The year of 2012 saw numerous athletic achievements from McKenna Spillar’s run to both league and state supremacy in cross country and track, respectively, to Dakota Ridge’s softball team challenging for a 5A state title to Chatfield golfer Shannon Lubar holding her own at the state finals. With that said, the Columbine Courier looks back at 10 stories that made headlines in the past 12 months.
DAKOTA RIDGE’S MCKENNA SPILLAR ALWAYS ON THE RUN
McKenna Spillar’s first trip to the 5A state track and field championships was a memorable one for the Dakota Ridge distance runner. On May 17 at Lakewood’s Jefferson County Stadium, Spillar won the 3,200 meters by one-hundredths of a second over hard-charging Alaina Anderson of Pomona with a winning time of 11 minutes, 0.85 seconds. Five months later, the Lady Eagles senior overcame an early-season sprained ankle to win the 5A Jeffco League cross country championship at Clement Park in 18:56. Then two weeks later, Spillar placed seventh at the 5A state finals in Colorado Springs in 19:23.2, making it quite the run for Spillar in 2012.
LADY EAGLES SWING SWEET BAT TO THE 5A STATE FINALS
Swinging big bats and driving in runs by the bunches, the Dakota Ridge Lady Eagles were as good, if not better, than all but one team in 5A this past year. The Lady Eagles (23-2) won the 5A Jeffco League championship with a 7-1 record, scoring a head-to-head tiebreaker over Arvada West. Head coach Dave Atencio’s squad followed that with a Region 8 trophy after back-to-back wins over Northglenn (18-0) and Grandview (8-1). Dakota Ridge reached its first state championship game since 2002 with tournament wins over Legend, Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon before falling 3-1 to Loveland in the finals. Dakota Ridge was led by all-state selections Kristyn Peters and Rachelle Foos.
LITTLETON GIRLS TRACK TEAM REPEATS AS 4X400 CHAMPIONS
It’s becoming a habit, but one that certainly never gets old for the Littleton Lady Lions. The team’s 4x400 girls relay team won a fourth straight 5A state championship on May 19 at Lakewood’s Jefferson County Stadium. This year’s team of Rosa Hardarson, Grace Brittan, Dana Gaetani and Kaela Edwards held off a foursome from Loveland for a third straight year to win in 3 minutes, 46 seconds. They beat out the team from Loveland by 3.55 seconds. The time was just 0.31 seconds off of Littleton’s winning mark in 2011. It was a sweet victory for the Littleton team after having watched Loveland score state titles earlier in the meet in the 4x100, 4x200 and 800 sprint medley relays.
CHATFIELD GOLFER LUBAR TIES FOR FOURTH AT 5A STATE MEET
Two years ago, Shannon Lubar placed 10th in the 5A state championship girls golf tournament. Last year, she was seventh. In 2012, the Chatfield senior had the state title within her grasp. On May 22 at Aurora Hills Golf Course, Lubar played in the final group. And the 5A Jeffco League champion and regional runner-up, who shot 1-under 71 on the first 18 holes of the two-day tournament, connected for five birdies. Unfortunately on a pair of Par 4s — No. 6 and 16, Lubar four-putted, erasing those birdies as she settled for a three-way tie for fourth with an even-par 144 total. She finished three strokes back of Cherry Creek’s Mackenzie Cohen.
COLUMBINE LACROSSE WINS LEAGUE, REACHES STATE SEMIS
It was a year of firsts for the Columbine Rebels’ boys lacrosse program. Columbine ran the table en route to its first Foothills Conference championship, concluded with a 13-7 victory over Evergreen on April 25. Then back-to-back postseason victories over Mountain Vista and Mullen, including an 11-10 thriller over the Mustangs at Regis Jesuit High School, sent Columbine to its first-ever state semifinal appearance. This was all after the Rebels upended defending state champion Regis Jesuit in the regular-season opener. Unfortunately, top-seeded and eventual state champion Arapahoe, behind a late goal from Tyler Widlund, ended the Rebels’ run with a 10-9 victory May 16 at Englewood High School. Columbine concluded the season 15-4.
COLUMBINE BOYS HOOPS TAKES FIRST LEAGUE TITLE SINCE 1999
The last time Columbine’s boys basketball team won a 5A Jeffco League championship many of the players were either just starting out in school, maybe in preschool or, quite possibly, still in diapers. That was 1999. But the Rebels, behind the play of point guard Nick Carpinello and leading scorer Jon Snow, won a conference title on Feb. 17 after a 65-44 win over rival Chatfield. Jeffco League Coach of the Year Clay Thielking then saw Columbine squeak past Mullen in the second round of the 5A state tournament 40-37 before routing Fruita Monument 61-41 to reach the Great Eight. It was there where top-seeded Chaparral ended the Rebels’ season at 22-4 with a 76-61 victory.
CHATFIELD HOCKEY MAKES RETURN TRIP TO FROZEN FOUR
The Chatfield Chargers are knocking on the door. For two years running, the Chargers have reached the Frozen Four in the state ice hockey championships. In 2012, it did so despite a fourth-place finish in the Foothills Conference. But, then again, the final four teams all came from the league. Chatfield (14-7-1), coached by Mark Glombecki, scored consecutive one-goal victories over Fountain Valley and Bishop Machebeuf to reach the state semifinals for a second consecutive season. It was there where Chatfield dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime to Regis Jesuit on March 2 at Magness Arena. One day later, the Raiders upended Ralston Valley by that same 3-2 score to win the state title.
COLUMBINE SOCCER TEAM WINS JEFFCO, REACHES ELITE EIGHT
Columbine’s girls soccer team started and ended the 2012 season with 1-0 defeats. But in between were 16 victories — 14 of them by two goals or more, a 5A Jeffco League championship and a run to the state quarterfinals. Led by nine seniors and league MVP Rylie O’Keefe, a freshman, the Lady Rebels ran the table in the Jeffco League with an unblemished 8-0 mark. That led Columbine to the No. 4 seed in the 32-team playoffs. Postseason wins over Brighton and Denver East put Brian Todd’s team in the Great Eight. It was there, however, where eventual state champion Cherry Creek, behind a penalty-kick goal from Lizzy Raben in the 33rd minute, ended Columbine’s season May 15 at Lakewood Memorial Field.
BASEBALL: REBELS WIN LEAGUE; EAGLES GET TO STATE QUARTERS
Both Columbine and Dakota Ridge had their share of success in 2012. The Rebels, led by Coach of the Year Chuck Gilman, won the 5A Jeffco League championship after an 8-6 win over Chatfield on May 5. The Rebels finished 7-1 in league play, along with Dakota Ridge, but a 3-0 win over the Eagles on April 19 gave Columbine league bragging rights. Unfortunately for the Rebels (14-6), their season ended one game later in the District 3 tourney. Dakota Ridge, meanwhile, behind league MVP Steven Wilson, won the District 8 title to reach the state quarterfinals before losing to Regis Jesuit and Grandview. Dakota Ridge ended its season 17-6.
CHATFIELD VOLLEYBALL WINS REGIONALS, GOES TO STATE
Led by first-team all-conference selections Rachel Flores, Megan Bohn and Tori Passarelli 2012 was a highly successful season for the Chatfield Lady Chargers. The volleyball team went 20-7, including a second-place finish in the 5A Jeffco League. Then Chatfield swept Castle View and Fossil Ridge to win the Region 12 championship and qualify for the 12-team 5A state tournament. The No. 12 seed wasn’t done surprising people, avenging an earlier loss by toppling Highlands Ranch in pool play Nov. 9 at the Denver Coliseum. Top-seed Doherty, though, beat Chatfield one match later to cap the Lady Chargers’ season.