Peak Performers
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.”