What a school year it has been. Of all the words that can be used to describe the 2020-21 high school athletic season, complicated is certainly among them.
Football season was split in two. Sports normally competing in the fall were shifted closer to the spring. Crowd limitations and athletes wearing masks were common throughout the state of Colorado - all for the sake of giving the athletes an opportunity to compete. And did they ever. Despite the altered reality, the sports year delivered so many memorable moments on the field.
It's impossible to determine a true "Top 10 moments of the year" given everything that happened, but we have compiled a list of the 10 moments that stuck out in our minds:Valor Christian's Lucas Shulte makes championship winning putt
Boys golf was among the first sports to return to competition following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, and the state tournament provided one of the most dramatic moments the sport has ever seen. The 18th hole at the Club at Rolling Hills
plays as a short par 5. Lucas Schulte of
Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
went for the green in two and stuck his approach shot to about 7 feet from the pin. He lined up his putt and drained it for an eagle. That putt gave him the individual state championship and it also put Valor ahead of Arapahoe (Centennial) to claim the Class 5A team title.Cherry Creek's Parker Wolfe and Riley Stewart sweep cross country honors
Eaton wins first softball title
There was no doubt that Parker Wolfe
was going to come away with the 5A boys cross country title. The way he did it is what people will talk about for years to come. Parker ran the race in 15 minutes, 10.4 seconds to set a state meet record. The banner day continued for Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
as Riley Stewart
made it a clean sweep for the Bruins. Her winning time of 17:33.8 was crucial in the Cherry Creek girls' bid for a team championship. Both Wolfe and Stewart were named Gatorade runners of the year for the state and Wolfe went on to receive the national honor in the sport.
So many times it was the Eaton
baseball team claimed a state championship. In the fall of 2020, the girls followed suit as the team won its first softball championship in school history. Led by 13-year-old freshman Sadie Ross
, the Reds held off
Lutheran (Parker) 5-1 in Octover. It took three trips to a state championship game before they could cash in, but the joy and emotion of the win proved to be worth those moments of angst. Heading into just her sophomore year, Ross has shown the ability to compete on the biggest of stages and hopes to bring additional titles back to Eaton.
Woolverton leads Durango to first football title since 1954
When quarterback Jordan Woolverton
and his friends were in middle school, winning a state football title was something they talked about often. As the players progressed through high school, the football team performed better each year. Their senior year, the players' dreams came true as the Demons won their first state football title since 1954. With the game tied in the third quarter, Woolverton found Gage Mestas
streaking down the field and delivered a perfect touchdown strike to put Durango
up 21-14. The defense did the rest of the work as Woolverton and Mestas each hauled in an interception to lock up the win, allowing the Demons to celebrate a feat 66 years in the making.Limon girls basketball shake off slow start for first title in 14 years
When Trista Marx
picked up her third foul early in the third quarter of the 2A championship, it could've spelled doom for the Limon
Badgers. What was more remarkable was that coach Bar O'Dwyer left her in the game knowing that the team's
championship chances were better with her on the court. The gamble paid off as Marx scored a game-high 27 points and Limon beat Wray 63-50 to win the 2A title for the first time since 2007. O'Dwyer's calculation was just a part of the win as the Badgers also had to overcome a rough start as the Eagles forced seven turnovers in the first quarter and jumped out to a quick lead. Once the Badgers settled down and Marx played a little more conservatively on defense, Limon quickly grabbed momentum and used it to get the win.
Mead boys basketball claims emotional state championship win
There might not have been a more emotional team state championship victory than Mead (Longmont)
had in March. A week before the state title games were played at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, they nearly lost a team member. Nick Basson suffered a stroke and was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora. After getting word that Basson was going to be OK, the Mavericks used the emotional boost to roll through the rest of the bracket and claim their first state championship since 1957. Elijah Knudsen
scored a game-high 30 points for Mead in the 4A championship.Chatfield makes history as first girls wrestling champion
Colorado history was made at the Southwest Motors Event Center as girls wrestling competed in its first sanctioned state wrestling tournament. Savannah Cosme led Chatfield (Littleton)
to the team state championship as she worked her way through the 127-pound bracket to claim a gold medal. She beat Sarah Savidge of Doherty (Colorado Springs) to win her title. It was the only individual title for the Chargers, but the rest of the team's performance was solid enough that they lifted the team trophy at the end. Janessa George helped with a second-place finish, while Journey Ruiz and Taylor Miess each took third for the Chargers.
Mountain Vista's Harrison Witt breaks 40-year state record
Related to Wolfe, he was involved with the top moment at the recent Class 5A state track & field meet, too. It was Harrison
who garnered the headlines this time, though. The Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
senior overtook Wolfe in the final lap of the 1,600 meters to win with a
time of 4 minutes, 4.36 seconds. That time not only bested Wolfe by 6
seconds, it also set the state meet record in the event, taking down the
mark Rich Martinez of Widefield (4:10.98) set in 1981. Of note, Wolfe
also eclipsed that time (4:10.09).
McMahon goes sub-20 seconds in 50 freestyleHeritage (Littleton)
senior Alex McMahon
had been a distance swimmer for much of his life. But when he switched to sprints, he had a very specific goal in mind: He wanted to break the 20-second mark in the 50-yard freestyle. He stood on the platform at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton at the 5A state swim meet with one final chance to get that done. And he delivered in a big way. When he touched the wall, the clock read "19.82" giving him the fastest time in state history. What made it better was that he held off a viable challenge from Cherry Creek's Bryce Ortanes, who finished in 20.02. The Bruins went on to claim the team title, but McMahon's performance is one that will be talked about for years.Holy Family gets first girls soccer title on last-seconds goal
With time running out, Gianna Sandoval found herself in the right place at the right moment. Less than 20 seconds remained on the clock when she intercepted a pass deep in Evergreen territory. With no other options, she fired the ball toward the net where it sailed over the outstretched arm of Cougars keeper Aubrey Huerta. That gave Holy Family (Broomfield)
a 2-1 lead and the 4A girls soccer title, the first in school history.