Prep notebook: Cheyenne Mountain cross country inducted to Colorado Running Hall of Fame | Sports

An induction into the Hall of Fame, a wild comeback win in girls’ lacrosse and several boys’ volleyball statistical leaders headline the week that was in Colorado Springs’ area sports.

Ahead is another breakdown of several spring sport’s scenes, with a touch of recognition for one of the top boys’ cross country squads in its history.

Red-Tailed Hawks honored after dominant Cross Country trek

After one of the most dominant state appearances in cross country history, the 2021 Cheyenne Mountain boys’ team was inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

The Red-Tailed Hawks’ addition to the prestigious club is the first in the organization’s history for a high school championship team.

Cheyenne Mountain won the 4A state title with a final score of 26 – the best of any team in the event, regardless of classification.

Senior Erik Le Roux led the group with a second-place finish, while junior Kaden Levings, seniors Knox Exton, Tyler Nord and Cedar Collins finished third, fourth, seventh and 12th, respectively. The standout finish was punctuated with a second-place ranking in the nation.

Only Newbury Park in California was able to better the Hawks’ season. Seven members of the team also competed in the highest bracket of the Garmin Running Lane Cross Country Championships last December.

Exton finished the highest at 23rd, but Levings and Le Roux were just behind in 29th and 35th, respectively. Exton will head to the University of Alabama to be a part of the Crimson Tide.

The organization included, “the team is of such high-quality talent, that all seven should be honored.”

Pair of Colorado Springs’ volleyball squads grace CHSAA top-10 rankings

Discovery Canyon and Cheyenne Mountain are some of the top boys’ volleyball teams in Colorado, and CHSAA made sure to say as much in its latest rankings.

The undefeated Thunder are up to third in the rankings, with three first-place votes also coming their way in the latest poll. Through 18 matches, the collection of District 20 and 38 athletes have yet to lose a set – a perfect 51-0.

Just last week, the team played four matches in five days, with wins over Mesa Ridge, Doherty and Colorado Springs Christian along the way. Out-of-town Pueblo South also fell victim.

Former James Irwin standouts, seniors Josh Livergood (112) and Caden Zippwald (104) lead the team in kills – both also rank in the top-25 among Colorado hitters.

To his credit, Cheyenne Mountain senior Patrick Nettles is also among the group of top hitters and ranks 23rd with 105 kills through 54 sets. The state’s leader is also from the area as James Irwin junior Brody McKinney has collected 212 kills through 63 sets – 14 more than second-place junior, Carson Kneisl of Bear Creek.

Outside of the two top-10 squads, seven schools from the area received votes in the latest poll. Fountain-Fort Carson and James Irwins’ eight votes are the closest to making it into the standout group.

Multiple boys’ lacrosse squads vying for a chance in the playoffs

CHSAA recently expanded the lacrosse playoffs to a 24-team field, but a few teams from the area may not even need the change.

Cheyenne Mountain (third in 4A RPI), Air Academy (eighth in 4A RPI) and Lewis-Palmer (17th in 5A RPI) are all currently on a track to the postseason. Pine Creek (31st in 5A RPI), St. Mary’s (34th in 4A RPI) and Vanguard (35th in 4A RPI) are all the closest to the group of likely playoff contenders.

For the Hawks, it was another successful Friday night. They topped Air Academy, 15-10, to move to 7-2 this year. Both losses came consecutively against Cherry Creek and Denver South by single-digit margins.

After helping Cheyenne Mountain to a 4A state title in hockey, junior Wyatt Furda is leading the team in goals with 28. He added nine assists, as well through nine games.

For the Kadets, it’s been senior Grant Rodny leading the way. He’s racked up 33 goals coming into the weekend and has nine assists, as well. He ranks fifth in the state in goals scored, with Furda sitting at 14th.

To his credit, Air Academy freshman goalkeeper Luke McLellan is also having a breakout year with a 5.4 goals-against average. That mark ranks sixth in the state. Hawks’ tender, junior Matthew Kelleher, is at ninth (5.8).

The Hawks will look to repeat as state champions in this year’s 4A field, while Lewis-Palmer hopes to capture his first playoff win after falling in last year’s first round. But there figures to be more than just the two schools when the final playoff field is announced.

Girls’ lacrosse scene playing host to several area contenders

The boys ‘lacrosse scene may be packed, but the girls’ side is no different.

In just the 5A, top-16 RPI rankings, four local squads are represented – Palmer Ridge (seventh), Cheyenne Mountain (ninth), Air Academy (10th) and Pine Creek (14th).

Just last week, Cheyenne Mountain was able to overcome a multiple-goal deficit to down the Eagles, while Air Academy bounced back from a tough, three-game stretch to beat Rocky Canyon and Green Mountain. The Kadets’ 6-3 record is supported by a 137-73 goal differential in nine bouts.

4A will include 24 girls ‘squads this year, while 5A will include 16. As it stands, multiple Colorado Springs’ area schools figure to be in the mix.


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