As the start of the fall season inches closer, it's fun to take a look at what the 2019-20 school year has in store on the athletic fields.
The 2018 boys soccer season gave fans plenty of memorable moments that were capped off with championship runs by Arapahoe, Air Academy, Kent Denver and Crested Butte. But past champions aren't the only things to rehash as the start of official practices looms.
There were players statewide who put up impressive numbers through the course of the season. A lot of those players are returning and giving fans a good reason to keep an eye on what plays out on the soccer field this fall.
Sand Creek's Jayden Austin blew away the field in total points last year, but the Scorpions lost those staggering numbers to graduation. Across the state, it will be Battle Mountain senior Danny Barajas who returns in 2019 with the most points from last year.
Barajas scored 68 total points thanks to a combination of 24 goals and 20 assists. Right behind both from an all-classification standpoint, as well as a Class 4A standpoint is Gatorade player of the year Thad Dewing out of Air Academy, who totaled 62 points.
Last year's 5A leader in points comes back as Rangeview's Rashid Seidu-Aroza totaled 60 points.
Delta's Martin Corral led 3A with 61 points and will be back for the Panthers this fall. Heritage Christian junior Nagi Williams returns as the 2A leader in points. The top three points leaders from 2A last year all graduated this past spring.
It's no surprise to see many of the same names on the points list fall into the category of returning goal scorers. Corral leads all returning players across the state after he scored 28 goals in 2018.
Seidu-Aroza leads the crop of 5A returners with 27 goals to his name last year. He was matched in 4A by Dewing.
Ridgway's Robert Beserra and Heritage Christian's Williams each scored 22 goals last year to return as the leading scorers in the 2A field.
Just as important as those scoring goals are those finding the goal scorers. Union Colony Prep junior Isaac Perez finished last year with 21 helpers to rank second in the state in all classes. With two years still play, it's safe to assume that he'll continue to place the ball where his forwards can bury it in the back of the net.
Boulder senior Sam Phillips assisted on 14 goals. It was tied for third in 5A, but those sitting either with him or above him on that leaderboard will not return in 2019. The Panthers advanced to the 5A semifinals last year so having Phillips back is crucial to any state championship hopes.
Part of the reason Barajas is returning to the pitch with the most points in the state is his ability to find scorers on top of putting the ball in the net on his own. His 20 assists mark the most by a returning 4A player this fall.
Salida's Quinn Bosanko matched Barajas' 20 assists last year. It was good enough to lead all 3A players and he'll be back for the Spartans this fall.