CA Girls Lacrosse Cements Dynasty with Ninth Straight State Championship

Some have used the word “dynasty” when describing Colorado Academy’s incredible recent dominance in CHSAA’s Class 5A Girls Lacrosse competition. On May 17, 2024, the Mustangs’ Championship streak stretched to a ninth year, and their all-time Championship tally to 10, as they defeated the Fairview High School Knights by a score of 15-3 to win the State Title at the University of Denver’s Peter Barton Stadium. It was the team’s 47th victory in a row—the longest active win streak in the country, and one that has elevated CA’s rank to No. 1 in the West and No. 25 in the nation this season.

Year after year, a “dynasty” team like this one makes it look easy; but according to Head Coach Sonorah Hunter, the key to success is never assuming it will be. 

“These girls put so much effort into creating a competitive environment in practice,” says Hunter, “they’re actually going pretty hard at each other day-to-day. And outside of practice they’re spending time together, whether that’s focusing on academics or supporting each other. We also develop relationships with all the families—they’re putting so much into sharing their girls with us. They’re so grateful to have that kind of experience.”

“It all comes full circle on the field at game time,” Hunter explains. That couldn’t have been more evident during this season full of superlatives, double-digit victories over most of the league, and continued success against perennial rivals such as Valor Christian High School and Cherry Creek High School.

But in their semifinal game against Valor, CA players surprisingly started flat and fell behind “a phenomenal team,” as Hunter describes the Eagles. “They came out extremely aggressively against us, and it was a good opportunity for us to regroup mentally to think about what really matters. When you’re a team that’s always up by a few goals, once you’re down, you really have to go back to your mindset: Why are we playing lacrosse? Why do we enjoy it?”

Scratching out a 9-8 semifinal victory against Valor at the last moment, the Mustangs clearly carried that renewed resolve with them to the final, which at times looked like a clinic. Led by Senior Zoe Martin, a University of Michigan commit, with the first of her five goals on the day at just 43 seconds in, CA ran a typically lighting-fast offense to rack up the points. The Mustang defense, meanwhile, remained mostly impenetrable to the Knights.

Zoe Martin takes a shot.

“Sure, there’s a lot of pressure to keep winning, but as a team we remembered that we can go out and have a lot of fun together,” recounts Hunter. “We can make each other shine. It takes our entire program, our entire team to do that. So, let’s lift each other up and celebrate those little things, and then just execute at the end of the day.”

Charlotte Corkins

It was a powerful group of Seniors—league-leading scorer Martin on attack, plus midfielder Charlotte Corkins, twin midfielders Alex and Skylar May, midfielder Shea Stone, and midfielder Estella Geller—who kept the pressure on Fairview’s net all evening. But Hunter says it’s not just these players’ experience and impressive stats that account for the four Championships each one counts on their record.

From left, Estella Geller with Head Coach Sonorah Hunter

The culture of CA’s lacrosse program, she points out, is one in which “older girls pass down their knowledge and our traditions year to year. These players just have a winning mindset—they love to compete and win, and they share that with the student-athletes who are coming up in the program to become the next generation of leaders.”

Co-captains Corkins, Skylar and Alex May, and Shea Stone

Co-captains Stone, the May twins, and Corkins receive special praise from Hunter for their commitment to nurturing that culture. 

“Charlotte Corkins is probably the most competitive person I’ve ever met,” states Hunter, “but she’s also the one who’s sharing how much knowledge she has with the younger players and encouraging them. Often we’ll put two Ninth Graders on the line with her to run the midfield, and that’s exciting to watch.”

Stone, for her part, stepped up as a leader once again after coming back from a bad injury last year that required surgery and kept her sidelined most of the season. “Seeing her put in the work to recover and then be the kind of team member who leads by example—picking up balls at the end of practice, supporting the younger girls—has been just phenomenal.”

And the Mays, according to Hunter, made their presence felt, even when they were starring on CA’s Varsity Girls Basketball squad this winter. They were there in the weight room during pre-season training, “encouraging the girls even when they were dedicating their own time to another sport.”

It’s leaders like these who ensure that Varsity Girls Lacrosse isn’t starting from scratch each new season. “Our players are always thinking about how they can leave a legacy for the younger ones, so the wisdom they’ve gained isn’t just left behind.”

Hunter won’t speculate about how successful next year will be—whether the Mustangs will make it an eleventh Championship to surpass Cherry Creek High School’s all-time State Title record. “I’m not going to say we’ll have the specific kind of players and strengths that we did this year, but our Junior class is incredibly strong, with so much depth and a lot of impact players. My goal is just to focus on getting better every single day, feeding that positive and encouraging team culture, and having the girls learn something that they can take into their future lives.”

The University of Denver’s Peter Barton Stadium

She adds that whatever the future holds, all the signs are positive, both for CA and for girls lacrosse in Colorado. 

Winning the State Championship this year on the field at her alma mater, the University of Denver, was “incredibly special,” says Hunter. “Being there is such a huge testament to the incredible level of talent we’re seeing in the state—not just at the college level, with Regis making it to the NCAA Final Four this year and DU, CU, and UCCS also seeing great success in recent years, but also in high school, which showcases our players who will go on to make their mark in college.”

At DU, Hunter continues, she was coached by the legendary Liza Kelly, who has made the Pioneers into one of the top programs in the country. “Liza’s a phenomenal coach, and I’ve brought a lot of what I learned with her to Colorado Academy.”