Video: Top 10 QB's in the 2017 Class, including Valor Christian's Dylan McCaffrey
When practice for fall sports began last Aug. 17, no one knew for sure what the 2015-16 year would hold for the state's prep athletic programs.
What took place was a year where a number of titles were defended, while some others were claimed for the first time in school history. Records fell as a new wave of athletes and teams took their spot at the top.
This was certainly true among the state's 13 boys sports through the fall, winter and spring. As Dawson School (Lafayette)
celebrated its first 2A state baseball title late Sunday afternoon, it brought to a close the athletic year.
So, what stood out? Here is a look at 10 moments from this year from boys sports that helped make 2015-16 memorable:
• Boulder's Kap Smith's incredible comeback locks up Class 5A No. 1 singles title
On the verge of falling to Ryan James
of Cherry Creek
in the Class 5A No. 1 singles final last October, Boulder
sophomore Kap Smith
put together a comeback to remember.
Smith lost the first set and trailed 4-0 in the second before battling back to earn a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory and his first state title for the Panthers. All three singles players reached the finals for Boulder, with Smith and Jackson Hawk
(No. 2 singles) winning titles.
Cherry Creek won its fifth consecutive 5A team crown.
• Lyons senior Paul Roberts closes his prep running career in stylePaul Roberts
already had established himself as one of the top cross country runners in state history coming into his senior season. But the Lyons
standout one-upped himself, becoming the first boys runner to capture four individual championships when he won the Class 2A race on Oct. 31. Roberts finished with a time of 15 minutes, 33 seconds – the fastest time in any classification – to lead Lyons to another 2A team title.
Roberts wasn't done. He closed out the track and field season with titles and 2A state meet records in the 1,600 and 3,200, giving him seven individual track championships overall as well.
• Broomfield soccer defends 5A title with overtime victory
It wasn't just defending its 2014 state championship that made Broomfield's
run to the 5A crown last November so memorable. The Eagles received a goal from Cody Ewing
in overtime to overcome an upstart 28th-seeded Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch) team that had knocked out three of the top five seeds in the tournament.
Broomfield boys coach Jim Davidson was honored as the national boys large school Coach of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Davidson won his 300th game as boys coach during the season.
Senior Porter Milner
was selected the Gatorade Colorado boys soccer Player of the Year as well after finishing with 12 goals and 16 assists.• Valor Christian's furious fourth-quarter rally locks up another 5A football title
For a program that had been to the state football title game six years in a row – winning five of those – making it back to the 5A state championship game wasn't necessarily a surprise for Valor Christian
But the Eagles had to overcome a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns to overtake Pomona (Arvada) 29-26. Dylan McCaffrey
threw a touchdown pass and Joshia Davis
scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ground to lock up the program's sixth title in seven years.• Pueblo Central's Michael Ranson scores 50-plus points in a game – twice
The Pueblo Central
boys basketball team did not advance past the first round of the 4A state tournament, but senior Michael Ranson
thrilled fans by putting his name into the record books during the season.
Ranson became the first player since Gunnison's Brad Schick in 1994 to score at least 50 points in a game twice during a season. Ranson moved into a tie for sixth place all time with a 59-point showing Dec. 7 against Falcon, and scored 52 points eight days later against Summit (Frisco).
Ranson averaged 33.0 points during the regular season and finished his career 10th in state history with more than 2,000 points.• Meeker's T.J. Shelton becomes 19th wrestler to win four state titles
For the third year in a row, a wrestler had his hand raised on the mat at Pepsi Center after winning a fourth consecutive state title. Last February it was Meeker's T.J. Shelton
who took his turn. The senior posted a 16-7 major decision over Centarui's Chris Martin in the 2A 170-pound title match to win his fourth championship.
Meeker went on to also win the 2A team title.• Pueblo County wrestling and Pueblo West basketball make history
Just a few months after Pueblo East defended its 3A football championship, two more Pueblo-area schools made the winter season even more memorable.Pueblo County's
wrestling team won its first-ever 4A state wrestling championship in February, with four wrestlers capturing titles along the way. That included junior Hunter Willits, who won his third championship in a row and will attempt to be come the 20th wrestler in state history to take four next year.Pueblo West
basketball added to the party less than a month later, defeating Valor Christian in the 4A championship game at the Coors Events Center in Boulder. The Cyclones won 70-51 behind 27 points from junior David Simental
. Pueblo West also advanced to the 4A state title game in baseball to close a stellar year for the school.• Sanford basketball secures three-peat, puts name into record books
Winning has become second-nature for the Sanford
boys basketball team in recent years, and the Indians did plenty of that during the 2015-16 season.
Sanford captured its third consecutive 2A state title in March with a 63-58 victory against Resurrection Christian (Loveland) in Pueblo. With another undefeated season (27-0) the Indians tied the state record for longest winning streak at 73 games with Ridgway (1993-96).Overland (Aurora)
(5A) and Colorado Springs Christian
(3A) also successfully defended its titles from the previous season.• Poudre's Henry Raymond, Cedaredge's Shane Gates dominate at state track
A relative unknown coming into the track and field season, Poudre (Fort Collins)
senior Henry Raymond
left his mark on the sport with the best-possible finish to his prep career. After injuries prevented him from competing at state as a junior, Raymond swept the 5A distance events at Jeffco Stadium earlier this month with titles in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Raymond took the 3,200 on the first day with a time of 9:25.21. He won the 800 the next day in 1:51.97, and closed out the meet the final with the 1,600 title in 4:18.67.Cedaredge
senior Shane Gates
won three individual titles in 2A, all on the same day. Gates won the 110 hurdles (15.79 seconds), the 300 hurdles (40.62) and high jump (6-06). He was on the 4x400 relay team that took second, helping the Bruins win the 2A team title.• Valor Christian caps amazing year by winning first titles in two sports
In a year where Valor Christian's athletic programs were dominant, the Eagles closed out 2015-16 with their first championships in two sports.Valor Christian
first claimed the 4A lacrosse title May 20 by defeating Dawson School 10-9 on a terrific goal in the closing minutes by freshman Lance Tillman
, who intercepted a pass in front of the circle and quickly sent it into the net.
Nine days later, it was the baseball team's turn. Needing to defeat Pueblo West twice on the same day to take the 4A titles, the Eagles did just that by scores of 8-1 and 9-6. Valor Christian
had lost to Pueblo West the previous weekend, but defeated Windsor last Saturday to set up the games with the Cyclones.