Cold weather, hot competition
Here’s a look at what’s in store for local prep athletes this
By Marcus Hill
The Southeast Express
Finally, it’s the time of the season where parents, fans and eventgoers don’t have to focus on staying warm and can enjoy the game, meet or dual they’re attending.
Winter sports season is in full tilt, and area teams are prepared to make runs to their respective peaks.
Here is a preview of what teams have for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
After a 9-15 record in 2017-18, (6-10 in Colorado Springs Metro League play), the Panthers finished 21-5, (15-1 CSML) under first-year coach Eric Kaiser in 2018-19.
The Panthers’ season ended in the third round of the Class 4A state playoffs, following a 64-63 overtime loss to state runners-up Longmont.
Harrison lost three seniors — Orlando Westbrook-Sanchez III, Aumiere Shedrick, and Taylor Hoffman —but return Donta Dawson, who averaged 17 points per contest, 6.5 boards, 2.2 blocks and 1.6 steals in his sophomore season.
They’ll also have Tayzhean Archuleta, who poured in 9.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and a steal per game in 2018-19. Xavier Sterling and Kahli Dotison will also lead the way on a Panthers’ squad stacked with juniors.
The Panthers took a rollercoaster ride last season as they started 1-0, lost six of the next seven, but recovered to finish 10-14 and make the playoffs. They lost their road playoff matchup, 51-48, to Battle Mountain in the first round.
Harrison lost three of its four captains in seniors CeHana Smith, Ereana Mcallister and Katiah Thomas. The Panthers, however, return a bulk of their scoring.
Amyah Moore, who was sixth in 4A and second in the CSML in scoring at 19.7 points per game, will lead Harrison’s offense. Diamond Moore averaged a double-double last year at 14.4 ppg and 11 rpg and will also be a key cog in the Panthers’ scheme.
Three wrestlers made the trip to Denver for the Class 4A state tournament in 2019: Nestor Torrez (152), Kyon McDonald (220) and Nate Mesa (heavyweight).
Mesa finished fourth overall at the tournament and went 4-2 in the process.
Torrez, who held a 25-18 record last year, is the lone state returner for the Panthers, who graduated 11 seniors.
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Something to cheer about
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The Stallions finished 14-12 in 2018-19 and advanced to the third round of the playoffs. They look to make a return and once again make some noise.
Leading scorers Eugene Whitmore (14.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 2.5 spg) along with Isaiah Wilburn (11.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.5 spg) graduated but leave the team in the hands of several capable Stallions.
Imani Grigsby, who averaged 13.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 1.1 spg will spearhead Sierra’s charge this season. Dailen Terry averaged just under 10 points per contest at 9.7 and added 1.9 steals per game. Ramsey Whitaker also gave the Stallions quality numbers at 4.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 steals per game.
The Stallions went toe-to-toe with Air Academy in the playoffs but lost in the third round to the Kadets, 48-44, in 2018-19. This season, Sierra, which finished 17-9 (11-5) last year, returns a healthy portion of its core.
D’nae Wilson led the team in scoring at 16.5 points, and also added 3.3 assists, 3.5 boards and 2.5 steals per contest as a junior caption of the Stallions.
Azaria Lacour will be another focal point for Sierra, as she averaged 9.7 points, 3.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game.
Annalisa Mileto also will be crucial for the Stallions. She averaged 5.5 points and 5.4 boards per contest in 2018-19.
Sierra sent a pair of wrestlers to the Class 3A state tournament last season: Elijah Smith (152, 11-13) and Atsamaz Pliev (220, 33-2).
Smith, who is a junior this season, lost his two matches at the tournament but seeks a return to The Can this year. Pliev was one of four seniors on the team last season; and the Stallions field a slew of returners from last year’s team.