue to succeed when the boots are hung up for good. “Everyone knows the stats. For me, with him, it was his leadership. He’s just one of those good kids.,” Tafoya said. “He’s going to win at life.”
The Gazette Preps Field Hockey Peak Performer of the Year: Jordyn Isner, Palmer Ridge

The Gazette Preps Field Hockey Peak Performer of the Year: Jordyn Isner, Palmer Ridge

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

As a Palmer Ridge field hockey player, nothing comes easy. The Bears boast a program that regularly advance to the state title game with high-caliber talent. So during her first two seasons at Palmer Ridge, Jordyn Isner mostly contributed after coming off bench. Still, she finished with six goals last season. But she knew she could be more and do more. During the offseason, her dad Nick took her to camps featuring players from the East Coast Field Hockey, where, arguably, the best players in the country train. She held her own, and improved. That experience helped her grow as a player, both mentally and physically. It also ultimately helped her become The Gazette Field Hockey Peak Performer of the Year. RELATED: The Gazette Preps 2017 Field Hockey All-Stars The junior forward led the Bears with 23 goals and was second on the team in assists with 11. And when it came down to high pressure situations, she didn't falter. Against Kent Denver in the state title game, Isner knocked in a score and capitalized on an attempt during a dramatic shootout to help lift the Bears to their first-ever championship. Jordyn Isner, a field hockey player for Palmer Ridge, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   "I was hoping we'd win because we needed to redeem ourselves from last year," she said, referring to coming up empty for the third time since 2012. "I kind of knew I needed to help my team because we lost a lot of powerful seniors." Coach Paul Lewis remembers a different Jordyn Isner from last season, someone who stepped off the field upset or disappointed when things weren't going her way. She also appeared frustrated after she was bumped around because of her small frame. "Over the summer, she worked on that and really stepped up," Lewis said. Like last season, the Bears lost a chunk of their starters before the 2017 campaign, and eight seniors will graduate this season. But no one within the Palmer Ridge program is truly worried. The Bears always seem to reload. And they're going to do it next season with Isner as a key returner. She and her father are planning to attend more field hockey camps with East Coast players, in an effort to improve her stick skills and other techniques. "We're still going to have a good team," Isner said. "But it'll be difficult to readjust to not having all of our players with us." Nothing comes easy, but that's the life of a Palmer Ridge field hockey player.
Boys' Golf Peak Performer of the Year: Brandon Bervig, Liberty

Boys' Golf Peak Performer of the Year: Brandon Bervig, Liberty

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

A year made a huge difference for Brandon Bervig and his golf game. Two seasons ago, the Liberty golfer advanced to the Class 5A state tournament only to finish tied for 49th in a field of 80. It was his first time on such a big stage, and he said he felt as if he didn’t belong there. “I wasn’t intimidated but I didn’t have that experience,” Bervig said. A year later, he shook off the nerves and wrapped up his junior season with a 15th-place performance at this season’s state tournament. His finish 7-over par 149 at the CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora topped any area golfer thanks to an impressive even-par performance on the first day of competition. RELATED: The Gazette Boys' Golf Coach of the Year is Palmer Ridge's Gary Long For his performance Bervig is The Gazette Boys’ Golf Peak Performer of the Year. His coach, Stan Woodworth, said he noticed a change in Bervig’s attitude. The golfer used to let a bad shot affect his play, but not this year. “He really started to understand the mental part of the game and if he keeps playing the way he’s been playing and working on his mental game, he can be one of the stronger golfers in the state,” Woodworth said. “He’s got all the skills he needs.” Brandon Bervig, a golfer for Liberty, is a fall Peak Performer 2017 posed for a portrait at the Gazette studio on Saturday December 9, 2017 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).   Bervig has always been around golf. His dad taught the sport as a profession, and Bervig remembers swinging clubs the size of his arm as a kid. He knew he’d keep playing in high school, and once he got to Liberty, he quickly stepped into a varsity spot. As a freshman, he missed the state tournament by one stroke. As a sophomore, he made it to state stage but quickly learned that he needed to work on his game if he wanted to be a standout. As a junior, he battled with teammate Lucas Howell for the team’s top individual spot. That competitive nature helped the Lancers to back-to-back 5A Colorado Springs Metro League titles. Then the state tournament arrived. Bervig admitted that he might have gotten a little big-headed after the first day. He fired three birdies and was within two strokes of the leader. That round got him excited about the next day. “I’m going to win this thing,” he remembers thinking. Then, reality struck. He had a less-than-stellar second day, shooting a 7-over par and settling for a tie in 15th place with four other golfers. He said he forgot to do the little things and failed to focus on the now. At the same time, he was determined not to let a bad round get to his head. “The second day, he didn’t play as well,” Woodworth said. “But his mentality was good. He never showed a bad attitude. He fought and he fought. He ended playing not as bad as he felt he played, and I think it’s because his mental game changed. I think he took a lot away from that.”

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Derrian Reed, Sierra basketball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The goals for Sierra senior Derrian Reed’s final season of high school hoops are clear. The 6-foot-1 combo guard wants to lead the Stallions to their fourth Colorado Springs Metro League title in as many years. Individually, Reed wants to earn the opportunity to play at the next level and solidify himself as one of the state’s top shooters. So far, so good. Reed is the only returning Stallion to average more than a point per game from Sierra’s run to the second round of last year’s state tournament. He was second in scoring at eight points per game in his junior season. Monday roundup: Air Academy hockey breaks out, beats Chatfield for first win Through four games of his senior year, Reed is averaging 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists to earn Peak Performer of the Week honors. “He has a young group around him, which is even more impressive in terms of his leadership, so what can I say?” Sierra coach Terry Dunn said. “He’s lived up to the billing and expectations having played with eight seniors last year.” One of those seniors was C.J. Jennings, now a freshman guard who is earning minutes at Division II West Texas A&M. Jennings was the alpha dog a year ago. Now that’s Reed’s role. He’s handled it well, scoring at least 18 points in each game, connecting on 63 percent of his field goals and making 14 of his first 24 3-pointers. “He can score from multiple areas on the floor,” Dunn said. “It’s not just a shooter, not just a driver. He understands offense. He understands where shots come from, so I think a huge part of his (high) percentage is shot selection.” A year ago, Reed shot 36 percent on the season. “I had to step up, score more… do a lot more than my past roles,” Reed said. Reed and Dunn agreed the senior’s best high school game to date came in the Stallions' opener. While Falcon won the early matchup by seven, Reed was the star. He cashed in on 7 of 10 tries from distance and led all scorers with 36 points. “I was in the zone. My teammates found me a lot,” Reed said. “If I see the the first couple shots go in, I know I’m on a roll.” He added a team-high 10 rebounds to go with seven steals and a pair of assists. “In terms of overall performance, absolutely,” answered Dunn when asked if that game was Reed’s best in a Sierra uniform. “I think last year he didn’t have to have those types of performances because of the upperclassmen he had around him. Maybe he deferred a little bit, but this year, he’s taking the reins. He has far exceeded my expectations.” His 18-point game came in a lopsided loss to Denver East, one of the top teams in Class 5A, at the Fairview Festival. The Stallions were the only 4A team in the tournament. Reed helped Sierra rebound after an 0-2 start, as the Stallions beat Palmer in overtime on Wednesday before dropping Denver South by 17 in the tournament’s consolation final. He had 23 and 25 points, respectively, in the wins and grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds to go with four assists and three steals against Denver South. The complete efforts, Reed said, are his way of setting the tone for a group of younger teammates. “I’m trying to lead,” Reed said. “If you can’t get points, do something else. My way of doing that, is getting that (rebounding) job done too.” If Reed can get a team with five underclassmen on a 10-man roster to follow his lead, the belief is the Sierra star can finish the season with a check next to each of his goals. “I certainly think he has the skill set and tools and mindset to play at the next level,” Reed said. That mentality might be needed down the stretch as the Stallions have established themselves as the hunted in the CSML. “The past three years, we’ve beaten everyone for league,” Reed said. “People are trying to beat Sierra because that will make their season. There’s a lot of pressure on me to be the star on the team, but other than that, I’m still confident my team can do it.”   Other Peak Performers Girls basketball Megan Engesser, Colorado Springs Christian School   The junior is the state’s leading scorer at 27.7 points per game, helping the Lions to a 3-0 record. She recorded her first double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds in a 72-28 win over Pueblo Centennial and added six steals and six assists. The Lions have won each game by at least 43 points. Girls swimming Sydney Dolloff-Hott, Manitou Springs The junior won four different events and helped the Mustangs win a dual and a triangular last week. Dolloff-Hott won the 100-meter butterfly and 200 freestyle in a 133-46 win over Widefield/Mesa Ridge before winning the 50 free and 100 breaststroke as Manitou Springs topped Salida and Alamosa on Saturday. Hockey Brady Shannahan Rampart Shannahan, a junior center and winger, helped the Rams to a 2-1 start after a lopsided loss to Pueblo County opened the season. A 4-3 win over Coronado followed on Friday before Shannahan’s pair of goals helped Rampart to beat Mullen 6-2. Wrestling Payton Miles, Mitchell Miles went 3-0 at the weekend’s Columbine Invitational to win the 220-pound bracket. A 3-2 decision over Roberto Lopez sent the Marauder junior to the final, where he made quick work of Thomas Garnica, pinning the Thomas Jefferson sophomore in the second period. Mitchell finished fifth in the 19-team field.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: McKenna Sciacca, Lewis-Palmer volleyball

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: McKenna Sciacca, Lewis-Palmer volleyball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The second undefeated run to a Class 4A state volleyball championship was harder than the first for Lewis-Palmer junior setter McKenna Sciacca. The 2016 season was Sciacca’s first as the Rangers’ primary setter, and Lewis-Palmer was led by three senior hitters that are now playing at the Division I level. The Rangers, as they often do, reloaded and finished another 29-0 campaign Saturday at Denver Coliseum, sweeping Valor Christian in the finals behind their setter’s superb play. Sciacca finished the four state matches with 138 assists over 13 sets with just five ball handling errors. Photos: Great moments from Lewis-Palmer's championship win over Valor Christian She was at her best in the finale, finishing with an error-free 32 assists to go along with nine digs and four total blocks to earn Peak Performer of the Week honors. “Even though we were playing long points and there was a lot of back and forth, she was running,” said first-year Lewis-Palmer coach Wade Baxter. “To still get to every ball and have consistent contact and not make one single double (touch), that’s tremendous.” Winning with a new core sweetened the celebration for the junior. “Honestly, there was more excitement to build up because this year has been a lot more challenging than last year was because we lost such great players,” Sciacca said. Sciacca’s ability to consistently get the ball where it needs to go helped prevent a drop in play as the team ushered in a new group of attackers and a new, albeit familiar, coach. Six Rangers finished with between 119 and 207 kills on the season. “We go everywhere all the time,” Baxter said. “She knows who’s hot and where to go with the ball. That was a real strength of our team, our versatility.” She played for Baxter on junior varsity as a freshman, while Mariah Evans wrapped up her senior year before continuing her volleyball career at North Carolina. Having a proven setter made Baxter’s first year easier. “I can concentrate on other things,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about (saying) ‘you’re not putting the ball to the right people’ or ‘your sets are not consistent’ or whatever.” Like Evans, Sciacca has plans to play in college. She committed to Northern Colorado in February. Sciacca said she liked the coaching staff and proximity to home. Her two older sisters were also volleyball players but played in the middle. When the youngest of the Sciacca girls realized she was left-hand dominant in middle school, she transitioned to setter. Teams will frequently attack opposing setters in hopes of taking them out of system, but the 5-foot-11 Sciacca appears up to the challenge. She had at least nine digs and multiple blocks in three of the four state tournament matches, allowing her coach to keep her on the court regardless of rotation. “She’s been everything to the team,” Baxter said. “I mean, we’ve got a lot of other talented players too, but the setter always makes you go, and she really, really makes us go.”   Other Peak Performers Football David Moore III, Pine Creek The speedy sophomore helped the Eagles extend their season with a 34-0 playoff win over Golden on Friday. Moore III carried 23 times for 216 yards and two scores, averaging just under 10 yards per carry. He added a 27-yard reception for 243 total yards. Soccer Ryan Self, Calvin Yocum, Air Academy The senior classmates combined to produce the Kadets’ golden goal in a 1-0 overtime win over Centaurus in the state title game. Yocum played a corner kick into the middle of the box where it met Self’s head for the game’s only score. Volleyball Riley Simpson, Palmer Ridge Just a freshman, the 6-foot-1 outside hitter led the Bears with 26 kills at the 4A state tournament last weekend. She put down 18 balls in a four-set loss to Niwot in the opener before helping Palmer Ridge close the season with a win with eight kills against Discovery Canyon.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Trevor Halverson, Liberty football

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Trevor Halverson, Liberty football

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

High school football came full circle for Liberty quarterback Trevor Halverson and his fellow Lancer seniors in Friday’s game at Cheyenne Mountain. The Liberty seniors started their prep careers on the Indians’ field as freshman. A 1-8 record going into last Friday’s game guaranteed that’s where they would end it, too. “Last game, might as well just go hard,” Halverson said, summing up the class’ attitude entering the finale. Halverson went hard, completing 21 of 34 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-14 win that spoiled the Indians’ senior night and postseason plans. Also: Discovery Canyon earns 1st state volleyball berth, Lewis-Palmer aims to repeat Most impressive for Lancer coach Marc Sites was his quarterback’s recovery after a rough start. The Indians scored first before Halverson drove the Lancers into the red zone. The drive ended with an interception on fourth down. “Him being resilient, not letting that derail him,” Sites answered when asked what stood out most about his quarterback’s performance. “The next time we got the ball, we took it down and scored.” Four touchdowns, two Ryan O’Connell and one to Moz Doria, followed as the Lancers cruised. Halverson finished his senior season with 2,201 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against 11 interceptions and added one rushing score. The Lancer offense took a sharp turn from Halverson’s junior season, his first as starting quarterback, when Liberty regularly fed running back Cole Pelt. Sites talked Mike Roof, the former Air Academy coach, into joining Liberty’s staff as offensive coordinator. That meant a change to a rhythm passing scheme that suited the Lancers' personnel. “It was great,” Halverson said. “I loved it so much. It was so much better than just handing off.” Halverson also rushed six times for 47 yards in Friday’s win. While he prefers slinging the ball around the field, the quarterback embraces contact on the run. “I’m more of a fullback that just knows how to throw if anything,” Halverson said. “If I have to run, I like running people over.” The hope is Friday’s game is not his last. Halverson is hearing from a number of colleges and hopes to garner interest from Division II programs. “I definitely think he could play in college,” Sites said. “He’s got a lot of the attributes college coaches are looking for. He’s a very good student.” If Friday turns out to be the last time he strapped into a football helmet competitively, he has a memory to savor. “That was the best way to end the season. Cheyenne Mountain, that’s where all of us seniors played our first game of high school football, on that field as freshman. And then to end it like that, that was amazing,” Halverson said. “I don’t even care about record. That game just made the whole season great.” Other Peak Performers Football Brayden Luft, The Classical Academy The Titans running back came up big in TCA’s playoff win over Aspen on Friday. The senior racked up 191 rushing yards on 20 carries, good for 9.6 yards per carry, with a touchdown. He added a 34-yard reception and a 9-yard punt return to finish with more than 200 total yards.   Gymnastics Gabriella Peltier, Rampart Peltier led the Rams to a fourth-place finish at the Class 4A state gymnastics competition. Her all-around score of 34.525 just edged out teammate Raelyn Kagarise for 12th in the individual standings. Rampart’s team score of 170.775 was less than 10 points back of Elizabeth, the state champion.   Soccer Tanner MacKay, Colorado Springs Christian School MacKay, a senior captain, scored twice to help the Lions beat Delta 3-2 on Saturday and advance to the Class 3A state semifinals. MacKay’s second-half penalty kick proved to be the game-winning goal. He had a goal and two assists in Tuesday’s win over Dawson School.   Volleyball Mara Abernathy, Coronado The 6-foot-1 senior middle hitter helped the Cougars qualify for the 5A state volleyball tournament with a strong showing at regionals. She opened the weekend with nine kills and a .667 hitting percentage in a sweep of Denver South before putting down 13 balls in another sweep of Dakota Ridge.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Mason Norman, The Classical Academy

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Mason Norman, The Classical Academy

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

The Classical Academy’s Mason Norman didn’t have his best day at last year’s Class 3A state cross country meet, but he made up for it when he returned to Norris-Penrose Event Center on  Saturday. As a freshman, he finished in 38th place in 17 minutes, 46.8 seconds, and the Titans finished second to Alamosa in the team standings. “It’s not like he dropped off the edge of the Earth, but he wasn’t satisfied with his state race,” TCA coach Alan Versaw recalled. Norman had his best day to date at his second state race, winning the 3A boys’ race at in 15:56.7, nearly six seconds clear of Elizabeth's David Fine. The personal record helped the Titans claim the team title and earned Norman Peak Performer of the Week honors. Related: State cross country has familiar finish for Bears, Titans The improved time and place was the result of an offseason spent building endurance and speed. “I worked a lot harder over the summer than I did going into my freshman year,” Norman said. “I feel like that made a big difference.” Norman took a familiar plan to the first-place finish. “I just kinda tried to stick behind the leading pack, and then just kinda follow them,” he said. “Once we’re about halfway through the race, I try and pass those guys and start pushing and take the lead.” Once he breaks from the lead group, there’s little chance of catching him, according to his coach. “He’s patient as a racer,” Versaw said. “He has a very good sense of when it’s time to go.” That plan kept the 3A individual title in the Norman household. Mason’s older brother, Tanner, won 3A race in 2016 and was the 4A champion the year before. Mason understands comparisons will be made between the two, but that doesn’t seem to impact his aspirations. “I don’t know really where I am hoping to be when I’m a senior,” Norman said. “I’m just hoping to progressively get better every year. I feel like I did a good job of doing that this year.” Mason also passed on the chance - for now at least - to remind Tanner, who’s running at Iowa State, that his younger brother needed less time to win a state race. The hope is that Mason will also run in college when the time comes. For now, another year of improvement remains the primary focus. “That’s definitely something I want to do,” Norman said of running in college. “I hope to be getting a lot better and improving my times a ton.” The improvement from freshman to sophomore year is a good place to start. “He wanted to erase last year’s memory, and he did that,” Versaw said.   Other Peak Performers Field Hockey Liz Phillips, Palmer Ridge The senior captain secured the Bears’ state championship, scoring the final goal of the shootout against Kent Denver on Thursday. Phillips finished the season tied for second on the team with 11 goals. She also added seven assists, as Palmer Ridge finished 16-1-1. Football Keion Cross, Rampart The senior running back helped the Rams stay in the hunt for a league title after rushing for 181 yards and two scores on just nine carries in Friday’s 53-6 win over Coronado. He had a long rush of 69 yards. Soccer Demetrio Araiza, Atlas Prep The junior helped the Gryphons win the program’s first postseason game with a pair of goals from the penalty spot in Thursday’s win over Faith Christian. Araiza’s seventh and eighth goals of the season were the only two scores of the match. Volleyball Taylor Buckley, Lewis-Palmer Buckley, a junior, was one of the Rangers’ leading hitters, as they improved to 23-0 after the weekend’s Cheyenne Mountain tournament. She put down 13 balls against Eaton on Saturday had 17 kills in a four-set win over Fossil Ridge on Friday.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Ryan Matson, Palmer Ridge cross country

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Ryan Matson, Palmer Ridge cross country

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

MONUMENT • Palmer Ridge cross country coach Rob Collins informed his boys team he submitted a roster of 10 for this weekend’s Class 4A state meet at Norris Penrose Event Center before a workout Monday in the school’s commons. Only six will run at Saturday’s finale but the Bears’ depth - and a cold that has bounced around the team - has left few names written in ink on the provisional roster. One exception is senior Ryan Matson, who won Thursday’s 4A Region 2 race, to earn Peak Performer of the Week. He’s become the Bears’ top runner on a consistent basis this season. “We need everybody (else) to run as a No. 2 guy, basically,” Collins said. “That’s what we’re looking for.” Matson finished the regional race, at Monument Valley Park, in 15 minutes, 54 seconds, a personal best. He ran with the top pack early before making his move around the two-mile marker. He went on to win by more than 20 seconds. “It was a goal, but it was sort of unexpected,” Matson said. “I knew I had competition. I guess during the race it became more and more of a reality.” Improving on that time will be tough on a more challenging course, but that’s not Matson’s primary concern. “It’s a run for place, not time,” Matson said. His coach said a top-five finish is likely with a individual championship possible with a smart, tactical race. “He’s mostly about the team and everything else,” Collins said. “Anything else, what he does as an individual, is a bonus to him.” Behind Matson, the Bears are projected to be in the hunt for a team title. “I think it’s realistic,” the senior said. “It’s not going to be super easy, but if everyone put it in their head that they’re going to a win a state championship, I think we can do it.” Matson was Palmer Ridge’s No. 3 runner when the Bears won a state title a year ago, finishing behind a pair of former teammates who are now part of Division I programs. Matson will likely follow, as he’s hearing from a couple of Pac 12 schools, according to Collins. The 8K distance run at the collegiate level shouldn’t be an issue. “He’ll actually do fine at the longer distances,” Collins said. “He’s actually a pretty good longer distance runner.” He’s still got one more high school cross country race, and he knows how he wants to finish. “As an individual, top three,” Matson said. “As a team, we’re all trying to go to win it.”3   Other Peak Performers Volleyball Jordan Valentine, Liberty The senior led the Lancers in kills in all three of last week’s matches and helped Liberty picked up a pair of wins. She put down eight balls in a three-set loss to Rampart to start the week before posting nine kills in a sweep over Fountain-Fort Carson. She saved her best Saturday’s showdown with Pueblo West where she posted 15 kills and added 11 total blocks in a five-set win over Pueblo West, which lost for just the second time this season. Soccer Jack McReynolds, Rampart McReynolds, a senior midfielder, scored four goals and added an assist in two games last week. He started with a goal in a 4-3 win over Liberty and capped the regular season with a three-goal, three-assist game against Coronado on Thursday, giving him 20 goals and 20 assists on the season. Cross country Bria Johnson, The Vanguard School The sophomore won the 2A Region 2 meet in 21 minutes, 55.75 seconds to help the Coursers take the team title as well. As a freshman, Johnson placed 19th at the state meet, good for an all-state honorable mention honor. Football Landen Martinez, Falcon Martinez ran wild in the Falcons’ dominant win over Woodlank Park, posting 144 yards on 15 carries. The senior started the night with a pair of successful two-point-conversion runs before a two long touchdown runs padded the lead.
Gazette Preps Peak Performers of the Week: Grant Leap and Michael Dashiell, Cheyenne Mountain tennis

Gazette Preps Peak Performers of the Week: Grant Leap and Michael Dashiell, Cheyenne Mountain tennis

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Over the past couple years, Cheyenne Mountain junior Grant Leap and senior Michael Dashiell have become increasingly comfortable  competing together. The partnership reached a new pinnacle Saturday at the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo where the duo finished third at No. 2 doubles to earn Peak Performers of the Week. “A lot of our success in the third-place match came from the fact that we had so much experience together,” Leap said. “We really are well-coordinated. We’ve spent so much time together, we really understand what we need to do to win.” The Indians found themselves playing for third after falling to a Colorado Academy team in the semifinals. Leap and Dashiell took the first set 6-4 before dropping the second 6-3. Colorado Academy took a 5-0 lead in the third set but the Indians fought back before falling 6-4. We almost made it a tiebreak,” Leap recalled. “It was about as close as you can get.” “They were playing very well,” Dashiell said. The duo closed the season with a 6-3, 7-5 win over a team from Dawson School for third place, allowing Dashiell to be one of the few to end his prep career with a win. “It was awesome,” the senior said. “Of course at the beginning of the season, we were like ‘We want to win state. That would be so cool,’ (but) just winning your final high school tennis match is really something.” The duo started playing together a season ago. They qualified for state but fell to Palmer Ridge’s Patrick Tooley and Tucker Balman, whom they beat without much trouble earlier in the season. “Last year we had a great season until the state tournament,” Leap said. “We fell victim to kinda underestimating our opponents.” Leap and Dashiell were part of the same line on the Indians’ junior varsity lacrosse squad. “I think we became a lot closer,” Leap said. “We know each other really well now.” Their strengths seem to complement the other’s well. “Michael hits an outstanding forehand, and he’s very encouraging on the court,” Leap said. “He doesn’t break.” “Grant has a really good backhand. I think he’s better at the net than I am,” Dashiell said. “He’s able to pump me up when I get down.” The duo advanced to the semifinals after a 6-1, 6-4 win over D'Evelyn before a 6-0, 6-0 win over Steamboat Springs. “A lot of times first-year guys will not necessarily understand or know what their partner is doing or thinking,” Leap said. “I feel that second year gives Michael and I a lot of experience, and I understand what he’s going to do on the court.” A loss followed, and the pair had approximately two hours to prepare for the third-place match. Leap said he sat in a chair inside the team’s tent for some much-needed recovery time. Dashiell spent the break supporting his teammates and reflecting on how lucky he was to be able to compete. “I wasn’t as upset as I thought I was going to be because I knew I put it all on the line, just gave it my best,” the senior said. One of three Cheyenne Mountain doubles teams to place third, they helped the Indians finish third in the team standings, the best finish since the duo started high school. “I think we definitely played our best tennis that day,” Dashiell said. Other top performers Football TJ Davis, Widefield Davis, a senior quarterback, passed for 171 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 163 yards and two more scores in Friday’s win over Air Academy. He was also active on defense and special teams, as the Gladiators improved to 5-2. Cade Bethany, The Classical Academy Bethany came up big in a crucial Tri Peaks league win over Florence. The senior did most of his damage through the air, completing 8 of 13 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns. He picked up another 63 yards on the ground on six carries. Softball Peyton Richter, St. Mary’s The junior was instrumental in getting the Pirates back to the state tournament at last weekend. In the Pirates’ opener, Richter tossed a two-hitter with nine strikeouts. She also went 4 for 4 with 2 RBI in the game. She also drove in her team’s only two runs in a loss to Faith Christian. Volleyball Taylor Buckley, Lewis-Palmer Buckley led the Rangers to a pair of wins last week. The junior posted nine kills and six service aces in a sweep of Falcon before putting down 12 balls in a four-set victory over Discovery Canyon.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Trey Jones, Palmer Ridge golf

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Trey Jones, Palmer Ridge golf

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Trey Jones wasn’t expected to be Palmer Ridge’s top finisher at the Class 4A state golf tournament in Littleton last week, but that’s where he found himself after the Bears' regular No. 1 struggled at Raccoon Creek Golf Course. Jones turned in an 80 on a cold and rainy opening day before closing with a 75 Tuesday to finish in 11th place and earn Peak Performer of the Week honors. His two-round total of 155 was 11 strokes back of the individual champion, Thompson Valley’s Darren Edwards. “It always can be better, but I was really happy with how I finished,” Jones said. Coming into his second year of prep golf, Jones wanted to be be all-conference and all-state. He came up one stroke short of the all-state nod, but easily could have been in the class’ top 10, according to Palmer Ridge coach Gary Long. Jones needed nine strokes to finish the par-4 10th hole on Monday. Long found the sophomore about that time and reminded him he can’t get all those strokes back at once. From that point forward, Jones climbed up the leaderboard. “All the sudden, his swing changed. He started taking easy passes at the ball,” Long said. “The rest of that day and the 18 holes the next day, golf was easy for him. He shot an easy 75. That round could’ve been a 70 or a 69.” His putter was crucial to his strong finish. “At the end of the year, all the putts started to drop,” Jones said. “The first day (of state) I didn’t hit the ball very well, but my putting made up for it. I made a couple 15-footers for par.” After leading the Bears to a fourth-place finish as a sophomore, he’s looking for an even better showing in his junior year. “Winning state is not out of reach, I don’t think, for our team,” Jones said. “That’s going to be my main goal next season.” The Bears took three sophomores and a junior to state this year and expect everyone back next season. Jones plans to continue his improvement with a better approach game, hopefully putting less pressure on his putter. “It makes life a lot easier if you can get within two or three feet,” Jones said. Jones is also a member of the Bears’ basketball program but works on his golf game regardless of the season. He credited playing in some competitive tournaments over the summer, along with his state experience as a freshman, with making him more comfortable this year. That leads to excitement about what’s to come in his presumed third and fourth trips to the state tournament. “Whenever it gets down to the nitty gritty, he’s able to focus. He had one bad hole at state or he would’ve probably been No. 5 or No. 6 in the state,” Long said. “He’s one of our most mature kids on the golf course even though he was just a sophomore this year.” Other Peak Performers Cross country Tatum Miller, Air Academy: Miller won the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Championship meet in 18 minutes, 58 seconds on her home course Wednesday. She led the Kadets to a third-place team finish. Soccer Lookens Smith, Colorado Springs Christian School: Smith, a junior, opened the week with a goal and an assist against Ellicott on Tuesday before posting a hat trick with an assist in an 8-0 win over Lutheran. The Lions are 9-2 with six straight wins. Softball Katelynn Ralston, Cheyenne Mountain: The Indian pitcher continued her dominant freshman season with three wins last week. She struck out six in a four-inning one-hitter against Harrison before striking out 11 in an 8-7 win over Air Academy. She closed the week with a 16-strikeout, two-hit showing against Coronado. Football Zachary Anderson, Discovery Canyon: The junior quarterback helped the Thunder make quick work of Woodland Park on Friday with four first-half touchdowns. He rushed five times for 70 yards and two scores, and completed both of his passes for another 70 yards and two touchdowns. Volleyball Hope Storm, The Classical Academy: The freshman setter helped the Titans pick up a pair of wins last week. She dished out 23 assists, seven digs and two service aces in a four-set win over Sierra on Tuesday before putting up 13 assists and 12 digs in Thursday’s sweep of Widefield.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Christa Vogt, Colorado Springs Christian School volleyball

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Christa Vogt, Colorado Springs Christian School volleyball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Christa Vogt, a junior on the Colorado Springs Christian School volleyball team, doesn’t have ideal measurables to dominate the net, but she makes up for it elsewhere. Listed on the team’s roster at 5-foot-9, Vogt has led the Lions to a 7-4 start, including a 6-1 mark in Tri-Peaks league play, with 83 kills and 36 total blocks, both team highs. She put down eight balls and had six blocks in a sweep of St. Mary’s on Tuesday before closing the week with nine kills and five blocks in a sweep of The Vanguard School on Thursday to earn Peak Performer of the Week. Related: WATCH: Gazette Preps Top 5 Plays for the week of Sept. 25 - Sept. 30 “It was pretty important for us,” Vogt said of the 2-0 week. “We had a bit of a rough start.” The team is coming off last year’s state appearance, and despite losing four seniors, the Lions want to get back. They’re not in the best spot at the moment, but the opportunity to improve exists. “We’ve got some tough games coming up, and I think we haven’t peaked yet,” coach Lori Currier said. “I think if we continue to work towards that, I think that’s definitely something we can get to.” To get there, the Lions will likely lean on Vogt, who has aspirations to play at the college level despite some obstacles. “Ever since I started (playing) the game, I wanted to be a hitter,” Vogt said. “Even though, theoretically, I’m shorter than what most hitters should be, I literally don’t care. “It’s that feeling you get when you get a block or a kill that keeps the game fun.” A “pretty good” vertical leap - according to Currier - helps, as does her status as a left-handed hitter. “It definitely gives her an advantage in the middle, I would say, because most people aren’t looking to read that right at first,” Currier said. “Then, she’s also able to do some slides and things that would be nice on the right side as well as running some different plays.” Vogt jokingly calls herself the team’s problem child because her setters have to adjust their passes to her dominant hand. Sometimes they aren’t perfect, but Vogt is able to adjust. “She’s able to make a play off of pretty much wherever the set is. She’s just playing really smart,” Currier said. “When it’s a perfect set, she’s able to just put that ball away.” Vogt focuses on volleyball year-round, spending the offseason playing club ball or working to increase her leaping ability. Her hope is that with another year of improvement, more college coaches will come calling. If one thinks Vogt is too short to play in the front row, where top players are around 6 feet tall, Vogt has a counter ready. “I’m like, ‘I still have legs that jump, right?’ ” she said. “I’m working on getting my vertical up there.”   Other Peak Performers David Barrow, Harrison football : The senior hauled in two receiving touchdowns in the Panthers' 58-7 win over Woodland Park and added a third score with a 50-yard interception return. Madelyn Lewis, Cheyenne Mountain field hockey : Lewis, a senior captain, helped the Indians tie with Liberty, scoring both of her team's goals, giving her the team lead with six on the season. Riki Fujimoto, Fountain Valley soccer : The freshman had quite a week, scoring two goals and assisting six others in a 10-0 win over Dolores Huerta Prep. Later in the week, Fujimoto assisted the only goal in a 1-0 win over St. Mary's. Chloe Ewing, Vista Ridge softball : The junior went 4 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored in five plate appearances during Wednesday's 20-2 win over Lewis-Palmer. She also pitched 3.1 scoreless innings. Bradley Ma, Pine Creek tennis : The senior set the tone for Eagles in a 7-0 win over Doherty on Tuesday, winning his No. 1 singles match 6-0, 6-0.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Corah Price, Discovery Canyon softball

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Corah Price, Discovery Canyon softball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Corah Price had a different introduction to pitching than most her peers, but it seems to have worked out just fine for the Discovery Canyon senior. Raised in a military family, Price started pitching when her family lived in Germany, where she said most don't start playing softball until their late teens. The family moved back to the United States when Price was nearing the start of high school. “We were lucky enough that they moved to our area and came to school at Discovery Canyon,” Thunder coach Tanya Ramsay said. “We’ve been fortunate to have her.” Roundup: Discovery Canyon, Vista Ridge softball each win big to keep pressure on Air Academy Discovery Canyon is 12-3-1 this season after Monday’s 20-0 win over Palmer Ridge. Price pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four, and went 2 for 2 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored. The senior earned Gazette Preps Peak Performer honors with three wins last week, two of which were one-hit shutouts. The exception came in a 14-4 win over Pueblo South, a game Price believes was the biggest win of the past week. “They were ranked No. 2, I believe, and I think that was a really good team effort,” Price said. “It felt like a strong game where we all came together and really clicked.” Price opened the week with a four-inning win over Lewis-Palmer where she struck out nine and followed with 12 strikeouts against Cheyenne Mountain in the second shutout. While Ramsay said the pitcher is one of the harder throwers in the state, the 6-foot senior likes to keep batters off guard. “I really like to throw changeup. I’m not going to lie,” Price said. “I think it’s a fun pitch because not many people expect it.” The ability to mix power and precision earned Price another move - this one to Ohio - where she plans to continue pitching at University of Toledo, a Division I program. While Ramsay wasn’t sure what level, she knew Price had the potential to continue in college early in her high school career. “I definitely knew. I mean the kid is 6 foot, and she was throwing hard when she first came in,” Ramsay recalled. “I knew that she was definitely going to develop into something pretty special.” Heading into Monday, Price had 111 strikeouts in 85 innings against 88 hits and 40 earned runs. She was batting .455 with five doubles and 14 RBI in the middle of the Thunder lineup. Some of her success can be traced back to her unusual experiences in Germany. “I played a first baseman that was 33 years old when I was only 13. That was a crazy experience,” Price said. “It kinda helped me to be open to anything no matter the challenge. I think it kinda helped me to be like ‘You know what, if this is how it’s going to go, then we can approach it, and we’ll work however we need to, to succeed at it.’” Other Peak Performers Keaton Hulen, Cheyenne Mountain golf: Hulen won Tuesday’s  4A Region 2 golf tournament with a 76 despite blustery conditions. The junior will play in the state tournament on Oct. 2 and 3 at Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton. Jadie DeLange, Lewis-Palmer volleyball: DeLange helped the Rangers continue their undefeated season with three sweeps last week. The senior had eight kills in a win over Rampart before putting down 12 balls against Valor Christian. She closed the week with seven kills against Eaton in Saturday’s showdown. TJ Davis, Widefield football: The Gladiators' quarterback did most of his work with his feet in a 41-0 win over Palmer. The senior racked up 168 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Both of his completions also went for touchdowns, as Widefield moved to 4-0. Jordyn Isner, Palmer Ridge field hockey: Isner padded her lead as the state’s leading scorer with three goals and an assist in the Bears’ 6-2 win over Mountain Vista on Wednesday. The junior tops the state charts with 30 points and 12 goals through seven games. Luke Louthan, Air Academy soccer: The junior started his week with one goal and three assists in a 4-1 win over Thompson Valley on Tuesday. Two days later, he scored the golden goal in a 2-1 win over Rampart to help the Kadets improve to 8-0.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Tristan Widic, Mesa Ridge soccer

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Tristan Widic, Mesa Ridge soccer

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Tristan Widic, a striker on the Mesa Ridge High School soccer team, has most of his individual goals accomplished six games into his senior season. He’s already set the Grizzlies’ program scoring records for goals in a career (69), goals in a season (28) and goals in a game (7). He scored five and added an assist in a 7-0 win over Pueblo West, helping Mesa Ridge to a 5-1 record, on Tuesday to earn Gazette Prep’s Peak Performer of the Week. “That’s a big win for us,” Mesa Ridge coach Mario Sigala said. “They were in the top four last year, so it was a big win for us and for the team.” With the records and a commitment to join Colorado Mesa’s soccer team - a Division II program currently ranked No. 6 in the United Soccer Coaches poll - taken care of, Widic is focused on getting the Grizzlies back in the postseason. “It’s nice,” Widic said of the individual accomplishments, “but we’re focused on the team. We want to make it to the playoffs. That’s my ultimate goal.” The Grizzlies last went to the playoffs in Widic’s freshman year, but he missed the game due to a red card. He’s doing what he can to make the most of his final opportunity at a run to state with 10 goals and eight assists through six games. “His versatility and his speed and accuracy... It’s an amazing gift,” Sigala said. He's added three field goals and six PATs for the Mesa Ridge football team this fall. In the end, the coach hopes the senior has one more award to go with a trip to the postseason, a Colorado Springs Metro League MVP. “He’s been runner up for the last couple years,” Sigala said. “It’s been one of those things.” Sigala and Widic agreed the true striker is most dangerous with the ball at his feet where he can beat defenders on the dribble. He’s also improved his weaker left foot. “He’s a full package,” Sigala said. That much was evident after the senior tallied 11 points in a match against the Cyclones. With his individual abilities established, the senior is putting his focus on the group. “I think we can make the playoffs, and I think we can go far too,” Widic said.   Other Peak Performers Christa Vogt, Colorado Christian School volleyball : The junior finished Tuesday’s sweep of James Irwin with nine kills, which tied for the team lead. Vogt also added five digs, three service aces and three solo blocks to help the Lions improve to 2-1. Cory McLellan, Palmer Ridge football : The senior came up big in his final Battle of Monument, helping the Bears to a 35-7 win over Lewis-Palmer. McLellan caught two short touchdown passes and intercepted a pass. He finished with six catches for 49 yards. Samm White, Cheyenne Mountain field hockey : The sophomore midfielder scored the game-winning goal on a tip-in with 17 minutes left against Kent Denver, last year’s state champions. Mason Norman, the Classical Academy : Norman beat teammate Ryan Moen to the line to win first place at Saturday’s Eagle Valley Invite. The Titan sophomore finished in 16 minutes, 27.6 seconds, more than 20 seconds ahead of Moen. TCA finished second at the meet. Kylee Bunnell, Mesa Ridge softball : The sophomore helped the Grizzlies pick up a pair of wins last week. She scattered three hits in a six-inning win over The Classical Academy and went 4 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored. She added another RBI and three runs scored in a win over Canon City on Thursday.
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Alan Bautista, Sand Creek boys' soccer

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Alan Bautista, Sand Creek boys' soccer

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Call Alan Bautista a distraction. A skillful, speedy, pleasant distraction. As a sophomore forward, he's helped the Sand Creek boys' soccer team to a 4-0 record with eight goals ahead of Tuesday's home matchup against Kennedy of Denver. It's not like the Scorpions necessarily needed more offensive firepower with the return of midfielder Garrett Kramer, who scored 17 goals last season, but they'll take it. And when the ball is placed in front of his feet, Bautista is quick to send it toward the goal. Take, for example, what happened Wednesday, when the Scorpions took on Mesa Ridge in a road game. Related: Sand Creek rolls to another easy boys' soccer victory, this time over Mesa Ridge The Sand Creek defense stole the ball after kickoff and directed it to Bautista, who quickly kicked in the game's first score in an eventual 7-1 win. The blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment took 15 seconds. In last week's games, Bautista scored a total of five goals against Mesa Ridge and Widefield - enough to earn him the Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week honors. "He has one look," coach Jeremy Tafoya said. "He never gets flustered. He looks like he's having fun. If he's near the goal, he's scoring because of that reason. He's always composed." The coach never expected Bautista's arrival. He's from Mexico City, and he's here for one year through a military exchange program as his dad, a high-ranking official in the Mexican Air Force, is training with the American military. The Scorpions said his presence could change the complexion of the season and help them make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Bautista's presence is also making life easier for Kramer, who averaged a goal per game last season. The senior midfielder can either keep the ball for himself or dish it off to Bautista. For the Scorpions, that's a nice distraction. "When I get the ball from the defense, I can turn around and play him and know that he can keep the ball for us," Kramer said about Bautista. "He's fast, very skillful and not afraid to take the ball against other players, which is a really good quality to have." Besides trying to improve his soccer skills, Bautista is working on his English. He says he understands the language but doesn't always feel comfortable speaking it. That's why when he's on the field, Tafoya makes sure there's at least one Spanish-speaking player around. The coach has the luxury of four translators on the roster. Asked what he brings to this year's Scorpions, Bautista didn't need help expressing himself. In English, he used a one-word response: "Goals."
Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Julian Cooks, Doherty

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Julian Cooks, Doherty football

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Neither Doherty football coach Jeff Krumlauf nor Spartan running back Julian Cooks attempted to track the senior’s statistics during Friday’s season-opening win over Rangeview. Any try likely would’ve ended up being a waste of brainpower. When the game concluded, the duo learned Cooks ran for 303 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries. “Honestly, I didn’t even know how many carries he had or how many yards he had or how many touchdowns he had until after the game,” Krumlauf said. Prep roundup: Harrison, Cheyenne Mountain gain football wins Cooks carried the Spartans to an 83-55 win and was chosen as this week’s Peak Performer. Outside of a 63-yard rushing touchdown early in the game, Cooks said he picked up his yards in smaller bunches, averaging 12.1 yards per carry in the Spartans’ run-heavy scheme. “We love to run power. We love to run counter and buck,” the coach said. “That sets everything else up that we have going on. It’s who we are.” Listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Cooks has the build to work between the tackles. He’s also working on his ability to make opponents miss in the open field. “Last year, I invited contact,” the running back said. “This year, I’m going to run more elusive, but you know if they happen to be in the way, I’m not going to avoid contact.” That versatility has got the attention of college coaches. According to Krumlauf, a couple Division I programs and a bunch of Division II schools hope to have Cooks on their campus next fall. The coach considers the running back’s potential to be “untapped” and “unlimited.” After finishing his junior season with 1,011 yards and 10 touchdowns, Cooks’ goals for his final prep season are of the team variety. “Go to the playoffs with my team, that’s it,” Cooks said. “I just want to win.” The Week 1 showing bolstered the back’s confidence. It likely got the attention of the Spartans’ opponent Friday, Cherry Creek, as well. “Every week we know teams are going to say ‘Hey, we gotta stop No. 2,’ ” Krumlauf said. “We challenge them to do that. If they’re loading up the box, we’ve got weapons other places.” No weapon in the area was more dangerous than Cooks in Week 1, even if he didn’t realize it at the time. “I didn’t really sense anything,” Cooks said. “I was just out there doing my job.”

Gazette Preps Peak Performer of the Week: Shelby Shepherd, Rampart softball

Sat, Jan 1, 2000 - 12:00 AM

Rampart High School softball coach Ryan Sheets had a good idea what he would get from senior Shelby Shepherd at the plate this season. What she would provide in the circle was more uncertain after spending her first three seasons as a middle infielder. “This is kinda a new role for her pitching all the time,” Sheets said. So far, she’s delivered. Prep roundup: Cheyenne Mountain softball takes second straight win against Mitchell In addition to her .600 batting average, The Gazette’s Peak Performer of the week owns a 4-0 record with a 1.40 earned run average. She’s mixed an improved fastball with offspeed stuff. “I’d say I do throw a lot harder this year than I have in the past,” Shepherd said. “I’m definitely working on the strength. I’m trying to keep the spin tight for my pitching. It just kinda comes hand in hard, I guess.” The senior has struck out 34 batters in 20 innings. Of the 12 runs she’s allowed, just four have been earned. “She’s working ahead in the count, really just being a bulldog out there and getting after it,” Sheets said. “She throws two pitches for strikes. At this level, if you can throw your fastball for a strike and a secondary pitch for a strike, you’re going to be pretty well off.” The Rams are off to an unbeaten start with wins over Palmer, Doherty, Heritage and Boulder, scoring at least 14 runs in each game. “So far, (it’s going) really well,” Shepherd said. “We lost a couple seniors last year, but this year we have strong talent coming in. We’ve been able to perform at the plate.” Shepherd is amongst the team leaders with eight RBIs, eight runs scored and three doubles. She’s had at least two hits in every game. Her approach is simple. “The way I think when I go into the batter’s box is just (look for) a solid hit, a base hit, and sometimes you get doubles, triples, home runs,” Shepherd said. “I just think ‘solid contact’ and go from there.” As a freshman, Shepherd played second base. Sophomore and junior year were spent at shortstop. She’s pitched every inning for the Rams this fall, but her future position is more uncertain. Shepherd is committed to play at Regis University. Ranger coach Daven Bond likes what she can do at the plate. “He doesn’t know defensively yet where he wants me, but he loves my stick,” Shepherd said. “That’s what I’m going there for.”