Jeffco prep sports 2020 year in review

Michael Hicks
mhicks@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/28/20

Though the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the sports schedule in 2020 — in particular — the high school sports calendar, there were still some memorable moments. From Pomona winning another …

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Jeffco prep sports 2020 year in review

Posted

Though the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the sports schedule in 2020 — in particular — the high school sports calendar, there were still some memorable moments. From Pomona winning another state wrestling championship to Ralston Valley’s golfers placing fourth and a number of teams enjoying success on the hardwood, there were plenty of things to celebrate in the sports world this year as far as Jefferson County high schools are concerned.

COVID-19 turns CHSAA seasons upside down

The Colorado High School Activities Association canceled the conclusion of its 2020 state basketball tournaments and the spring sports season due to state protocols put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most Jefferson County high schools, but not all of them had completed their winter sports season for the 2019-20 campaign. Then they missed out on a spring sports campaign because of the virus.

The 2020-21 fall season was postponed to Season C - or next spring - because of the pandemic. Jeffco schools, however, played multiple sports, including football, which had the option to stay in Season C or rejoin Season A after CHSAA and the state was able to work out variances to allow teams to play. Jeffco schools played in Season A.

CHSAA recently announced the 2020-21 winter sports campaign, which had been delayed to the start of January, will now start no sooner than early February after the state announced that it wouldn’t offer variances to allow for indoor high school athletics during an uptick in COVID-19 cases in late November.

Pomona nabs fourth state wrestling title in five years

Just call it a dynasty.

Pomona won its fourth 5A state wrestling championship in the past five years in February, dominating the competition. The Panthers scored 198.5 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Rocky Mountain, which came in second with 110.5 points.

The Panthers sent four wrestlers to the state finals — Jakob Romero (126 pounds), Daniel Cardenas (138), Gage Bernall (160) and Franklin Cruz (195) — with the latter three securing championships. In all, Pomona had 10 wrestlers place at the Pepsi Center.

Pandemic denies Faith Christian shot at seventh state title

Faith Christian will never know if it would’ve won a seventh 3A state boys basketball title in 2020, but the Eagles were among the favorites for sure.

Paced by a pair of double-figure scorers in Caleb Ruter (15.3 points per game) and Caleb Clark (11.0), Faith Christian went 21-4 and finished second to Lutheran in the 3A Metro League.

Coach Abram Ziemer’s squad was dominant in the state tournament, winning its first three games by an average of 18.7 points per game before CHSAA officials were forced to shut down the tournament in the semifinals because of state protocols involving the COVID-19 pandemic.

No. 3 seeded Faith Christian, which won five straight state titles from 2008-12, was to have played 10th-seeded Sterling in the semifinals for a spot in the finals.

Pomona wins league title, reaches semifinals

The fall football season may have been shorter than usual, but the Pomona Panthers made the most of the opportunity.

Led by senior quarterback Jack Pospisil, Pomona (7-1) opened the season with back-to-back shutouts over Chaparral and Lakewood on its way to beating Columbine 14-11 in the regular-season finale to capture the 5A Jeffco League title.

The Panthers routed Eaglecrest in the postseason opener before running into the buzzsaw that was eventual state champion Cherry Creek in a 35-7 state semifinal defeat.

After the season, head coach Jay Madden - a 1986 Pomona graduate himself - stepped down from the helm he’s held for 18 seasons. Madden coached the Panthers to four state championship contests, including an exhilarating 56-49 win over Eaglecrest in the 2017 title games.

RV golfers place fourth at state

Led by Trey Krischner, who carded a two-day total 5-over 147 to tie for second place, the Ralston Valley Mustangs took fourth place in an extremely tight battle for the 5A state boys golf championship.

Just six strokes separated team champion Valor Christian and fourth-place Ralston Valley at The Club at Rolling Hills in October. Arapahoe was two shots back of the state champions, while Regis Jesuit was five strokes back. Jeffco rival Lakewood came in eighth place.

The Mustangs’ Gage Messingham and Lakewood’s Ryan Liao tied for seventh place.

Dominant season for Tuohy-Gaydos ends in heartbreak

Green Mountain cross country runner Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos was as dominant as anyone could be on the cross country course in 2020.

He won a third straight 4A Jeffco League title this year, winning in a time of 15 minutes, 59.7 seconds. He followed that up with a regional title in almost the exact same time, finishing in 15:59.2.

He was on his way to a 4A state title in Colorado Springs on Oct. 17 when he got tangled up with Niwot’s Zane Bergen mere feet from the finish line. Tuohy-Gaydos was disqualified for impeding a runner, costing him that elusive state title.

While the cross country season didn’t end as he would’ve hoped, the future is still quite bright for the male Heisman High School Scholarship winner. Tuohy-Gaydos will run collegiately for Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.

Wheat Ridge-D’Evelyn collision course gets derailed

Wheat Ridge and D’Evelyn were as good as it gets in 4A softball this past season. The Famers and Jaguars were the cream of the crop in the Jeffco League.

They each finished 7-1 against conference opponents, allowing a combined 23 runs in those games. They were separated by one run in their 3-2 head-to-head battle, which Wheat Ridge won on Sept. 23.

Seeded No. 1 and 2 in the state, they appeared headed on a collision course to all-Jeffco state final before being upset in the semifinals — Wheat Ridge by No. 4 Mead 15-9 and D’Evelyn by No. 3 and eventual state champion Holy Family 12-7.

Still, Wheat Ridge, D’Evelyn and Conifer — Jeffco’s third-place team — proved the conference more than held its own on the softball diamond in 2020.

Green Mountain girls hoops wins Jeffco title

A picture of balance across the team, the Green Mountain Rams girls’ basketball team ascended to the top of the mountain in the 4A Jeffco League in 2020.

Led by junior Courtney Hank and her 10.1 points per game, the Rams ran the table to a 12-0 record against conference opposition en route to a 24-3 overall mark.

The Rams, who had six players average five or more points per game, were the No. 3 seed in the 4A state tournament and the top remaining seed when they were upset by No. 7 Holy Family in the state semifinals in March.

Mustangs win 5A Jeffco boys hoops crown

Two points. That’s what separated Ralston Valley and Valor Christian on Jan. 29. That 60-58 victory on Jan. 29, however, is what helped propel the Mustangs to the 5A Jeffco League boys basketball championship in 2020.

Ralston Valley went 21-4 overall, including 7-1 in 5A Jeffco.

Led by seniors Caleb Rillos (18.5 points per game) and Caden Gigstad (15.1), the Mustangs earned the No. 3 seed in the 5A state tournament. They were headed toward a rematch with Valor Christian in the quarterfinals when No. 19 George Washington, fresh off an upset over Horizon in the second round, upended Ralston Valley 62-52 in the Sweet 16.

Demons flex muscles in 4A Jeffco

There was Golden and then there was everybody else in the boys basketball 4A Jeffco League a season ago.

The Demons boys’ team dominated the field en route to the conference title in 2020, winning the league championship by three games over Green Mountain and Wheat Ridge.

Golden (18-7 overall, 11-1 league) was led by the three-headed monster of seniors Kevin Mulligan (11.8 points per game), Ben McLaughlin (11.7) and freshman Alan Acevedo (10.6).

After avoiding an upset from Discovery Canyon in the second round, Golden was bounced in the Sweet 16 by No. 13 Pueblo East 65-62.

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