The results are in. At least, some of them. To the best of our ability, and with only 50 slots to make mention, the 50 Student Athletes to Watch in …
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The results are in. At least, some of them.
To the best of our ability, and with only 50 slots to make
mention, the 50 Student Athletes to Watch in 2010-11 series is
While the total list of 50 kids is being finalized, we begin
with our first crop of 10 kids who are expected to have great
seasons in one or more high school sports in the coming academic
The list is not presented in any particular order, and the
selections made for the series are simply 50 athletes to watch, not
the only 50 kids to keep an eye on.
Of course, there are far more than 50 kids among our coverage
areas who are expected to do great things in 2010-11, but the
following is our best account of some of them, based on suggestions
from high school coaches, administration, CCN readers and sports
Mike McCormick, Ponderosa
Mike McCormick had a bit of a break-out season last spring,
swimming for the co-op high school swim team in Parker, which
includes athletes from Chaparral, Legend, Ponderosa and Elizabeth
high schools, under the coaching of Warren Hemming.
McCormick finished as the Class 5A runner-up in the 100-yard
breaststroke with a time of 58.18 seconds. In the 200 individual
medley, he booked a time of 1:58.68 at the state meet to finish
10th. During the season, he also swam state-qualifying times in the
50 freestyle, the 100 free and the 200. McCormick was responsible
for scoring all of the team’s 30 points at the season finale in
Fort Collins and was the team’s leading swimmer in each of his
As a freshman, he was one of two swimmers from Parker to make
the state team in individual events. His sophomore year he was
again one of two Parker swimmers to make the state team, in the
breaststroke and the IM. Having made it only to the consolation
races his first two seasons, finishing as the breaststroke
runner-up and top 10 IM’ers shows his improvement, which is
expected to continue into his senior outing.
In his upcoming season, McCormick aspires to make state marks in
all the strokes and team relay events. He swims year-round with the
Denver University Hilltoppers club. He swam at sectional meets with
the Hilltoppers last year.
Tyler Servais, Douglas County
Tyler Servais will be a senior in the coming academic year. Also
known for his 4.1 grade-point average, Servais is expected to be
and continue to be a high contributor to both the Douglas County
football and baseball teams.
As a team captain, playing catcher and a switch-hitter with
Huskies baseball, Servais, who stands 6-foot-2, 210 pounds,
finished his junior campaign with a .459 batting average in the
Continental League, where he earned first-team All-Conference
honors. He hit .413 overall.
In his junior season, he had four home runs and 18 runs batted
in. He booked a fielding average of .985, 1.000 among Continental
opponents. With his production last spring, Servais earned the
Huskies’ MVP honor.
As a sophomore, he was a second-team All-Conference selection
and has been a part of County varsity ball since his freshman
season. He lettered in both his sophomore and junior years.
On the Huskies gridiron, coach Jeff Ketron said Servais was the
team’s go-to guy when they needed to get a first down last
“Tyler is an outstanding leader who performs not only on the
field but in the classroom, as well,” Ketron said. “He was a
second-team all-conference performer at tight end. … He lead our
team in receptions last year.”
Chase Wheeler, Castle View
Castle View baseball had a breakout season as a team last
spring, having claimed its first Class 4A Colorado Springs Metro
League title. However, with heavy contribution among many at the
plate, Chase Wheeler is one of the Sabercats to return to the dish
as a senior in the 2011 season.
As a junior, Wheeler finished the season with a batting average
of .519 in 52 at-bats. He led the team in home runs, having sent
four over the fence, and RBIs with 30, stolen bases with 10 and
triples with seven. He also connected for two doubles. In addition,
Wheeler had the second highest on-base percentage on the team at
.591. Sabercats baseball coach Shawn Wyss said Wheeler’s
athleticism has helped him make plays when he hits the ball into
“He’s very confident at the plate,” Wyss said. “He’s had a
phenomenal season. … We’re going to have a bigger challenge for us
next year, moving up to Class 5A. We’re going to need him to have a
great year for us to be successful.”
In the league-title winning game against Cheyenne Mountain in
Colorado Springs, the would-be senior went 2-for-3 at the dish with
a double and three RBIs. Among his other junior season highlights,
Wheeler went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run against Woodland
Park on the road, and he went 2-for-2 with a home run against Mesa
Ridge at home.
In the field, Wheeler has been playing shortstop but will be
moved to right field, where his arm and mobility can help chase
down balls, Wyss said.
“He has great arm strength and range,” the coach said. “He has
great power and a lot of contact. He’s got a lot of tools that make
him a great high school baseball player and hopefully a great
college baseball player, as well.
“He’s a phenomenal student, as well. He’s kind of the
Stephanie Gerber, Arapahoe
Stephanie Gerber has improved anything in which she has
participated since her freshman year, including individual times in
track and with the Warriors cheer team the last two years.
After having won numerous Class 5A state medals in track and
field during her freshman and sophomore seasons, Gerber ended her
junior year with a silver medal in the girls 100-meter high
hurdles. She came in behind champion Kami Mendez, a sophomore from
Denver East, by a mere 0.01 of a second.
She was also fifth in the 300 hurdles, where she was tied in the
preliminaries with the eventual state-title winner Olivia Anderson,
of Cherry Creek.
Gerber was also eighth in the triple jump. She contributes to
the Warrior girls 1,600-meter relay team which took sixth at
In addition to her achievements in track which should only
improve come spring 2011, Gerber also helped the Warriors
cheerleading team for a runner-up finish at the 2008 state
championships. Last season, she and the rest of the Warriors
reached the pinnacle to earn the state title.
Skylar Johnson, Chaparral
Doing her part to help Chaparral volleyball return to the Class
5A state championship in 2009, Skylar Johnson is on par to be the
Wolverines’ first four-year varsity volleyball letter winner after
her 2010 season. Mckinzie Moydell would have been the team’s first,
but she was injured during her junior season and did not get to
play that year.
In her junior outing, Johnson earned a second-team
All-Conference selection and played the right side in the front row
for Chaparral and the middle-back of the back row. She also set for
the Wolverines in one rotation.
Johnson has been recruited to continue her career at the net
after graduation by Ole Miss, to which she has made a verbal
commitment to attend and play there in 2011-12. Wolverines coach
T.R. Ellis said she will be one of Chaparral’s setters this season
and a hitter on the right side. She is expected to be a setter for
Ole Miss, Ellis said.
“Skylar is a talented all-around volleyball player,” the
Wolverines coach said. “She has an explosive arm swing and can
attack anywhere along the net. Her favorite attack zone is at the
antenna on the right side. She is also an excellent passer and was
one of our primary passers in the 2009 season.”
Johnson led Chaparral in aces, delivering 39 her junior
“Skylar is a joy to have on the volleyball court,” Ellis said.
“She loves to have fun and can buckle down and get any job done
that needs to be done. She has been running her club court as a
setter for the past two seasons and will be one of our 6-2 setters
Zach Loptein, Lutheran-Parker
With his senior year at Lutheran High School-Parker to come,
Zach Loptein already has earned 12 varsity letters between four
Lions sports, including golf, soccer, basketball and baseball. He
has earned All-Conference honors in soccer, hoops and twice on the
Helping Lutheran-Parker soccer to a 12-3 record last season,
Loptein helped with 10 goals and seven assists, including two goals
in one game against Denver Academy and another two against
Loptein also helped the Lions boys basketball to another Class
2A District 7 championship and a 22-5 record. He averaged 5.48
points per game last year and led the team in steals with 58.
Last spring, Loptein was the Lions’ baseball team’s MVP and a
first-team All-Conference selection for the past two seasons. He
was honorable mention his freshman year.
“Zach was our leading hitter this past year, and in reality was
our only consistent hitter in a season where we really struggled
offensively,” coach Jason Block said.
Loptein finished his junior year hitting .386 with two home
runs, 13 RBIs and 10 doubles, which was a school record, and six
stolen bases. When he’s not pitching, where he went 2-2 in four
starts, he plays shortstop.
“[Loptein] is the finest defensive infielder we have ever had,”
Block said. “He has made some absolute web gems from the shortstop
position, making diving plays up the middle, throwing from his
knees in the hole. Zach should be our best overall player coming
back next season, and clearly our best offensive player. He is our
best overall male athlete at the school, starting in four varsity
sports since his freshman year.”
Jimmy Ellis, Heritage
Jimmy Ellis has been a heavy contributor already for Heritage’s
Class 4A state championship winning football team in 2009, and the
school’s boys basketball team and baseball team in past seasons.
However, he is expected to truly command notice with his senior
Among his highlights of the 2009 state title gridiron season,
Ellis rushed for 96 yards in Heritage’s 56-24 win over Dakota
Ridge. He had 93 receiving yards, including a 73-yard catch, in the
Eagles’ 41-16 win over Golden.
With his average receiving yards in the teens, Ellis may end up
becoming a go-to receiver for Heritage as the team moves into the
Class 5A West Metro League with cross-town rivals Arapahoe and
defending state champion Mullen.
“[Ellis] will be one of our ‘money’ guys next fall,” Eagles
football coach Mike Griebel said. “He was just voted team captain
for 2010. He gives us great leadership, and he will fill multiple
roles for our team next fall.”
During his junior hoops season for Heritage, Ellis shot 50
percent from the floor for 62 points in 19 games and was 50 percent
at the foul line. He had the team’s second highest amount of steals
On the Eagles’ diamond, Ellis had a batting average of .342 with
two doubles, five RBIs and a stolen base. He finished his junior
year with a .405 on-base percentage and a .952 fielding
Eric Arthurs, Highlands Ranch
Eric Arthurs is a three-year letterman for Highlands Ranch
lacrosse. As the Falcons’ goalie, he finished his sophomore year
with the second most saves in the Douglas County League (259). He
also earned an honorable mention All-League honor that year.
Last spring, the junior goalie had the most saves in the Douglas
County League with 192, and for his second season in a row, he was
among the Top 10 in the state for having the most saves. He was a
junior last season and was honored as a first-team All-League
selection, who received the most amount of votes for the selection
While he continues to develop his passing and clearing decisions
for his senior year, saving shots is presently Arthurs’ strongest
feature, he said. In addition, he feels his hard work and
determination helps him as an athlete overall.
“From my sophomore to junior year, I learned to control the
defense better and team defense,” Arthurs said. “I think [the
Falcons defense] will be a lot better. We have all the defense back
and we’ll be able to gel better. We know which guys we can exploit.
We know each others’ strengths and weaknesses and how to help each
other for next year.”
On the Falcons’ gridiron, Arthurs started at offensive left
guard and is one of only three players to letter their sophomore
and junior seasons. His junior season, he earned a second-team
All-Southern League selection. With only one offensive lineman
graduating from the Falcons team last year, Arthurs is excited for
the coming fall.
“Everyone on our line has varsity experience,” he said. “We’re
not the biggest line, but we have a lot of talent on it. We should
dominate the line pretty well.”
Grant McCabe, Cherry Creek
Helping Cherry Creek to a Class 5A Centennial League title last
spring, Grant McCabe will return for his senior season on the
diamond. With the most at-bats of any Bruins last spring, McCabe
finished the year with a .598 batting average. He lead Creek in
doubles with 11 and in triples with six.
Having scored 42 times, the incoming senior finished last season
with a .649 on-base percentage and booked 23 RBIs. He also led the
team in stolen bases with 19. For his efforts, McCabe earned
himself a 2009 first-team All-Conference selection alongside four
other Bruins. However, he was the only junior on the team to
garnish the honor. He was one of five juniors on Cherry Creek’s
varsity baseball roster last season.
Mike Carter, Mountain Vista
In his junior campaign, Mike Carter nearly broke every Mountain
Vista High School wrestling record, including most wins. He won 37
matches last season, wrestling at 145 pounds and is looking to make
the jump to 160 for his senior outing in 2010-2011.
In addition, Carter placed in every tournament he was in during
the season. Among these, he had an impressive start to the season,
going 10-0 with nine pinfalls during Vista’s Survivor Series. Last
spring, he was a regional place-winner and qualified for the Class
5A state championships at the Pepsi Center.
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