Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
is looking every bit the part of a defending Class 4A state champion. The Indians won the 4A boys lacrosse title in dramatic fashion last year and bid farwell to a talented senior class.
But that hasn't stopped them from playing at arguably a higher level than last year. Senior Wiley Burkett
has picked up the mantle of the senior leader and is ranked second in the state with 31 goals. That's a big number especially when considering that the Indians have given up just 50 total goals to opponents.
Burkett is far from the only contributor for a team poised to defend its title. Ike Eastburn
has 23 goals on the year, and in a 19-4 win over Steamboat Springs last Friday Colby Erdossy
recorded his first hat trick of the year.
At the end of that game, coach Mike Paige praised the defensive effort from his players and cites the back end of the field as the reason the Indians look strong in 2019.
"We're doing some new things back there," Paige said. "Our guys are buying-in. I feel like our defense now is better than it has been."
That's a scary thought. In the 2018 championship game Cheyenne Mountain held Dawson School (Lafayette)
– which was averaging almost 14 goals per game – to just six.
In 5A, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
also appears to be on a mission. Only instead of looking to repeat as champions, the Bruins are looking to wash away the taste of a bitter loss in the quarterfinals. Cherry Creek is taking a more balanced attack, trying to maximize scoring from multiple positions. Aidan Burke
leads the team with 19 goals, 10 behind Grand Junction's Josh Newhouse
, the 5A goals leader.
But the distribution factor is working out. The Bruins are one of two undefeated teams in 5A with Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
being the other.
As is tradition with Cherry Creek, the team has scheduled the best the state has to offer and has also looked outside of Colorado to find top-level competition. That's fairly common for many teams. What makes Cherry Creek look all the more dangerous is that they remain undefeated after seeing competition from Las Vegas and Park City, Utah.
Perhaps the biggest boost for the Bruins, however, came with their 10-9 overtime win against Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
on April 8. As they have all season, the Bruins got a varied distribution of scoring as seven players put the ball in the net.
Cheyenne Mountain and Cherry Creek are far from the only lacrosse teams playing well this year. A handful of teams from each classification are making their cases as championship-caliber squads. Some of them will even see action against each other as the regular season winds down in the coming weeks.
Class 5ARegis Jesuit:
The defending champions appear to be having a rough start, on paper. But looks can be deceiving. Two of the Raiders' four losses were to yop out-of-state teams. Their two in-state losses have come to 5A's only undefeated teams in Valor and Cherry Creek by a combined two goals.Jake Taylor
leads Regis with 18 goals on the year while Reed Babcock
has 13. Overall, 51 of the Raiders' 67 goals this season has come from the senior class.Valor Christian:
The undefeated Eagles come in as one of the top scoring teams in the state. At 11 goals per game, Valor is looking to contend for the 5A title in its first year of play in the classification. With big wins against Mountain Vista and Regis Jesuit already this year, the Eagles are making their way onto the short list of teams to be watching come playoff time.
The Valor offense is led by a triple-threat attack of
, Ian Acheson
and Cooper Rich
. All three have scored at least 13 goals this season and have done a great job of taking pressure off sophomore goalie Mitch Gutgsell
. He has held opponents at bay, surrendering just seven goals a game.Grandview (Aurora):
The Wolves have gotten noticed in recent weeks. A big part of that is thanks to the superb play of junior Tyler Hussey,
who leads the team with 21 goals. That also puts him in a tie for ninth in 5A. There is plenty of depth, too, as three other top scorers are only juniors. Grandview has played a tough schedule, with the only blemish coming in a 13-6 loss to Cheyenne Mountain.Monarch (Louisville)
After losing its first game of the year to Cherry Creek, Monarch has responded with overwhelming force. The Coyotes have scored more goals than any other 5A team and sit just one goal behind Cheyenne Mountain for the overall lead in the state. Ben Riecken
, Dylan Torres
, Drew Tausan
, Braeden Wimer
and Nathan Mueller
all have scored double-digit goals. The offense has been on display often as five of the team's eight wins have been by at least 11 goals.Notable 5A games remaining:Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
at Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch)
- April 16Class 4AAir Academy: Mark Garrett
has been a scoring machine for the Kadets, totaling 29 goals so far this season. He's getting help from the underclassmen, as well, as freshman Grant Rodny
has scored 17 goals and leads the team with 27 assists. Sophomore Clayton Cox
has also been in on the fun with 14 goals to his credit.
Two losses to start the season look as though they could've been from a year ago. The team has played strong since the end of March, winning five of the last six games. A 14-6 win over Steamboat Springs
on April 6 was a sign the Kadets are in the mix of the 4A title picture.
In its first year of competition, Erie is making a name for itself in the lacrosse scene. They have scored more than 10 goals twice this year and already have significant wins for the program, beating Thompson Valley and Ralston Valley (Arvada) earlier this month.Christian Adams
leads Erie with eight goals scored, while Jackson Keener
and Corby Tecu
each have seven. Junior Tim Beach
has been solid in the net, giving a little more than three goals a game.Steamboat Springs:
Despite a tough road trip to Colorado Springs earlier in the month, Steamboat Springs is another team that has played well this season. Jacob Gilbertson
and his 23 goals have been crucial to the Sailors' success this year. He also shares the team lead with eight assists.
Overall, the Sailors have four players who have broken double-figures in goals scored. Griffin Maltby
has been what Steamboat has needed in the goalie position. His .509 save percentage will hold up well as long as the attackers can keep getting the ball into the net.Thompson Valley (Loveland): Greg Bilek
and Jared McFerran
make up the engine that powers the Eagles in 2019. Bilek leads the team with 18 goals and is also the team leader in assists with nine. Thompson Valley got off to a bit of a rough start by losing its first two games. The Eagles settled down and won three straight before falling to Erie last week. Notable 4A games remaining:
Dawson School at Erie – April 18
Air Academy at Cheyenne Mountain – April 26Green Mountain (Lakewood)
at Thompson Valley – April 29