Prep notebook: Manitou Springs soccer off to hot start after trip to Costa Rica

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Photo - A group Manitou Springs High Schools students and educators traveled to Costa Rica to study sea turtles over spring break.
Photo courtesy: Ben Mack, Manitou Springs soccer

A group Manitou Springs High Schools students and educators traveled to Costa Rica to study sea turtles over spring break. Photo courtesy: Ben Mack, Manitou Springs soccer

A week ago, Manitou Springs girls’ soccer coach Ben Mack and eight of his players were kicking it in Costa Rica for spring break. Not for the tanning, the waves or even soccer -- just the study and preservation of leatherback sea turtles.

“It was super muggy, super hot, tons of insects, but it was just a really phenomenal experience,” Mack said. The science/soccer aficionado led a group that included 13 students, who walked the remote shorelines, measured the species and relocated the animal’s nesting areas in a preservation effort.

The coach returned home to a pretty locked-in soccer team, too. The Mustangs (6-1), winners over Ellicott 12-0 Thursday and The Pinnacle 10-0 Saturday, have outscored the opposition 50-1 this season.

Despite losing two defenders and its goalie from last year’s run to the Class 3A quarterfinals, Manitou Springs is looking to take a step forward. Its defense has allowed an average of two shots per game and goalie Alyssa Holladay has six shutouts.

The one defeat and opposing goal of the year came to Jefferson Academy, last year’s 3A No. 1 seed.

“We’ve given up one goal all year and it shows us if we can play good defense we can play with anybody in the state,” Mack said.

Brooklyn Mack, meanwhile, has supplied a lot of the firepower going the other way with a 3A-most 15 goals.

The Mustangs travel to The Vanguard School Tuesday.

Atlas Prep soccer surprising its coach

A 4-1 start to the season for the girls’ soccer team at Atlas Preparatory School is more than a bit surprising – even to its coach, Teo Jackson.

“I can’t believe it,” Jackson said of program, which is only in its second year of existence.

“I told the girls at the beginning of the year if we could win four or five games we would be in a pretty good spot, so to already be there is pretty awesome.”

Jackson, of course, knows the road will be long and arduous. Success isn’t built overnight.

“We’re in the early stage here and we’re still figuring a lot of stuff out, that’s for sure,” Jackson said. “Even getting the girls to show up to practice was tough and fitness was tough. (Success) is kind of engrained in the culture of sports at other schools, and we’re starting from square one here.”

Atlas Prep, which finished 3-8-1 a year ago, won four straight to open 2018 before falling to Vanguard 2-1on Saturday.

Cheyenne Mountain's Choi wins season debut

Cheyenne Mountain golfer Maxine Choi kicked off the high school season with a win, carding a 7-over-par 80 at the Lady Trojan Invitational at Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club. Choi, who finished tied for eighth at last year’s state tournament, had played well in junior golf tournaments over the offseason and hopes to translate that into the year.

“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she was the state champion,” Cheyenne Mountain coach John Carricato said. “We’re playing on our home course. She plays that golf course quite a bit. … For sure top 10, probably top five, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she came out as the medalist, either.

Coronado won the team title by seven strokes over second-place TCA. The Cougars are hoping they can qualify a team for state for the first time in program history.

“I think there’s a good chance we could go as a team,” Coronado coach Kelly Hodge said.

Avs show support for Humboldt hockey team

The Colorado Avalanche held a moment of silence on Saturday night for victims of the bus crash that carrying a junior hockey team from a western providence of Canada.

The bus, which was carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, collided with a tractor-trailer Friday night, leaving at least 15 dead and 14 injured.

A GoFundMe was set up for the affected families. By Sunday evening the page had collected 4.1 million of its $4 million goal.