This team was intent on making history, and their dedication came through in every game of the season.
When the Overland 'Blazers boys basketball team beat ThunderRidge High School to claim the 5A boys state basketball title on March 14, it was the final chapter in a season devoted to "Respecting the Process." That mantra, emblazoned on the players' jerseys and hammered into their on-court philosophy, signified the squad's careful and committed approach to the game and to their community.
Their attitude paid off. The 2015 'Blazers brought the 5A championship trophy home to Overland for the first time in the school's 37-year history. The 'Blazers hadn't appeared in a final since 1990.
"Every time we step into the court, every time we stepped to something that would prepare us for Overland basketball, we were respecting the process one step at a time," said Austin Conway, a senior who will head to the University of Wyoming in the fall to play basketball. "Whatever we set our minds to, we can achieve."
The 'Blazers weren't the only student athletes in the Cherry Creek School District to exemplify commitment and discipline in the 2014-15 school year. All told, Cherry Creek schools combined to claim 13 state championships and boasted 18 individual/relay state titles.
District athletes secured historic wins as collectives and as individuals. They came together from separate schools to secure the district's first ice hockey state championship since 1979. Students from Eaglecrest and other district high schools played together on the co-op hockey team, as well as the co-op gymnastics team at Overland.
Student athletes broke state records in track and field. They excelled in softball, soccer, gymnastics, swimming and tennis, all thanks to the brand of focus and perseverance that was so eloquently summed up on the jerseys of the Overland boys basketball team.
(Photo by Gabriel Christus / The Aurora Sentinel)
Cherry Creek student athletes also contributed to the enduring folklore of Colorado sports. The Cherry Creek High School football team came out on top in a hard-fought championship game that many called one of the greatest games in the history of Colorado high school football. The Bruins beat Valor Christian 25-24 in a contest that came down to the wire. Cherry Creek coach Dave Logan took a big risk with only 5:09 left in the fourth quarter, deciding to go for the two-point conversion.
"I gambled," Logan told the Denver Post in November. "The kids made it work."
That risky move made Creek's win the stuff of local legends, and that brand of excitement characterized many of the district's other championship games.
"It was the most exciting thing I've had in my softball career, to see this group of girls have that kind of determination," Grandview girls softball coach Dave Thies told the Aurora Sentinel earlier this year. Thies led the team to a state title in his third season at the school. "It was a totally different feeling that I've never had before … They ran into a speedbump in the Broomfield game, but it didn't bother me. I could see the determination in their faces."
Just like the members of the 2015 'Blazer basketball team and the rest of the champions from the Cherry Creek School District, the Wolves respected every step of the process.
Cherry Creek High School
- Men's Tennis
- Ice Hockey
- Women's Tennis
- Boy's Lacrosse
- Men's Track 4x800 – Daniel Hamsom, Kyle Moran, Daniel Book and Konor Vankraut
- Women's Track 4x800 relay team: Jordyn Colter, Lisa Swartz, Katie Plumondon and Lilly Markusch
- Jordyn Colter – State Champion – 800, 1600 events
- Sam Coffman – State Champion – won 100 yard freestyle, 200 yard freestyle
- Anshika Singh – State Champion – 2 singles – Tennis
- Gloria Son – State Champion – 3 singles – Tennis
- Jessie Murphy/Mariela Hollines – State Champions – 2 doubles – Tennis
- Jacob Bendalin/Wyatt Dale – State Champions – 1 doubles – Tennis
- Noah Reiss/Mitchell Johnson – State Champions – 2 doubles – Tennis
- Ryan James/Erin Norwood – State Champions – 3 doubles Tennis
- Gradyon Johnson/Andrew Duggan – 4 doubles - Tennis
Grandview High School
- Women's soccer
- Triston Sisneros – State Champion – 300 hurdles
Overland High School
- Women's gymnastics
- Men's basketball
- Josh Wright – 110 Men's Hurdles
- Devin Bundas – bars (Eaglecrest High School Student)
Smoky Hill High School
-Blake Yount – 800 meter
Cherokee Trail High School
Shayna Yon – State Champion – 100, 200, Long Jump, 4x100 relay
Symonne Holland – State Champion – 4x100 relay
Taylor Watson – State Champion – 4x100 relay
Haley Rogers – State Champion – 4x100 relay
Amazing Ashby – State Champion – triple jump
For more 2014-15 athletic results from Cherry Creek School District student athletes, visit chsaanow.com.