Notebook: District baseball offers intrigue; weather messes with soccer

ThunderRidge Rocky Mountain baseball

(Jack Eberhard/JacksActionShots.com)

In hindsight, how big was Monday's Rocky Mountain-ThunderRidge baseball game?

Heading into the game, we knew it essentially would be the difference between hosting a 5A district this Saturday because of the way the Wild Card point standings were set up. But we thought the loser would end up as No. 9, or thereabout.

Instead, ThunderRidge dropped all the way to No. 12 the night of the game, and wound up as the No. 11 seed in the 5A tournament. That's because, in the end, teams Nos. 9-12 were separated be a mere 0.158 points in the final Wild Card standings. So the Lobos will play at home as the No. 7 seed, while ThunderRidge must travel to No. 6 Arvada West -- a tougher road for the defending champions.

That district -- it's District 8 -- could be among the most entertaining in 5A. The potential title game matchup between T-Ridge and Arvada West is an interesting storyline.

On one hand, you have Arvada West, winner of eight games in a row. I saw the Wildcats in early April during a 9-1 loss to Fairview, and they didn't look like a team that would host a district. Needless to say, A-West has come a long way since then and is at this point a different team.

On the other, there's ThunderRidge, the early favorite and a mainstay at No. 1 in CHSAANow.com's poll for much of the early part of the year. But the Grizzlies had a rough week -- three losses in four days -- in late April which changed the complexion of their season. So this district is really their chance at redemption, of sorts.

Other interesting storylines in baseballs districts, which are this Saturday:

  • How will Chatfield respond to the criticism thrown its way about to the Chargers getting 5A's No. 1 overall seed?  Seems like a good source of motivation. Chatfield, for what it's worth, has never won a baseball title, though it has appeared in two championship games.
  • What will Montrose do? The Indians are 4A's No. 1 seed -- but the program hasn't reached a title game since 1959, and its last championship was 1952.
  • Either Eaton or Holy Family have played in 3A's title game for each of the past seven seasons. Will that trend continue? Fittingly, Eaton is 3A's No. 1 seed; Holy Family is No. 2.
  • Which of the non-hosts can emerge from a district? Will there be a, say, No. 23 seed making the Final 8 in any of the classifications? That was Cheyenne Mountain in 4A during the 2011 postseason -- those Indians went on to win a title. Last year, Mountain View won 4A as the No. 27.

Spring weather bothers soccer, but no issue for tennis

(Dennis Pleuss)

The NAAC saw its share of weather on Wednesday night. (Dennis Pleuss)

Much of 4A girls soccer's postseason was interrupted by a major storm moving through parts of the state Wednesday night.

At the NAAC, Wheat Ridge and Discovery Canyon had to suspend the start of overtime roughly an hour and a half because of lightning and golf-ball sized hail. That pushed the start of Green Mountain-Longmont to close to 9 p.m.

Up north, Windsor and Palisade actually had to suspend their game with 32 minutes left in the second half to 11:30 a.m. Thursday. There were reports of softball-sized hail in that area.

All that had our office worried about Thursday's start to the 5A girls tennis state tournament. Rain was in the forecast, and the area was soaked with an overnight drizzle. It was 45 degrees when players began to arrive.

But the tournament kicked off on time Thursday morning -- after workers squeegeed any remaining water off the courts. By 11 a.m., the sun was out and the jackets were off. Such is life in this state.

Update: Alas, the rain did not hold off forever for 5A girls tennis. Some first-round matches were delayed to Friday. 4A was also affected by rain.

St. Clair moves to Rampart

J'on St. Clair has resigned as Cheyenne Mountain's boys basketball coach, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. He was 57-20 in three seasons, and led the Indians to the 4A final four this past season.

Update: Later Thursday afternoon, Rampart announced it had re-hired St. Clair. The veteran coach headed that program from 2004-10 before leaving to take the Doherty girls job for one season and then eventually landing at Cheyenne Mountain.

In St. Clair's final season at Rampart (2009-10), the Rams went 23-3 and advanced to the 5A Great 8.

Short stuff

  • Girls golf's regionals started on Monday, and it meant the return of live scoring via a partnership with iWanamaker. Live scores, a hit during the boys postseason in the fall, will also be back for the state meet.
  • 2A's Sedgwick County baseball came up to Greenwood Village to scrimmage 5A's Cherry Creek last Friday as both teams prepared for the postseason. It's something Cherry Creek has done in recent years -- the Bruins scrimmaged 2A's Rye last season.
  • Denver Public Schools has been planning to field a hockey team next season. Now, that district program has a home: Denver East. The Angels will play in the Peak Conference, essentially replacing Bishop Machebeuf, which dropped its program.
  • Grandview's boys basketball job, briefly accepted by Arapahoe's Dan Snyder before he stepped away from coaching, has been reposted. Candidates should apply through the Cherry Creek School District website.
  • A rule change for boys and girls basketball, beginning next season: During free-throw attempts, players in marked lane spaces can move into the lane once the shooter releases the ball. Previously, players couldn't move into the lane until the ball hit the backboard or the rim.
  • Erie hired Bill Giampietro as its girls basketball coach, replacing Noel Potter, who resigned. Giampietro is an alum, and has been an assistant there. The school had 16 applicants for the job. "He is dedicated to our school and basketball program," athletic director Richie Wildenhaus said. "Those are just some of the factors that set him apart from the rest of the field.  Bill is a great motivator of young people, and his high energy and positive approach will be a great fit for our program."
  • Dayspring Christian Academy is looking for a boys basketball coach, as well as a girls basketball assistant. Info is available via athletic director Harley Lowe: hlowe@dayspringeagles.org.
  • Former Rampart football coach JJ Owens has landed a job at Dallas' Woodrow Wilson High School. Owens, who resigned in November, will teach and be an assistant for the Wildcats, who are coming off a 10-2 year in which they won Texas' 4A Region II District 12. The team returns eight players on both offense and defense. Sounds like a great situation for one of the better guys in the coaching ranks.
  • The Liberty Bell, annually one of the state's top track meets, was April 26. Here's a recap from heritageagles.com.