With the high school season quickly approaching, it’s time for us to release our 2017 CHSAA 5A rankings. Here’s our top-10:
Just on the outside: Monarch, Kent Denver, Palmer, Highlands Ranch
These four teams weren’t able to make our top-10 field, but are ready to swoop in the moment any team slips up.
Last year, Grandview relied heavily on its senior class to lead the way to the quarterfinals. In 2016, 73% of the goals scored by the Wolves came from players that are now off at college. Now, guys like Tate Holleran will be called upon to lead Grandview in this time of transition. Nevertheless, expect Grandview to remain in the top-10 for much of the year.
Chaparral has a lot of good things going this year. Expect this year’s offense to be a major step up from last year’s. Chaparral has a tough schedule this year, but they’re more than ready to notch their fair share of upsets.
Mullen will need to fill a lot of gaps this season. It’s fair to call this year a “transition season” for the Mustangs. Mullen’s top-four goal scorers from last year, all graduated. The same can be said for the Mustangs’ faceoff specialists. Mullen has to answer a lot of questions throughout this season.
7. Colorado Academy
How a school as small as Colorado Academy fields such a good lacrosse team is still very surprising. With their top-scorer, Matt Pollack, returning for another year, the Mustangs are set on the offensive side. As for the defense, the Mustangs will be sticking with their primary keeper from last year.
6. Rock Canyon
The Jaguars have been on the cusp of greatness for the last few years now, but they’ve always come up just short. This year, expect that to change. Coached by John Gallant, this team is full of star power. With their two best scorers returning for another season, Rock Canyon could be ready for a deep playoff run.
Every year, the Rebels prove to be a fun team to watch. Unfortunately, Columbine lost a few key components to graduation. They’ll have to rely on some young firepower to step up and fill gaps in the offense, but overall, Columbine will be a dangerous team.
Arapahoe made it to last year’s championship after a thrilling win over Mountain Vista. Thirty-one players are expected to return to the varsity roster for this season. The Warriors will always sit somewhere atop the rankings, but it still is too early to tell if they will be able to avenge last year’s championship loss.
3. Regis Jesuit
The defending state champs find themselves in a weird situation this year. After saying goodbye to thirteen seniors, the Raiders will be looking for new leaders to emerge. On offense, the Raiders lost their top-four scorers, but will still have a major threat in goal-hungry sophomore Reed Babcock. Expect Regis Jesuit to fall a little bit in the rankings, but know that they won’t go far.
2. Cherry Creek
After a difficult season last year, Cherry Creek is ready to step back into the spotlight and compete for a state title. The Bruins only graduated nine seniors and will have tons of experience to work with this year. To paraphrase what one Cherry Creek assistant told me, if the Bruins don’t win the state title this year, it certainly won’t be due to a lack of talent.
1. Mountain Vista
The Eagles are ready to soar once again this season. Vista is expected to return over 20 guys from last year’s team that made a CHSAA Final Four appearance. On offense, four of last year’s top five scorers, including North Carolina commit Colin Munro, will be back for another season. For the Eagles, the biggest questionable area heading into the season is in goal as Vista will be looking for a new goalkeeper this year.
Various photos used in this article are from Varsity Views. For more photos from these games and other albums, go to https://www.varsityviews.com/.