It was 87 degrees at 8 p.m., but the Colorado Academy Girls Lacrosse Team kept their cool during this unusual late June competition at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. They brought home a sixth straight Girls Lacrosse State Championship to the delight of a crowd of cheering parents, students, and friends.
“The fans were amazing!” said Coach Laura Sandbloom. “Seeing all those kids show up—there were 2020 graduates, more alumni, members of the Boys Lacrosse Team—it just made me so proud of our girls and the CA community. It was an incredible fan presence, and it speaks to everyone’s hunger for a communal experience.”
After a year of competition canceled because of COVID-19, the Mustangs picked up right where they left off two years ago.
For the past five years, CA had beaten teams from Cherry Creek High School every year to take top honors. This year, CA faced Valor Christian High School and took care of business with efficiency and determination, winning 14-3, capping a perfect 13-0 season. CA has won 23 straight post-season games dating back to 2015. The Seniors on the team are undefeated in their high school careers.
No single player dominated CA’s scoring throughout the game, a true testament to teamwork that showcased both experience and future promise.
During the first half, Freshman Zoe Martin had two goals. Freshman Vivian Leuthold also put two in the back of the net. With lightning quick feet, Freshman Charlotte Corkins completed the Ninth Grade triumvirate, adding another goal. No first state championship jitters for these players!
Representing the upperclassmen, Junior Maya Kendall scored, and Katharine Merrifield ’21, who will play for the University of Michigan next year, found the back of the net twice. Early in the game, CA led by only one goal, but by the end of the first period, the score was 8-2.
By the second half, the temperature on the field had dropped slightly (into the low eighties), but that didn’t stop Jessie Bakes and Ella Freimuth ’21 from catching fire. Both scored twice. Merrifield added a third goal to her total for the night, and Martin rounded out the evening with one more to represent the future of lacrosse at CA.
Megan Zeman, former University of Denver player and now Volunteer Assistant Lacrosse Coach at DU, paid tribute to the CA team in her on-air play-by-play for the NFHS Network.
“If I could sum up the CA team in one word, it would be ‘disciplined,’” Zeman said. “I am really impressed with their composure.”
Zeman also pointed out that many of the key players on CA’s team, including defenders Rebecca Kerr ’21, Marin Bomgaars ’21, Julia Hall ’21, and Maya Rutherford ’21, who will also play for the University of Michigan, were no longer high school students, since they had picked up their diplomas the first week of June. CHSAA and COVID-19 restrictions had moved this final season for CA Seniors long past their commencement.
“I am on cloud nine, and I hope the girls are too,” said Sandbloom. “It just feels like all the extra effort after graduation really paid off. I am so proud of how these girls have responded during a really tough year. It’s clear they love their team.”
“It’s been crazy, but this is so nice,” Rutherford told reporters after the game. “We lost our season last year, but we brought everybody back together, got back on the road, and it just feels so good to be back on the field together and playing. And winning the State Championship, it’s unbeatable.”
“I am so grateful to Coach Laura Sandbloom and her entire staff for giving the team—and especially the Seniors—some great memories tonight,” said CA Athletic Director Bill Hall. “Laura is an incredible role model for these great players, and she is continuing the legacy of this incredible program. The CA Girls Lacrosse Team showed us just how tough they are with a dominating performance tonight.”
With a little more than six minutes to play, fireworks could be seen across the skyline. But who looks at fireworks when the CA Girls Lacrosse Team is on the field?