Pine Creek freshman Boston Kellner (22) throws a pitch against Liberty in the second inning at Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, Co. on Tuesday April 9, 2022. Pine Creek won by a score of 14 to 8. (Laura Domingue, Special to the Gazette)

State championships controlled nearly every storyline of last year's spring season in local preps.

Cheyenne Mountain captured titles in boys' lacrosse, girls' tennis and boys' swimming to lead the area's resurgence. Add on Quintin McCarty's record run for Discovery Canyon in the pool or Emily Cheng's golf run for the same school, and the area was well represented.

This year's crop of contenders figures to be equally hungry.

Ahead are teams and athletes to look out for in the spring season, including a possible state-scoring leader in girls' soccer and two Power-5-level baseball players loading up on velocity.

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A pair of the area's best arms figure to dominate the headlines.

Pine Creek sophomore Boston Kellner and Coronado junior Trey Gregory-Alford are top arms in the area and also in the state.

The latter is committed to pitching for Virginia upon graduation and has already been clocked in the 90s for fastball velocity. Kellner, similarly, has been clocked in the same realm, albeit from across the diamond at his shortstop spot — though his velocity, when asked to pitch, can bring the heat.

In Kellner's first start of the year against Discovery Canyon, he tossed 4⅓ innings and struck out five. He also hit two home runs at the plate as part of his three runs driven in to lead the win.

Cheyenne Mountain will also bring forth a pair of strong pitchers, a year wiser no less. Seniors Max O'Neil and Ben Myers both found success on the mound last year and will look to turn this year's triumphs into a state crown. Ponderosa being moved up to 5A won't hurt matters, either.

The Red-Tailed Hawks already went to New Mexico for a tournament and walked out with two wins in three tries, both by five runs or more.

The CHSAA rankings have them atop the 4A field, and they don't figure to move much from that spot.


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Pine Creek started a roll last year that the program isn't ready to give up.

The Eagles rode a 16-1 record into the 5A playoffs last season behind senior Isa Murdock's team-leading 28 goals. They reached the quarterfinals before a close loss to No. 6 Columbine.

CHSAA's early rankings have the Eagles at fourth in 5A. Palmer Ridge and Air Academy are also in the top-10 teams, albeit for 4A where the Bears are third, and the Kadets are right behind in fifth.

Colorado Springs Christian is the area's top-ranked team through two weeks with its third-best spot in 2A.

Murdock's departure won't ground the Eagles, it will just change the flight path. Junior Ava Amsden scored a pair of goals in the team's opening win over Windsor and figures to be one of the top scorers in the area. She was second on the team last year with 19 goals in 15 games played.

Manitou Springs senior Erica Sherwin figures to give Amdsen a run for the area's scoring crown.

She was tied for 18th in the state in points last year and has already made an early mark this year with a hat trick, and an additional assist in the Mustangs' opening, 6-0 win over Vanguard.


The first sanctioned season of boys' volleyball brought with it a piece of history in Discovery Canyon's perfect season. The Thunder won the state title, without dropping a set in 78 chances.

In turn, the program has yet to deal with a loss, but figures to face more speed bumps this season after the graduations of Caden Zippwald and Josh Livergood — two of the state's top players.

Along with the team's two captains, libero Aivan McCrary graduated as well as another outside force in Ryan Hansen.

Replacing the group will be a combination of seniors Colton Green and Ty Heater, as well as junior Brady Dastrup. A matchup with Bear Creek, the state's second-ranked team behind the Thunder, looms large on Thursday.

Cheyenne Mountain and Fountain-Fort Carson will once again be among the area's contenders. Coronado, thanks to a four-match win streak to begin the year, could play into the group as well.

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Air Academy and Cheyenne Mountain stood atop the 4A field last year and played an all-area final for bragging rights that ended up going home with the Red-Tailed Hawks, along with the 4A hardware.

The Hawks' 10-5 win over the Kadets followed many of the team's members winning a hockey title just months before. That trend could stick once again this year.

Cheyenne Mountain sits atop the early, 4A lacrosse rankings and received all eight of the most recent poll's first-place votes. It also started with a loss thanks to 5A No. 6, Colorado Academy.

Seniors Wyatt Furda and Kevin Papa are back after leading the Hawks in scoring last year, and will once again be a duo to watch in the team's title defense — both scored multiple goals in the opening loss.

Air Academy's road back to the final will be tougher.

Leading scorer and Peak Performer Grant Rodny graduated and left behind a younger team looking to grow. Even his younger brother, Will, is set to be a piece of the rebuild.

Through one game this year, it's been junior Carter Inazu leading the charge. He netted a team-high four goals in a 10-9 opening loss to Dakota Ridge, 4A's third-ranked program.

Even still, the Kadets are ranked in the top 10 for the state's 4A programs.