Another round of state hardware was awarded over the past weekend, as gymnastics took its turn in the spotlight. While no area squad factored into the team title chase, a number of strong performances were turned in.
PHOTO BY NITA WALLS
Lone Star’s Alivia Weathers qualified for the individual finals of the vault and floor in the Class 4A event. She finished 14th in the vault and 17th on the floor, and was also named the first recipient of the Colorado High School Judges Association scholarship. She was joined in the meet by teammate Lydia Boxberger.
Fort Morgan also had solid representation at the event. Aaliyah Palisoc competed in four events during the first day of the 4A meet, while Destiney Reyes and Rachel Siegling each participated in one. None of the three qualified for an individual final.
Volleyball will begin its state tournament this Thursday, with all five classes converging upon the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs. Eastern Colorado will have many teams in the field.
In Class 1A, the winners of the eight regionals that were held last week gained automatic berths into the field of 12. The remaining four spots went to the next four teams in the RPI, who participated in regionals.
Briggsdale, Fleming, Haxtun, Merino, Wiley, Stratton, Idalia, and Cheraw all won regionals that they hosted. As of early Monday morning, the four wild cards belonged to Dove Creek, Flatirons Academy, Belleview Christian, and Genoa-Hugo. However, the gap between Genoa-Hugo and Weldon Valley was very small. Merino is the defending champion, with Fleming being the runner-up from the spring season.
Classes 2A-5A all used 12 regionals, with only the winner of each reaching the state tournament. Sedgwick County (spring runner-up), Fowler, Akron, Holyoke, Wiggins (spring champion), Hoehne, and Limon were among the regional winners in 2A. Akron was the only team to reach state without hosting a region. The Rams upset Dayspring Christian in a wild five-setter (19-25, 25-11, 25-19, 12-25, 15-13) and enter the state field at 12-12 overall.
Lamar began the postseason as the only team in the state, regardless of classification, without a loss. The Savages (25-0) dominated Aspen and Stargate School, beating both in three sets and allowing a total of 68 points to those two regional foes. On the season, Lamar has won 71 of 75 sets played.
Joining Lamar in the 3A field is last season’s runner-up, Sterling. The Tigers battled injuries and COVID to return to state with a 19-6 record. They’re one of six Patriot League teams in the bracket. Sterling rocked St. Mary’s and St. Mary’s Academy in their region, sweeping both opponents.
All but one football classification knocked out the first round of their respective playoffs last week. Only Class 3A, which had one more week of regular season, was not in that group.
Six-man saw all of the higher seeded teams advance to this weekend’s quarterfinal round. Cheyenne Wells, the top-seeded team, scored a 73-14 victory over Mountain Valley, with Cade Mitchek, Evan Worley, and Ty Scheler each scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Tigers will visit #8 Prairie, who scored a 47-14 win over Genoa-Hugo.
Fourth-seeded Idalia rolled Briggsdale, 62-13, with Kye Towns running for 117 yards and four touchdowns. The Wolves set up a rematch with #5 Fleming, who got a forfeit victory from Hanover. Idalia beat Fleming 32-24 three weeks ago. That was in Idalia. Fleming has the home field this time around.
Granada (#3) had no troubles with Hi-Plains in the first round, as the Bobcats scored a 52-14 victory. That sets up a quarterfinal showdown with #6 Sierra Grande, who bounced Branson/Kim 39-36. Sierra Grande joins Cheyenne Wells as the only unbeatens in the bracket.
Cheraw used a strong start to knock #10 Arickaree/Woodlin out of the field. The Wolverines got three passing touchdowns from Cade Phillips, and the defense recorded eight sacks, five by Daniel Escareno, in the 54-22 victory. Next up for the #7 Wolverines is #2 Stratton, who took a 73-8 victory over Eads. Stratton scored nine times on the ground, including four by Charlie Clapper, in winning its eighth straight game.
Eight-man nearly matched six-man, as chalk held in seven of eight contests. Top-seed Haxtun had no issues with Byers, as the Fightin’ Bulldogs rolled 56-16. Haxtun will meet up with league foe, Akron, in the quarterfinals. The Rams, who lost the regular season finale to Haxtun 58-0, moved past Calhan 47-22.
Number 13 Crowley County was bounced 50-0 by Dove Creek, who moves on to face #5 Holly. The Wildcats led Swink 15-13 at the half, and pulled out a 37-20 victory.
The bottom half of the bracket will see a rematch between #3 Vail Christian and #11 Sanford. Sanford’s season took a downward turn after losing two key players in a 36-22 loss to the Saints early in the year. The Indians returned to full health and took a measure of revenge against #6 Sedgwick County, 36-16. Sedgwick County, the six-time champion, had beaten Sanford for its last title, and also took a 42-0 win just a few weeks ago.
Dayspring Christian took care of league rival Merino, 58-30, in the opening round. Merino had won the regular season match-up 30-22. Coen Schmidt threw for 357 yards in the loss on Saturday. The Eagles advance to face #2 Mancos, who eliminated Fowler, 59-12.
Top-seeded Limon ran its postseason winning streak to 12 games, as the three-time defending champs beat Bennett 45-0 in Class 1A. The Badgers will face North Fork in the quarters, after the Miners defeated Wiggins, 38-25. Other North Central teams, Wray and Yuma, advanced to the quarterfinals with wins. Wray topped Highland 34-9, while Yuma avenged an early season loss to Strasburg by winning 35-20. Holyoke was beaten 42-35 by Meeker.
Brush moved into the 2A quarterfinals with its 43-23 win over #10 Basalt last weekend. The #7 Beetdiggers will now face #2 Resurrection Christian, who ousted La Junta, 56-15.
Fort Morgan wrapped up the 3A regular season with 49-30 win over Holy Family. The Mustangs got two special teams touchdowns in the first half to get a 28-10 halftime lead. They were slotted into the playoff bracket as the #3 seed, and will host Green Mountain at Legion Field on Saturday. It will be the first home playoff game for the Mustangs under coach Ty Davies.
The first official practices for winter sports will be next Monday. Wrestling, basketball, girls swimming, ice hockey, and skiing are all contested during the winter athletic season.