High School Sports

2017 Post Preps TV Game of the Week Schedule
Each week, Post Preps TV broadcasts a Game of the Week in Colorado high school football, starting with Week 0 on Aug. 25 and running through Week 10 on Nov. 3. The broadcasts will be available live, in HD and for free, via our website and Facebook pages. The links for each game’s stream will be available online the Monday before the game, and the games will also be archived on our site afterwards. 2017 broadcasting schedule* Friday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m.: Mullen at Pomona, NAAC Friday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m.: Regis Jesuit at Cherry Creek, Stutler Bowl Friday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m.: Arapahoe at Heritage, LPSS Friday, Sept. 15, 7 p.m.: Eaglecrest at Grandview, Legacy Friday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m.: Valor at Pomona, NAAC Friday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.: Fossil Ridge at Lakewood, Jeffco Friday, Oct. 6: BYE Thursday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.: Mullen at Columbine, Jeffco Friday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m.: Chaparral at Rock Canyon, Shea Friday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.: Highlands Ranch at Legend, Echo Park Friday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m.: Chatfield at Heritage, LPSS *Schedule subject to change. [...]
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Class 5A volleyball preview: Fossil Ridge’s firepower gives Sabercats the inside edge to a repeat
In a parity-laden Class 5A volleyball field, Fossil Ridge once again possesses the one-two punch needed to tip the championship scales, as the SaberCats did last season en route to the program’s first state title. Junior outside hitters Riley Zuhn, a Nebraska commit, and Catie Semadeni both return, as does senior setter Tyler Lindgren (Temple) and junior middle blocker Mataya Megson on a squad that is ranked No. 1 in the preseason Denver Post, MaxPreps and CHSAANow polls. “Even though we have a few holes to fill, we definitely have a target on our back,” Fossil Ridge coach Paul Shimek said. “Riley will be out for at least the first two games because she had her elbow operated on, so that’s when we’ll have to show we’re a good team that gets out there, makes it work and rises to the occasion.” In the seasons since Grandview’s repeat in 2013 and 2014, there have been around a dozen teams capable of winning the 5A title each year — it simply comes down to what team gets hot when it matters most at the state tournament, which will be held Nov. 10-11 at the Denver Coliseum. The SaberCats were that team last year, and Cherokee Trail was the fall before. Now, No. 2 Rock Canyon, No. 3 Cherry Creek, No. 4 Chaparral, No. 5 Chatfield and more are capable of dethroning Fossil Ridge. Rock Canyon boasts the classification’s best returning outside hitter, as senior Keeley Davis racked up 421 kills last fall while the Jaguars booked their second straight state tournament appearance. The Creighton commit headlines a roster that also features a talented set of twins in juniors Abi and Alex Leitner. “I think Keeley’s gotten consistently better, skill-wise, every single year, and now this is her year to be the leader on the team, because she’s always been one of the younger ones on varsity,” Rock Canyon coach Angela Nylund-Hanson said. “She’ll take that central leadership role this year, which will be crucial for some of the girls coming up who played on our undefeated JV team last year.” Coach Sally Moos, in her 36th year at Cherry Creek, will have the Bruins also vying for a state title largely thanks to junior outside hitter Katie Sherman, who paced their offense with 3.2 kills per set last season. But Cherry Creek — like Chaparral and a litany of other elite teams — needs to replace a lot of talent. The Bruins graduated ten seniors, while Chaparral graduated seven and Chatfield graduated eight. “We have a very different team this year, because we graduated a lot of kids, just like the other top eight teams at state last year,” Chaparral coach Amanda West said. “It’s been about rebuilding for us this year, but we’ve got a lot of young talent and we’ve got a lot of good leadership within the seniors as well. Those are the things we’re hoping can take us to the next level.” The Wolverines feature three quality leaders in sophomore middle hitter Juliana Dalton, junior middle blocker Abby Heimlicher and junior libero Kyla Gerson, while Chatfield — which has won 20 matches or more in four of the past five seasons — is led by senior middle blocker Julia Eiken, junior setter Shea Fuller and senior outside hitter Breanna Jones. “We’re going to try hard to keep up our intensity level in practice — that’s what we try to ascribe to, is playing harder there than we have to during the games,” Chatfield coach Stephanie Schick said. “But it’s going to be tough to set that tone, because of the graduated seniors who provided the majority of the experience for us. So new girls need to step in, and step their level up, right now.” No. 6 Mountain Vista will also be in the mix thanks to senior middle hitter Amanda Keller and senior libero Sam Novak, as will No. 7 Fort Collins (plenty of returning talent on Lambkin Way), No. 8 Grandview (coach Rob Graham always has his team prepared), No. 9 Castle View (paced by senior outside hitter Kate Menz) and No. 10 Denver East (as defined by junior outside hitter Qairo Bentley’s athleticism). In short, it’s another fall where there is plenty of opportunity on the table, ripe for the taking. “Just because we graduated a bunch of girls doesn’t mean that we still can’t be competitive,” Rock Canyon’s Nylund-Hanson pointed out. “We need to work hard this season, because there’s so many good teams in 5A and in our Continental League, and we know we need to approach every point as a team this year.” Class 5A Preseason Power Rankings Fossil Ridge Rock Canyon Cherry Creek Chaparral Chatfield Mountain Vista Fort Collins Grandview Castle View Denver East [...]
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2017 Post Preps Radio Game of the Week Schedule
Each week, Post Preps Radio broadcasts a Game of the Week in Colorado high school football, starting with Week 1 on Aug. 31 and running through Week 10 on Nov. 2. The broadcasts will be available live and for free via our website. The links for each game’s stream will be available online the Monday before the game, and the games will also be archived on our site afterwards. 2017 broadcasting schedule* Thursday, Aug. 31, 8 p.m.: Poudre at Mountain Vista, Shea Thursday, Sept. 7, 7 p.m.: Denver East at Cherokee Trail, Legacy Thursday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m.: Wheat Ridge at Chatfield, Jeffco Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.: Denver South at Heritage, LPSS Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.: Rangeview at Gateway, APSS Related ArticlesAugust 14, 2017 2017 Post Preps TV Game of the Week Schedule Thursday, Oct. 5: BYE Friday, Oct 13, 7 p.m.: Fountain-Fort Carson at Highlands Ranch, Shea Thursday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m.: Rangeview at Ralston Valley, NAAC Thursday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.: Legacy at Douglas County, Douglas County Stadium Thursday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.: Columbine at ThunderRidge, Shea *Schedule subject to change. [...]
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Pomona football opens the 2017 football season with “fire in the chest”
It’s about an hour before Pomona’s first official football practice of the season, and Tyler “TD” Madden sits on a bench in the weight room, eating something from McDonald’s. The 11-year-old ball boy is the son of Jay Madden, who’s entering his 15th season as the Panthers’ head coach, and has grown up in the program. Between french fries, TD lays out a simple case about why the “Big Black” — who have been to, and lost, two consecutive Class 5A state championship games to Valor Christian — will once again be in contention for the big-school golden ball this fall. “Last year, we didn’t have everyone (in the title game) because of some big injuries, so it was harder to work together completely as a team,” TD said of a 30-14 loss. “This year, I think we can do it. Almost everyone’s here again, and we’re looking really good. I can tell the players want to win state for this football family.” Related ArticlesAugust 14, 2017 2017 Post Preps Radio Game of the Week Schedule August 14, 2017 2017 Post Preps TV Game of the Week Schedule August 11, 2017 High schooler dies when log falls on him during football drill in New York August 4, 2017 Q&A: Mullen football standout Adrian Jackson talks Mustangs’ prospects this fall, commitment to Oregon and more July 31, 2017 Colorado prep football coaching changes: Five new head honchos to watch this fall True to TD’s projections, despite the graduation of one of the state’s most highly touted 2017 recruits in CU lineman Jake Moretti (who sat out last season with an injury), Pomona brings back the majority of its offensive skill talent. It’s a list that includes senior quarterback Ryan Marquez, junior wideout Billy Pospisil, senior running back Max Borghi and senior wideout Santos Maguina. Plus, those players are bolstered by an offensive line that features three returning starters in Brock Boyd, Brandon Hodge and Drew Johnson. “Our goal is to get back to the title game, and find a way to win the last one,” Jay Madden said. “And with having our core of playmakers back, as well as Colten Muller and David Ross at wide receiver, we have a lot of really good skill players. All our linemen have to do is get in the defense’s way for a second, and hopefully we can be gone.” Speaking of defense, Madden assures the Panthers — who graduated their nine leading tacklers from last year — “have got some dudes,” including a pair of sophomore linebacker standouts in Kyle Moretti (Jake’s younger brother) and Sanjay Strickland. On paper, Pomona indeed looks equipped to again beat the shortlist of 5A’s toughest teams come November and early December — and that list includes Valor Christian, a budding rival the Panthers topped in the regular season each of the past two years and play again Sept. 22. “Obviously, the fact that these seniors have gone 0-2 in the title game builds a lot of fire in the chest,” acknowledged Borghi, a Washington State commitment. “We’ve thought about that this offseason, but once the season starts, it starts — it’s a new year, new opportunity.” And as the Panthers gear up for a run toward a third straight state championship game — a stage on which the Panthers are 1-6, with their lone title coming in a 1988 4A (then the largest class) triumph over Montbello — Madden noted the lure of the “Big Black” tradition manages to keep the program at an elite level. It’s a lure that’s epitomized by the coach’s son, as TD — who plays running back, wideout and cornerback on the Arvada Sun Devils team that Madden is also coaching this fall — dreams of nothing more than starring for the Panthers one day. And judging by the number of top-tier players who continue to float into the red and black hallways of the relatively small 5A school, TD’s sentiments are pervasive throughout youth football in the city of Arvada and the Jeffco School District as a whole. “Because there’s about 700 ‘open enrolls’ in the school out of 1,500 total students, every year it surprises me who shows up in terms of freshmen and kids from all over the place,” Jay Madden said. “Even with that, it’s getting harder and harder to reload, because obviously our neighborhood is getting older and older. That makes our tradition and our expectations that much more important, and this year’s team understands that.” 2017 Pomona football schedule Date Time Opponent Location Aug. 25 7 p.m. Mullen NAAC Sept. 8 7 p.m. at Fountain-Fort Carson Guy Barickman Sept. 15 7 p.m. at Ralston Valley NAAC Sept. 22 [...]
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Colorado ranks last in high school sports safety guidelines study
NEW YORK — A high school sports study conducted by the Korey Stringer Institute shows that many individual states are not fully implementing key safety guidelines to protect athletes from potentially life-threatening conditions, including heat stroke. More than 7.8 million high school students participate in sanctioned sports annually. KSI announced the results Tuesday at a news conference at NFL headquarters. The league partially sponsors the institute. The state-by-state survey showed North Carolina with the most comprehensive health and safety policies at 79 percent, followed by Kentucky at 71 percent. At the bottom were Colorado (23 percent) and California (26 percent). Those scores were based on a state meeting best practice guidelines addressing the four major causes of sudden death for that age group: cardiac arrest, traumatic head injuries, exertional heat stroke and exertional sickling occurring in athletes with sickle cell trait. Related ArticlesAugust 11, 2017 Early season Colorado prep golf forecast: Teams, players to watch in all three classes August 11, 2017 Bodie Hume’s explosive summer on the club circuit brings the Sterling senior a Division I opportunity August 11, 2017 High schooler dies when log falls on him during football drill in New York August 10, 2017 Q&A: Boulder soccer coach Hardy Kalisher breaks down his defending Class 5A champions August 9, 2017 Class 4A softball preview: Silver Creek, Valor Christian emerge as obvious preseason title favorites “The bottom line is that many simple policy changes can have a massive impact when a life is saved,” says Dr. Douglas Casa of KSI. “That is the goal of KSI in releasing these rankings, to prevent needless deaths in high school sports. We have had countless conversations with loved ones who have lost a child/sibling/grandchild/athlete. If these rankings can get more kids home for dinner instead of to a hospital or morgue, then we have succeeded.” The institute is a sports safety research and advocacy organization located at the University of Connecticut and named after the former Vikings star who died from exertional heat stroke in 2001. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for the age range. Casa notes that progress is slow because most states only make a change after a tragedy. But he stresses that the policies KSI promotes are not difficult to adopt. “At least one state has adopted each individual item, and for many items, more than half of the states have the policy in place,” he explains. “So this tells us it is feasible (to maximize protection). Now we need to collectively get states to learn from their colleagues and adapt these (programs) in their own state. Our top state is at about 80 percent, showing that, with effort, these policies can be implemented.” Bob Gfeller lost his son, Matthew, at age 15 in 2008, after a traumatic brain injury while playing in his first high school football game. Gfeller is an executive vice president at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the executive director of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. He found the wide range of results by state “enlightening.” Asked what can be done to get states to adopt more of the guidelines to protect high school athletes, Gfeller says: “Sharing of best practices amongst the state high school professionals. For each state to study where they are gapping and what other states who are scoring high are doing, so then to be able to determine how to close their gap.” In his field of expertise, exertional heat stroke, Casa notes that states that have adapted significant changes to heat acclimatization policies have not had such a death when the policies have been followed. “Keep in mind these policies are for the phasing in of initial practices in August,” Casa says. “Some of these states have still had exertional heat stroke deaths during summer conditioning in June/July or other times of the year, because they lack policies that govern these other circumstances.” To prevent death from EHS, it comes down to three things: — Prevention — heat acclimatization, modifying work/rest ratios based on environmental conditions, hydration, body cooling, etc.; — Recognition — being aware, acting quickly, rectal temperature; — Treatment — cold water immersion, cool first/transport second. Casa adds that the monetary cost of reaching the desired preventive measures is not high. “To be honest, you could get to 90 percent implementation with very little cost and effort,” he says. “Spending probably less than $5,000 per school could get you close to 90 points. You also would probably need a two-day meeting with the key state association officials to refine the details o [...]
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High schooler dies when log falls on him during football drill in New York
FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. — A high school football player lifting a large log with teammates as part of a Navy SEALs-style drill was hit in the head by the log and died Thursday, raising questions about adapting such military training to young athletes. Joshua Mileto, a 16-year-old Sachem East High School junior, and about five of his teammates were carrying the log overhead when the accident happened at a preseason exercise camp supervised by a half-dozen coaches, Suffolk County police said. The 5-foot-6, 134-pound wide receiver and defensive back was declared dead later at a hospital. Sachem East graduate Carlin Schledorn, who played football as a junior, said carrying the log — about 12 feet (3.7 meters) long and the diameter of a utility pole — was a “team building” exercise. Related ArticlesAugust 4, 2017 Q&A: Mullen football standout Adrian Jackson talks Mustangs’ prospects this fall, commitment to Oregon and more July 31, 2017 Colorado prep football coaching changes: Five new head honchos to watch this fall July 31, 2017 Chris Jones talks Windsor coaching return, Wizards’ 2017 prospects and more July 28, 2017 David Moore III poised for breakout sophomore season as Pine Creek aims for fourth Class 4A football title in five years July 21, 2017 Newman: Still no shortage of football riches at Valor Christian as two Division I talents battle for quarterback job “It’s very big. It’s like a tree, and it’s a challenge for people who weightlift,” he said. “Five or six people do it at once. I feel horrific for the team and coaches because I know them, and they are all great men.” School officials, including the head coach, did not comment on the exercise. A person at Mileto’s home declined to speak with reporters. Classmate Olivia Cassereli said Mileto “cared about everyone else.” “He put others before himself, and everyone loved him and was friends with him,” said Cassereli, who called him her best friend. Some colleges and other high schools around the country have incorporated log-carrying drills and other military-inspired exercises into their football preparations in recent years, sometimes bringing in SEALs to teach and motivate. Players at Indiana’s New Albany High School teamed up last month to tote 6-foot-long, 200-pound logs 2 miles from a local amphitheater to the school. SEALs and Green Berets trained the players first on how to lift the logs and carry them on their shoulders, coach Steve Cooley said. Accompanied by coaches and a police escort, the groups paused for water and put the logs down every one or two blocks, and each six-person squad had an extra man who could sub in if someone got tired. “The purpose was not to try to see how tough they are … the purpose was to accomplish a goal,” Cooley said. “It was very rewarding for all of us.” But after Mileto’s death on Thursday, sports safety expert Douglas Casa questioned the wisdom of having teenagers perform an exercise that involves carrying a heavy object and that was developed for Navy SEALs, “potentially a very different clientele.” “There’s so much potential for things to go wrong that I would really want people to think twice before doing something like that,” said Casa, executive director of the University of Connecticut’s Korey Stringer Institute, which works to improve safety for athletes. Football, at all levels, has become more safety-conscious in recent years amid scrutiny of head injuries in the sport. In college football, for instance, the NCAA this year barred the two-a-day contact practices that coaches once used to toughen up their teams in the preseason, though many teams had ended them already. For high schools in Suffolk County, offseason practices are permitted as long as they are not mandated and are open to everyone, said Tom Combs, executive director of the athletic organization that oversees high school sports in the county. “What exercises that are conducted are the privy of the school district and individuals running the workouts,” he said. In an unrelated incident, another player fell and hit his head Wednesday at the school during training, police said. His injuries were not life-threatening. Sachem Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Graham extended condolences to Mileto’s family and friends and said support services will be offered “for as long as needed.” The team’s training officially starts Monday, and the football season starts in September. [...]
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Bodie Hume’s explosive summer on the club circuit brings the Sterling senior a Division I opportunity
Bodie Hume is blowing up. The Sterling standout, who led the Tigers to the Class 3A state championship as a junior last winter, played club basketball for the first time this summer with the talent-rich Colorado Hawks 17U team. Before July, the 6-foot-7, 185-pound wing had one college offer, from Division II Nebraska Kearney. But over the course of the past month, Hume got offers from 10 Division I schools — Northern Colorado, Air Force, Denver, Mercer, UNC Greensboro, Nebraska-Omaha, Pepperdine, Utah State, Dartmouth and San Francisco — before deciding to stay in state with a recent verbal commitment to UNC. “We went 6-0 in Wichita at the Jerry Mullen High Profile Tournament, and we won that, and then we went 4-1 at the Adidas Finale,” Hawks coach Simeon Boddie said. “We played in front of about 300 college coaches at some of those games, and that’s when Bodie really got put on the map. When you have a run like we did, going 14-2 in the month against top-flight competition while he averaged about 13 points a game, it just blew him up.” Hume will join Hawks teammate Sam Masten in Greeley in 2018, as the Rock Canyon guard also committed to UNC this summer. Those two are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the overall talent in the Hawks program, which helped Hume quickly acclimate to the nationally elite competition the team faced on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. “It’s helped my growth as a player and a leader, as well as being able to fill a role on the team where you’re not necessarily ‘the guy’ on the court,” Hume said. “That’s helped me mentally and physically with my game, and it’s grown my confidence as well.” And while Hume is focused on getting ready to play quarterback for the Tigers’ football team this fall, his dedication to basketball is not lost on anyone who has seen him improve his skills the past few months. “Offensively, he can do it all now,” Sterling basketball coach Mike Holloway said. “He’s versatile in the sense that he’s improved his three-point shooting tremendously, and he can put the ball on the floor, he’s got a bit of a mid-range game and he’s athletic enough to take the ball inside and dunk.” Several other highly-touted Hawks players are still yet to commit, including 17U/Denver East senior Daylen Kountz, who’s fielding Division I offers from the University of Colorado, Colorado State, DU, Wichita State and East Carolina, as well as 16U/Smoky Hill standout Kenny Foster, who has gotten interest from UNC, San Francisco, Yale, CU and Air Force. As for Hume, he remains intent on proving his performance this summer is only a baseline for where he hopes to take his game. “I know I had a good summer, and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made on the court,” Hume said. “I also know I’ve got a long way to go to reach my ceiling.” [...]
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Early season Colorado prep golf forecast: Teams, players to watch in all three classes
The 2017 boys golf season got underway across the state Thursday, with three classes of golfers breaking in the 2017-18 CHSAA sports year. Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down teams and players to watch on the links this fall: Class 5A Eaglecrest senior Davis Bryant is the obvious frontrunner for an individual title, having taken runner-up last season in addition to winning the Colorado Junior PGA Championship this summer. And in the team race, defending champion Regis Jesuit again has the inside edge. The Raiders return seniors Cal McCoy and Drew Anderson, both of whom tied for 6th at state, and Regis Jesuit shot a program-record 12 under to win the season-opening Continental League meet by a whopping 18 strokes at Deer Creek Country Club on Aug. 10. “Those two guys are going to lead us,” Regis Jesuit coach Craig Rogers said. “But throughout the season and during our Continental League schedule — the league has won all but two state titles since the year 2000, so a lot of it is getting by our own league — the importance and skill of our other guys will emerge, too.” Rogers also mentioned Lakewood, Fossil Ridge and Cherry Creek will again be solid this year, as will a pair of Front Range League teams in Boulder and Fairview. State Tournament: Oct. 2-3, Common Ground Golf Course, Aurora Class 4A Defending individual champion Luke Trujillo is back for Discovery Canyon, and he joins fellow senior Caleb Blackburn (10th at state) as well as talented emerging players in making the Thunder a favorite to repeat as a team. “I’ve got pretty strong classes in my juniors, sophomores and freshmen that just came in, too, so the future here is really bright,” Discovery Canyon coach Mark Liggett said. “So in terms of filling the third and fourth spots, we’re going to be okay, especially with Luke and Caleb pacing us.” There are other individual talents that will challenge Trujillo — who beat Silver Creek graduate Jackson Solem in a playoff for the title last year — for another championship. Thompson Valley senior Darren Edwards (tied for fourth), Roosevelt senior Tyler Severin (sixth), Eagle Valley senior Barrett Jones (tied for seventh) and Montrose sophomore Micah Stangebye (tied for seventh) are all capable. And team-wise, Liggett said Cheyenne Mountain, Valor Christian, Silver Creek and Evergreen will be in the mix again come October, while other teams can come out of the woodwork as the season progresses. “That’s the thing about this sport — just like our program has a number of talented underclassmen that people don’t necessarily know about yet, other teams could have one or two of those guys, too,” Liggett said. State Tournament: Oct. 2-3, Raccoon Creek Golf Course, Littleton Class 3A At the state’s smallest golf classification, the usual suspect reigns supreme in the early season once again, as defending champion Kent Denver — whose nine titles are more than any other program in the state — returns its top three golfers. Senior Oliver Jack was the individual champion last season, while junior Jackson Klutznick (fourth) and sophomore Ben Zimmerman (10th) headline a Sun Devils squad that’s deeper than just its veterans. “It was really close last year for who made our varsity, so I’m returning five of my best six golfers and I’ve got a really good freshman coming in as well,” Kent Denver coach Bob Austin said. “It’s going to be a season-long competition for our fourth spot.” The Sun Devils will be tested against nationally elite competition at the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational on Sept. 1 and 2 in Chandler, Ariz. — Regis Jesuit will also be there — as Kent Denver aims to distance itself from other top 3A teams. “We’ll need to be better throughout the fall,” Austin said, “because there’s a couple other teams in the state that are right where we are, no question about it.” Namely, Peak to Peak — runner-up by three strokes last year — brings back senior Ethan Tartaglia (third) and seniors Nishant Datta and Ian Thorpe, both of whom tied for sixth. Dawson, Colorado Academy and Jefferson Academy will also make noise. State Tournament: Oct. 2-3, Indian Peaks Golf Course, Lafayette [...]
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CHSAA disputes Colorado’s last-place ranking in high school sports safety guidelines study
A study released by the Korey Stringer Institute on Tuesday ranked Colorado last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in its High School Sports Safety Policy Rankings, with scores based on state associations meeting evidence-based best practice guidelines addressing the four major causes of sudden death. CHSAA’s overall score across the study’s five equally weighted sub-sections — sudden cardiac arrest, exertional heat stroke, traumatic head injury, appropriate health care coverage and emergency preparedness — was 23 percent, far behind leader North Carolina’s 78.75 percent and the mean of 47.1 percent. But the association said it did not participate in the KSI study, nor did it provide any information in the review of its score as indicated in the Data Collection Procedures of the study. “My understanding is that we did not respond to (KSI’s) rubric or request for information, because we weren’t sure what the information was going to be used for or how it was going to be implemented into a report,” said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green, who took over the job in July. “That was never made clear to our association, so we did not respond to a third-party request for information.” Blanford-Green also said the state has never participated in a KSI study of any sort, and that the association is “actively involved every single year in any kind of educational outreach regarding (athlete safety),” including annual trips by the CHSAA staff to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association conference as well as resources provided to schools at CHSAA.org. The National Federation of State High School Associations also responded to the study’s release, saying: “The overall safety of student-athletes competing in high school sports is a key objective of the NFHS and all 51 state associations. … Very simply, a review of state association websites, such as the one employed by KSI, is an incomplete measurement of the efforts employed by states to assist their member schools with heat, heart and head issues.” Douglas J. Casa, KSI’s Chief Executive Officer, said the goal of the rankings is to get “information to parents across America, because almost no parent in America realizes what the health and safety standards are right now in the state in which their kid participates in a high school sport.” “We do all of this for the parents,” Casa said. “Obviously, some people are going to be upset, like administrators and others, but we do it to service the parents to try and make sure they don’t lose one of their children.” Related ArticlesJuly 19, 2017 Q&A: New CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green talks background, administrative philosophies and more KSI, which is a sports safety research and advocacy organization located at the University of Connecticut that was named after the former Minnesota Vikings star who died from exertional heat stroke in 2001, also noted the study’s conclusions were derived from information on “publicly available resources such as state high school associations and legislative websites.” Casa further added that CHSAA did not respond to KSI’s original inquiry for information, nor did it respond to multiple requests made by the institute in May to address the state’s rubric score. Overall, Casa said approximately 20 states responded to KSI’s rubric review, and that the rankings are in “real time” and will be updated as state associations make adjustments to their best practice guidelines. “We’re hoping that administrators will be sitting in a meeting and literally want to go from twentieth to fifth on the list, just because some of the changes they can make online in terms of their available resources,” Casa said. CHSAA maintains that the ranking is “not an accurate reflection of what is happening in the state of Colorado surrounding sports medicine and player safety.” “If we didn’t respond to a survey nor provide any follow-up information, their score (for us) has to be manufactured in some way,” Blanford-Green said. “I think you can tell by the response from the National Federation that they weren’t happy with the rubric and the information gathering that was used to put out the rankings. … And I look at the states near the bottom and I can probably assure you that those were states that also didn’t respond, because their impact nationally on student safety is embraced by many.” View Colorado’s rubric from the KSI study here. [...]
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Q&A: Boulder soccer coach Hardy Kalisher breaks down his defending Class 5A champions
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman caught up with 15th-year Boulder soccer coach Hardy Kalisher to discuss the defending Class 5A state champion Panthers, his keeper situation, the tradition of the program and more. Q: After defeating Broomfield in 14 rounds of penalty kicks last season to capture the program’s second state championship in five seasons, how do you get your team to refocus and raise the bar again this fall? A: Every year we talk about raising the bar, and about raising our own standards within the program. Those standards all go back to our values and the culture we instill in our young student-athletes and the legacy they’ve passed on each year. Things that we control are focused around being a great teammate, being a great family to each other, work rate without the ball — if we do those things right, a conversation about results can start to happen toward the end of the season. This year, like each year, we’ll try to play better soccer tactically and with a more sophisticated style as well because we know teams are going to be preparing for us. Q: How will the culture of your program contribute to your success this season? A: We work with the players we have, and we have the benefit of having a large program with around 100 kids trying out each year. I know the capabilities of our players from last year, and now we’ll stretch those capabilities a little bit, and challenge them to take their play to another level. At Boulder High, one of the things we’ve prided ourselves on is playing a style of soccer that might be above the expectations of a normal high school program. We have those expectations again this year just like we did last year, and that group responded well to them. Q: With your keeper from last season, Djibril Doumbia, now off at Barça Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz., what’s your plan in net? A: I have three senior goalkeepers who have all been in the program for three years, and all three of them are capable. One of them will emerge as our primary keeper through the preseason, but no matter who does, I expect us to have one of the stronger keepers in the Front Range League. Related ArticlesJuly 13, 2017 Colorado Rapids’ homegrown talent are on doorstep of Development Academy crown Q: Who are key leaders on the team this year? A: Eric Ramirez has been our starting center midfielder for the last two years, and he’ll be a senior. He was just recently named preseason All-American — one of only 140 players in the country to get that — and he’s coming in with confidence. He’ll definitely be a captain, and I’m excited for him because he’s drawing some Division I attention. He reminds me of Quinn Liebmann, who was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year a few season ago. Eric is a player in that mold, and in some ways, I believe he might be stronger. Omar Castruita, who was just a sophomore last year, was all-state and broke our all-time assist record last year. He’s gotten physically stronger and is much more mature, and he’ll be very difficult for teams to stop. Nick McCabe, who will also be a captain, will also be a focal part of our offense and he’ll have a breakout year as a senior. And senior Quinn Frankovsky played in the CHSAA All-State game this summer, and he’s the leader on our defensive line. We have a lot of experience coming back in key positions, and 19 seniors on the squad — that’s the largest senior class we’ve ever had. We’re focused on building the team chemistry and the ‘la familia’ culture, and we have the right players to do that. [...]
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Class 4A softball preview: Silver Creek, Valor Christian emerge as obvious preseason title favorites
This fall’s Class 4A softball season could very well come down to a rematch of a state quarterfinal game played a year ago, when Valor Christian slipped by Silver Creek, 1-0, en route to the Eagles’ third consecutive championship. Both teams return plenty of firepower, including proven ace pitchers and a bevy of potent hitters. And both teams are hungry to add to their respective legacies — the Eagles are armed for a four-peat while the Raptors, who have made seven consecutive state tournament appearances, look to cement their program’s place on the map with their first ever state title. Even Valor Christian coach Dave Atencio — who is no stranger to championship collision courses, having been on one opposite Erie last year — admits the Raptors have the inside track heading into opening day on August 18. “The team to beat this year is Silver Creek,” Atencio said. “When we beat them in the quarterfinals last year, that was a great game that could’ve gone either way. They have their nucleus back, and I know those players well from club, so I expect them to be there at the end of October.” Silver Creek is No. 1 in the Denver Post preseason Prep Power Rankings. Junior Jetta Nannen (Hawaii commit), senior Dana Dwyer (Fort Lewis) and senior Kendra Green give the team three experienced pitchers, while senior shortstop Emma Flynn, junior outfielder Kayla Harper and junior outfielder Bailey Beavers round out the lineup. “Honestly, we’re one of those programs that’s flown under the radar for 10 years now,” said coach Ryan Beavers, in his 11th season. “We’ve never had a kid who throws 65-67 mph like Valor has — we just don’t have those kids. So to get to state again, we’ve got to play defense, we’ve got to score runs and our pitchers have to be able to manage traffic.” Valor Christian returns flamethrower senior righthander Ali Kilponen, the winning pitcher in three consecutive state title games. She also led all classifications last season in ERA (0.47), strikeouts (283), wins (24) and tied for the state lead in no-hitters at five. Kilponen is why the Eagles, despite the graduation of five starters, are ranked No. 2. “Ali sets the tone, and the other thing is that the other girls understand the excellence that we seek in our program,” Atencio said. “Because most of these girls were part of the last two state championships, they know our mental toughness has to be on display every game.” Other traditional heavyweights will surely challenge Valor Christian and Silver Creek as well. State runner-up Erie is dangerous again as is Air Academy, a 2016 semifinalist which returns senior pitcher Cassidy Horn (18-3, 1.82 ERA) as the Kadets eye the Pikes Peak League championship after falling just short last year to Discovery Canyon, another sleeper team in 2017. Defending Centennial League champion Mullen brings back its top hitter in senior outfielder Natalie Archuleta. Out of the Jeffco League coach Jamie Heflin and Wheat Ridge are likely to be a contender. And down south, Pueblo West returns the bulk of its lineup as well as senior ace Jade Garbiso (17-2, 1.38 ERA). All are capable of dethroning Valor Christian. “We’ve got to have a couple returners from last year come up big this year,” Atencio said, “because we know we’re getting everyone’s best shot.” Class 4A Preseason Power Rankings Silver Creek Valor Christian Mullen Pueblo West Wheat Ridge Air Academy Erie Mountain View Frederick Discovery Canyon [...]
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Class 5A softball preview: Eaglecrest headlines a top-heavy field filled with potential sleepers
Yvette Hendrian hasn’t had any shortage of success while at Eaglecrest. The Raptors have made the Class 5A state tournament in each of her five seasons — and her team, ranked No. 1 in the Denver Post preseason Prep Power Rankings, is loaded again heading into the fall. But Hendrian knows full well that with great expectations comes an even greater need for her team to tune out the hype in order to earn a title at the end of October, which would be the program’s second and first since 2005. “We’ve been in this position before and I think the first time we were in this position, our focus was a little different — it was my second year of coaching here where we had all the tools and had all the talent,” Hendrian said. “But once again, it comes down to execution. This year, I’m taking a different approach to focusing my players — on one at-bat and pitch at a time instead of on the end result.” Related ArticlesAugust 3, 2017 Newman: Softball coaching legend Bob Bledsoe returns to prep level to lead Fruita Monument July 21, 2017 Slugger Kailey Wilson, better than before her knee injury, is ready to lead Eaglecrest softball on state title run Headlining Eaglecrest is a pair of Division I power-hitters in senior first baseman Kailey Wilson (Creighton) and junior shortstop Rachel Sabourin (Hawaii). Wilson had a monstrous summer on the club circuit following her rehabilitation from knee surgery that sidelined her for all of last season, while All-Colorado selection Sabourin led the Raptors with a .567 average and nine homers last fall. Plus, Hendrian has the luxury of two veteran pitchers in seniors Mackenzie Hostetler and Braelyn Crenshaw, who shared time last season while carrying the Raptors to the semifinals. “We’re sitting pretty good right now, but our main focus is making sure we don’t get caught up in all the hoopla of being the team with the target on its back,” Hendrian said. “Mackenzie and Braelyn will be our two main arms again, and as a program, we’re fortunate to have two girls that everyone completely trusts in the circle.” But the Raptors won’t be the only 5A power with a stacked deck. Fossil Ridge, another 2016 semifinalist, only graduated two seniors and returns junior Rosie Philop, junior Kristen Reed, senior Rheanna Will and junior Mia Moddelmog to the lineup. Meanwhile, Legacy, again under the guidance of legendary coach Dawn Gaffin, will be another deep team out of the Front Range League thanks to the return of junior pitcher Isabella Kelly, as well as junior Lauren Strathearn, junior Peyton Miyasaki and senior Ciarra Nelson in the field. And in the Continental League, Legend and Douglas County are early favorites after dueling for the conference title last season en route to state tournament showings. The Titans return junior pitcher Zoey LeCompte as well as the bats of senior Alyssa Nunn, junior Payton Lincavage, sophomore Lauren Griggs and junior Olivia Bradley. The Huskies — under the direction of new coach Dane Craig, who had previously built Mountain Range into a perennial playoff contender — also have veteran talent in sophomore pitcher Savanna Reiners and a lineup featuring senior catcher and Coastal Carolina commit Abbey Montoya. “My philosophy of putting in the hard work, letting the winning take care of itself and an emphasis on the mental game seems to fit this group of girls and this program,” Craig said. “I’m excited for what I have coming back, and the surprises I’m sure I’ll find in tryouts is only going to make this more fun moving forward.” But the sleepers of the classification might have the final say at the state tournament, as they did in 2015 (Mountain Range) and 2016 (Cherokee Trail) when those teams flew under the radar for most of the season en route to their respective titles. The sport’s three dominant leagues (Centennial, Continental and Front Range) all have several teams in that category, including Grandview, Cherry Creek, Mountain Vista, Castle View, Fort Collins and Loveland — not to mention Cherokee Trail and Broomfield, both of which lost a lot of talent from last season’s state title game yet figure to be competitive once again. “The kind of team that flies under the radar is the one you’ve got to watch out for,” Hendrian said. “And you can’t forget about the importance of tradition with those top-tier teams either, like Legacy with Gaffin, because they know how to get to the state tournament.” Defending Class 5A champion Cherokee Trail is ranked eighth in the 2017 preseason Denver Post Preps Power Rankings. (Photo by Kyle Newman, The Denver Post) Class 5A Preseason Power Rankings Eaglecrest Fossil Ridge Legend Douglas County Legac [...]
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With a Junior World Championship now on her resume, Maya Nelson’s intent on earning an Olympic wrestling title
To realize her potential as a wrestler, Maya Nelson knew she needed to immerse herself in the sport. So in January, the 2015 Denver East graduate who became the first girl to advance to the quarterfinals of the Colorado state wrestling tournament, moved from Montbello to Colorado Springs in order to wrestle full-time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The migration southward paid off in a big way last week, when on Friday, Nelson won freestyle gold at the Junior World Championships in Tampere, Finland, in the 139-pound weight class to become the country’s first Junior World winner since 2010. “Moving has been the best thing I’ve done for my career,” Nelson said in a phone interview. “I’ve been wrestling people like Becka Leathers, who’s on the Senior World Team, and people like Amanda Hendey, who’s been on several national teams. I’ve been in a room with heavy hitters who are still training for senior world titles. It’s a great environment to be around.” In a U.S. wrestling system where the Cadet and Junior teams are often seen as the stockpile for future national team stars, Nelson’s latest achievement puts her goal of making the 2020 Olympic team within reach. “A Junior World Championship is a great stepping stone to becoming an Olympic champion,” Nelson said. “Now, it’s about continuing to work hard in practice — even if I’m getting one percent better every day, that is going to add up to a spot on the team and, hopefully, that Olympic title.” Related ArticlesAugust 4, 2017 Q&A: Mullen football standout Adrian Jackson talks Mustangs’ prospects this fall, commitment to Oregon and more August 3, 2017 Newman: Softball coaching legend Bob Bledsoe returns to prep level to lead Fruita Monument August 2, 2017 Mountain Vista cross country motivated to pad program’s reputation as a distance powerhouse August 2, 2017 Peyton Manning seeking football programs that advance the game July 31, 2017 Aurora ramps up free training for umpires, referees to cover growing gap in officials for citywide sports And in the bruising, oxygen-deprived moments against her American counterparts at the training center, Nelson said she constantly harkens back to her days at Denver East, a time in which she noted a main motivation was to “prove that she could compete against boys turning into men” en route to becoming a two-time state qualifier. “Wrestling boys made me face a lot of adversity, which helped my wrestling tremendously,” she said. “I knew I couldn’t out-muscle these guys, and that I had to use my technique and speed. All of that goes into the way I wrestle now.” [...]
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