- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
The week that was: A wrap-up of CCSD Athletics for the week of May 15
5A Girls State Team Tennis: Cherry Creek takes state
The Cherry Creek High School girls tennis team is the 2023 5A State Champion, after a “stormy” state competition.
Disruptive weather made things interesting going into the 5A team championships on May 16 at Denver City Park. Top-seeded Cherry Creek took on second-seeded Fairview in the first-ever team dual format. The event showcased some matches that had the same participants as the individual championships, which took place on May 13.
Hard rain and small hail late Tuesday afternoon made surfaces unplayable as No. 2 and 3 Singles – with results pivotal in the best-of-seven team championship – were in split sets. With the Bruins leading the Knights 3 to 2 through five matches, the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) had a sound Plan B in place. The proceedings were quickly moved to Denver Tennis Park near South High School and play resumed in good order.
CCHS junior Anika Sharma took just a matter of minutes to finish off her win over Fairview sophomore Stella Laird 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to clinch the Bruins' 39th state team championship in program history. Junior Jisele Boker followed a short time later with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win over the Knights’ Elle Middleton.
“It feels amazing,” Sharma said. “I felt like I didn’t play my best tennis in the match, but I think it was just the mental game that kind of got me on the other side. Stella is a phenomenal player. I’ve known her for so long, and it was great to play somebody like her once again.”
Cherry Creek Head Coach Chris Jacob said weather has been a factor all season.
I think it’s a perfect way to end the season,” Coach Jacob said. “We’ve had such interesting weather, with our winds and rainouts, so I guess I’m not surprised.”
In No. 1 Singles, Creek senior Lorena Cedeño, who lost in the individual state match to Fairview junior Quinn Bernthal in three sets on May 13, turned the tables last Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-3 win.
“It feels so much better than last time because I was really tired,” Cedeño said. “Today I felt more calm, and I knew what I was going to do, because we had already played. It was good.”
In doubles play, Cherry Creek took two of the four contests with wins in the No. 3 and No. 4 matches. Senior Farrah Bendel and freshman Zoe Hochstadt defeated Fairview in No. 3 Doubles 6-0, 6-1, with junior Julia Karlberg and sophomore Zoey Hao prevailing in the No. 4 match 6-1, 6-1.
Congratulations to the Cherry Creek Bruins girls tennis team!
5A State Track and Field: Cherokee Trail and Grandview take first and second
Three days of unsettled weather featuring lightning delays and pollution alerts were the backdrop for the 2023 State Track and Field Championships, held May 18-20 at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. The Cherokee Trail boys team took home the state championship trophy and the Grandview girls took runners-up honors. Cherry Creek took 4th overall in the girls’ team standings, with Eaglecrest 5th and Cherokee Trail 8th. For the boys, Creek finished 9th, Grandview 15th, Overland 17th, and Eaglecrest 18th.
Cherokee Trail won its third boys' state title in program history. Sophomore sprinter Peyton Sommers led the effort, with firsts in the 200 and 400 Meter events, and a second in the 100 Meter Dash. Sommers also anchored the State Champion 4x200 Meter Relay along with sophomore Kaelan Kombo, junior Kahari Wilbon, and senior Jaylon Moore.
“I feel on top of the world right now,” Sommers said. “I can’t describe it. I’m on the moon. I’m a two-time State Champion. I have amazing coaches, the best coaches in the state, to be honest. They’ve made me who I am today, and I give them all the credit.”
Cougars Head Coach Chris Faust said he felt a calm confidence going into the weekend.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Faust. “We came into this season knowing we had a chance, and I told them this week, ‘You’ve been the best track team in the state all year. Just do it one more weekend.’ Normally, I’m really nervous during the state meet, but I’ve enjoyed watching these guys compete all year, and why not be relaxed today (Saturday-Day 3), because these guys are awesome.”
The Cougar boys took at least one of the three top podium positions in seven events on the day.
“Man, I love all my teammates,” said Kahari Wilbon, the junior sprinter. “I’m just so glad that all of these people have given it their all, making sure that they are the best. No one on the team slacks, and that’s so important for a group like this. I think Coach knew that we all had this in our hearts from the start.”
On the girls’ side, Grandview took second in the team standings, led by junior sprinter Gabriella Cunningham. She won state championships in the 100 and 300 Meter Hurdles and anchored the 4x100 Meter Relay for the state title.
“It feels good,” Cunningham said. “The goal was just to get out really hard, stay strong out of the blocks. I was out there attacking those hurdles and getting a strong finish. It felt really good to go out there and prove myself. These were my first titles, and I worked very hard for them.”
The 2023 championships also marked the end of an illustrious career for Wolves’ Head Coach John Reyes, who, along with his wife Natalie, have announced their retirements from the program. Reyes has been a teacher and coach at Grandview for the last ten years. Natalie Reyes joined the Grandview Track and Field staff in 2018, coaching the girls’ sprinting events, as well as other aspects of the program.
“When we started here, Grandview High School was the only CCSD team, and the only team in the Centennial League, that had not won a state championship in track and field,” Reyes said. “So now we’ve won three, we’ve been state runner-up three times, we’ve have had a lot of top five finishes, and broken some state records along the way. Nothing but good things. Great kids, great coaching staff, especially my wife, and no regrets.”
In other events, the Eaglecrest foursome of seniors Kiara Garcia, Maya Walters, Bianca Gleim, and sophomore anchor Jaylynn Wilson took the top spot in the Girls 4x200 Meter Relay. The Raptors finished 2nd in the 4x100.
In the Girls Discus Throw, Cherry Creek junior Addison Edwards won the state championship.
“It feels really good,” Edwards said. “Definitely a lot of hard work going into it. My second throw (126 feet, 7 inches) clinched it. And the great competition makes everything better.”
Eaglecrest senior Blythe Cayko – who has a state girls wrestling championship under her belt – finished 4th and 6th in the shot put and discus throw respectively.
In other boys’ events, Overland sophomore Jarrius Ward took second in both the Shot Put and Discus Throws. Chatfield Junior Charlie Lafore bested Ward in the two events.
Congratulations to Cherokee Trail and Grandview, and all of the CCSD Track and Field student athletes!
5A Baseball: Cherokee Trail is going to state
Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, and Grandview were all scheduled to play in regional tournaments this past Saturday, but weather disrupted the schedule.
The No. 25 Cougars were at Legend HS for Region 8 and games were moved to May 22. CT defeated the hosts and No. 8 Titans 5-2 in the first game, and then went on to advance to the state tournament, winning the Region 8 Championship over 9th-seeded Pine Creek. Final score was 4-1.
The Cougars will now take on top-seeded Broomfield in a first-round game at 9:30 a.m. on May 26 at All-Star Park in Lakewood. Good luck to the Cougars!
Cherry Creek and Grandview didn’t fare as well in regional play.
Region 4 was hosted by the 4th-seeded Bruins on May 20. Creek had a big comeback and defeated No. 29 Arvada West 10-7 in the first game. Game 2 pitted the Bruins against No. 13 Mountain Vista, and their season came to an end as the Golden Eagles won 7-2. Cherry Creek finishes the season at 18-7.
Bad weather pushed Region 6 play, hosted by Chaparral High School, to a rare Sunday outing on May 21. 11th-seeded Grandview took on No. 22 Erie and the Wolves ended their season with a tight 3-1 loss to the Tigers. GHS finishes 2023 at 17-7.
5A Girls and Boys Lacrosse: Cherry Creek clubs eliminated
The 2023 season ended earlier than hoped for the CCHS girls and boys lacrosse clubs.
The 4th-seeded Bruins girls got a solid 8-5 win over Fairview on May 13, but fell to No. 1 and eventual State Champion Colorado Academy 17-7 in a Final four contest on May 16 at Englewood High School. Creek finishes a great season at 14-4.
The No. 1-seeded Cherry Creek boys team played well in a 17-7 win over No. 8 Denver South last Wednesday, setting up an appearance in the Final Four against No. 5 Mountain Vista on May 20 at the University of Denver. The match was tightly contested and went to sudden death overtime, and the Golden Eagles quickly scored to win 12-11, upsetting the top-seeded Bruins. Creek finishes the 2023 campaign at 16-2.
CCHS girls lacrosse photo courtesy Theodore A. Stark. CCHS boys lacrosse photo courtesy Marie Webster.