Senior Student-Athletes Celebrate Collegiate Commitments

On April 26, the bleachers in Colorado Academy’s main gymnasium were overflowing with family members, teammates, teachers, coaches, and friends who gathered to congratulate nine Senior athletes on signing commitments to play Division I and Division III collegiate sports. Three other Seniors had already signed commitments to play for Division I schools in the fall, adding up to an even dozen CA athletes who will go on to compete at the college level.

“Congratulations to our student-athletes,” said Head of School Dr. Mike Davis as he welcomed the crowd of supporters. “I want to thank all of your parents for all the practices and tournaments they’ve gone to, and for everything that they’ve done,” he added to appreciative applause.

“The mission of Colorado Academy is really broad-based,” Davis continued. “It’s not all about sports—we’re about arts and academics too, and all of you excel in all those areas.”

Director of Athletics Bill Hall echoed, “It’s a real privilege to stand in front of these unbelievable representatives of our community. This crew really represents some of the finest we have here at Colorado Academy. And every year, this is one of my favorite days.”

Hall also acknowledged CA’s college counselors, who were in attendance to congratulate these Seniors as they look ahead to their next step. “Without them, this probably wouldn’t take place. We have some of the best college counselors in the country able to serve you all as you go through the recruiting process.”

Hall went on to share with the audience the athletes’ own thoughts on what the moment meant to them.

Olivia Aguirre, who will play Lacrosse at Trinity College, plans to study economics or political science. One of the top goalies in Colorado—she was a Second Team All-State player in her Sophomore and Junior years—Aguirre came to CA in Second Grade and says that her experience here has been very special. 

Sophie Brants heads to Tufts University, where she will play Field Hockey. She credits Field Hockey Head Coach Veronica Scott and Assistant Coach Elizabeth Drazdowski with supporting her development as a player. At CA since First Grade, Brants captained CA’s State Championship-winning Field Hockey Team in the fall and was named First Team All-State.

Josh Corn will swim for Columbia University, where he plans to study engineering. He is grateful to CA’s Athletic Department for its support of his swimming career since he arrived in Seventh Grade. Corn earned a spot on the podium in the 200-Meter Breaststroke at Junior Nationals in December.

Kaya Knapke, starting goalkeeper for the Varsity Girls Soccer Team, will attend Central Community College in Columbus, Neb., where she will study business and finance. A student at Astravo Academy, Kaya credits CA Coach Zuriel Lozano for her success on the field, and says that playing with the Varsity squad for three years has pushed her to constantly improve.

Andrew Koclanes, a CA “lifer,” heads to Caltech to play Basketball and study biochemistry or chemical engineering. Koclanes says that CA Basketball Coach Steven Hyatt, who’s guided him since Fifth Grade, has been most influential in his athletic career. He was named First Team in the Metro League and Second Team All-State. Koclanes says that he loves that CA doesn’t make students choose between athletics, academics, and the arts; he has thrown himself into everything that CA has to offer, including serving as Co-President of HOPE his Senior year.

Mattie Mielke plans to attend Denison University, where she will play Soccer and study biology or neuroscience. A captain with CA’s Varsity Girls Soccer Team, as well as an All-State player in her Junior year, Mattie is grateful for the support of her teammates and her family.

Elliott Rutherford plans to study computer science or engineering at Tufts University, where he will play Lacrosse. Rutherford acknowledges the support of CA Lacrosse Coach Dan Pratt, who has taught him so much about the sport and how it should be played, and even more about how to be a good leader, teammate, and person. A competitor on the Ice Hockey and Golf Teams as well as Lacrosse, Rutherford was named Second Team All-League in Hockey, First Team All-League in Lacrosse, and a USA National Under-18 Lacrosse player.

Bennett Spruell has committed to play Lacrosse for Christopher Newport University in Virginia, where he will study business finance. Spruell came to CA in Ninth Grade, and says that the supportive community he found here is unique. A captain on the Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team, he is grateful for the support of Strength and Conditioning Coach Wes Kirk, and credits Coaches Randy Colley and Dan Pratt for building him into who he is today.

Asher Stull heads to Loomis Chaffee in the fall for a postgraduate year, after which he’ll go to High Point University and play Lacrosse. He plans to study business and marketing. Stull acknowledges the coaching of Colley and Pratt, as well as their help during the recruiting process. He says that CA has been an amazing place since he first came to campus in Fourth Grade, and attests that his teachers, coaches, and peers have made him the best version of himself.

Families gathered around their athletes at the conclusion of the signing ceremony for hugs and photos, and Hall wound up the event by saying, “What a special group of kids this is.” The traditional cake and cookies were waiting for attendees as they departed.