For undefeated Mesa Ridge, No. 2 just doesn’t seem to fit.
Even with a perfect 23-0 record, Jeff Beatty’s Grizzlies earned second billing to state powerhouse Pueblo South in the Richard Tate Region when the 4A and 5A state tournament brackets were released Sunday afternoon.
“I’d say we’re a little disappointed that we didn’t get a No. 1 seed,” said Beatty, in his second year. “We beat everyone on the schedule, every 5A team, and every 4A nonleague team we played made the tournament. I think we’ll have a bit of a chip on our shoulder.”
The Grizzlies still will have the opportunity to host two games this weekend after earning a first-round bye. Should they win both, it’s on to the quarterfinals with a possible matchup with Pueblo South (21-2) on March 9 at the Denver Coliseum.
Palmer and Sand Creek, which both advanced to the round of eight last season in 5A and 4A, respectively, also received No. 2 seeds. The 19-2 Terrors on Friday will host the winner of Tuesday’s George Washington-Mountain Vista contest and would host a round of 16 game March 3 before action moves to the Denver Coliseum on March 7.
Palmer is one of five teams from the Colorado Springs Metro League to advance to the 5A playoffs. Doherty and Rampart, both 14-9, host first-round games Wednesday, while Liberty (11-12) and Pine Creek (10-13) hit the road.
“We hope our experience from last year will help,” Terrors coach Dave Shackelford said. “I figured we’d be a two. At this point, the difference between a one and two doesn’t matter.”
Palmer and Mesa Ridge won't take the bye sitting down; the squads will face off in a scrimmage at Palmer on Wednesday.
"That will definitely get us both prepared for Friday’s games," Shackelford said.
Pikes Peak Athletic Conference champion Sand Creek (19-4) won all 14 of its league games and lost only to 4A No. 1 seeds Pueblo South and Pueblo West, along with 5A top seeds Highlands Ranch and Grandview.
PPAC runner-up Palmer Ridge (20-3), which lost its only league games to Sand Creek, earned a first-round bye. As a No. 3 seed, however, the Bears will be sent to No. 2 Montrose for this weekend’s round of 16 tournament, where they will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between Rifle and Thomas Jefferson. Defending 4A state champion Air Academy (13-10) was ranked fourth and will meet the Mullen-Coronado winner Friday at top-ranked Broomfield.
4A Metro League runner-up Sierra (16-7) is the lone area 4A team to host a first-round game Tuesday when it plays Skyview (12-11). Widefield (13-12), Harrison (13-10) and Falcon (8-15) all hit the road Tuesday.