As the calendar turns to the final full week of October, the fall athletic season nears its conclusion. Another round of state championships are in the books, with softball handing out hardware last weekend.

Sterling advanced to the Class 3A semifinals, with Rachel Fehringer tossing her third perfect game of the season in the opening round. The junior struck out six of the 12 batters she faced in a 12-0 defeat of Meeker, and also helped herself with four runs knocked in. She finished the season with a school record 218 strikeouts. After a thrilling 6-5 walk-off win over Montezuma-Cortez in the quarterfinals, the Tigers came up short against eventual champion, Lutheran, 15-0 in the semis. Sterling finished 22-6 overall.

Limon’s Brylyn Owens worked her magic in the opening round, limiting Brush to just four runs, two earned, as the Badgers advanced to the quarterfinals with a 14-4 victory. Their offense blew things open with a seven-run top of the fifth. Limon fell to Lutheran 9-1 in the next round.

Rocky Ford was Lutheran’s first round opponent, and the Meloneers fell victim to a perfect game from Hailey Maestretti. It was her fourth perfect game of the season. The Meloneers won six of their final nine games to reach the state bracket, and finished the campaign 10-16.

Lamar got seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to finish off a 14-4 run rule victory over The Academy in the opening round, before falling 6-5 to University in the quarters. Teagan Farmer homered and doubled, and drove in three runs in the win over The Academy. The Savages led University 5-3 heading into the last two innings, but allowed a run in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the seventh, as the Bulldogs completed the walk-off.

La Junta was involved in one of the wildest games of the tournament, as the Tigers were upset 18-17 by Montezuma-Cortez in the opening round. The teams were tied at 7 after four innings, and then things got extremely interesting. Montezuma-Cortez pushed six runs across the dish in the fifth, two in the sixth, and then four more in the seventh. The Tigers got four of their own in the sixth and had six home in the seventh when the rally was snuffed out.

Cross country regionals were also held last week, and a number of area runners qualified for this weekend’s state meet. In the Class 2A Region 1 meet, Cade Green of Wiggins crossed the line in 10th place to be the top finisher from the area, while Yuma’s Hailey Eyring took eighth in the girls race.

Wray’s Sydney Cheek punched her ticket to state with a ninth place finish in the 2A Region 2 girls event. Stratton’s Keirstyn Louthan earned a return trip to state by finishing 13th. Her teammate, Whitney Cure, clocked a top-20 finish, as she came across the line in 19th.

Josh Snyder led Rocky Ford to a strong finish in Region 3, as the sophomore took fifth place. Nate Encinias was 10th and Caden Miller took 14th. Springfield’s Mylo Lovejoy broke his own school record, as he qualified in 15th place.

Branden Davis of Lamar was just over a minute out of first in the Class 3A Region 2 meet, and the senior is headed back to state after finishing fourth. Cole Krug grabbed 14th for the Savages. 

Lamar’s soccer team finished the season with a pair of 5-4 overtime matches. The Savages beat Manitou Springs on Thursday of last week, and then fell to St. Mary’s by the same count on Saturday. The Tri-Peaks receives two automatic qualifiers into the 3A state bracket, and Lamar finished fifth, so the only route into the field is as a wildcard. The top 32 in the RPI get in, and the Savages were 33rd on Monday morning.

Fort Morgan finished tied with Northridge atop the Longs Peak standings, and with the Mustangs sitting 20th in the RPI, they should be in the 4A state field. The Mustangs got two goals for Jovany Rico and two assists from Jose Garcia in a 4-0 win over Mountain View last Tuesday.

As volleyball enters its final week of regular season play, teams are jostling for postseason positioning. Briggsdale picked up an important non-league win over Stratton on Friday, with the Falcons claiming the victory in three sets (25-22, 25-20, 25-14). The following day, Kylie Krise recorded her 1000th career kill in a sweep victory over Hi-Plains. The Falcons began this final week first in the 1A RPI.

Haxtun improved its standing in the RPI with Saturday’s 3-0 win over Wiley. Taylor Schram cranked out 17 kills and Allie Thompson added 15 in the 25-19, 25-13, 25-16 victory. The Fightin’ Bulldogs climbed to 4th in the 1A RPI as of Monday morning, with Wiley sitting just ahead of them. 

Fleming had a busy weekend, as the Wildcats, 2nd in the 1A RPI, beat Idalia in three on Friday, before being part of a loaded Sterling tournament on Saturday. The Wildcats lost to the hosts in two, beat Wiggins in three, lost to Lamar in two, and wrapped it up with a 2-0 win over Denver Christian. Fleming has a huge contest with Merino on Thursday. That is a rematch of last spring’s title match, won by the Rams.

Lamar took home the crown in that Sterling tournament, beating Merino in the championship in three sets. Earlier, the Savages downed Wiggins 2-0, Sterling 2-1, and Fleming 2-0 in pool play. The championship match was worth the price of admission, as Lamar won 25-20, 23-25, 16-14.

All six division champions have been crowned in six-man, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any important games played last week. Idalia picked up a big 32-24 non-conference win over Fleming on Friday. Both teams were in the top five ahead of the game. The Wolves began the game with a pick-six by Eduardo Estrada on the first snap of the contest, and they would lead 28-12 entering the fourth quarter before holding off the Wildcat rally.

Cheraw gained a crazy 50-48 victory over Genoa-Hugo in a clash of top-ten teams. Cade Phillips completed 24 of 35 passes for 394 yards and five touchdowns for the victorious Wolverines. Both teams will be in the postseason.

Another huge offensive performance in the classification came from Cody Banks of Hi-Plains, who rushed for 255 yards and seven touchdowns on 18 carries in a 60-38 win over La Veta. The Patriots close out the regular season at home against Eads. The two squads began the week in the play-offs, but the competition for the final few spots is incredibly tight.

It’s been a very difficult season in Wiley, but the Panthers had reason to smile last week. Sophomore Evan Larrick reached paydirt 11 times in their 72-22 win over Las Animas in eight-man action. He scored nine times on the ground and twice as a receiver. The Panthers host McClave on Friday in their annual rivalry game.

Those two Ark Valley squads sit outside the top 16 in the RPI, but the league looks like it will only get two teams into the bracket. Holly and Crowley County will meet on Friday to determine the league championship. Holly has won six in a row, while the Chargers, who will be at home, have put five straight wins on the board.

Haxtun, Akron, Sedgwick County, Merino, and Dayspring Christian all look like locks to represent the Plains division in the bracket. Haxtun is the league champ, and the Fightin’ Bulldogs will visit Akron on Friday to wrap up the slate. Sedgwick County helped its cause with a 49-0 non-league win over Sanford last week, while Merino got a nice 30-22 win over Dayspring Christian.

Limon locked up the 1A North Central crown with its 40-14 win over Holyoke last Saturday. The three-time defending champs got 250 rushing yards out of Jeremiah Leeper (133) and Gabe Schubarth (117) in the win over the Dragons. The Badgers will host Wiggins in the season finale. Those Tigers ran past Burlington 40-0 on Saturday, with Omar Perez scoring three times. In the other league contest, Wray defeated Yuma 13-7 to claim the Harvest Cup.

Rocky Ford picked up its first win in the Santa Fe, as the Meloneers handed Trinidad a 39-28 defeat. Shaun Gonzales threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more in the win. He also intercepted a pass and kicked three PATs.

Brush laid claim to the Patriot East title with Thursday’s 70-0 shellacking of Fort Lupton. The Beetdiggers led 28-0 after one quarter and 49-0 at the half. Their defense recorded four takeaways in the effort. They will take a five-game winning streak into Friday’s contest at Weld Central.

La Junta evened its record at 4-4 with a 26-7 victory over Lamar in the 20th Whistle Game. It was the fifth win for the Tigers in the last seven meetings with their rivals. Jeremiah Martinez had two rushing touchdowns in the victory.

Fort Morgan suffered its first loss of the season, as the Mustangs fell 14-7 at home to Roosevelt in a game that likely determined the 3A North Central 3 championship. Fort Morgan led 7-6 in the fourth quarter, but the Roughriders got a touch and two to snag the win. The Mustangs continue league play when they host Northridge on Thursday.