A look in the rear-view reveals exciting moments

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 6/5/17

We don't like to live in the past. But it's time to take a look back on the 2016-17 school year for area sports teams.

Two highlights were the back-to-back dramatic state playoffs games of the …

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A look in the rear-view reveals exciting moments

Posted

We don't like to live in the past. But it's time to take a look back on the 2016-17 school year for area sports teams.

  • Two highlights were the back-to-back dramatic state playoffs games of the Rock Canyon boys basketball team.

Rock Canyon scored four points in the final five seconds to beat Grandview 42-40 in a quarterfinal game. A steal and an ensuing follow tip-in of a missed layup in the final second sent the Jaguars into the semifinals, where the team lost on a free throw with 0.8 second remaining to eventual state champion Eaglecrest.

  • The Jefferson County 4A regular season basketball finale was remarkable and went two overtimes with D'Evelyn escaping with a 71-69 triumph over Golden.
  • Just watching Mountain Vista attempt to win the Class 5A title on the final day of the volleyball championships was tiring.

Vista played eight sets in its final two pool matches and then the Golden Eagles had to win two, one-set playoffs before advancing to the semifinals. Mountain Vista beat Rock Canyon, 3-2, in the semifinals and led 3-1 in the finals against Fossil Ridge before fatigue took its toll.

Vista lost the fifth-set tiebreaker to Fossil Ridge to end as state runner-up after playing 15 sets in one afternoon and evening.

  • It was hard to ignore the rare Continental League baseball chase. Going into the final day of the regular season, six teams were tied for first place.
  • Valor Christian captured five state titles.

It appeared that last fall might be the season for payback as the Eagles football team started with a 1-3 record. However, after a narrow 10-7 semifinal win over Cherry Creek, the Eagles whipped Pomona 30-14 to win their seventh title in eight years.

Ali Kilponen pitched Valor to its third straight 4A softball title and the boys lacrosse team captured its second straight state crown. The baseball team defended its 4A state title and the boys basketball took home the championship hardware after being the runner-up last year.

  • Cherry Creek won state titles in boys and girls tennis and boys lacrosse to give the Bruins 200 overall state titles in its history.
  • Pomona's girls gymnastics and wrestling teams secured piggyback state championships.
  • Green Mountain was the 4A gymnastics winners.
  • The Lutheran boys won their fourth consecutive 3A track crown.
  • Mountain Vista's girls soccer team didn't look like champions early in the season but won two shootouts in the playoffs and went on to defeat Arapahoe in the state title match.
  • Ralston Valley's girls golf team came from five shots off the pace after the first round to win the 5A state title by nine shots as the three scoring golfers in the final round averaged 76.3.

There were plenty of area individual state champions, especially in wrestling and tennis. However, there are too many to mention to give them justice. It is hard, however, not to mention a couple.

  • Kyle Pearson of Highlands Ranch carded rounds of 66 and 67 to finish 9-under-par to capture the boys state golf championship at Bookcliff County Club in Grand Junction.
  • And, Jefferson 132-pound senior Kyle Cisneros won his second state crown and wrapped up his wrestling career with an all-time Colorado best of 177 wins.

McCaffrey honored

Valor Christian football and basketball player Dylan McCaffrey was honored by the Denver Athletic Club as its Colorado Male High School Athlete of the Year during a banquet May 31.

Grandview cross country and track athlete Bri Oakley was the Female Athlete of the Year and Denver Broncos Chris Harris Jr. was the Professional Colorado Athlete of the Year.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton

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