COMMERCE CITY - The Classical Academy Titans failed in their quest to win the 3A girls' soccer title.
They succeeded in proving they are ready for next season's jump to 4A.
The Titans dominated the final 25 minutes against Colorado Academy, but could not find the back of the net. Classical Academy lost, 1-0.
But there's no doubt this youthful, hungry, talented team can handle the jump to 4A, even though such traditional powers as Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy await them.
Freshman Hannah Burgo played superlatively in the final stretch, twice offering passes that easily could have become game-tying assists. She never backed down from Colorado Academy's brawny defenders.
She has no plans to cower next season when she battles against 4A players. Burgo will lead a team that could immediately soar near the top of the state next season.
"I think we can go in and play really well against the competition," Burgo said, tears still in her eyes after the loss. "I don't think the class really matters."
Burgo said this edition of the Titans showed its character by turning a disastrous start into a satisfying season. TCA opened the year with six losses in its first nine games, a shocking beginning for a program that had traveled to the state final in three of the four previous seasons.
"Just seeing what we've done this season," Burgo said. "We came in second in the state. We surprised everyone and I think we can do the same thing next year."
TCA coach Blake Galvin was not as bold as his star. He sees some tough times ahead for his Titans.
"Yeah, it's going to be a big challenge for us, but I think this young group of girls have shown they are ready for it," Galvin said.
TCA has been the consistent power of 3A soccer the past five seasons. Galvin appears to believe he will wait at least a few seasons before he's back in a state title game.
"Certainly don't want to think we're going to be right back in the state championship again," he said. "I certainly don't want to think that, but we'll get in and we'll be competitive."
When Tuesday's game ended, nearly all of the Titans began weeping. They had come so close to ruling the state. This is, sadly, the norm for TCA girls team. The Titan won only one title, in 2011, during this string of rides to the finals.
The good times will continue. These Titans are still growing into their potential. This team came tantalizingly close to ruling 3A in its final appearance.
TCA athletic director Gary Geiger has been busy scheduling 4A teams in Colorado Springs for nonconference games. He made sure to get defending champ Cheyenne Mountain on the 2015 schedule.
"We know there's a step, a big step," Geiger said. "We're excited about the change."
The Titans are prepared for the leap. They proved they were ready in Tuesday's tough loss.