The 2017 fall has been another banner season for Colorado Academy Mustang athletics. It seems like yesterday that athletes were showing up for pre-season practice in August in preparation for their fall game schedule. Over 60% of all US students played some form of competitive sport this fall. Success was found in all of the programs and on every team.
The Boy’s Varsity 1 Tennis team, under the direction of head of program Brian Singer, finished second at the State Tournament this year. Their dual match record was a fantastic 9 wins and 0 losses. In tournament play, the team finished third at the Cherry Creek Tournament and first at the Kent Tournament. For the tenth year in a row, CA was crowned Regional Tennis Champion, sending all seven positions to Pueblo for the State Tournament. At the State Tournament, CA sent six positions to the finals and one position played for third place. The final day of competition saw two positions finishing first, four positions finishing second and first, and one position finishing third. Thus, all 11 players stood on the podium on Championship Saturday, a first in CA tennis history. The team finished second overall with 81 points, the highest point total ever scored by a CA tennis squad. With the two position State champions crowned this year, CA has had 11 position State boys tennis champions over the past 10 years. In addition, the following players made First Team All-State: senior Quinn Bermingham, and juniors Emmett Ela and Zach Brinker.
Boys Golf, led by Head Coach Beth Folsom, was extremely strong during the regular season, Metro League Tournament, Regionals, and the State Tournament. The team finished third overall in the ever-tough Metro League and first at the Regional Tournament. With only one senior, 1st Team All-State Thomas Messner, graduating from the four who went to state, 2018 promises to be an exceptional year. Sophomores Jack Garnsey, Christian Agelopoulos, and Brandon Cohen return next fall. Says Folsom about the season and group, “They were truly the best group of kids we have had in the program.
There is tons of potential moving forward. We’ll miss the leadership of Thomas and Cole Smith, but have a lot of confidence in the returning players.”
With Head of Field Hockey Veronica Scott in her fourth year at the helm, the Field Hockey team had another outstanding season finishing 12-3-2 and made it to the state semi-final game where they lost 1-0 in overtime. The Mustangs’ three losses and one of their ties were to the two teams who played in the State Championship game and their other tie was with the other semi-final contestant. A well-balanced team with a mix of Seniors and many strong underclass players, CA outscored its opponents 46-7 and registered 11 shutouts. Captains Senior Jill Murphy and Junior Sloane Murphy were named First Team All-State and Captain Senior Eliza Davis and Senior goalkeeper Ellie Bauer were named Second Team All-State. Honorable Mention All-State recipients were Seniors Andrea Gonzalez, Ann Claire Lin, and Sydney Turner.
With a super strong JV team who were coached by Upper School English teacher Ali Kittle and Upper School math teacher and CA alum Courtney Engle, and an undefeated third level team comprised entirely of freshmen, the program is on a strong path to success for Coach Scott and her charges. Says Scott about the season and her program, “I couldn’t be more proud of all the players and my coaching staff, and I know we will continue to grow and develop not only in our field hockey ability, but also in our sportsmanship, grace, and character.”
Volleyball, under the auspices of veteran coach Bob Ulrich, showed outstanding growth throughout the season in the ultra-competitive Metro League. The Mustangs compiled a 17-8 record throughout the year, with First Team All-League players Senior Maria Watters and Junior
Gracia O’Donnell, Second Team All-League Senior Jayne Kay and Honorable Mention All-League Senior Kyra Kurtz leading the way. For the second time in school history, the Mustangs hosted a volleyball regional this fall. The festive atmosphere of the regional played in Newton Gymnasium saw the girls stretched to their limits. Although the girls came up short of making a trip to the Coliseum where the final 12 teams, all of the regional champs, competed for the overall state title, the depth of the program with a strong JV team and two C-level teams points to great things to come for Ulrich and his underclass players.
CA Cross Country, led by coaches Tracy Peterson, Annie Bennett, and Steve Fossel, put together a highly respectable season of results that saw the girls team qualify for State and the boys team send two underclass runners to State. Senior Anna Ponzio won the 3A Region 5 race, and according to Colorado XC Mile Split, CA’s Girls Team “made a convincing stand for third place in the regional race with Junior Mari Annest and Senior Lauren Fossel backing up the regional champ, Ponzio.” Sophomore boys Walt Jones and Avery Lin represented the Mustangs well at the Regional meet and the State meet at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs and finished 58th and 59th, respectively, in the 3A final State meet, which consisted of 160 male runners. The girls team, which was comprised of Ponzio, Fossel, Junior Jane Doherty, and Sophomore Olivia Martinez, finished the State meet in 14th place among 20 teams, and Ponzio finished 22nd overall in a field of 152 runners.
This year, the Boys Soccer team put together one of the strongest squads to ever grace the home turf of Firman Field. Senior Dean and academic coach Gabe Bernstein led the boys in brilliant fashion, teaching them “proper football,” through one of the toughest regular-season schedules in the state, an 11-4 record, and a march through the state playoffs to the final Championship Game. The most thrilling victory of the year saw the Mustangs triumphant over Kent Denver in the State Semi-Finals, after double overtime and a 5-4edge in penalty kicks. That Semi-Final victory over the Sun Devils will go down as one of the best games in school history, because of the effort by both teams and the fashion in which the Mustangs won. The Mustangs bend-but-not-break attitude was evident after the boys hit posts in regulation and overtime and then saw the team fall behind 0-1 in the concluding shootout. Needing a one-on-one stop by goalkeeper Noah Rhodes to even the tally in PK’s, the Sophomore delivered on the fourth shot by KDS, and then Seniors Eric Bear and Wyatt Westfall converted their shots after KDS missed the goal on their fifth attempt. Although the boys lost in the State Championship title game held at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, 0-1, the team should be proud of their overall body of work and their improvement throughout the year. Postseason accolades included Bernstein being named Metro League Coach of the Year, and Bear and fellow Senior Larson Baker named to First Team All-League, Senior Emmett Rice, and Juniors Jared Miranda and Captain Jackson Briggs being named to Second Team All-League, and Seniors Captain Avery Niles, Connor Wharton, Junior Charlie Parham, and Rhodes being named Honorable Mention All-League. At press time, the All-State selections had not been announced.
Middle School teacher and head of CA Ultimate, Eric Augustin, led his coed Ultimate program to a 3-3 regular season record before they entered the State Tournament held every fall at Broomfield Commons. The State Tournament, with the likes of Lakewood High School, Chatfield High School, and Jefferson County Open School, among others making up the participants, saw the Frisbee group go 2-1 on the first day of competition with victories over Fairview, 11-7 and Arapahoe High School, 13-7. The final day of play slated the CA group against Denver East in the championship bracket, where the CA squad lost 0-13 and then played Chatfield, where they won 13-10, and then in their final match of the tournament in the 5th/6th game, the team lost to JCOS.
After graduating seven seniors from last year’s team, this year’s Ultimate team began a youth movement, with 10 athletes new to the game. The three Seniors, Colin Zenge, Blake Aschenbrener, and Anna Krutsinger have led the development of the next generation.
In the tournament, the team finished sixth overall and tied for second for the Spirit Award, which is based on your opponents’ determination of how you played the game and the sportsmanship you exhibited. It was fun to see junior football player Cooper Bittman join the squad after the conclusion of his gridiron responsibilities at D’Evelyn and add a spark to the team as they headed into the final stretch of competition.
Speaking of football, CA had three students play for D’Evelyn High School this year, and former NFL pro and third grade teacher Jay Leeuwenburg also coaches football there. This is at least the eighth year that CA students have played for D’Evelyn. They made it to the playoffs this year, with a 4-1 league record before losing to #1 seed Platte Valley 46-34. Congratulations to Chad Dines – #2 – Senior – quarterback; Geoff Farmar – #7 – Senior – defensive back; and Cooper Bittman – #21 – Junior – wide receiver.
This fall athletic season provided so many tremendous learning opportunities for all of the CA Upper and Middle School athletes and dozens of events in which we saw alums, parents, faculty, and staff, and students from all divisions come together in a positive, supportive, and exciting community setting. I invite you to look at the school website, where you can find the competitive winter sports schedules, including boys and girls basketball, girls swimming, coed rock climbing, and ice hockey, and plan a time to come and support the hard work that will be represented by the CA students and their coaches this winter. Thank you for all of your support. Go Mustangs!