ENGLEWOOD — Dozens of athletes and coaches representing CHSAA's fall sports offerings were in attendance Friday as the season got off to an official start with a Media Day event hosted by the Denver Broncos at Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse.
"It's been eye-opening to see the facilities they have in Denver," said Limon football player Kory Tacha. "I know our practice facility isn't the prettiest, especially getting towards November. We've got dirt, and that's about it. It's wonderful to be here, and look at the indoor facility with the turf."
The event, now in its second year, expanded from a football-only event to one which included athletes from softball, boys tennis, boys soccer, boys golf, cross country, field hockey, gymnastics, and volleyball. Also in attendance was a representative from student leadership, and officials from various sports.
"I think it's wonderful that CHSAA included other sports this year," said Pomona gymnastics coach Tracey Boychuk. "A lot of media attention, of course, is on football this time of year, and that's totally understandable, but there are some amazing high school athletes out there in every sport doing amazing things, so it's great they have included us in this, as well."
Said Valor Christian cross country star Cole Sprout: "It's been pretty cool for me, just seeing the wide variety of sports, and how it varies. I don't get to see a whole lot of some of these other sports, and how they operate, so it's cool to meet some different faces and collaborate."
Added Lucy McHugh, who was representing Denver East field hockey: "It's been cool to see a lot of people who I haven't met before who have the same passion and intensity that I do."
The athletes and coaches went through a social media training course put on by the Broncos public relations staff, and they also took part in press conferences, a photo session, and enjoyed a tour of the UCHealth Training Center, the team's practice facility.
"It's really been a lot of fun," said Kit Carson football's Cordell Farmer. "We've been really enjoying it — cracking a lot of jokes together — and the car ride up here was a lot of fun, too."
Said Gryphin Hooper of Platte Valley football: "Growing up as a Broncos fan, I've never been here. It's very mesmerizing. You get to see all the facilities and all the rooms, and it makes you want to train to be here one day."
As he looked around at the spacious indoor practice facility Hooper's teammate, Josh Yancey, added: "This place was love at first sight. Definitely."
Some of those in attendance were no stranger to an NFL facility, including Valor Christian football coach Ed McCaffrey, who had a 13-year pro career, including nine with the Broncos.
"It's kinda cool being here with (assistant coach) Jimmy (Spencer), as well," McCaffrey said. "We were teammates, and Jimmy played and coached here. So we were talking to the kids, sharing some memories. They weren't born, you know, when I played. That was a pretty long time ago. I'm Christian's dad. That's who I am."