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The Pride of Eaton High School Broncos big fella Mitch Unrein is one of our own As told to Dan Mohrmann

Growing up, I would always wear the little Hutch uniform – the John Elway uniform – playing football in my front yard. Even in high school, you always have that dream of playing in the NFL and having that dream of playing for the team you cheered for the most. And for me, that was the Denver Broncos.

Eaton’s a pretty big sports town. Another big thing for me is that my family can be here to watch me. It’s only an hour drive down from Eaton to come down and watch the games. Every Sunday, I have a huge support group. My cousins, my aunts and uncles; I probably have close to 30 or 40 people at every single game. To have that much support throughout my family, I’m definitely grateful to be in Denver. Eaton’s a pretty big sports town. The baseball team is really good. The football program, when I was in high school, made it to the state championship three times. My senior year, we made it to the final four. Sports are a huge thing where I grew up and pretty much everyone in town plays them.

I only went to one Broncos game when I was in high school.

Photo by jathan camPbell

The thing that kept me closest to Colorado was that I wanted to play Division I football and Wyoming was the only Division I school that was really interested in me. Even though I had to walk-on up there, it was the best decision I made. It gave me an opportunity to try to earn a scholarship, which I did, and also earn a role on the team. I started my sophomore year all the way through my senior year. It was also really nice that it was so close to Colorado. I haven’t been around the Denver area too long. It’s only been about two-and-a-half years for me. Some of the other guys know some of the better spots (to hang out). I was born and raised up north, so I don’t really know what to do around here other than go to Rockies games and obviously going to Mile High. I only went to one Broncos game when I was in high school. It was my senior year and we sat in the northeast part of the stadium. I was about five rows up and I just remember seeing how big the guys were. I didn’t think I could ever get that big. It seems so far off when you’re a young kid like that. You never think that goal is actually achievable. @milehighsports | February 2013 |


THE LEAD I was an undersized guy my senior year of high school. I only weighed 205 my senior year. I never thought I’d be 305, playing defensive tackle for the Denver Broncos. What I always tell the young guys back home is that anything is possible. Nobody gave me a shot in high school. No one thought I was big enough and fast enough to play at the Division I level, let alone the NFL. I just tell the kids to never give up; it’s remarkable what you can do with hard work. I’m a big hunter. It’s hard to get out during the football season and that’s when all the hunting is in full swing. During the bye week, I was able to get up and do some hunting with my girlfriend. During the (wild card round) bye week, I was able to get back up there, but I got skunked. It’s always fun to get out and be outside. It’s way more fun than sitting around watching TV all day.

I just tell the kids to never give up; it’s remarkable what you can do with hard work. There have been a few (teammates) who have asked me to take them. You can’t take everyone; you need to know that they can handle a gun before you get them out there. Derek Wolfe has asked me. He’s an outdoors guy, too. Kevin Vickerson has asked me a few times. I didn’t get to see the (high school) state championship games at Mile High. Eaton’s in 2A, so they didn’t get to play there. I know (defensive coordinator Jack) Del Rio’s kid played at that stadium and that’s awesome. They should try to have every classification play there. Unfortunately, though, my team didn’t get to the state championship. They lost in the second round of the playoffs.

If I told my high school coach that one day I would catch an NFL touchdown pass from Peyton Manning, he would’ve probably told me to quit dreaming and get back to work. They need to get those kids in there and give them the experience of playing in a big stadium. I never got to play in one that big. I think the biggest stadium I played in was Tennessee. It seats more people, but I feel like Mile High is way bigger than the one at Tennessee. The atmosphere of getting to play at that stadium at such a young age is a great experience for them. If I told my high school coach that one day I would catch an NFL touchdown pass from Peyton Manning, he would’ve probably told me to quit dreaming and get back to work. It’s been such a great experience so far. It’s crazy how things turn out. As long as you do the right things and keep your head on your shoulders and keep the right mindset and not get too confident, great things can happen.

2 | February 2013 |



Features 52 The Mile high inTerview – ScoTT carpenTer

One-on-one with Colorado’s favorite astronaut By Woody Paige

58 The DocTor iS in

Where have all the jump shooters gone? By Pencils Robinson

62 ThaT Single MoMenT

High school sports provide a highlight for many By D-Mac

4 | February 2013 |



DEPARTMENTS 16 TimeOuT wiTh… rOnnie hillman One-on-one with the Broncos running back By Chris Bianchi | @chrisdbianchi

18 yOu ShOuld KnOw… TaylOr riTzel Olympic gold medalist; granddaughter of Red Miller By Chris Bianchi | @chrisdbianchi

20 bad blOOd

This year’s love notes are anything but cheery By James Merilatt | @jamesmerilatt

42 #OneClub #OneFamily

22 inSide The ranKingS

Some fun facts and figures from our 10th annual preps list By Doug Ottewill | @dottewill

The Rapids and the Hincheys have a lot in common By Doug Ottewill | @dottewill

24 drew’S newS

The cartoonist’s unique take on Colorado sports By Drew Litton | @drewlitton

26 The Cure FOr The FOOTball hangOver Coping with the end of the NFL season By Robin Carlin | @carlinrobin

28 STill prepping

Mile High Sports Radio’s hosts stay involved at all levels By Steve Quinne | @stevequinne

44 a Change OF paCe

30 iF TwiTTer had exiSTed…

… How past sporting events would have been covered By Red Schaefley

After living in Milan and New York, Danilo Gallinari welcomes Denver By Julie Browman

32 Filling The vOid

The all-new Mountain West Digital Network is a boon for MW fans James Merilatt | @jamesmerilatt

34 pablO’S reTurn

The face of the Rapids fights for a spot in 2013 By Chris Bianchi | @chrisdbianchi

36 The weeKend warriOr – ThinKS he’S STill in high SChOOl guy

Presented by CU Sports Medicine

50 The experienCe – reuniOn wiTh iTaly

38 nOrm’S nOTeS

10th Mountain Division vet Earl Cark meets the Ferrari FF By Doug Ottewill | @dottewill

An equal opportunity offender

40 gOOd STuFF / bad STuFF

What we like / don’t like about sports this month

48 a SpOrTS QueSTiOn FrOm a beauTiFul girl – miranda

Why are baseball fields allowed to be different dimensions, while the field of play in any other major sport has to be the same size?

6 | February 2013 |



Saturdays 6pm - 8pm WWW.RACECENTRAL.TV

Presented By

Letter from the editor

Preps Promise It’s for da kids


ere’s a promise I’ll make to you: So long as you’re calling me Editor-in-Chief, Editor, or just plain Chief, this magazine will forever cover the preps. And we’ll do it in the same way we always have – big, bright and bold.

Prep coverage is vacating mainstream sports outlets – like the major newspapers or local television news – and moving toward online outlets or neighborhood papers. That may sound like a funny proclamation; after all, why wouldn’t we? The issue you’re holding marks the 10th time we’ve meticulously ranked each and every high school athletic program in Colorado. These rankings, paired with regular features, have become a trademark of Mile High Sports Magazine. High school sports are important to us. But there’s a shift that’s taking place in modern media. Prep coverage is vacating mainstream sports outlets – like the major newspapers or local television news – and moving toward online outlets or neighborhood papers. Take the Denver Post for example. Neil Devlin, the Post’s prep sports editor, is one of the best in the business. He cares about high school sports more than just about anyone I know. But sadly, the space he’s been allotted for prep coverage is shrinking and his resources become less and less each year. Why? Because the newspaper business is hurting. Circulation is down and classified ads are a thing of the past. Understandably, cuts have to be made and it looks to me like prep sports are one of the casualties. That’s not anyone’s fault; it’s just a reality of the times. I couldn’t help but notice that the Post discontinued its practice of naming All-State teams at every classification in sports like volleyball, boys’ soccer and softball this past fall. All-State teams are an important factor in our high school rankings formula (see the entire equation on page 66), and we’ve relied on the Post to name those deserving athletes.

Photo by Don CuDney

Football was there per usual, but the aforementioned other sports had been condensed down into “All-Colorado only.” It’s not that the other sports aren’t recognized – they are – just less than before. It’s fair to assume that not many volleyball players from small schools will find their way onto an All-Colorado team, as those slots will be filled by kids from bigger schools. There are certainly bigger tragedies in the world, but it is sad to think that the 1A All-State team is a thing of the past. Fewer and fewer small towns can champion the fact that one of their kid’s names made it into the state’s biggest paper. That’s not a shot at Devlin, or even his paper, just a sign of the times. The papers just can’t support that level of coverage. Blame the internet. Blame a lack of advertising dollars. Blame whatever you’d like, but the truth is that prep coverage – at least in

traditional mediums – is shrinking. But it won’t shrink here. I’m proud that the staff at MHSM is, and will remain, committed to giving the preps their due. We’ll keep writing about them, taking photos and ranking their schools every February. The kids playing high school sports today will be the same ones filling Pepsi Center, Coors Field, Mile High and all of our our great college venues tomorrow. They might even pick up a copy of Mile High Sports Magazine. And I hope they remember we liked them way back when. Enjoy High School Rankings X. How’d your school do?.

Doug Ottewill Editor-in-Chief

EDITOR’S PICKS | The best of January 2013 BEST QUOTE (p.28) – “High school athletics help shape us as individuals, so you want every student-athlete to know that their efforts are appreciated, no matter what side of the scoreboard they’re on.”- Danny Williams on high school sports 8 | February 2013 |

BEST FEATURE (p. 58) – The Shot Doctor Is In; Where have all the jump shooters gone? – Pencils Robinson tells a little known story of one of Colorado’s greatest high school athletes and coaches.


BEST PHOTO (p. 97) – The 1936 Grand Junction Tigers – It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia that goes into high school sports these days (recruiting, specialization, funding, the list goes on), but this shot captures where it all began.

TradiTions never die & legacies live forever!

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eDitor-in-CHief Doug Ottewill – Tim McGraw (Charles Billingsley) in Friday Night Lights. Neat dad. senior eDitors Brian Dvorak – Forest Whitaker in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He plays Charles Jefferson, as one kid says in the movie, “Wow, you mean he actually goes to school here? I thought they just flew him in for the games.” Michael Stock – Teen Wolf. Ted Yhedri – Gerry Bertier, Remember the Titans. Photo by Jathan CamPbell

The Doctor Who Taught the Editor to Shoot | By Doug Ottewill When i was in junior high, i had a pretty good jump shot. My shot looked the way it was supposed to – elbow in line with knee, wrist in line with elbow and a pretty follow-through after the release. i had excellent form, which was critical because i wasn’t too big and i definitely wasn’t all that athletic. My jump shot alone earned me a starting spot on the Huron Junior High school basketball team when i began seventh grade. My proper form was largely a product of my father’s patience. He shot with me for hours and i tried to mimic the way he did it. to this day, at the age of 67, my dad still has one of the prettiest jumpers i know. but there was another reason i shot properly. at some point as a youth ballplayer, as was probably the case with a lot of kids who played basketball in Colorado, i was shown a videotape on how to shoot. i don’t remember the actual title, but kids, coaches and gym teachers called it “the shot Doctor.” it was an instructional video that was shot four or five years before i saw it, at some gym, maybe even at a “shot Doctor Camp” (rumor had it they existed). it was “homemade” by its nature and we poked fun of the kids in the video. but, the damn thing really worked. the shot Doctor showed us the right way to shoot. He showed form. He showed where to look while shooting, and what the shot should look like throughout the process. and on the video, the ball always went in. not so ironically, the shot Doctor’s shot looked a lot like my dad’s. Picture perfect.

10 | February 2013 |

even throughout high school ball, when someone found nothing but the nylon from the baseline, we might yell out, “SHOT DOCTOR!” in ninth grade, i broke my elbow and my jumper never looked the same. surgery left me with an atrophied wing, one that doesn’t go all the way straight to this day. so my shot is cockeyed at best. five years ago – maybe 10 – i was at a high school basketball game with my dad, who serves on the committee that helps to seed the 5a basketball tournament every year. He introduced me to his friend and fellow committee member, Duane, and called him “the shot Doctor.” i hadn’t heard the term in years. Curiously, i asked if there was a connection between this shot Doctor and the one who used to make the videos. indeed there was – Duane is the shot Doctor. apparently, my dad had known the shot Doctor all along, but i never knew it. since then, i’ve come to call Duane a friend, too. after a pickup game or two, he’s even tried to give me a few pointers on how to get my crooked jumper back to its original form. after the lesson, i’m sure he can see how i wound up as a writer instead of a ballplayer. fittingly, perhaps ironically, the shot Doctor is making his debut in our magazine (p. 58), a publication that’s taken a lot of practice and somehow manages to find the bottom of the net from time to time. it’s the tale of how Duane became the shot Doctor, and how the jump shot can still be one of the most beautiful motions in sports. @milehighsports

Contributing eDitors Clinton Doaks – Shooter. Don’t get caught watching the paint dry. Norm LaChatlier – Ali Larter in Varsity Blues. Drew Litton – Jordan. Space Jam High. Red Schaefley – Neon Boudeaux (aka Shaq) in Blue Chips. Nolte had to pay.

Will McKinlay – Napoleon Dynamite as a tetherball player.


Distribution CoorDinator Amber Merilatt – I think Zach Morris sported some football pads at one time... not a movie, but still.


station Manager Casey Light – Andrew Clark, The Breakfast Club. “WIN! WIN! WIN!” exeCutive ProDuCer Josh Pennock – Adam Banks, third line, center. Oh yeah, he made varsity!

Contributions MHSM will consider, but assumes no responsibility for, unsolicited proposals, manuscripts, photographs and illustrations. All such materials not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be returned. Haas Rock Publications, LLC retains all reprint rights for submitted materials.

on-air Hosts Marcelo Balboa Lance Britton Irv Brown Peter Burns Conner Cordova Dario J. Correa Jimmy Doogan Josh Dover Garrett Duman “Coach” Eklund Andrew Fogoros James Gomez Eric Goodman Kurt Hansen Lindsay H. Jones Meegan Kiefel Adam Kinney Mark Kiszla Mark Lammey Reed Marks Matt McChesney Mark McIntosh Renaud Notaro Joe Rico Marcello Romano Jenny Dean Schmidt Matt Sierra Lisa Snyder Brandon Spano Gil Whiteley Dan Williams Joe Williams Andy Zodin



Contributing Writers Jon Ackerman – Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass from Remember The Titans. Chris Bianchi – Jesus Shuttlesworth. Julie Browman – Rudy (pre-Notre Dame). Robin Carlin – Julius Campbell, Remember the Titans. Jimmy Cautosin – Travolta. Grease. Hoops tryouts. Vanessa Hughes – Jimmy Chitwood, Hoosiers. D-Mac – Jimmy Chitwood. Daniel Mohrmann – Lance Harbor. Only because John Moxon totally %#*^ed up Kilmer’s perfect season. Woody Paige – Jimmy Chitwood. Steve Quinne – Barbara Hershey, Hoosiers. Long story. Ken Reed – Ollie from Hoosiers. Kid won the big game. Pencils Robinson – Boobie Miles, Friday Night Lights. Pat Rooney – Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman in Hoosiers). forMer ProofreaDer Laura Rothenfeld – Tim Riggins, Friday Night Lights. He’s the perpetual “bad boy” with a heart of gold.

WorkHorse45 Shane George – Louden Swain, Vision Quest. Drew Wallace – Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries. aD Designer Becky Antcliff – Lance Harbor, Varsity Blues. Contributing PHotograPHers Jathan Campbell – Mox, Varsity Blues. Don Cudney – Michael Oher from The Blindside. Randy Parietti – Tom Cruise as Stefen “Stef” Djordjevic. Shutterstock Images – Young Deputy No. 2, played by Don Cass in Varsity Blues. Bill Swartz – Danny Noonan… he WAS in high school! U.S. Presswire – Reporter No. 3 played by Scott Slade in Remember the Titans.


aCCount exeCutives Chris Dolge – Teen Wolf. I work with that guy every day (e.g. Will McKinlay).

PresiDent James Merilatt – Norman Dale, Hoosiers.

aCCounting Kathy Merilatt – Herman Boone, Remember the Titans. in-House LegaL CounseL William T. Sawyer, Esq. – Sheryl Yoast, Remember the Titans. Mile High Sports 975 Lincoln Street, Suite 201 Denver, CO 80203 P. 303.650.1795 f. 303.524.3410 Copyright 2013 Haas Rock Publications, LLC All rights reserved



Mike MAcintyre woody paige talks to the new cu coach

Mailbox sportsperson of the year

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Missy Franklin stole the show with an amazing Olympic performance

also in this issue mile high sports

awards featuring

Tad Boyle Raymond Bozmans Bonnie Brandon Carlon Brown Ross Dausin Wilkins Dismuke John Grant, Jr. Dick Katte Shalaya Kipp Gabriel Landeskog Emma Lazaroff Peyton Manning Mark Matthews Tim Miles Von Miller Brendan Mundorf Andre Roberson Josh Scott Dan Woodley John Wristen










WHAT YOU ACTUALLY WROTE US ABOUT 10th MOUNTAIN DIVISION Phenomenal piece on the famed 10th Mountain Division. I saw the Warren Miller film and, admittedly, I left wanting a bit more. Chris Anthony’s story did just that! Fred Davis, Submitted via email.


KOSTA’S GF I could really care less about what kind of couch Kosta Koufos has, but I sure would like to see a bit more of that dime he’s standing with in the photo. Dave Q., Submitted via email. Editor’s Note: She’s pretty as a picture isn’t she, Dave? Just like the big man’s jump hook in traffic. But we love our furniture, so unfortunately, that’s mostly what we photographed.


I called the office and asked for Bianchi. The guy said he’d left for another gig. What actually happened is that he lost a big wager ping-pong match and was forced to join up with the other guys. He left kicking and screaming. Couldn’t handle the forehand.

MISSY! Missy Franklin was the only choice for your Sportsperson of the Year. Glad to see MHSM got it right – for the second straight year! Go Missy! Carrie Stevens, Cherry Creek, Colo. In the history of Colorado sports, I’m not sure there’s a more universally loved local athlete than Missy Franklin. I love that she won your highest honor, and I love the fact that she decided to swim for her high school this season. As a native Coloradoan, I couldn’t be more proud to call Missy “ours.” Gary F., Submitted via email. Editor’s Note: Gary, we couldn’t agree more. And the beauty of it is that Missy is one of the most real, most humble, most unassuming superstars I’ve ever been around. In my book, Missy Franklin and Chauncey Billups are Colorado’s “royalty” when it comes to sports.

2 ZULU TRACY Did that really happen? Chris Y., Submitted via email. Editor’s Note: It was in print, wasn’t it?

Please keep my subscription cancelled, but could you send me one back issue of the February issue so I can see my email in print? Can we pick up the postage for you to, Angry Reader? Please?

SNOW ANGELS My favorite “Letters to the Editor” every year are those you receive following your annual Snow Angels issue. More! More! More! (if you have any left). Judy Celio, Submitted via email. Editor’s Note: Hey Jude. Oh, they keep rolling in all right. Here’s a quick email exchange I had very recently with one letter writer. Angry Reader: Please cancel my subscription. I didn’t expect that kind of smut on your cover and in the magazine. Me: What do you have against Missy Franklin? Angry Reader: Nothing. I’m talking about the girl in the Broncos jersey. That stuff isn’t for kids. Me: Ohhhh, that cover. I see. Are you a kid? Angry Reader: Watch it, smart guy. Just take me off the list. Me: Okay, but you’re going to miss what I’m going to write about you next month. 12 | February 2013 |



I heard that Gil Whiteley talked to BOTH Jim Fassel and John Elway in the same week. #godstatus. Actually, they both talked to him.

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When in San Diego, Pacific Beach is the place to be for what’s important. (p. 16)

Red Miller’s granddaughter won a gold medal at the London Olympics. (p. 18)

The editors don’t stack the deck for their high school alma mater. (p. 22)

A sports fan’s life doesn’t necessarily end when the Super Bowl is over. (p. 26)

Twitter didn’t exist in 1986, but would have been awesome if it had. (p. 30)

Pablo Mastroeni’s concussion ProbleMs forced hiM to wear a helMet. (p. 34)

The “Dyme Life” motto is even more convoluted than imagined. (p. 40)

At one point, they actually played polo at the Polo Grounds. (p. 48)

LEADERBOARD What’s up? What’s doWn?

Denver nuggets

After a brutal early season schedule, the local hoops team has finally hit their stride.

14 | February 2013 |

Denver Broncos

A great season went up in smoke in because of one very bad day against Baltimore. @milehighsports

CHSAA state championship events are sponsoredby the following loyal partners: CHSAA WinTer CHAMpiOnSHipS 2/14 – 2/15 State Skiing – Winter Park Resort 2/21 – 2/23 State Wrestling – Pepsi Center 2/28 State Ice Hockey Semis – Denver University 3/1 State Ice Hockey Finals – Denver University BASkeTBAll 3/7 5A Girls Great 8 – Denver Coliseum 3/8 5A Boys Great 8 – Denver Coliseum

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Most CHSAA State Championship tickets are available on-line. For tickets to 1A, 2A and 3A Basketball, go and click on State Championship Tickets. Wrestling and 4A, 5A basketball tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the CHSAA Ticket Office (303) 340-1818.

TimeouT WiTh

Ronnie Hillman Denver Broncos Running Back | As told to Chris Bianchi my favorIte Book Is

“Bo KNowS Bo.”

the (loCal medIa) Called me “the reggIe Bush of orange County,” But I dIdn’t go around tryIng to Be lIke reggIe.

A lot of people don’t know thAt I cAn do A front flIp.

The Wood (a 1999 romantic comedy) is my favorite movie. Not sure why, but that sticks out. Maggiano’s is my favorite restaurant. I love their food. I love Italian food. It’s the best; it loads me up.

I love to lIsten to Jay-Z; It fIres me up before I get on the fIeld. I also love In-n-out Burger. I’m from CalIfornIa.

I played on Snoop Dogg’s youth allstar team. He was around, which was kind of cool. But you get used to it.

I went to a drake concert recently. It was rIdIculous. no doubt that’s my favorIte. 16 | February 2013 |

If you’re In san dIego, pacIfIc I play vIdeo games In my off beach Is the place to be. the tIme. It sets the mood for me and gets my mInd off of thIngs. bars, the gIrls…


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TAYLOR RITZEL OLYmpic gOLD meDaLiSt iN rOWiNg at 2012 SUmmer gameS; graNDDaUgHter Of fOrmer BrONcOS HeaD cOacH reD miLLer Five years ago, Taylor Ritzel couldn’t have told you a whole heck of a lot about the sport of rowing. Today, the Douglas County High School graduate can call herself an Olympic medalist after she won the gold in eight-person women’s rowing at the 2012 London Olympics. ¶ Not bad for somebody who essentially stumbled into the sport and grew up hundreds of miles from any sort of significant body of water. ¶ Ritzel’s 6-foot-2 frame was the original reason she was introduced to the sport. Coaches at Yale University viewed her as an ideal candidate to start in the sport. The Larkspur native quickly thrived, heading up her college team until graduating in 2010. She continued through the 2011 World Championships and the rigorous training heading into last summer. ¶ Ritzel is the fourth rower (from front-to-back) in the eight-person boat and her role, as she describes it, is to be part of the “engine” of the boat. ¶ Oh, by the way, this Olympic gold medalist has a cool grandfather, too: Red Miller, for whom Broncos fans will remember as the man who took Denver to their first Super Bowl. ¶ But to Ritzel, Miller is simply “grandpa.” ¶ “Just seeing how other people responded to him is so cool,” Ritzel said. ¶ Miller has five grandchildren, including Ritzel. And while Ritzel isn’t shy about the fact that she’s not the biggest football fan, she does still root on her Broncos. ¶ Ritzel is currently working for a start-up company in New York City and living in nearby Connecticut. But while she sits at her desk job on the other side of the country, her friends and family back in Colorado will know her forever as someone who brought the Centennial State plenty of joy last summer. by Chris bianChi

@chrisdbianchi Meet some of Colorado’s greatest female competitors, including Olympians Missy Franklin and Emma Coburn, at this year’s annual Sportswomen of Colorado awards banquet on Mar. 10. For more information, log onto

18 | February 2013 |


“I’ve never felt that spent (as I was at the end of the gold medal race). But that’s what you want. you always want to gIve more than you ever have Before.” - Taylor Ritzel


The amounT of money The average american man spends per year on gifTs and iTems relaTed To valenTine’s day



Bad Blood

This year’s love notes are anything but cheery


or some, the 14th day of February is a day for celebration. It’s filled with candy boxes, flowers and handwritten notes. It conjures up images of heart-shaped decorates, doves and Cupid. It’s Valentine’s Day, the celebration of love in Western countries. For the others, Feb. 14 is a spot on the calendar met with dread. It’s an overly commercialized “holiday” designed to pad

| By James Merilatt

the cash registers of florists, card makers, confectioners and restaurants. It’s a day where they flaunt their happiness, leaving single people feeling like they’re on the outside looking in. These folks celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day, a day filled with doom, gloom and brutal honesty. Normally, we provide Colorado sports “love notes” that tie into the first group’s

idea of the holiday. But given the vitriol that has filled the air in the past 12 months, it’s time to connect with the forgotten group. Thus here’s this year’s batch of anti-valentines. Here’s hoping 2013 is filled with more love than hate!


Searching for Love Five local sports Figures who deserve more attention wesley woodyard (Broncos)

While Von Miller and Champ Bailey got the headlines, this linebacker provided the heart and soul for a rejuvenated Broncos defense. Plus, he’s one of the best guys in all of sports when it comes to being involved with the community and dealing with the media.

linda lappe (cu)

A lot of people don’t remember when the Buffs were a factor in the NCAA Tournament, but there was a time when Ceal Barry had Colorado in the same conversation that now includes UConn, Tennessee and the perennial powers. Lappe looks to be returning CU to that type of glory.

mark Bullock (glendale raptors)

When the fine folks in Glendale decided they wanted to make the city a Mecca for rugby in America, they knew that they had to get one of the best minds in the business to head up the operation. Bullock fits the bill; he’s built a great organization and turned the Raptors into one of the area’s best teams.

“If there is one guy I want to marry my daughter, it’s him.” - John Elway, when talking about Tim Tebow at Peyton Manning’s introductory press conference | February 2013 |


Joe scott (du)

Tad Boyle and Larry Eustachy deserve the attention they get, but their success at CU and CSU, respectively, has unfortunately overshadowed the great work Scott has done with the Pioneers. Four years after taking over a 4-25 team, Scott posted a dazzling 22-9 mark at DU last season.

chris stewart (colorado eagles)

As the franchise’s first head coach (2003-08), Stewart helped establish the foundation in northern Colorado, leading the Eagles to two CHL championships. And now that the organization had made the jump to the ECHL, he once again has them among the league’s best.


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Inside the Rankings

Some fun facts and figures from our 10th annual preps list

| by Doug Ottewill

Fairview alum Publishes book MHSM scribe releases THe GrinGo


igh School Rankings. It’s a concept that didn’t exist prior to Mile High Sports Magazine. And it’s a list that’s helped define us as a publication. Each and every February since 2004, MHSM has ranked every high school in the state, using a formula that we feel highlights the best, mostwell-rounded high school athletic programs Colorado has to offer. It’s become an institution, one we’re very proud of every year. But before you jump ahead to this year’s Rankings (starting on page 66), here are a few facts, figures and misconceptions about our annual celebration of the preps. FACT: In more than 10 years of High School Rankings, each CHSAA classification – 1A through 5A – has

fielded a winning school. FACT: In this year’s rankings, each classification is represented in our top-five schools. MISCONCEPTION: “Schools that win state in football typically win the rankings.” That’s false. In our rankings, football is equal in importance to every other sport, and doesn’t carry more or less weight. In fact, out of 10 winners, only two (Limon in 2005 and Mullen in 2004) have won state in football. FIGURE: Of the 328 schools eligible for inclusion in High School Rankings X, 245 posted qualifying scores. Last year, 249 qualified. FIGURE: The most common mascot in Colorado high school sports is the eagle (26 schools), followed by the bulldog (17), the tiger

(16) and the mustang (14). FACT: Only one school has repeated as champion in back-to-back years (Cherry Creek; HS Rankings IV and V). MISCONCEPTION: “There is a subjective element in the scoring.” That’s incorrect. Scores are only based on actual results and All-State lists determined by a third party. To point: The only MHSM employee who can claim his school finished atop the rankings is Will McKinlay, who attended both Cherry Creek and Regis. The Northglenn Norsemen – the alma mater to the publisher, editor and two senior editors – has never finished in the top 50.


105.83 The highest score ever recorded in High School Rankings (Hi-Plains Patriots, HS Rankings VI)

In addition to 200 state championships, Cherry Creek has won three WellsFargo Cups as the All-Sport Champion in the state of Colorado. In 2005, Sports Illustrated named it the fifth-best high school athletics program in the nation. It was also appointed the top athletic high school in the state in both 2006 and 2007 by Mile High Sports Magazine. It is also well known for its successful tennis team that achieved the school’s 200th state championship on September 13, 2012. - “Cherry Creek High School Athletics,” as described on Wikipedia (Editor’s note: Creek also earned top honors in Feb. 2011)

22 | February 2013 |


Back in September of 2011, J. Grigsby Crawford entertained Mile High Sports Magazine readers with his tales of trying to follow the Denver Broncos while living in some of the remote areas of South America. As it turns out, there was much more to his journey than the challenges of keeping up with his favorite football team. Recently, Crawford released a book – The Gringo – which chronicles all of his adventures in South America. “I went to test myself and I went for adventure, and that’s what I got,” said Crawford about his reason for joining Peace Corps and the South American adventure that followed. Intimately describing his harrowing journey through Ecuador, Crawford gives an indepth look into the “danger, drugs, sex and alarming illness” that he encountered in South America. The Gringo can be purchased at or at various bookstores throughout Colorado. Crawford is a 2004 graduate of Fairview High School. He served as the editor of the school’s paper, The Royal Banner, and played football and baseball for the Knights.

We believe all young people should succeed in school and graduate from high school ready for college or work. Mile High United Way supports more than 35,000 young people in our community by providing direct services and supporting programs that promote positive youth development and academic success.

You can help. GIVE or VOLUNTEER at

Drew's Views Drew Litton sums up the month in CoLoraDo sports

24 | February 2013 |



The Cure for the Football Hangover Coping with the end of the NFL season | By Robin Carlin


y the time you read this, the Super Bowl will have come and gone. Rather than re-living the pass that should’ve been knocked down in a dark basement for hours on end until Rockies opening day, I’ve got a little “post-football therapy” for you. Sure, everyone goes through the lull, but if you want out of your funk, get a few of these beauties on your February calendar. You’ll be good as new.

2.10: The Grammy Awards

Hey, who said this had to be a sports only list? Get some culture in your life while you’ve got the chance. And don’t forget, a Denver-based band, The Lumineers, is up for two Grammys for their self-titled debut album.

2.13: Colorado State vs. San Diego State

The Rams take on the nationally ranked Aztecs at Moby Arena and will get a chance to settle the score from last month’s overtime loss in San Diego.

2.14: Colorado vs. Arizona

If you were planning to make a trip to Boulder this season to watch Andre Roberson and the boys, this is the game to watch, as the Buffs will take on a top-ranked team in the country for a rematch of the hose job in Tucson.

2.14: Mammoth vs. Rush

The Mammoth’s Military Appreciation Night should be a great matchup between the 2012 NLL MVP, Colorado’s John Grant Jr., and the first overall pick in the 2012 NLL draft, University of Denver alum Mark Matthews.

2.19: Nuggets vs. Celtics

Old legs versus new ones: That’s the story in Denver when KG and crew pay a visit to the run and gun Nuggets. Plus, one never knows what Garnett, the NBA’s most notorious trash talker, might say.

2.20: Avalanche vs. Blues

It’s always a great matchup when teams swap players – Erik Johnson vs. Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and Brian Elliott. Plus, St. Louis was the second best team in the West last year and is essentially the team the Avs aspire to be.

2.24: The Academy Awards

My vote goes to Django Unchained for Best Picture. To really get into things, organize an Oscar office pool.

2.25: Nuggets vs. Lakers

If you’re curious (like I am) if Ty Lawson can walk the talk after popping off on TMZ, this is a must attend game, the finale of the Denver-L.A. series,


“96. But I played In that game #BIased” - Shannon Sharpe on Twitter when asked which loss was worse, the 1996 loss to the Jaguars or this year’s loss to the Ravens

Photo by Randy PaRietti

13.5M 26 | February 2013 |

Number of viewers watching the broncosravens afC Divisional Playoff game, the most-watched afC Saturday second-round game in CbS’s records, which date to 1987. @milehighsports

february BIRTHDAYS Feb. 1 – Rory Smith, 26 (Mammoth) Feb. 3 – Ryan Wilson, 26 (Avalanche) – @sauceee44 Feb. 6 – Adam Fullerton, 28 (Outlaws) – @afullslax Feb. 6 – Ty Warren, 32 (Broncos) – @TyWarren94 Feb. 11 – Rahim Moore, 23 (Broncos) Feb. 13 – Manny Ramirez, 30 (Broncos) Feb. 14 – Milan Hejduk, 37 (Avalanche) Feb. 15 – Mat MacLeod, 25 (Mammoth) Feb. 15 – Ilija Gajic, 28 (Mammoth) – @ilz15 Feb. 23 – Hendry Thomas, 28 (Rapids) – @buchuca Feb. 23 – Wilin Rosario, 24 (Rockies) – @WilinRosario Feb. 24 – Derek Wolfe, 23 (Broncos) – @DerekWolfe95 Feb. 24 – Kosta Koufos, 24 (Nuggets) – @kostakoufos


Still Prepping

Mile High Sports Radio’s hosts stay involved at all levels

“mile High Sports Radio has more local high school ties than all the other sports stations in town combined. It’s not even close.” – Built Ford Tough Football Show co-host Steve Quinne

23 The number of hosts on Mile High Sports Radio that attended high school in Colorado (outnumbering their out-ofstate peers nearly 2:1).

28 | February 2013 |


uch of the allure of a career in sports media is the ability to get up-close-and-personal with some of the world’s biggest names and personalities. Who wouldn’t want to pick up a paycheck for rubbing elbows with Peyton Manning after practice? But for the hosts at Mile High Sports Radio, it’s not just the big names that are a big draw. For several hosts at AM 1510 | FM 93.7, many of whom are local products themselves, Colorado high school athletics are just as important as the pros. Listeners to The Irv and Joe Show (M-F | 1p-3p) have heard Irv Brown say hello to current and former local prep athletes across the Front Range for years. Before he moved on to a prominent career as a talk show host, play-by-play announcer and college referee, Brown’s own experience as a coach at Arvada High School and student at Denver’s North High School shaped what would be a lifelong love for prep athletics. “High school sports were everything growing up here,” Brown remembers. “There were no Broncos or Nuggets back in those days. And CU was something you read about in the papers. Everybody went out to watch the high schools. It was really the center of the community.” Brown maintains that’s still the case, which is why you can still find him frequenting high school games two or three nights a week throughout the school year. Another Mile High Sports Radio host doesn’t limit his work at the high school level only to the school year, especially now that training and conditioning have become a year-round effort at all levels of sport. After graduating from Niwot High School and the University of Colorado, The Morning Edge (M-F | 6a-7a) host Matt McChesney turned his athletic success into an NFL career. After retiring from the NFL, he used his education to earn certification with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, which he now applies as the owner and head trainer at Six Zero Strength + Fitness. There, McChesney trains some of the top high school athletes in the state as well as college and professional athletes. Chris Fox (Ponderosa), the state’s top prep football recruit, trains with McChesney and is headed to Michigan next year. He’s just one of several @milehighsports

| By Steve Quinne

D-1 players McChesney has trained in recent years. But it’s not just the top high school teams that warrant coverage. Danny Williams of Morning Mayhem (M-F | 9a-11a) and Josh Dover of Denver Sports Nation (Sa | 2p-4p) are both involved with prep coverage, even if the teams aren’t at the top of the class, athletically. Williams, a Kennedy High School graduate, has been covering high school sports for seven years for several print and online publications and has seen everything from perfect records to winless seasons. “Even when a team has nothing to play for but pride, you still have to give those kids all the credit they’re due,” says Williams. “High school athletics help shape us as individuals, so you want every student-athlete to know that their efforts are appreciated, no matter what side of the scoreboard they’re on.” Dover knows this as well, as he is currently the play-by-play voice of the Wheat Ridge Farmers girls’ basketball team. In addition to his duties covering the Denver Nuggets for Mile High Sports, Dover calls the game action on for a Wheat Ridge team that was winless at print time. “Even though they are struggling,” Dover points out, “those girls are out there giving it their all and they’re always encouraging each other.” One Mile High Sports Radio host, however, has been a part of unparalleled high school success. Garrett Duman, aka “G the Producer” of Mile High Sports Patrol (M-F | 10p-12a), helped coach the Cherry Creek Bruins to a win in the Don Mattingly World Series for 17 year olds in August 2012. The annual national tournament hosted by the American Amateur Baseball Congress features the top high school teams in the country and the national championship was the first in Cherry Creek’s illustrious baseball history. So, while you’ll likely hear Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos leading the headlines when you tune in to AM 1510 | FM 93.7, you can rest assured knowing that high school sports are still close to the hearts and minds of the hosts.



If Twitter Had Existed… … How past sporting events would have been covered | By Red Schaefley


January 11, 1987

@buckner6 “I know how you feel, Cleveland.”

@blondebomber12 “Elway still has a lot to prove. One good drive doesn’t make a career.”

@ronaldreagan “The Russians want us to declare Mark Jackson a secret weapon and dismantle him.”



ove it or hate it, Twitter has transformed the way fans follow sports. It provides everyone with instant access to a news wire-like feed of breaking news, although that information is all too often inaccurate and premature. And it offers a real-time ability to interact during live broadcasts, allowing for in-game interactions between fans, media members, celebrities and anyone else on Twitter unlike ever before.

While the social media site has changed the games of today, it’s hard not to wonder how it might have affected fans had it been existence in the past. How would some of the signature moments in sports history have been covered in a Twitter-ized world? It’s impossible to know for sure, but it’s fun to surmise. Here’s one example of how people might have responded if Twitter had existed in the past:

Liven Up YoUr TimeLine

“I can’t believe Elway didn’t see me on the sidelines!”

@mjfox “Only six hours until an all-new Family Ties on NBC.”

@arthurbmodell “God, this place is a dump. We gotta get outta here!”

Five mHS perSonaLiTieS To FoLLow on TwiTTer

Mile High Sports has jumped headfirst into this realm of social media. Our corporate account (@milehighsports) offers breaking news, links to columns and blogs from MHS writers, game recaps, contests and much more. And the personalities from the magazine, web site and radio station use their personal accounts (see sidebar) to provide their unique perspective on what’s happening at any minute of any day. On that front, here are five must-follows if you’re a Colorado sports fans on Twitter: @jamesmerilatt – Some people think he’s overly negative; we like to say that’s he’s a realist offering a true take on things. @lbrittonradio – A dry sense of humor and great Broncos knowledge make this MHSR fill-in host a good read. @peterburnsradio – The co-host of The Press Box (M-F | 7a-9a) offers a great blend sports, pop culture and randomness. @stevequinne – When you’ve rubbed elbows with everyone from Gaddafi to Hasselhoff, your takes are noteworthy. @tweetsdanny – One-liners highlight his timeline, making the co-host of Morning Mayhem (M-F | 9a-11a) a funny follow. To see all of the MHS personalities on Twitter, log on to

30 | February 2013 |


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Filling the Void

The all-new Mountain West Digital Network is a boon for MWC fans

| By James Merilatt

Not Just for Athletes The MWC’s neW digiTal neTWork is good neWs For all sTudenTs


or fans of the Mountain West who have been missing their fix of all things related to the conference, the wait is almost over. A new source of MWC programming is on the horizon. The Mountain West Digital Network will soon fill the void left when the two national programmers behind the Mtn. decided to pull the plug on the network dedicated 24/7 to the MWC. It’ll be welcome news to fans of the Rams, Falcons and Cowboys along the Front Range, as well as the other schools across the nation. “When we had the Mtn., it provided more than 8,000 hours of programming per year dedicated to the conference,” explained Javan Hedlund, associate commissioner in charge of communications for the Mountain West Conference. “Now that we’re missing that, we decided to get into the digital realm. By creating the Mountain West Digital Network, it was a way to fill some of that programming void.” The network will launch in three phases, the first of which is already up and running at “For the first four or five months, we’ll be creating shoulder programming and feature stories,”

Hedlund explained. “There will be a lot of two- to three-minute daily recaps of what’s happening in the conference.” To accomplish this, as well as help build the framework for all that is to come on the site, the Mountain West hired Jesse Kurtz to be the network’s executive producer. For the past 10 years, Kurtz has covered sports locally at KKTV in Colorado Springs, making him a familiar face to fans of the conference. “Jesse will be at every championship, providing digital content, doing auxiliary programs and content surrounding the event – interviews, previews, reviews, all of those things,” Hedlund said. Eventually, this programming will grow to include studio shows, which will be produced at the Mountain West’s brand-new facility in Colorado Springs. “We’ll have Mountain West Spotlight shows, pregame shows, daily shows, highlight shows and those types of things,” added Hedlund. From there, the Mountain West Digital Network will expand into live programming. “We plan to start streaming a lot of our championships,” Hedlund said. “Baseball, soccer, women’s

Being a student at CSU and around the Air Force Academy for a long time, I’ve always been a Mountain West homer.

- Veteran TV personality Jesse Kurtz, explaining what drew him to becoming a part of the MWC’s new digital network

32 | February 2013 |


basketball; those sports that don’t have linear television coverage, we’ll be streaming. Then, we will plan to have some football and men’s basketball games streamed live on the network. It’ll be kind of like an ESPN3 broadcast.” And finally, there will be an ondemand element. “Our goal is to have a digital network where fans can go back and watch full games on iPhones, Androids, tablets, laptops, iTunes, Xbox, Netflix, anywhere we can get it on an on-demand system,” Hedlund said. “That’ll include football and men’s basketball.” The combination will provide fans of the MWC with multiple avenues for watching their favorite teams. Between national television packages, regional partners and the digital platform, the goal is to make it possible for any game, any time, anywhere to be seen. “We’re trying to provide exposure for Mountain West Conference institutions,” explained Hedlund. “We want to provide fans the opportunity to see all of the teams and student-athletes.” Thanks to the all-new Mountain West Digital Network, backers of the MWC will have access to their teams in a way that is unmatched by any other conference.

111 The number of videos posted to the MWC’s web site in the first 90 days of the Mountain West Digital Network; zero were posted in the previous 90 days.

how do you go about covering 18 combined men’s and women’s sports at 10 different schools spread out across the western part of the united states? You tap into whatever resources are available. For the all-new Mountain West digital network, that meant forging relationships with the journalism departments at each of the conference’s institutions. “our goal is create a campus correspondence program where we’re going onto campuses to use college students who are trying to build their résumés to get us interviews and give them real-world experience,” explained Javan hedlund, associate commissioner in charge of communications for the Mountain West Conference. “We have a huge plan to get the campuses involved as part of the broadcasts.” it’s the ultimate win-win. The MWC has a built-in network of correspondents blanketing every campus in the conference, while the schools have the ability to provide their students with hands-on experience that isn’t available at most institutions. as a result, the Mountain West digital network isn’t just good news for teams, athletes and fans, it’s a great opportunity for everyone on an MWC campus.

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Pablo’s Return

The face of the Rapids fights for a spot in 2013

| By Chris Bianchi


fter the face of the Colorado franchise for more than a decade, Pablo Mastroeni, went down with concussion-like symptoms after the second game of the 2012 season on March 18, perhaps it wasn’t that great of a coincidence that the Rapids eventually fell into a season-defining 2-11-1 midseason funk without him in 2012. But with preseason training well underway and the season opener looming on March 2, Mastroeni is back on board and ready for the upcoming year. And the Rapids are excited about the December decision Mastroeni made to return to Commerce City for another season. The Rapids hope Mastroeni can take the form of Claudio Lopez, the veteran Argentine striker who played a key leadership role in the Rapids’ 2010 MLS Cup-winning team. The similarities, at least on the surface, are striking. Mastroeni, like Lopez was in 2010, is 36 years old.

Being out here on the soccer field is the one place that allows me to live in the present. I feel like with every week that I’ve been out here, my physical symptoms have waned, not to mention my psychological symptoms have improved greatly to where I don’t wear a helmet anymore out here.


Thomas, LarenTowicz and masTroeni To fighT for defensive midfieLd roLes

Hendry THomas The August transfer from Wigan F.C. impressed in eight games for Colorado at the end of 2012 and was signed to a long-term contract extension over the winter as a result. The Honduran international took little time to adapt to his new surroundings and the 27-year-old player looks to be a part of Pareja’s midfield for years to come. Jeff LarenTowicz The “Ginja Ninja,” as he’s known, was a key part of the Rapids’ 2010 MLS Cup-winning team and has been an MLS starter for six straight years, establishing himself as one of the team’s stalwarts. But a subpar 2012 by his lofty standards could have him looking over his shoulder during preseason. PabLo masTroeni The true veteran of the crew, the two-time World Cup participant now has to fight for a starting role and is probably the early underdog for the job as the starter, a testament to the depth team president Tim Hinchey and technical director Paul Bravo have assembled at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. But Mastroeni’s leadership will be critical to Colorado in 2012, regardless of the on-field role he plays.

26,950 | February 2013 |

it’s going to be a fierce competition this month and into next as oscar Pareja tries to figure out his defensive midfield. with only two spaces available for three established holding midfielders, it’s going to be a challenge to not only keep all three happy, but figure out the two who will start. Here’s a look at the three candidates to start at Pareja’s holding midfield role in his 4-3-3 tactical look:

– Pablo Mastroeni, October 2012


Both players were born in Argentina (Mastroeni moved to the U.S. at a young age), and both enjoyed long, successful club careers and lengthy international stints, as well. And both are highly valued for their leadership qualities. Despite not playing after March, Mastroeni was a staple on the practice fields from June through November, serving as a de facto assistant coach and tutoring the team’s younger players. Mastroeni will also be tasked with helping with the development of one of the Rapids’ prized younger players, 19-year-old Boulder native and homegrown player Shane O’Neill, who is a defensive midfielder, just like Mastroeni. There’s little doubt Mastroeni’s role on the field will be important, but the leadership that he brings could help Colorado take the next step in 2013.

MLS career minutes Pablo Mastroeni has played; sixth in league history


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THE WARRIOR: Thinks He’s Still in High School Guy Featuring Dan Fellman, writer for and producer for Mile High Sports Radio


ere’s a newsflash, guy: You ain’t what you used to be.


Now, don’t take that personally – in so many ways, you’re better. You’re more experienced, more compassionate and some might argue that you’re even a bit wiser.

Others might not argue that – especially when it comes to your participation in sports, or physical activity (in general) for that matter.

The older you get, the slower you react. It’s a fact. Studies have shown that after the late 20s, reaction times slow down, but very slowly, until people reach their early 50s (when they get much worse). That’s not to say when you hit age 29, you’re “slow,” but it is something to be aware of. Slower reaction time means a higher risk of injury in certain (most) sports.


Back in high school, you did it all. You were a three-sport letterman who could quite literally play all day. You’d wake up already in motion and shut it down only when nobody else was left to play. You’d eat what you wanted, drink what you wanted and do it all again on little to no sleep. What an awesome guy you were. Were. That’s the key word here. Now that adulthood has set in, you can’t do that any longer – not with real life adult considerations (see job, wife, kids, et al) in the mix. And to be fair, it’s not that you can’t; you could if you trained like you did back then.

Some of the most common injuries in aging athletes occur in the shoulders. Some of this is due to overuse or impact; other times, scar tissue from previous injuries wasn’t dealt with properly and slowly causes problems. Regardless, one of the biggest mistakes made in the weight room is the training of the “visible” muscles of the shoulders, and not working the interior – most commonly known as the rotator cuff. Strengthening the rotator cuff through simple, light cable exercises greatly reduces the chances for more painful shoulder injuries.

But you don’t. So, let’s not be a hero. As an old sign on the ski slope used to say, “Know your limit and ski within it.”


As we age, our joints become “stiffer.” Face it, five practices per week is significantly more training than five straight days at the office desk, therefore our joints and the muscles around them aren’t as flexible or strong. The best way to prevent injuries, particularly to the legs, is more strength conditioning and more stretching. Exercises such as light squats and lunges are great for maintaining both balance and strength for the muscle groups around the knees. Stretching should be “static” or performed with foam rollers to the quads, hamstrings, the I.T. band and calf muscles.


Let’s find out what the limit is, or even how to expand it, then go from there, Mr. High School Hero.

It could be argued that the single biggest factor in lower extremity injuries suffered by aging athletes has nothing to do with training, but rather diet. When one is overweight because of a poor diet, there’s a serious, negative trickle-down effect that takes place. Beginning with a loss of stamina, and ending with joints having to support more weight, a bigger body is typically not a better body. Eat right, get hurt less.


The Weekend Warrior is brought to you by the physicians at: The CU Sports Medicine team provides cutting-edge care for a full spectrum of activity-related injuries. Whether you’re a competitive or recreational athlete—or even a Weekend Warrior—CU Sports Medicine specializes in results-oriented programs to get you back in the game. Contact CU Sports Medicine at either of their convenient locations: Denver 2000 S. Colorado Blvd. / Colorado Center Tower One / 720.848.8200 | BoulDer 311 Mapleton Avenue / 303.441.2219 36 | February 2013 |


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Norm’s Notes An Equal Opportunity Offender

Where does rahIm moore’s pLay rank In terms of aLL-tIme bLunders? Are we counting Michael Jackson catching his hair on fire during a Pepsi commercial shoot? Either way, it’s first.

did Cu get robbed in arizona or what? There’s a time and a place to talk about gun laws. Is peyton manning damaged goods? By your definition, so too is Christie Brinkley. So it’s a dumb definition.   Can the nuggets make a push for a top-four seed in the West? They should start with getting even with the Wizards.   Would you have taken a knee? Yes, but it would have been Joe Flacco’s.   are you impressed with the rockies pr tour? I’m still waiting for their sit down with Oprah.   Why doesn’t Csu hoops get more attention? Name a Ram currently playing in the NBA.   What do the broncos need to add in the offseason? A retractable roof.   how pumped are you for pitchers and catchers to report? About like I was at the “T-Rex” groundbreaking.   Can the avs make the playoffs this year? I haven’t read the post-lockout rulebook, but I think all teams are still eligible.

should tulo have considered playing the World baseball Classic? If he did, he’s one of eight American who remembered that the event existed.

how will the loss of mike mcCoy impact the broncos? As much as the loss of Dennis Allen to the Raiders did.

Will the broncos recover from the loss to the ravens? Tee times are always the best medicine. how stoked are you that hockey is back? I dropped gloves with my neighbor to celebrate.

Will du run roughshod over the WaC? Is that their conference? Is it time to start thinking about an alternative to George karl? Are you the ad agency for Flatirons Subaru?

What was the rockies biggest offseason acquisition? Hopefully another old guy with a hot wife.

Is Gabriel Landeskog really ready for the “C”? As long as he’s more concerned about getting some W’s. 38 | February 2013 |

are you disappointed with andre Iguodala? Only if Ty Lawson recently changed his name to Andre Iguodala.


Who is your sports valentine this year? Since the day she turned 14, it’s still Anna Kournikova.



Things we LIKE about sports

Things we DON’T LIKE about sports

Home at Last Hey Denver, meet your Nuggets! After the season began on the road, George’s boys finally came home in January.

Steve Nash’s Hair Hipster meets 1950s auto mechanic meets Russian soldier. Hey, Steve-O, diggin’ the ‘do, brah.

College Football We waited until darn near mid-January to find out what we already knew – ‘Bama was the country’s best.

Gallo’s Three Ball Don’t look now Nuggets fans, but the Rooster is starting to knock down a few long balls.

Buzzer Beater Botch It’s been a month, but getting jobbed in Arizona still miffs the Buffs faithful (as it should).

King of the Month


Sure, the big man can make a mistake here or there, but his freakish athleticism is worth watching nightly.

The Broncos What a season for the orange and blue, a team that put the “mania” back in Broncomania.


Back on the Ice Better late than never, eh, hockey? A plea for Bettman and da boys: Don’t screw it up from here.

For more information on Williams’ new line, or to order products, visit | February 2013 |

Tool of the Month

Ray’s Dance

The Ravens linebacker is one of the greatest of all-time, but we won’t miss that ridiculous dance.

KFC Gameday Bucket Girl “Eight pieces of chicken. Eight hot wings. Ten bites. Gameday Bucket, Go Boom!” Yes, we hate that girl.

Over Too Soon From PFM and Coach Fox, to Champ and The Dream, the Broncos were dreadful when it mattered most.

BroNcos LINEBackEr D.J. WILLIaMs INtroDucEs a NEW LINE oF cLothINg

On Dec. 30, Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams launched – “officially” launched, that is – his own line of clothing, dubbed “Dyme Lyfe.” Williams has been designing and showcasing his goods via Twitter for more than a year now, but last month, he took the concept to the public. The company motto is simple: “Dyme Lyfe is a way of living. You being you. Never press for attention. Bond and build relationships. Enjoy the finer things in life. True and authentic inspiration.”


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@milehighsports News • Contests • Behind-the-Scenes Access • And More

Without question, Hinchey boasts a résumé that few sports executives can claim. His first position in 1991 was in the NHL, but his career has stops with the multiple professional sports leagues. With the Charlotte Bobcats, Hinchey was the executive vice president of business operations. With the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, he served as the senior vice president of corporate development and chief marketing officer. He also held positions or consulted for the Utah Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Monarchs and Knights, and worked at the World Cup in Los Angeles in 1994. Hinchey also consulted for a pair of AAA minor league baseball franchises, the Sacramento River Cats and Portland Beavers. Additionally, Hinchey served served as vice president of brand development for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in northern California. Immediately prior to being hired by the Rapids, Hinchey worked for Derby County of the English Premier League and Football League Championship.

Communication with Rapids fans, being as open and candid as possible, is one of the marks of Hinchey’s management style. “It’s one of the oldest clichés your parents will ever teach you, but honesty is always the best policy,” says Hinchey. In England, Hinchey wasn’t instantly welcomed, being an American at a 125-yearold football club. “Being transparent, and sitting down when fans weren’t happy, is important. Rather than responding with an email or even a phone call, I’d try to sit down and talk with them.”

“First and foremost, it starts with a passion,” says Hinchey, whose first sports job was as a volunteer intern with the L.A. Kings. “I’ve been committed to that (philosophy).” Hinchey believes that being passionate about his team is the key ingredient to success. And anyone who knows Hinchey, whether personally or professionally, will tell you there there’s no denying the loyalty he has to the burgundy.

Hinchey played soccer as a youngster, but as a college athlete, he was a swimmer at UC Irvine. Interestingly, his professional career in sports didn’t begin with soccer, either. But his experience overseas is what gives Hinchey a unique perspective, serving as the vice president of commercial for Derby County in the Premier League and Football League championship. “I don’t think I realized until I went over there what the world’s game is all about. It’s the passion, the loyalty and the tribal nature of the sport. I loved working in the NBA, but I said if I came back (to the States), I wanted to be in soccer.”






PhotograPhy By Don CuDney Photo | @DonCuDneyPhoto

#ONECLUB #ONEFAMILY ThE RApIds ANd ThE hINChEYs hAvE A LOT IN COMMON It’s what one might imagine as a “typical” weeknight at the home of Tim Hinchey, the president of the Colorado Rapids. There’s a familiar buzz that fills the air. In some ways, it’s similar to the hustle and bustle of Hinchey’s daily existence of running a professional sports organization. In other ways, it’s much different. The lads – seven-year old twins Aidan and Brendan, and their kid brother, five-year old Conor – are giggling as they rush from upstairs to downstairs and back again. Gabriella, 12, is trying to gather up George, the speedy family dog. And Madison is discussing her day at Cherry Creek High School, all while beginning to think about the homework that needs to get done. It’s a controlled and embraced chaos that Tim and Mia Hinchey are used to. After 18 years of marriage, the “busy-ness” of raising the rest of the Hinchey crew is still fun. “Fatherhood, by far,” says Hinchey, “has been the greatest job.” In fact, his duties as “dad” aren’t necessarily all that different from his responsibilities as club president. “The (kids) all have different personalities; they all have different interests,” he says. “So, to use a management (analogy), you have to respect all those different ideas and

opinions and voices, and still move toward the common goal, which is always for the good of the family. You’ve got to let them express themselves and follow their own passions.

Photo credit: Sarah Knight

“When you look at our (Rapids) front office, we have a lot different personalities and passions, but our common goal is for the club.” Tim says Mia is the family’s day-to-day CFO and COO. “She runs the shop,” says Tim. In total, the Hincheys have six children. Alexandria, 25, lives in San Francisco, and is looked up to by her younger siblings. When Tim spent time with Derby County of the English Football League Championship, the children came along and attended school in England. Madison, who is now a standout, two-sport athlete at Cherry Creek High School (soccer and field hockey), experienced both primary and secondary school overseas. “When the (Derby County) opportunity came, there were a lot of sleepless nights that went into the decision,” says Tim. “But no matter what, we thought, ‘We all have each other.’ So there was comfort in that.”

Now back in America, it’s tough to imagine that a busy family of eight like the Hincheys can ever be found all headed in the same direction. But there are always certain nights where that really happens – game nights. “Mia does a great job,” says Tim. “She might be more stressed than I am on game nights. The whole family loves coming.” Whether it is the business of soccer, or the business of raising a family, business is good for Tim Hinchey. And on or off the pitch, it’s business as usual.

@milehighsports | February 2013 |






Tour by Julie browman PHoToS by JaTHan CamPbell

1 – Gallo’s family visits him from Italy about once a year. He’s extremely close to his mother, Marilisa, his father, Vittorio, and his younger brother, Federico. Vittorio played professional basketball in Italy and was also a teammate of current Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni. Gallo credits his mom and dad for his down-to-earth demeanor and is grateful for their support throughout his career. While Vittorio and 15-year-old Federico went home to Italy at the start of the New Year, his mom will stay with Gallo until mid-February. 2 – Having once lived in the big cities of New York and Milan, Danilo Gallinari loves the laidback lifestyle of Denver. The city is relaxed, but Gallo’s schedule is not. With the eight-hour time difference between Colorado and Italy, you’ll find Danilo sitting at his dining room table on most mornings on the phone or Skypeing with his family or friends. After breakfast, Gallo sometimes will spend two to three hours catching up with everyone back home. 3 –Gallo may be the first athlete ever interviewed for Digs who doesn’t spend a lot of time in the living room watching television. “I actually don’t like watching it. I know in the United States you’re supposed to like it,” Gallo laughs. In the rare times he does watch TV, you’ll catch him checking out ABC’s Last Resort, Fox’s Touch or AMC’s Breaking Bad. When he’s not flipping the channels or catching up with family and friends, he’s reading a book. “The last good book I read was in Italian. It was from the Jason Bourne saga.”

44 | February 2013 |



4 – When Danilo’s family is in town, the men of the family love to play cards. In this particular game, Vittorio was winning, but usually Gallo and Federico take a few games. While Marilisa sits the card games out, she joins the family when they go out to dinner at various places, including the Italian restaurant Parisi, located in the Highlands. The family also likes to do a lot of exploring around the state. They have visited places like Red Rocks, Vail, Central City, Breckenridge and Estes Park.



@milehighsports | February 2013 |



1. Michael Jordan

“He’s my idol. My dad would talk about him all of the time. I would watch video’s of him growing up. I would ask him a lot of stuff. How did he handle his private and public life? I would also ask him what it was like to be the best athlete in any sport of all-time.”

2. Larry Bird

“He was my dad’s favorite player. I would ask him what it was like to play in Boston and win all of those championships. What did it take to do that?”


3. Angelina Jolie

“I think she can impress pretty much anyone in the world. I don’t even know what I would ask her. Many things.”


46 | February 2013 |


5 – For a single man, Gallo’s kitchen does get a fair bit of use. “When I’m by myself, I cook lunch, usually pasta with different kinds of sauces, he says.” When his mother Marilisa is in town, Gallo admits, “She cooks every time.” When mom isn’t around or he doesn’t feel like cooking, he heads out with friends or teammates. 6 – Gallo doesn’t have a lot of furnishings or decorations at his place. That’s on purpose. “It’s really about living the NBA life,” he says. “You never know what’s going to happen. You never know if you’re going to be sent someplace else. I’m used to it, though. I’ve lived on my own since I was 14 years old. “ 7 – Last season, Gallo lived in the Glasshouse, a popular spot for professional athletes. He decided to make the move to his current downtown digs after talking to teammate Timofey Mozgov. Although he misses the walking lifestyle of European cities and New York City, he does like walking on the 16th Street Mall. “It’s nice here because people are very polite,” he says. “When I was living in New York, I would be walking in Central Park or wherever with my friends and family and people would constantly approach me.” While he doesn’t mind talking with fans, he appreciates how courteous Nugget fans are with him. “The pace is slower, but I love it here.” He also likes that his building has a pool area, a workout room and a theater space. All positives when his family stays with him for their yearly visit.

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Age: 23 Occupation: Financial associate/ professional sports dancer Favorite Team: Denver Nuggets Favorite Athlete: Andre Iguodala THE QUESTION

Why are all baseball fields alloWed to be different dimensions, While the field of play in any other major sport has to be the same size?

THE ANSWER that, miranda, is the very reason i love the great game of baseball – variety. ¶ but it is an interesting question. after all, the basic dimensions of other sports are always the same (a basketball court is always a rectangle; a football field is always 100-yards long with 10-yard end zones). Why is baseball so inconsistent? ¶ let me start by reminding you the most important dimensions – the distance between the pitchers mound and home plate, and the distance between the bases – never vary. those are the constants. ¶ but think about this: of all the major sports (and by major, i don’t mean golf), baseball takes up the most land. as such, many fields and stadiums are dictated by availability. in other words, baseball has always adapted to its surroundings. a modern field like Coors field, is certainly “different,” but it doesn’t tell the entire story of why baseball fields aren’t the same. ¶ as chronicled in the documentary Baseball, by Ken burns, most fields were an adaptation of their surroundings. for example, the dimensions of a field in an oklahoma pasture would be greatly different from the ones found in the middle of new york City. the sprawling plains didn’t contain the dimensions, while urban parks were designed around streets and buildings, or even a piece of grass that was used for other sports. ¶ take the famed polo Grounds in upper manhattan, for example. the dimensions were based on piece of ground that had been used for the sport of polo. long and narrow, the centerfield wall measured a whopping 483 feet, while the fence in left was a measly 279-foot pop up. a modern day example is fenway park. triangularly wedged between lansdowne street and yawkey Way, leftfield simply had to be close (310 feet from home). to make going deep in left more challenging, engineers constructed the Green monster, a 37-foot high wall (the “tallest” in baseball) that has become the stadium’s signature element. ¶ so, the long and short of it (literally), is that so long as there’s adequate room for the proper space between the bases, baseball says, “play ball” anywhere and everywhere. - Ted Yhedri, MHSM senior editor

Photo by Jathan Campbell

@jathancphoto for more images of miranda, log on to

48 | February 2013 |


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THE EXPERIENCE: Reunion with Italy 10th Mountain Division vet Earl Cark meets the Ferrari FF | by Doug Ottewill


t’s been nearly seven decades since Littleton’s Earl Clark first visited Riva Ridge in Italy’s Apennine Mountains. Clark was deployed there in 1945 as a member of the famed 10th Mountain Division, a U.S. military unit that ultimately took German soldiers by surprise after ascending 2,000 feet of rock in the snow at night during World War II.

Clark still remembers. He’s been back there plenty of times since that first mission. And from time to time, he visits the place where it all began – Camp Hale, in Colorado. Just two-and-a-half hours from Clark’s current high-rise urban residence, Camp Hale sits quietly and relatively uninhabited. That wasn’t the case when he and his 10th Mountain comrades lived there; after all, the military training base located south of Minturn, Colo., was once the fourth-most densely populated place in the state. “Training at Camp Hale made Riva Ridge seem not too bad,” said Clark, staring out across the valley where Camp Hale once was. “We were training at 9,200 feet above sea level. Riva Ridge was just 5,000 feet.” An idea was hatched – oh, about a month ago – that Clark should be reunited once again with his past. Chris Anthony, a skier and filmmaker, wanted to do this. Men like Clark are the subjects of Anthony’s latest project,

a movie celebrating the 10th Mountain Division and its impact on Colorado as we know it. History can be learned, and better appreciated, when hearing it from those who were there; Anthony understood this. While Anthony could not bring Clark to Italy, he could bring a piece of Italy to Clark. And in that, he could bring Clark up to Camp Hale.


here are approximately 35 miles between Riva Ridge and Marranello, an Italian city that’s known to most as the “Home of Ferrari.” And there are only nine years that separate the age of Marranello’s most famous car manufacturer and Clark, who wears “93” extremely well. Established in 1929, Ferrari is equally strong and graceful. What better mode of travel for escorting Clark to Camp Hale than in one of Marranello’s finest?

Perhaps in the summer, when Camp Hale’s meadows are filled with green grass and wildflowers, when the 10th Mountain Division Memorial Highway – a twisting, turning gauntlet that angrily departs the tiny town of Minturn – is clean and dry. Ferraris, at least the ones Clark may have spotted from time to time in Italy, are luxurious race cars. They’re not meant for the snow and ice that can pile up around Camp Hale in the dead of winter. Unless, of course, it’s the Ferrari FF, the first four-wheel drive production Ferrari ever made. A fitting car for a frigid journey.

Chris Anthony rides the lift with Dick Dirkes, who, at the age of 88, still skis 90 days each year.

50 | February 2013 |



o, the trip goes something like this: Anthony picks up car. Car picks up Clark. All three wind up in the streets of Vail, ready for two days of reuniting and connecting the present to the past.

Anthony arranges for Clark to meet up with another 10th Mountain Division vet – Dick Dirkes – and the two of them will ride up the gondola to the top of a Vail run that’s been aptly named, “Riva Ridge.” Alongside Anthony, and leading a group of youngsters, Dirkes skis the run masterfully. He’s 88, but regularly skis somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 days each winter. In 1942, skiing was his job; today, it’s his passion. After the run, Dirkes and Clark grab lunch at The 10th – a restaurant named in honor of their service. They share stories and laughs. And kids – hordes of them brought in by Anthony – get to meet two men who have made their leisurely day on the slopes possible. After lunch, Anthony loads Clark back into the Ferrari. They head west toward the Minturn exit, then south toward Camp Hale. The ice and snow are familiar to Clark, who beams at the site of his old residence in its most natural state. But the elements serve as no challenge for the FF, which gobbles up the road as it zips through temperatures somewhere south of zero. It’s as if both car and man are home at last.

Earl Clark gets a tour of the locker room inside Vail’s 10th Restaurant.

Anthony and Clark pull the FF up to Vail’s famous Sonnenalp Hotel for a night of food, wine and stories.

Inside the 10th Restaurant, coat hooks with the 10th Mountain Division logo dress the wood walls.

The FF slices – then dices – the frozen terrain near Ski Cooper.

If you had a $400,000 Italian-made sled, would you test it in Colorado’s harshest conditions? Chris Anthony would.

Want to watch the video? Log onto, search “Ferrari FF” and see the grin on Earl Clark’s face.

@milehighsports | February 2013 |



52 | February 2013 |




COMPETITOR One Of COlOrAdO’S greATeST AThleTeS wOund up in OuTer SpACe


SCOTT CARPENTER Interview by Woody Paige; Foreword by Doug Ottewill


his magazine is devoted to athletes, their accomplishments and the celebration of those accomplishments.

selected for NASA’s Project Mercury, most people have called him something else – an astronaut.

When Woody Paige referred to Scott Carpenter as a “great athlete,” the 87-year-old living legend was surprised. After all, it’s not a moniker he’s used to hearing about himself.

In fact, Carpenter was one of the original astronauts. As a member of the Mercury Seven, he became a member of an ultraexclusive group, a collection of real-life superheroes who were deemed to have “the right stuff.”

Carpenter was an athlete; he was a fine wrestler at Boulder High School and even the Navy. But in the half-century that has passed since Carpenter was

During his time with NASA, Carpenter joined other small fraternities. He became the fourth American in outer space, and only the second man behind

John Glenn to orbit the earth. And he even earned the title of “aquanaut,” a distinction that came with spending 30 days beneath the sea. To this day, he’s the only astronaut-aquanaut. It’s unlikely that the history books will recount Carpenter’s achievements on the wrestling mat. It’s improbable that the results of his matches can even be found. Then again, wins and losses are but a small byproduct of being a competitor. What happens between the lines often pales in comparison to what eventually takes place beyond them.

Carpenter’s official NASA portrait, Oct. 22, 1964

@milehighsports | February 2013 |


PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA On May 24, 1962, astronaut M. Scott Carpenter looks into his Mercury-Atlas 7 spacecraft, the “Aurora 7,” before launch. (Photo Courtesy of NASA)

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I consider you, along with Whizzer White, as one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Colorado. People tend not to think of astronauts as athletes, but I think what you’ve accomplished in your life makes you one of the best in the world. I discovered that you were a great wrestler in the Navy. When you were at Boulder High School in the 1940s, was that the sport you concentrated on? No. Not really. We were all indoctrinated in a lot of sports. Wrestling and boxing were just two. I liked wrestling a lot better than boxing. I remember thinking at that time that wrestling was a pure demonstration of strength, which I was interested in, while boxing was just hitting somebody or getting hit, which didn’t appeal to me. But a demonstration of strength was okay, so I chose wrestling. I did that in the Navy, as well, during pre-flight training. I saw that you won a competition. Did you wrestle throughout the time you were in the Navy? No. I wrestled, and tumbled, in pre-flight training. But I never did it past that point. I had enough, I guess. Were there any other sports you played in high school? If you want to write about my athleticism, you can write about this little enigma: I look back at my life and I’m sort of surprised that I was never interested in team sports. I didn’t play football or basketball. Occasionally, I played baseball. But I wasn’t in any of those sports in high school. I played a little tennis then, as I did in college and later on. But I didn’t do anything in team sports. I did some tumbling. I tried out for track, but I wasn’t any good in it. I tried pole vaulting, which I really liked, but I wasn’t any good, so I gave it up. I skied in high school, and played some tennis, but that’s about all. As a youngster, you liked to rock climb. It seems like maybe you concentrated 54 | February 2013 |

on individual sports rather than team sports. That’s exactly right. I didn’t realize that until I was much older, but I seemed to gravitate toward individual sports. And I still do to this day. Archery was another thing I did in high school that I carried on for a long time through my life. I made a lot of bows and arrows, and I really liked that for a sport. I did a little gymnastics, but mostly tumbling. I didn’t do anything great on the rings or the high bar. But I highly respect gymnasts. You lived not very far from the University of Colorado. Did you ever go over and watch football or basketball games? I was interested in football, but not baseball or basketball. Football was my favorite spectator sport in high school. To this day, it rates high. Even in that realm, I prefer watching individual sports. Tennis, skiing and gymnastics are still my favorites. I read in your bestselling book, For Spacious Skies, that shortly after you made your historic flight you were invited to come to Vail and open the new ski trail. That led to you spending a lot of your later life in Vail, correct? That’s true, except for opening the new trail. We skied in the back bowls, but we didn’t open them up. We skied in new places, but I was given guidance from the experts. We skied in the back bowls that weren’t available to the general public. We just skied a mountain that hadn’t been a part of the Vail scene. I read that when you were in training for Mercury you asked if you could go skiing. That was in New Mexico. I’ve forgotten the name of the ski area, but we did ski there when I was with NASA. We were there for physical exams. Did NASA ever say that they didn’t want you skiing? No, that didn’t happen. Nobody told me that I couldn’t ski. In my opinion, you joined what is perhaps the greatest team in the history of the United States – the original Mercury Seven. So while you may be more interested in individual sports, you were on the best team in the world. You had to work closely with the other astronauts. Yes, we were a team and worked together in our profession, (but) we were still individual athletes at the time. We were never members of a team of athletes. Even when we were water skiing, which was individual, we competed with each other. The sports we engaged in when we were at NASA were still individual competitions.


You did have a competitive nature. During all of the tests that you had to undergo, in many cases, you exceeded everyone else. It was said at the time that perhaps your background in Colorado helped in those rigorous tests. You set records all the time. I did excel in a lot of those things. I don’t know if it had to do with being born and raised in Colorado. I think it was more of a genetic inheritance. But I did okay in athletic pursuits. You moved from New York to Colorado because your mother was ill with tuberculosis. Your grandfather really helped you in terms of learning about wildlife and what growing up in the West was about. Did he help prepare you for later life? Yes. He was my role model, my father figure and the most influential adult male in my entire life. He was a great man. I had no father at that time; he was gone. My parents were split, so I didn’t have a father at home. But I lived with my grandfather, and I think of him as the best father figure anybody could ever want. I was lucky. I wasn’t deprived of a father; I had a marvelous father figure at home in my maternal grandfather. You’ve often said that you were very fortunate. Is it true that at the time you were in Boulder, a base was built nearby and that spurred your interest in becoming a pilot? No. I don’t remember that. But I was always fascinated by airplanes. I looked at the Army Air Corps, but I chose to fly with the Navy. The reason I wanted to fly was the same reason a lot of many at the time; I was driven by a need to fly in the war and shoot down Japanese airplanes. My father joined the Navy in 1941, but they kicked him out because they found out his was 15 years old and had diabetes. But he had the same dream you did; he wanted to fly in the Pacific. He regretted for the rest of his life that he wasn’t able to serve. That was my purpose. And it was the purpose of many. Because the Navy sent you to college, however, you were never able to do that. By the time you got finished, the war had ended, correct? They sent me to college because the flight schools were all busy. A lot of boys my age wanted to fly and they had filled up the schools, so they sent me to college for a year to let the flight schools get less crowded. All I got was eight hours of flight time before the bomb was dropped. The flight schools were closed, so I went back to college. But I reentered the Navy,

still having a need to fly. The war was over, but I was still fascinated by airplanes. Not only were you one of the first astronauts, but you were also an aquanaut. You were the only member of the Mercury team to also go into inner space, spending 30 days on the floor of the ocean. Since you’re perhaps the only person in the history of the world to do both of those things, do you consider that one of the major achievements of your life? Yes, sir. The thing that drove me to do that was simply curiosity. I was curious about the ocean. And I was also afraid of it. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity and assuage my fear, and that worked. That was a marvelous period in my life. Which was more difficult for you – spending that much time in the water or going into outer space? There’s a lot more physical work to be done in the ocean. Everything is pretty easy in space; you’re in a weightless state. There are some difficulties with living and working there, but underwater is harder work. There was a story that an article in Life magazine about a new government agency called NASA is what piqued your interest in becoming an astronaut. You had been a test pilot and been in the Navy for a long time. Was that story really the first you heard about the search for astronauts? I was dedicated to flying, and flying brand new and fast airplanes. That’s a test pilot’s job. Flying for NASA in the space orbiting craft was the culmination of every flyer’s dream. To fly that fast, that high and that long was the top job in the opinion of aviators from that day. During the press conference introducing the Mercury Seven, you used the word curiosity. You mentioned it earlier in this interview, as well. When did you realize that what you and the other astronauts were going to do was something that nobody had ever thought possible? What was going through your mind at that time? I was overjoyed to be a part of that group and given the chance. It was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life at that point. Is it true that you found out that you were selected by getting a letter in the mail? Well, I suppose. I got secret orders to go to Washington. I was told not to speculate or discuss with anyone the reason. I went there along with a bunch of other guys; we were briefed on why we were being called there and asked to volunteer. I thought it looked very

@milehighsports | February 2013 |


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attractive. I was happy to be selected to try out for the job. There were a couple hundred people who were originally chosen. Is that when your competitive juices started flowing, when you realized that you wanted to be one of the men chosen? I was a competitive person before I ever got to NASA. I competed with other people in flight training; it’s a competitive business. You try to do everything better than anybody else. That was just part of my life. Even before I got to the Navy, I was competitive. Once the seven of you were chosen, what was it like among the group? You were a team, but you each wanted individually to be selected for missions. Was it a competitive situation? We were a team, but each of us had some disappointment when we were selected for the next flight, especially the first flight. But we were a team and we were bonded. At times, we were like The Three Musketeers; we were one for all and all for one. We were highly competitive, but when one of us was chosen to fly, we all got behind him and helped him do his job. You were the backup on the first two flights, correct? John (Glenn) was the backup for the first two flights – (Alan) Shepard and (Gus) Grissom. They were ballistic flights – up 150 miles and back down range in 500 miles. He got the first orbital flight and I was his backup. You said the most famous words until manstepped on the moon. You uttered some-thing that will be remembered forever. That’s the way it worked out. It occurred to me in the blockhouse during the countdown for John. Shepard and Grissom were waiting for launch in a small rocket that didn’t have a lot of

a minor heart ailment and couldn’t go. You were the backup, so you were chosen. At that point, what were your feelings about being the next man to orbit the earth? I felt sorry for Deke, that he had lost flight. But I was mighty pleased about getting to go. You had an incredible experience. There were some mechanical difficulties, but you pulled it through and managed to complete the mission. There’s always a loss of communications on reentry; I expected that. But there was also a loss of communications after I landed because I had overshot and was out of range for awhile when I was in the ocean. But there was a radio beacon on my spacecraft and they followed that signal to me. There I was, right there waiting for them. Do you know what happened to that spacecraft? Is it somewhere on display in the world? The last I heard it was at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Have you ever thought about revisiting it? I went back a couple of years ago and looked at it. I revisited my old friend, patted it on its shoulder and enjoyed the reunion. When you look at it now, what goes through do your mind? That machine and I went through a lot together. In that machine, I had a great experience. And I feel very fortunate to have had it. I played golf with Alan Shepard in Vail. It was a competitive race between the two of us to see who was the worst golfer. He was probably the best golfer in our group, though. There were a number who didn’t play at all. I played some golf, but I wasn’t as good as Al. He was

SO aS a gOOdbyE and aS a PRayER and a bOn vOyagE, I SaId, “gOdSPEEd, JOhn glEnn.” hE gOT ThE SPEEd and hE MadE a gREaT flIghT. - Scott Carpenter fuel. John needed a lot more speed to accomplish his goal, which was to orbit. Fuel means speed. It occurred to me that what John needed out of his extra load of fuel was speed. So as a goodbye and as a prayer and a bon voyage, I said, “Godspeed, John Glenn.” He got the speed and he made a great flight. On the next flight, Deke Slayton was originally scheduled to go, but he had 56 | February 2013 |

clearly the golf champion among the Mercury astronauts. There are only two of you remaining. Given the achievements of that group and the historic value of what you were able to accomplish, does it sadden you to think that only you and John Glenn are still here? We represent only 2/7ths of the original group, but we all had a marvelous experience in flight.


LIVE WITH LISA SATURDAY 9:00 TO 10:00 AM. PHOTO COURTESY OF NASA NASA introduced the Project Mercury astronauts to the world on April 9, 1959, just six months after the agency was established. They were known as the “Mercury Seven” or the “Original Seven.” (Front row, left to right: Walter H. “Wally” Schirra, Jr., Donald K. “Deke” Slayton, John H. Glenn, Jr., and Scott Carpenter | Back row, left to right: Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, and L. Gordon Cooper).

Do you feel like it’s important that you continue to pass along the story to next generations about what it was like in 1959 and the early ’60s when the first efforts were being made to put Americans in outer space? You’ve been carrying on the legacy for a long time. How important is to you that young people know how we got to where we are today? I think astronauts are great role models; there are just more of us now than there were then. We’ve become a little complacent, however, which has lessened our interest in more space flight. But we’ll get our purpose and resolve back. We were kept in business by competition with the Soviets. We lost our competition, but we’ll get it back with the Chinese. That may help us get back more purpose for space flight. We’re still competing to see who can get to Mars first. You named your spacecraft “Aurora 7.” That’s the Roman goddess of dawn. But you also lived at the corner of Aurora and Seventh in Boulder. Was that also a reason for the name? I never even thought of that. The idea was brought up by a writer at the Boulder Daily Camera. I really did it because I saw all of those flights as celestial events. I named it because of the Northern Lights, another celestial event; that’s where Aurora came from. Al Shepard’s capsule was the seventh one off the line, so he called it “Freedom 7.” Everybody thought he did that to honor the seven astronauts. But because some mistake somewhere saying that Al did it to honor the other six astronauts, all of us felt that we had to have “7” in the name.

You hurt your arm when you went to the bottom of the ocean and weren’t able to get the strength back. As a result, you weren’t able to make another flight. Is that accurate? I broke my arm and it never really did recover. I was seen unfit for flight. But by that time, I had become fascinated by the opportunity to explore the ocean and satisfy my curiosity that way. I had another marvelous experience. Do you regret that you were unable to be among the men who went to the moon? Oh, sure. I regret not having another flight. But I had a very good trade, getting to spend 30 days under the ocean. Here in Denver, there’s a middle school named after you. There’s also a swimming pool that’s named for you. I assumed there’d be a ski trail or a wrestling gym named for you, not a swimming pool. It just didn’t happen that way. Maybe we can still make it happen. Has Colorado always remained close to heart? Oh, sure. We still have a home in Vail. We’re snowbirds. We spend the summer in Colorado, but when the snow starts to fly, we head down to Florida. You have written books. You have made hundreds of speeches. You’ve done so many things in your life, more than most people would ever dream about. Are there any curiosities left for Scott Carpenter in terms of something you’d like to do that you haven’t done? I need curiosity every day.

@milehighsports | February 2013 |





Where have all the jump shooters gone? By Pencils Robinson

One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car Creaking along the highway to the west. I lost my land, a Single tractor took my land. I am alone and bewildered. But you can’t start over Only a boy can start over You and me Why, we’re all that’s been. – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, a saga of the Dust Bowl

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inking the Dust Bowl to the jump shot in high school basketball requires a circuitous route. Thus, this tale of a legendary Colorado athlete and his devotion to the art of shooting a basketball begins in southeast Nebraska and meanders to the eastern plains of Colorado, then on to Boulder and the San Luis Valley, with a final stop in Lakewood. In 1934, John and Evelyn Lewis left Beatrice, Neb., and bought 4,000 acres of wheat land outside of Burlington, Colo. By 1939, the Dust Bowl had left them with nothing but Evelyn’s teaching degree from the University of Kansas and John’s skills as a carpenter, mechanic and referee. Their youngest of three sons, Duane, had a basketball. That first of many smooth rubber balls wasn’t much, but it would be Duane’s ticket out of Burlington, onto an amazing coaching career and, ultimately, the title of “Shot Doctor.” “There was nothing else to do but play sports,” Duane, now 70 and living in Lakewood with his wife of 35 years, Char, recalls. “We didn’t have any money. We lived in a basement, but there was no house above the basement. My parents couldn’t afford to finish it. Ironically, we lived next to the richest guy in town, Sim Hudson, who owned the Cadillac-Chevrolet dealership.” Duane played football in the fall, and baseball and softball in the spring and summer, with the neighborhood kids like Ron “Philly” Phillips and Bill Farnsworth. And while he excelled at the other sports (he earned 14 letters for the Burlington Cougars, four each in the “majors” and two in track), basketball was his passion and the one game he could play for endless hours year-round, long after “Philly” and Bill had gone home to supper. Of course, Duane had more than one basketball throughout his childhood. He wore them smooth, endlessly slapping them on the dirt and gravel in the alley behind that basement house in “Burville,” where John had affixed a hoop and backboard to a telephone pole. By the time Duane was 12, the family had moved into a bigger house across town, one made available by the death of his grandparents. A few years earlier, the Lewis’ oldest son, Russell, had died in a truck accident in which middle son, Dean, eight years

older than Duane, had suffered a broken wrist. Dean wasn’t as crazy as Duane about sports, although he was a starter on the 1952 Burlington basketball team that lost to Edgewater in the Class B state finals. The alley court was gone by this time, so Duane played anywhere in town that had a good hoop with a net – had to have a net. Nobody could shoot three or four hours a day on a hoop that didn’t provide the positive reinforcement of that soul-satisfying “snick” every time a perfect shot found nothing but the bottom of the cords. There was a good court at the Hendrick’s Mortuary, but there was still a lot of wasted time in a 24-hour day. So Duane went to the city and convinced them to put up lights on the tennis courts. He wore out a lot of Voit balls on those tennis courts. When Duane wasn’t shooting, he traveled the eastern plains with John on officiating trips, still vivid in his mind 60 years later. “I’d tag along with Dad’s football and basketball crews,” Duane recalls. “With coolers and equipment, there wasn’t much room in Dad’s ’41 Chevy, so they’d stuff me on the shelf under the rear window. There were still lots of dust storms in eastern Colorado after the Dust Bowl. People wedged wet towels under their doors; sometimes, they called off school because of dust storms. Dirt hung in the cloth uphostery of cars. I still remember that smell in the Merc.” The car was such a total wreck that Duane wouldn’t take it on dates because he was too ashamed of it. John gave up officiating when Duane started playing in high school. He and Evelyn would go to the Burlington gym two hours early to get seats when the Cougars played rival Limon. All the hours Duane spent shooting a basketball in the gravel alley behind the basement house, at the Hendrick’s Mortuary court and under the lights at the Burlington tennis courts paid off when Duane earned a starting spot on the Cougars varsity as a freshman. He started for four years, averaging 20.2 points per game (29 in his senior year with four games of 40 points or more). His career field goal accuracy was 64 percent. As uncommon then as it is today for a small-school athlete (Burlington’s four-year enrollment was 181) to draw the attention of the University of Colorado, CU

There was noThing eLse To do buT pLay sporTs. - duane Lewis

Photo by Jathan CamPbell Today, Lewis serves on the CHSAA 5A Boys Basketball Selection Committee, and still teaches thousands of young players to shoot.

offered Duane a half-basketball, half-baseball scholarship. In 1960, he headed to Boulder to play for Sox Walseth. Evelyn kept a scrapbook for every season of every sport that Duane played and coached, until her death in 1994 at 86. The scrapbooks that began with the 1956 football season at Burlington – Duane was a 5-7, 125-pound freshman kick returner running for his life – included three years of University of Colorado basketball and a 32-year basketball and golf coaching career at Alamosa and Alameda high schools. His Mean Moose and Pirate basketball teams – playing with small enrollments in the top classification in 20 of 24 seasons – went 328-177 for a .650 winning percentage. His undersized 1969-70 Alamosa five lost a 90-85 decision

in the state quarterfinals to Mike Frink (a teammate of Duane’s at CU) and his Wheat Ridge Farmers, a team that featured high school All-Americans in 6-foot-4 Dave Logan and 6-foot-6 Jeff Fosnes, fed by all-stater Steve Cribari. The Mean Moose’s full-court press was spearheaded by the diminutive 5-foot-6 Jimmy Johnson and 5-foot-10 Joe Quintana, while 6-foot-1 forward Steve Sheeley scored 30 points against Logan before fouling out with three minutes left. Gary Perko, Alamosa’s 6-4 center, had 17 against the Farmers. Perko, the girls’ basketball coach at Windsor High School for the past five years, coaches 6-0 senior Korbyn Ukasick, one of the Shot Doctor’s most ardent disciples. Ukasick set the Global Shot Doctor record for shots last year, taking

@milehighsports | February 2013 |








YOUR CHORES MAID EASY or call 720.903.5221

There were STill loTS of duST STormS in eaSTern Colorado afTer The duST Bowl. PeoPle wedged weT TowelS under Their doorS; SomeTimeS, They Called off SChool BeCauSe of duST STormS. - duane lewiS 500 a day for 500 days (that’s a quarter of a million shots). “Any time you went to Alamosa, you knew you were at a disadvantage,” said Hal Wiebers, who now serves as chairman of the CHSAA 5A Boys Basketball Selection Committee, and who coached Crowley County from 1969 to ‘74, and Cańon City from 1974 to ‘89. “Duane was not Duane was not only a great coach but a great promoter. He always packed the gym. But it was fun to coach against him because of the atmosphere, because of the excellent basketball. “In the late ’70s, Cańon City became part of the Southern League, a highly competitive group that also included Lamar, Pueblo County, Trinidad and La Junta. Duane and I had a particularly intense rivaly. We broke his 44-game home winning streak in 1976. But as intense as Duane was when competing, he put it aside away from the court. We became great friends.” Moving to Alameda in 1976, Duane resuscitated the perennial Jeffco doormat program, packing the 4,000-seat gym (a 35-game home winning streak from 1979 to 1982) and leading Alameda to the Final Four in 1982 and 1985, and the consolation title in 1981.


o how did Duane Lewis, high basketball star and coach, become the Shot Doctor? He admits that when he became the head coach at Alamosa in 1967, he didn’t know a damn thing about coaching. After his first team went 4-15, he resolved he wasn’t going to keep losing. He started attending the Clinic of Champions run by Walt Shublom in Kansas City, where he heard such speakers as Bobby Knight and DeMatha legend Morgan Wooten. Only coaches who had won state championships were allowed to speak. Shublom, who had coached Lucius

60 | February 2013 |

As a young boy, Lewis shot on the dusty courts of Burlington; after college he became a successful coach.

Allen, had a 15-year record at K.C. Wyandotte of 296-26 along with 10 state championships. Duane listened. He was also coaching golf at Alamosa, and it was a golf instructional book by Bob Toski, The Touch System for Better Golf, that broke down the swing in reverse – from finish to start – that got Duane to thinking about the similarities between the mechanics of swinging a golf club and of the basketball shot. This led to the establishment of the Global Shot Doctor in 1981 (along with Green Mountain coach Paul Davis until his death in 1984), which has taught 1,000 kids per year for the past 30 years


Photos courtesy of Duane Lewis

THE SHOT DOCTOR’S TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SHOOTING 1. Shooting hand – ball on outside ¼ of thumb 2. Balance hand – thumb points to ear 3. Shooting foot – points to middle of rim 4. Ball over elbow; elbow over shooting foot 5. Bicep, forearm and wrist all bend to form a “U” 6. Watch rim until ball hits it 7. Back spin – feel ball roll off fingertips 8. Elbow – higher than eye 9. Palm over toes – fingers at rim 10. Balance hand off ball, just before release

AwArd g n winniAst

f BreAk ritos

Bur dAy! L L A d e


CHSAA HALL OF FAME On Jan. 23, Duane Lewis was inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame along with another pretty fair shooter named Chauncey Billups.

The Class of 2012

how to shoot a basketball. Of course, Duane’s own teams benefited from his passion for shooting. His 1978-79 Alameda team, which averaged 84 points per game, was typical of his highly accurate squads. At Shot Doctor camps and team sessions throughout the world, Duane has preached the gospel of the follow-through and back spin to generations of aspiring hoopsters. The next time you attend a high school basketball game in Colorado and you see that now all-too-rare kid with a perfect jump shot, you just might be watching a patient of the Shot Doctor.

• Duane Lewis, Burlington athlete (basketball, baseball, football, track) • Chauncey Billups, George Washington basketball player • Rhonda Blanford-Green, Aurora Central hurdler, CHSAA administrator, new Commisisoner of the Nebraska High School Activities Association • Jim Dorsey, Sheridan administrator and basketball official • Pam Fagerlund, Flager volleyball coach • Frank Palmeri, Jeffco and State P.A. announcer • Joe Strain, DPS football, basketball and baseball coach

ODDS AND ENDS FROM THE SHOT DOCTOR FILE Duane Lewis… … coached 19 All-State players. … coached one high school All-American and two honorable mention All-Americans. … coached a 1981 Alameda team that shot 66 percent while beating Smoky Hill in the state quarterfinals.

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never hit a triple. Ever. Despite playing in hundreds of games, and having thousands of at-bats across 20 years of playing baseball, never once did I get to third base out of the box. Home runs? Well, I hit one over a fence. It was off this cocky kid named “Buckwheat” in a summer league game between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. Buckwheat knew me, and I knew Buckwheat. He was a friend, but a cocky ass. I knew he was going to try and blow me away with a fastball. He tried, and I smoked it over the rightfield fence about 320 right down the line. I literally laughed all around the bases. That was it; that was my one home run. But, I did hit one. It was a total, meaningless joke. Doubles were never a problem, and hell, singles, I got my Ph.D. in singles. I loved hitting more than life itself, not only as a kid, but as an adult in leagues that were celebrated with parking lot beers and pulled hamstrings. But, geez, in all that time, you would think I would hit one lousy triple. Well, I came damn close and that remains my defining moment of high school. In 675 major league plate appearances, Eric Young, Jr., has six triples. He only has five home runs. Triples come easier for somebody with a rare combination of power, speed and huge balls. “When I get to third, it’s more a feeling of relief than anything,” EY, Jr. told me. “Think about the worst moment you’ve ever had on a field and then double that. That is what it feels like to be thrown out at third. Yea, relief when you’re safe.”

Let’s face it, EY, Jr. is right. Why ever go for three? Hey, man, you’ve already done it. You hit a friggin’ double with ease. You are already in scoring position. You’ve done more than most. Stay safe, baby. Why take the chance? “I can actually hear people in the stands yellin’ ‘GO FOR IT!’” laughs EY, Jr. “I can hear teammates screamin’ at me. Then I get to second, and my eyes get wide and you just turn on the jets. I guess you just wanna’ make something happen.” He went on to tell me that he vividly remembers his first triple as a big leaguer; it came against the Dodgers. He could recount the feeling of the bat off the ball. He remembers what he was thinking on the base paths. He was excited in recalling how he knew he had done something positive for the team. But then, he told me something else. I asked him, when you close your eyes and think of one specific memory, what comes to mind? EY, Jr. paused, took his time and reflectively said that he has a moment like that. For him, that moment was in high school when he took the pitcher deep to win a playoff game. His moment when he could still feel the bat hitting the ball went back to high school. Why, I asked him, do these memories stay so clear with us all these years later? “Man, it’s because success is going three for 10.” Why play a sport that is so predicated on failure? Why set yourself up over and over again to not come through. Why ever take that chance? Why go for third?

John Torrey wasn’t the biggest kid in the world. He lacked a significant amount of confidence for somebody who was an absolute assassin on the mound. I knew John for years and never understood why he was so down on himself. He was an all-star pitcher for our archrivals, Hamilton-Wenham. Growing up in a small town, you played baseball your whole life against other kids from small towns. Buckwheat was kind of an a$$hole from Essex; John was one of the sweetest kids you would ever know. We all became close because every spring break a huge contingent of kids from the North Shore of Massachusetts would journey down to Florida for spring training. Man, we thought we were hot sh*t. Loading up on the plane with all of our baseball gear and pasty white skin, a crew of Red Sox inspired Chowderheads headed south to rip it up in Fort Lauderdale. For a baseball nut like myself, it was pure heaven.

Training in the early morning, a mid-morning game, lunch, an afternoon game, dinner, and a night game. Awesome. Never mind the youthful hijinks of Billy Gillespie showing us all how eating beans, rolling over like a crab, hitting a lighter and blowing gas could display the ultimate blue flame. Life was sweet. John and I became good friends. We had played against each other over the years, both with varying degrees of success. Our senior year of high school, however, couldn’t have played out more differently. John’s team wasn’t expected to do much and they absolutely ripped through the competition, to not only become the best team in our league, but one of the best teams in the state. We, on the other hand, were favored to win our league, but we simply fell apart. The springtime of senior year brings much doubt and apprehension for so many kids. I knew what I was doing and where I was going, but the same couldn’t

@milehighsports | February 2013 |


be said for anybody else on our seniorpacked team. At the time, I was pissed. These guys were my brothers for years and years on the baseball field. How could they lack so much focus? How could they show so little effort? Most of the fellas played football, but it was as if the rigors of that season had eroded any sense of desperation and desire for baseball. Now, I have more sympathy for Jon Bruhm, Eddie Hobbs, Travis Doty, Mark Chase, John Linehan and Todd Smith.

In small towns, the pressure of high school sports seems bizarrely inflated. The entire town would come out for a game. We were the front page news. For baseball games, it was the competitive and social center of our tiny universe. When we played Hamilton-Wenham, all those factors were doubled. Hundreds of people sat in the stands and filled up the parking lot at worn down Bialeck Field. Pick-up trucks backed into front row seats with lawn chairs and coolers filled with hidden beers. Kids threw baseballs

I was the only one out of this group of seniors who even had a solid plan for college. Baseball meant everything to me because, to a small degree, my life was still going down a steady path. For most of these guys, the end of high school was the end of the only structure and solid plan that they knew. You would think being 17 or 18 and just playing baseball would be a release, but for many high school seniors who are just weeks away from joining an unpredictable work force and future, baseball seems juvenile and foolish. None of us were going to live out our big league dreams. For all of us, this was it. I cared, but most didn’t. I thought it was selfish at the time, now I see the truth. High school is both the end and the beginning. For most athletes, it is the final time you will ever play a meaningful game. Life is littered with rec league games that really mean nothing. Sure, sports are fun to play. Competition breeds exhilaration whether you are seven or 70. But when do games matter? When do they mean something that will stick with you the rest of your life? When will you have that moment that when you close your eyes, you will remember forever? Some will play in college. The lucky, rare few will play as a pro. For me, the last moment of my meaningful competitive life came as a 17-year-old ballplayer, as I stepped into the batter’s box to face a good friend.

in the adjacent Little League field and playground, while alums of both towns sauntered by in their nametag overalls regaling those around with tales of their glory days. Lenny Woodman – whose family made their money in fishing and shellfish, but whose passion existed purely in baseball – would be there, a proud papa as it was he that organized all those spring training trips for the regions most dedicated of baseball souls. He was the godfather of high school baseball and his mere presence validated the game. Despite a horrific season on our part, the records truly didn’t matter when you were facing the team you hated. If we would go winless all year (and we came damn close), but could beat Hamilton-Wenham, the season wouldn’t be a success, but it would mean everything. In high school, you only play seven innings, so it all came down to this. Somehow, we had stayed close with our biggest rival. We were down 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. John Torrey was on the mound. We had men on first and second with two outs. I was coming to the plate. Confidence is a bizarre thing when you look into a pitcher’s eyes. You can tell by his breath and the look in his eyes where that piece of meat is that particular day. Man, I had so many great times with John, you would

64 | February 2013 |


think this moment would be difficult. Nope. I wasn’t scared or afraid. In fact, I had never felt so alive in my life. John’s eyes displayed the desperation of a scared kid and I wanted to smash the ice cream cone out of his hands until he wailed for his mommy. The count went to 3-1 and then time seemed to stand still. From first playing catch with my dad, to being terrified to hit in Little League, to all the countless hours spent in the cage, to all the ever-present heartbreak of teenage lust and desire compelled with fear and rejection, to the moment that I would remember for the rest of my life. John was scared and I was Paul Bunyan. There was only one pitch he was going to throw. He knew it. I knew it. I suspect he knew that I knew. Fastball. I have never hit a ball so flush in my life. The feeling of the ball off the bat was so pure that it felt like I had actually driven the bat through the ball. It was easy. The ball soared deep into the sky and disappeared into the late spring afternoon sun. The only time I saw the ball was when I destroyed it. Most high school fences stop in the gaps no deeper than 370 feet, however in good old Ipswich, we didn’t have a typical fence. The town Little League fence was about 340 down the leftfield line and then it curved away from our field. So, if you hit the ball over the centerfielders head toward right field, the ball could actually roll 700 feet to the beer drinking softball field. But, my shot was to left center. I was told the ball took one hop and banged off the fence, which basically would’ve been about 400 or so feet. I had no clue. All I wanted to do was to

get to third. My eyes got big as I rolled past second. I knew the game tying and game winning runs had easily scored. I looked up and have a distant memory that my third base coach may have been screaming, “STOP!” I didn’t care. I could hear the crowd screaming, “GO FOR IT!” I could feel my heart pounding as I viciously pumped my arms, desperate to fling myself into the base. With all my might, I slid head first. OUT! I couldn’t believe it. What happened? I never saw the ball; it went deep. I didn’t see the relay; it was perfect. I was thrown out. But, as I got up, the crowd was going nuts. I dusted myself off to the largest applause I had ever received for anything. My teammates were going crazy and the one coach who believed in me more than any other coach stood smiling, slightly shaking his head, his arms crossed hugging himself in jubilation. Then, I saw John, head down, dejectedly walking towards his own bench, tears streaming down his cheeks. It was everything. B.J. Thompson, thank God a sophomore, took the hill and mowed ‘em down in the top of the seventh. We had won our sixth and final game of a forgettable season. Hamilton-Wenham would go on to win the state title that year. I’m sure those kids have plenty of incredible memories that have nothing to do with being upset by the Ipswich Tigers. But, we will always have that time. Whether it’s been before taking a big test or before an important job interview, when I need something to draw upon, I go back to high school and remember that feeling of hitting a ball so pure that it felt like I connected with heaven. I never hit a triple, but I got close enough.

a good friend. In small towns, the pressure of high school sports seems bizarrely inflated. The entire town would come out for a game. We were the front page news. For baseball games, it was the competitive and social center of our tiny universe. When we played HamiltonWenham, all those factors were doubled. Hundreds of people sat in the stands and filled up the parking lot at worn down Bialeck Field. Pick-up trucks backed into front row seats with lawn chairs and coolers filled with hidden beers. Kids threw baseballs in the adjacent Little League field and playground, while alums of both towns sauntered by in their nametag overalls regaling those around with tales of their glory days. Lenny Woodman – whose family made their money in fishing and shellfish, but whose passion existed purely in baseball – would be there, a proud papa as it was he that organized all those spring training trips for the regions most dedicated of baseball souls. He was the godfather of high school baseball and his mere presence validated the game. Despite a horrific season on our part, the records truly didn’t matter when you were facing the team you hated. If we would go winless all year (and we came damn close), but could beat Hamilton-Wenham, the season wouldn’t be a success, but it would mean everything. In high school, you only play seven innings, so it all came down to this. Somehow, we had stayed close with our biggest rival. We were down 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. John Torrey was on the mound. We had men on first and second with two outs. I was coming to the plate. Confidence is a bizarre thing when you look into a pitcher’s eyes. You can tell by his breath and the look in his eyes where that piece of meat is that particular day. Man, I had so many great times with John, you would think this moment would be difficult. Nope. I wasn’t scared or afraid. In fact, I had never felt so alive in my life. John’s eyes displayed the desperation of a scared kid and I wanted to smash the ice cream cone out of his hands until he wailed for his mommy. The count went to 3-1 and then time seemed to stand still. From first playing catch with my dad, to being

It’s Not About us, It’s All About You!

ErIc GoodmAN & mArk mcINtosh

WEEkdAYs 3p-6p

@milehighsports | February 2013 |


HIGH SCHOOL¯ RANKINGS he top 50 places for prep sports i t f o t s i l l a u n Colora nn a s ’ M S do MH


or the 10th time, the staff at Mile High Sports Magazine sat down at the beginning of the calendar year to compile a list of the best places in the state of Colorado for prep sports. And once again, the effort was an extensive effort, pouring through the results of every sport at every level in 2012. It’s a process that literally takes 12 months to undertake. ¶ Thanks to our unique, oneof-a-kind, quasi-scientific formula, all of the schools in the state can be compared head to head. Due to the equalizing factor of the “total sports participated in” denominator, we’re able to put every prep program in Colorado on an equal playing field. It allows us to pit big versus little, mountains versus plains, city versus country. ¶ On the following pages, the results are unveiled. Let the debate begin.

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Cherry Creek Bruins Enrollment: 3,500 Class: 5A Score: 87.31 Last Year: 4 (+3)

Formula ( Here’s how we rank ‘em, showing no bias to any single sport, school, girl or boy – whether they play in the plains, the mountains or the heart of the city, and whether they’re running, swimming, shooting or swinging, we love ‘em all. )

Lyons Lions Enrollment: 257 Class: 2A Score: 74.58 Last Year: 8 (+6)

( Number of Team State Qualifiers / Total Sports Participated In ) x 25

Caliche Buffaloes Enrollment: 84 Class: 1A Score: 65.00 Last Year: 17 (+14)

( Number of Team State Runner-Up Finishes / Total Sports Participated In ) x 75

( Number of Team State Champions / Total Sports Participated In ) x 200

Air Academy Kadets Enrollment: 1,395 Class: 4A Score: 64.35 Last Year: 71 (+67)

( Number of All-State Selections + Individual Champs ) / Total Sports Participated In x 20

The Classical Academy Titans Enrollment: 521 Class: 3A Score: 59.38 Last Year: 7 (+2)


@milehighsports | February 2013 |


hiGh SChooL¯ rankinGS M

list of the top 50 places for prep sports in Co l a u n n a lorado HSM’s

Like Father, Like Son Playing for everyone’s biggest rival, Christian MCCaffrey follows in his dad’s faMous footstePs By Jon Ackerman


ong before he ever slipped on a pair of shoulder pads, more than a decade prior to becoming the 2012 Colorado prep football player of the year, Christian McCaffrey learned to study film. He’d watch the best team in the world, remembering how this athlete juked and how that athlete tackled. It just so happened that one of those players on the screen was his father.

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photo by Don CuDney

“When he was real young, he and his brothers would throw on the Broncos old Super Bowl videos, watch those over and over again to the point where he practically memorized the game,” says formber Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, Christian’s dad. “And then as he got older, we filmed (his) games for him when he was little, more for keepsakes than anything else. But he would watch the games that we filmed over and over and over again. And he’d pick things up about the defense to the point where, when he would play a team, he could recognize what play was coming if he was on defense based on the film study. And on offense, he had a great feel for what the other team was going to do.” After decades of examining his own play, Ed introduced Christian to the art of dissecting film, a practice he also taught his oldest son, Max. He’s doing the same with Dylan, the third of four McCaffrey boys, and may soon begin sessions with Luke, the youngest, if the sixth-grader decides football is for him. But Christian was his best student. “Christian, probably more than anybody, loves the game to the point where he’ll watch the film and break it down himself. He really enjoys doing stuff like that, and I think that’s also been a big part of his success – just his passion for the

game and his interest in getting better,” Ed adds. “He’s not one of those kids that just shows up and plays. He works really, really, really hard.” Teammates and coaches at Valor Christian High School will attest to that fact, noting that Christian still devours film and puts in more than the requisite time in the weight room. What sets him even further apart may be that he’s never known a time without football. “He’s been around it his whole life, whether he wanted to or not,” Ed says. “With me as his dad, it’s at least part of his life.”


hristian truly does appreciate the physical gifts he’s received from Ed. But the high school junior feels a bit shorted. Quite literally. “Unfortunately, not the height,” says the 6-foot Christian when asked how his game resembles that of his 6-foot-5 father. No, that gene settled in a little more with Max, who’s 6-foot-2 and plays wide receiver at Duke. Or it might really have taken hold in Dylan, who already stands 6-foot-1 and will join Christian at Valor in the fall. It’ll take a few more years to see where Luke fits into the family height competition. But Christian has to give Dad credit for something. After all, Ed was a standout wide out for 13 years with the Broncos

(1995-2003), New York Giants (1991-93) and San Francisco 49ers (1994). “I think he’s passed down the hands,” says Christian, 16. “I think I do a decent job catching the ball out of the backfield and running routes. Still a lot of things I can work on, but he’s taught me well as far as the concept of receiving goes.” However, Christian isn’t a receiver. Well, not most of the time. He’s listed as a running back, and last season ran for 1,508 yards. But he does catch his fair share of passes, which were good for 717 yards last year. He also returns kicks, which he took for 387 yards in 2012. That’s a grand total of 2,612 yards in one season, which allowed him to prance into the endzone 42 times, or an average of three touchdowns per game. And that’s just on offense. Christian also plays defensive back and is the team’s punter. No wonder he took Gatorade’s Colorado Player of the Year honors, and is the hands-down frontrunner to nab the award again in 2013. He was also named MVP of the 2012 5A state championship game, when he compiled 156 total yards and the contest’s only touchdown in a Valor victory over Cherokee Trail. And that’s just football. Christian also stars for the Valor basketball team, averaging 11.7 points and 4.2 assists per game last year as a sophomore, helping the

@milehighsports | February 2013 |



Faith Christian Eagles Enrollment: 375 Class: 3A Score: 57.00 Last Year: 3 (-3)


Kent Denver Sun Devils Enrollment: 460 Class: 3A Score: 56.25 Last Year: 11 (+4)


Hoehne Farmers Enrollment: 128 Class: 2A Score: 61.67 Last Year: 45 (+37)


Eaton Reds Enrollment: 484 Class: 3A Score: 53.60 Last Year: 15 (+6)


Regis Jesuit Raiders Enrollment: 2,440 Class: 4A / 5A Score: 53.60 Last Year: 1 (-9)

photo by Don CuDney Genetically speaking, each of the four McCaffrey brothers is gifted. But any would-be tackler will attest, Christian spends plenty of time here, in Valor’s varsity weight room.

Eagles reach the 4A final four. Through his first five games of the 2012-13 season – before sitting out more than a month with an ankle injury – Christian averaged 17.0 points a game, largely boosted by a 31-point outburst against Columbine on Dec. 14. And not one to let a sports season go to waste, Christian competes on the school’s track team in the spring, running the 100 meters, 200 and two relays (4x100, 4x200). Ed was, of course, fast enough to excel as an NFL wide receiver, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl after hauling in 65 catches for 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns in 1998, the Broncos’ second Super Bowl season. His prime also included 1,018 yards and seven TDs in 1999, then 1,317 yards and nine touchdowns in 2000. But even though he thrived in basketball and baseball in addition to football while at Central Catholic High School in Allentown, Pa., the scouting report on Ed always came down to the same thing: Efficient runner with good hands. “He gets his speed and quickness from his mom,” admits Ed, now 44. “I wish I had his speed and quickness when I played.”


om would be Lisa, who suited up for Stanford’s soccer team from 1987-89. It was during her time in Palo Alto, Calif., that she caught the eye of Ed, who capped his college career at Stanford by collecting first-team All-American honors in 1990. Obviously, their individual backgrounds naturally increased the odds that any offspring would be athletically gifted. But the joining of Ed’s and Lisa’s family trees practically guaranteed the McCaffrey boys (or girls, if they had any) would shine in sports. At the top of said tree would be Lisa’s father, Dave Sime, who earned letters in baseball and track and field at Duke, where he also played one year of football, before competing in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He

Continued on pg. 72

70 | February 2013 |


captured a silver medal in the 100 meters following a photo finish, and ran the anchor leg for the U.S. 4x100-meter relay team, which set a world record but later was disqualified for a poor baton exchange. Those disappointments effectively ended Sime’s athletic career. Lisa wasn’t the only Sime child who excelled in athletics. Her brother, Scott, played four seasons at fullback for Duke’s football team, and her sister, Sherrie, starred for the Virginia tennis team. Then, there’s Ed’s family. His brother, Billy, played two seasons of basketball at Duke, helping the Blue Devils win the 1991 NCAA title. He then transferred to Vanderbilt and became the 1993 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and a first-team All-American. And his sister, Monica, was also a basketball player, lettering four years at Georgetown. Ed’s boys would have been fighting quite the pedigree had they opted against sports. But that was never an issue, largely because football was dad’s job. It’s no surprise that became the sport of choice around the house, especially for Christian. “Lisa and I never asked him if he wanted to play football,” Ed says. “He was the one who decided that he wanted to play. After (my) 13 years in the NFL, I think Lisa would probably prefer that he didn’t play football at all because it’s tough to watch your kids play and compete and potentially get hurt. That’s hard to watch as a parent; football’s a pretty rough sport. But he wanted to play and we said, ‘As long as you want to play and you’re willing to work hard and you continue to enjoy the sport, you can keep playing.’ So he’s signed up for it every year.” How could you not when you’re hanging around the world’s best gridiron stars? Christian first graced the pages of a magazine as a two-year-old child, when a Sports Illustrated photographer caught him running around the confetti-filled field at

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Broomfield Eagles Enrollment: 1,428 Class: 4A Score: 53.18 Last Year: 23 (+12)


Walsh Eagles Enrollment: 145 Class: 1A Score: 51.88 Last Year: 12 (--)


Cheyenne Mountain Indians Enrollment: 1,400 Class: 4A Score: 50.00 Last Year: 6 (-7)

Pro Player Stadium in Miami, donning his father’s jersey after the Broncos won Super Bowl XXXIII. As Christian grew older, he took a special liking to boisterous tight end Shannon Sharpe. “I used to play Power Rangers with him in the Broncos locker room,” Christian says. “That was always fun.” Running back Terrell Davis and Ed’s cohort at wide receiver, Rod Smith, were among other former Broncos who spent time with a young Christian. And he gets to meet plenty of the current stars, as Ed now works as the color analyst for Broncos games on 850 KOA radio. Christian says he tries to model his game after many of the players he’s met, which might explain why he’s so versatile. But really, just competing with Max might have aided the most. “I think having a big brother really inspired and encouraged Christian to gravitate toward sports early; his whole life, he got to have friendly competition with his older brother and all of his older brother’s friends,” Ed says. “At an early age, he was able to hang with those guys, which led me to believe that not only does he love playing sports, but it’s something he might be able to succeed in.” Ed acknowledges he and Lisa were very fortunate that Max and Christian got along really well, even when they were young. So when big bro decided to follow in dad’s football footsteps, little bro was right there, too. “(Christian) didn’t register to play football until Max registered to play football,” Ed says. That came when Max was nine and Christian was seven. They occasionally played on the same team, such as during


Colorado Academy Mustangs Enrollment: 341 Class: 3A Score: 47.81 Last Year: 53 (+39)


Fleming Wildcats Enrollment: 58 Class: 1A Score: 46.88 Last Year: 2 (-13)

photo by Don CuDnEy

Continued on pg. 78

72 | February 2013 |


“when your son is down, injured on a football field and everybody claps because they’re happy that he’s hurt, it hurts me.” - Ed McCaffrey halftime of Broncos games when kids would take on mascots. But the brothers’ first official game together came at Valor in 2010. While Max, a junior, played wide receiver and defensive back, Christian shot up the depth chart at running back. Halfway through his freshman season, he made the first string. Both brothers started the entire season in 2011, after which they earned All-Colorado honors from the Denver Post – Christian at running back and Max at defensive back.


hen Ed and Lisa decided to enroll Max at Valor as a sophomore in 2009, it wasn’t for the football program, which had gone 4-6 the year prior, its first at the varsity level. They were drawn more to the positive environment, which “preached our values (and was a place) where they could get a good education,” Ed says. But Max was significant in quickly turning the football program around. Valor went 14-0 in 2009, winning the 3A state title by defeating Steamboat Springs 41-14 in the final. With Christian’s help in 2010, the Eagles again won the state crown, this time at 4A by taking down Wheat Ridge 38-8 in the title match. Valor defended that championship the next season with another 14-0 campaign, capped by a 66-10 victory over Pine Creek. Those scores indicate how seemingly dominant Valor had become, a large reason why the football team moved to 5A, the state’s largest classification, in 2012. The squad opened with a 14-13 loss to Mullen, followed by a 21-20 defeat to Bingham (Utah). They then won 12 straight, including a 9-0 victory over Cherokee Trail for a fourth state title. That sustained success has led to a wide dislike for Valor, in football especially, a notion that was readily apparent when no conference would allow the team to



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join its ranks upon jumping to 5A. So through no want of its own, Valor became an independent. And before long, some of that vitriol spewing from the mouths of opposing teams’ parents and fans was directed at the school’s best player: Christian. It’s tough for Ed to endure. “I mean, when your son is down, injured on a football field and everybody claps because they’re happy that he’s hurt, it hurts me,” he says. Christian, however, lets it roll right off his chiseled shoulders. He relishes Valor being the big game on every opponent’s schedule. “The fact that we have a target on our back makes us want to win even more, makes us want to prepare harder and do the little things that much better,” he says, adding, “We don’t really let anything – the press or the media or other schools or kids – we don’t really let that affect us too much. We know what we have to do to win and we’ll do the best we can to do that.” The squad often takes its cue from Christian. “He’s a leader based on how he cares for his teammates, how hard he practices, and how hard he prepares for competition,”

“to play for the Broncos would Be sweet.” - Christian McCaffrey Duke, became the first to offer Christian a scholarship; and his parents’ alma mater, Stanford, sent its head coach, David Shaw, to the state title game in December. Michigan, Nebraska and Oregon State are also in the mix. Christian says he has no frontrunners at this point. But he’ll have plenty of help from the family tree, which boasts more experience than most in deciding upon a Division I scholarship. Dad, mom, brother, uncle, uncle, aunt, aunt, grandpa – they’ve all been through it. And each one will echo Ed’s words: “You’re going to school for your education, and it’s not a four- or five-year vacation.” Christian knows his priorities. The best advice he’s received from his father: “Don’t take the game of football or any sport too seriously because you never know when you can end your career in an injury. So just enjoy it while it lasts because you

8 Grandview 9 Mountain Vista 10 Pine Creek


photo by Jason Chevarria On the season, McCaffrey posted 2,612 all-purpose yards and 42 touchdowns, or an average of three touchdowns per game.

1 Broomfield 2 Cheyenne Mountain 3 Pueblo South 4 Thompson Valley 5 D’Evelyn 6 Evergreen 7 Valor Christian 8 Coronado 9 Alamosa 10 Niwot

74 | February 2013 |

says Valor’s athletic director and the football team’s offensive coordinator, Rod Sherman. “He’s just a consummate team player. It’s why his teammates have such a high level of respect for him, and are so excited for the accomplishments that he’s been able to earn. He’s just very, very, very humble, and a joy to coach.”


efore Christian sets out to win his fourth straight state championship, he hopes to nail down where he’ll be playing in 2014. Upwards of 20 colleges are reportedly seeking his talents, including Colorado, Colorado State and Northern Colorado. UCLA was the first to enter the sweepstakes, sending him a letter when he was in eighth grade; Max’s school,


can’t play football forever. The other one is definitely take school seriously, because like I said before, you can’t play football forever. You’re going to have to get a job one day.” Christian’s 3.36 grade point average indicates he’s no slouch in the classroom either, which is why schools such as Stanford, Duke, Northwestern and Vanderbilt are pursuing him. Yet, whether or not he attends the same college as his dad, Christian would like to closely follow a similar career path. “Any NFL team would be awesome, but to play for the Broncos would be sweet,” he says. It is the team he knows best. One that has watched Christian grow up right before its very eyes.


list of the top 50 places for prep sports in Co l a u n n a lorado HSM’s

pe r fect Recalling the final week in Dick katte’s illustRious coaching caReeR By Mark Wolf

t 76

he coach was up early as usual on the morning of The Last Game. He walked along the path of the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, which follows the water through several blocks of downtown. ¶ The Arkansas River seems ageless. It is vital and nourishing to what it encounters; a lot like Dick Katte. | February 2013 |



Dick Katte capped an impressive career with his 876th victory and an undefeated state championship team.

For 48 years, Katte, 75, has been the head basketball coach at Denver Christian High School. As this day dawns, he has won 875 games and lost just 233; seven times his teams have won state championships and only twice have they lost more games than they won. This current team is undefeated, 25-0, with only the state 2A championship game remaining, a few miles away at the Colorado State Fair Events Center. History infused this game with far more drama and irony than any fiction writer could dare. This night’s opponent, in Katte’s last game, is Limon, the same team against which he began his coaching career. The stakes were far smaller that chilly Dec. 4, 1964, when Katte took his Crusaders to Limon. Temperatures were in the 20s as Denver Christian rode an 18-point second quarter to a 45-42 victory, win No. 1 on a list that would come to dominate Colorado’s schoolboy coaching records. Elsewhere that same day in ‘64, the FBI arrested 21 people suspected in the

lynching deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi in what became known as the Mississippi Burning case. The Soviet Union charged U.S. President Lyndon Johnson was planning to escalate military action against North Vietnam and Laos. A bench-clearing brawl erupted in the final minute of the basketball game between the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. Sunday turkey dinner was 99 cents at Hested’s department store. And none of the 20 movie theaters advertised on the front page of the Rocky Mountain News entertainment listings are still in business. Katte is likely the most-honored high school coach in Colorado history, with numerous Coach of the Year awards, Hall of Fame inductions and being the first recipient of the Dave Sanders Award given in memory of the Columbine teacher and basketball coach who was killed while trying to help students escape during the 1999 school shootings.

As he walks along the paved thoroughfare beside the Arkansas River, past stores and restaurants that are yet to open, the final piece of Dick Katte’s basketball legacy remains to be determined. It has been a long week and it will be a long day.

THE BUILDUP Dick Katte calculates he has run somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 practices, virtually all of them in the Denver Christian gymnasium named for him. “See, it wasn’t a setup,” he calls to a visitor on the Monday of The Last Week. The previous day’s Denver Post featured a large picture of Katte pushing a broom across the hardwood floor, and here he was sweeping the floor as his players trickled in and snatched balls off a rack beside the court. Few of those practices have been more scrutinized than the ones of these last few

@milehighsports | February 2013 |



Akron Rams Enrollment: 120 Class: 2A Score: 46.50 Last Year: 14 (-2)


Arapahoe Warriors Enrollment: 2,140 Class: 5A Score: 45.87 Last Year: 28 (+11)


Pawnee Coyotes Enrollment: 34 Class: 1A Score: 41.43 Last Year: 84 (+66)


Stratton Eagles Enrollment: 50 Class: 1A Score: 39.44 Last Year: 31 (+12)


Telluride Miners Enrollment: 173 Class: 2A Score: 38.13 Last Year: 40 (+20)

Photo by jathan camPbell

weeks since he announced he was going to retire at season’s end. He has worn microphones for several TV stations, had writers eavesdropping, and both video and still photographers capturing his every move. It is impossible to deflect the attention, so he urges his team to embrace it. “Sorry about the distractions. Channel 7 is coming tomorrow. Thought you looked good on TV the other night. For as much as I apologize to you, how many high school kids get all of this? Savor the moment,” he said as he gathered his players before practice. Other than basic shooting drills and working on their specific sets, the Crusaders rarely run the same drill twice during the week. “I try never to make my practices predictable, even at my age. There are some basic things you can never skip,” he said. “We try to give it a little variety. I have to remind myself not to over-coach. We all think, ‘We’re in the tournament and it’s all about the coaching. We have to add this and add that.’ I don’t think that’s true. Just make sure they can do the things that are good to us, and defense has been good to us.” He is a stickler for the details that could make the difference between being a champion and being just another team that came pretty close. “Don’t be flat-footed. Make your dribble take you somewhere. You went like this [stretching out his arm] instead of doing that [stepping hard into a ballhandler’s

Continued on pg. 80

78 | February 2013 |


path]. They have to pay the price for a mistake. Go straight up and straight down.” When too many free throws clank off the rim, Katte lines his team on the baseline for a trio of up-and-back sprints. Watching him run practice, it’s nearly impossible to believe he is 75 years old. Katte carries himself with an athlete’s easy grace, walks with urgency, striding to the middle of the free throw line when he needs to direct or correct. “Being around young people helps you think young and stay young,” he said. So does a daily two-mile walk at 5:30 a.m. “It’s quiet. You can really think, meditate.” All week, he has emphasized what they have accomplished and what remains to be gained. “It’s our mission as coaches to get you to this point. Now, it’s in your hands. Focus. Get yourselves ready. Get some rest. Three nights in a row, we’ve never done that. You’re in a good spot,” he told his team on Monday. Monday and Tuesday’s practices were productive, but the intensity dimmed at the end. Wednesday, The Last Practice, was nearly flawless. Katte set the tone in his pre-practice talk. “This is going to be a memorable weekend. I give you this reminder: The season proves you were the best team in 2A basketball, but the best team doesn’t always win; I’ve had teams that were the best and didn’t and teams that weren’t the best and did. Most of the time it’s focus and intensity.”



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This is one of his favorite teams, not just for what they have accomplished, but how. They are balanced, unselfish, hardworking, tenacious defensively. He thinks they are ready, but they are high school kids and he has brought what he believed was the best team in the state to this level before and seen them falter. At practice’s end, he sends his team away with perspective about what the rest of the week held. “All this hoopla the last two weeks, I’m going to guess there hasn’t been a high school team to get as much coverage as you have. For all of you, that means the big stage in Pueblo is going to be nothing. Our only focus is tomorrow. We want to go out and be ready to play. We’re standing on the verge of greatness.” And, a familiar exhortation: “Play hard, play your best, be a good teammate and give the glory to God.” For the last time in this gym, the players and coaches put their hands together overhead and broke The Last Practice with a communal chant: “Great.” And just like that, it is over. “I did think about that a little bit,” said Katte. “I thought, ‘Why am I giving this up? I enjoy this.’’


Holy Family Tigers Enrollment: 584 Class: 3A Score: 38.13 Last Year: 21 (--)


Loveland Indians Enrollment: 1,553 Class: 5A Score: 36.90 Last Year: 46 (+44)



Pueblo South Colts Enrollment: 1,343 Class: 4A Score: 36.43 Last Year: 154 (+131)


Weldon Valley Warriors Enrollment: 55 Class: 1A Score: 35.00 Last Year: DNQ (--)


Paonia Eagles Enrollment: 160 Class: 2A Score: 34.17 Last Year: 116 (+91)

Riley Herren, the Crusaders’ pacepushing point guard and defensive standout, sensed his team was tight: “It seemed like everyone was nervous at the beginning of the day.” From the outset against a Sanford team that had put up 102 points in a game earlier in the season, the Crusaders were tenacious defensively, helping, sliding and closing out, but over-eager on offense, rushing possessions, missing good shots. Katte’s team gave up only seven points in the first half, yet scored just 18. Katte seemed relatively unconcerned about what he was seeing: “Because they went so hard on defense, they were playing too fast on offense,” he said. Eventually his team settled down, stretched the lead and rolled to a 56-33 victory, but not without a scare. Early in the second half, Crusaders star Austin LeFebre, a gifted 6-foot-5 forward who is the best player in the 2A category and would be a force at any level, finished a fast-break layup but crumpled to the floor holding his right ankle. He was helped to the bench, but returned a few minutes later and played well the rest of the game, scoring a team-high 16 points. Still, the injury was concerning. He was favoring it after the game and the fear was he would wake up with a painful, swollen

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ankle in the morning. Nobody needs this kind of drama with the two biggest games of the season looming within 48 hours.

875 Katte arranged for his team to have a shoot-around Friday morning at Widefield High School between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. LeFebre’s ankle appeared fine, but he was ushered into the school’s modern and expansive training room, where trainer Bob Tim (“One of the best in the state,” said Katte) examined him. “It hurt this morning,” LeFebre acknowledged. Tim wrapped the ankle first with blue, then white tape and said he didn’t think it would bother him. After the Crusaders ran through a few drills in the spacious, old-style gymnasium, Katte talked about what they would expect from this night’s opponent, Denver rival Lutheran High School. Christian had defeated Lutheran twice this season, but the Lights’ 16-9 record was misleading due to a number of tough games against class 3A competition. They’ve started out really good against us in both games and Jonny Foote was the guy. I think he had their first 11 points in our gym and at Mullen he had 23. Coach (Andy) Draayer and I talked and I think we’ll start with a box and one,” said Katte. Draayer, who was the class 3A Mr. Basketball for Christian in 2002, reminded the players to always be aware of Lutheran’s screens, whether they are in man-to-man or zone. The most hopeful sign of the morning? LeFebre, whose family and friends wear “Dunking Dutchman” t-shirts, finished the workout with an emphatic slam. Sitting next to his wife, Lorraine, who is rarely more than a short bounce pass from her husband during the tournament, and with other family members nearby, Katte watched Limon hand Resurrection Christian only its third loss of the season – the others were to Denver Christian – to advance to the title game. He sketched a couple of plays on his whiteboard; she pulled an iPad from her purse. As he got up to leave during halftime of the girls’ semifinal, she gave him a soft pat on the back. The Crusaders didn’t shoot well, took too many outside shots and committed excessive turnovers as Lutheran jumped to an 11-8 lead after the first quarter, but then Christian began to look like the team they’d been all year. With Katte more animated than usual on the bench, Lutheran scored just three points in the second quarter and Christian established a 20-14 halftime lead. It only got better. LeFebre’s ankle seemed fine, but

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it was junior guard Alex Terpstra’s night. He hit back-to-back corner jump shots; Chris Pranger made a precise bounce pass through Lutheran’s zone for a LeFebre layup, and the Crusaders pulled away to a 55-39 victory and a chance to send their coach out with his eighth state title. “Tonight, you just did it,” Katte told his team. “You played the way I coach and I’m so thankful. You played with confidence. Every time there was a challenge, you responded. There’s one left, let’s not even think about it. Savor the moment.” LeFebre said his ankle “was feeling pretty good. We got the jitters out of us. We were all hyped up (the night before), but today we were just ready to play.” The players had resisted focusing too much on Katte’s retirement. “He wanted the focus to be on us. We wanted to put him out on a really good note.”

8 Valley 9 Peak to Peak 10 University

2A 1 Lyons 2 Hoenhe 3 Akron 4 Telluride 5 Paonia


6 Lutheran 7 Resurrection Christian 8 Denver Christian 9 Byers 10 Simla

82 | February 2013 |

It has been a long day leading up to The Last Game. The shoot-around was in a small gym with a linoleum floor and one basket lower than the other. The team checked out of the Marriott, drove through the Minnequa Business District, past Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant and the Nunez Lounge, on their way to the arena. “They’re sitting up there watching basketball and getting nervous,” Katte said,


waving an arm towards his team a dozen or so rows up from where he and Lorraine occupied the first two seats of row I in the corner of the arena. Katte’s pregame talks are much more conversations with his players than recitations of points of emphasis and matchups. “I think for a group like this, the journey is the destination. Think about that. More than that gold ball, all we went through together was our destination. Here we are at the climax, and I really want you to go out there and perform, show them what Denver Christian basketball is all about,” he said. He opened the floor for a discussion about his four Ps (pressure, poise, push and patience), then spoke of the woman to whom he has been married since Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House. “I hope you all get a wife as good as mine; she kept these stats,” he said, as he passed around charts on Limon. From the tipoff, it all went their way. Herron passed ahead to LeFebre for a dunk. Chris Pranger converted a layup. Herron to LeFebre again for a layup. Terpstra drains a three. On the other end, steals, stops and misses. By the time Herren jump stopped at the free throw line and Connor Kroshus cut past him for an easy layup, the Crusaders’ lead was 17-2. Dick Katte’s last game was going to be a waltz. It looked too easy, and it was.

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Lutheran Lions Enrollment: 181 Class: 2A Score: 34.06 Last Year: 22 (-4)


Thompson Valley Eagles Enrollment: 1,377 Class: 4A Score: 33.96 Last Year: 26 (-1)


Monarch Coyotes Enrollment: 1,535 Class: 5A Score: 33.70 Last Year: 64 (+36)


Cedaredge Bruins Enrollment: 284 Class: 3A Score: 33.46 Last Year: 168 (+139)


Fairview Knights Enrollment: 2,104 Class: 5A Score: 32.95 Last Year: 55 (+25)

Limon inched back, milking most possessions for good shots. The lead dwindled to 30-22 at halftime. If these kids thought the last halftime speech Dick Katte would ever give them was going to be full of reassurance, they hadn’t been paying attention. In their last game, they were letting him down. “You played almost a perfect six minutes of team basketball and the last 10 minutes I saw selfishness, saw players hollering at each other. That’s not the way we play. We’re shooting shots we shouldn’t shoot. Swing the ball, let it go inside out and shoot, not bomb from the outside. There is no discipline. You did it so perfectly, then all of a sudden you played into their hands and you didn’t play the way we talked about,” he said, less with rancor than disappointment. “We have at least four offensive fouls. Somehow, you have to get a little smarter. You have to pull up and use the blackboard.” The storybook version would be that the Crusaders righted themselves and regained control early in the second half. But they didn’t. Limon’s confidence grew. They made shots and bumped Christian’s cutters off their paths. The lead dwindled to a single point when Kroshus was fouled underneath. He had two shots and missed them both. Fifteen seconds later, Limon’s Chandler Dobe hit a step-back jumper from the baseline and Limon owned a 45-44 lead. At the most dangerous moment of the season, with Limon streaking and Christian reeling, the Crusaders pushed the ball up-court and Kroshus caught it on the left sideline. You need to know this about Connor Kroshus: He’s a 45 percent shooter, averaging more than one three-pointer per game and Christian’s second-leading rebounder. However, this had not been a good shooting week for him. He was onefor-seven from three-point range against Sanford and Lutheran, and had tossed up a couple of airballs. The Events Center can be a tough place to shoot. A black curtain hangs behind one end of the court and a trio of three-point lines (high school, college, pro) ring the perimeter. While Kroshus’ teammates were standing in a breezeway waiting to take the court before the championship game, he was in the hallway, flipping the ball off his fingertips against a concrete arena wall just above an exit sign. Which is not to mention those two free throws he’d missed the last time he touched the ball. Still, there are moments when preparation, opportunity and confidence conspire to intersect at the perfect time. Athletes sense them, which is why Connor Kroshus squared to the basket and lofted a

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shot from behind the correct three-point line that nestled into the net to give the Crusaders a 47-45 advantage. As painstakingly as Limon had erased their lead, the Crusaders had dramatically regained it. The student section behind Christian’s bench, many of the fans equipped with Katte facemasks, erupted. The coach raised his hands, exhorting defense. Limon missed. Herren penetrated, found Kroshus on the baseline for a layup and a four-point lead. Limon cut it to two late and some missed Crusader free throws extended the drama until Kroshus hit the first of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left for the final 54-50 score. His players lifted Katte aloft and carried him to the sideline. After celebrating, they repaired to the locker room for the last time where the coach led his team in prayer. “It was just great to play before all these people, to be a force that unified them for Denver Christian. These guys showed their heart, their spirit, their love for one another and for me as their coach, I thank you for that. Bless each one of us as we go on our way now for life after basketball. I pray that the rest of the year may be a good one for all of us. To Your name be the glory, in Jesus name. A-MEN.” In the 1,109th game of his career, Dick Katte coached his team literally until the last second. A guy with a clipboard can’t ask for much more. “It doesn’t get any better than that. They challenged you. We had them down and they didn’t go away,” he said. “If I was going to go out, it was just great to finish it with you. Thank you. We’re going to celebrate in a lot of different ways, but this was really satisfying. In the bottom of your heart, this is what you dreamed of. Now you did it. Without any losses. Wow.” For his part, Kroshus said he never hesitated to take the game-changing shot. “Not at all. I was going up. By the third day, you get adapted to (the shooting background). Today in warm-ups, they had the right distance,” he said. Just curious; did he miss the last free throw on purpose to run out the clock? “You could say that,” he said with a wry grin. The Crusaders crowd cheered each player as he left the locker room and roared when Katte emerged. After the well-wishers trickled away, the coach, his wife and their son, Keith, who played on Christian’s last undefeated team in 1978, walked across a dark parking lot. The coach slid the big gold ball trophy into the back seat of his car, and he and Lorraine drove away with The Last Game in their rearview mirror.

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list of the top 50 places for prep sports in Co l a u n n a lorado HSM’s

A FormulA For SucceSS Mile HigH United Way rallies tHe coMMUnity to Help a rising yoUng star reacH His basketball dreaMs By Alison Busse with contributions from Mile High United Way


ile High United Way believes every young person should graduate from high school ready for college or work. They believe in “Youth Success.” ¶ This is a story about one extraordinary youth among the more than 128,000 extraordinary young people in our community who are succeeding in their own way, while others are just waiting for the right support in order to shine.

86 | February 2013 |


Photo courtesy of Mile high united Way

L-R: Terri Latson, De’Ron Davs, De’Jean Davis

Standing 6-foot-9, and still growing, 16-year-old De’Ron Davis is an exceptionally talented basketball player. The sports world is buzzing about De’Ron. He’s one of the top-ranked high school players in Colorado and in the nation. He’s been featured in newspaper articles, on television and in basketball videos on YouTube. He is also the first to say he didn’t get to where he is today on height and talent alone. “I have had a lot of people in my corner,” he says. De’Ron’s parents have been the driving force behind his involvement in sports, even as they struggled to financially support their family. They weren’t alone; in fact, they had an entire community as their backstop. Terri Latson, De’Ron’s mother, sought out and found help when the family needed it most. From basic needs to quality daycare to afterschool programs, Terri tapped into a community of support for the sake of De’Ron and his little brother, De’Jean. That support came directly from Mile High United Way, from community organizations supported by Mile High United Way (Boys & Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities and the Colorado Hawks Youth Basketball) and from neighbors, teachers, coaches and others who make up the fabric of our community. Despite their hardships, the boys were kept busy and focused. De’Ron excelled beyond measure on the basketball court, while De’Jean had fun playing football and showing off on the dance floor. “For me, a single mom with two boys, it’s hard,” says Terri. “I don’t mind asking for help because it’s for my children.”

Today, De’Ron plays for two teams, Overland High School and the Colorado Hawks youth basketball program. “It’s fun to do,” he says. “I like to play and compete, and I’ve met a lot of people through out-of-town camps.” He spends hours a day practicing, lifting weights, and watching film of himself and his teammates to help improve his game. He is constantly working harder to become a better player. He hopes to some day play in the NBA. What’s most important for a 16-year-old rising star at this very moment in his life, however? “Keeping my head. Sustaining focus. Not letting the hype get to me,” he says. Not exactly what most people would expect to hear from a teenager. De’Ron says he knows in his heart that, with the right people helping him every step of the way, his dreams will come true. His coaches from both teams have stepped up as mentors and supporters, on and off the court. Hawks coach George Williams, for example, “Helps me in life,” says De’Ron. “If I need anything, he is there as a strong mentor.” “His future is very bright,” says Coach George. “So many of our kids are lost in the streets. There are so many distractions. But De’Ron is proof that we can help them. Together, we can support them and guide them to fulfill their potential.” High school is De’Ron’s focus now, then college. His mother says that there are already some major universities courting this talented, responsible and humble young man. But they’ll just have to wait.

“He’s really just finding himself,” says Terri. “For now, I want De’Ron and De’Jean to get consistent and steady with their grades.” She expects A’s and B’s, but would prefer straight A’s. “She expects a lot of me,” says De’Ron, smiling broadly. He adds that he is not about to let her down, or his coaches or community. “I can’t do what I want to do in life with bad grades.” De’Ron Davis, Colorado’s very own young basketball star, is well on his way to success. Along with his talent, height and work ethic, he has what all young people deserve – a loving and supportive family, a safe place to call home, access to quality afterschool and community programs, mentors and, when needed, tutors. Plus, he has all of us – his community. Mile High United Way supports more than 200 community organizations, 72 of them provide services and support to more than 35,000 young people in the Denver metro area. Their goal is to ensure that each and every one of them succeeds in school and life. You can help. When you give to Mile High United Way, you support programs that help young people like De’Ron, De’Jean and their families. When you VOLUNTEER to read, tutor or mentor a child, you become a part of the support system that every child and young person needs to be successful. To GIVE or VOLUNTEER or learn more about Mile High United Way please visit

@milehighsports | February 2013 |



list of the top 50 places for prep sports in Co l a u n n a lorado HSM’s

UNDER-RECRUITED? The sTaTe’s Top fooTball recruiTs are leaving and iTs diamonds in The rough are surfacing elsewhere By Chris Bianchi

w 88

hen Loveland native and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein stood on a stage at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City in December as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, inevitably, the thousands of Colorado and Colorado State fans watching folded their arms in disappointment, playing a rhetorical game of “what if” in their minds. | February 2013 |


Photo By JaSon ChEvarria

Denver South, which finished as the runner up in Class 4A, was loaded with Division-I talent.

Klein flew under-the-radar even in his home state, emerging from the shadows of the Rocky Mountains to become one of college football’s biggest sensations in 2012. Klein led the Wildcats to an 11-1 regular season record and a Fiesta Bowl appearance. Klein could’ve been a Buff or Ram, fans of 1-11 Colorado and 4-8 Colorado State undoubtedly thought to themselves. But neither school made an aggressive push for the future Heisman candidate when Klein came out of Loveland High School back in 2008. Thus, the lack of interest caused him to leave Colorado for the plains of eastern Kansas. But Klein is not alone in under-theradar recruits making big names for themselves outside of Colorado’s borders. Cherry Creek’s Kain Colter split duties at quarterback for 9-3 Northwestern, becoming a dual-threat star in suburban Chicago, more than a thousand miles away from his Denver home. This year, Colorado’s top four in-state high school recruits, as ranked by Yahoo! Rivals, will be leaving for greener pastures. The problem emerging in Colorado recruiting is two-fold: The state’s best talent

is leaving, and the hidden gems aren’t being scooped up by the local schools. But that could soon be changing – at least if the head coaches at Colorado and Colorado State have anything to say about it.

“Building a fence” If Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain has his way, he’ll have his roster comprised mostly of Colorado players. Don’t believe that can be done? Don’t tell McElwain. “When I hit the ground last year after our last game, I think I landed here at 3:30 in the morning and I was at Colorado high schools the next day,” McElwain explained. “We broke the state up nine different ways. And we went to every single high school in the state of Colorado, whether they played six-man, eight-man or 11-man, it didn’t matter. “For us, our point of difference is going to be relationships. So when that school does have a guy, they’re going to remember Colorado State was always there.”

With McElwain’s first full recruiting class set to be officially announced this month, there’s a noticeable (and

“we went to every single high school in the state of colorado, whether they played six-man, eight-man or 11-man, it didn’t matter.” - Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain

@milehighsports | February 2013 |



Resurrection Christian Enrollment: 175 Class: 2A Score: 32.69 Last Year: 173 (+142)


Fort Collins Lambkins Enrollment: 1,728 Class: 5A Score: 32.25 Last Year: 42 (+10)


South Baca Patriots Enrollment: 61 Class: 1A Score: 31.11 Last Year: 93 (+60)


Norwood Mavericks Enrollment: 65 Class: 1A Score: 30.71 Last Year: 52 (+18)


Elbert Bulldogs Enrollment: 77 Class: 1A Score: 29.38 Last Year: 81 (+46)

increasing) sprinkling of Colorado talent making up his roster. As of late December, six of CSU’s 17 class of 2013 recruits (35 percent) were from Colorado. Compare that to 2011, the last full year of the Steve Fairchild regime, when only five of his 28 recruits (18 percent) came from Colorado. For the class of 2014, McElwain has already extended offers to almost all of Colorado’s projected top-10 recruits (according to Yahoo! Rivals) and the Rams have often been the first school to offer in-state prospects. All-in-all, the picture is increasingly clear: McElwain – a Montana native who’s recruited Colorado heavily in the past – wants to turn around his program using homegrown kids. And the former Alabama offensive coordinator thinks there’s enough talent in the state to do so. “Twenty-five,” McElwain said when asked how many kids he’d like to have in each recruiting class come from the state of Colorado. “At the same time, they’ve got to be Division I players. We recruit the guy that’s going to Auburn as hard as anybody.” So how does McElwain plan on selling CSU to Colorado kids? The same way he himself was sold on going to Fort Collins just more than a year ago. “I kept getting hit when I took this job. ‘Why CSU?’ Because I had opportunities at other places, right?” McElwain said. “Well, why not? What is not here? Everything is here. The commitment, the vision, the outstanding faculty – you put those pieces together, why not CSU?”

Rebuilding starts at home for MacIntyre It didn’t take long for new University of Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre to pop a few eyebrows at his opening press conference. About 13 minutes into his inaugural Dec. 10 speech, MacIntyre labeled California – where he spent the previous three years serving as San Jose State’s head coach – as “in-state” recruiting grounds. “I look at California as ‘in-state,’” MacIntyre declared. “We’re playing a lot of games over there, a lot of games in that area.” Ambitious, undoubtedly. MacIntyre went on to rattle off several stats about how California, due to its large population and lack of in-state schools, will always have overlooked athletes. But the daunting question is, how is MacIntyre going to convince California standouts to come to Colorado if the best kids from the same state won’t even go to its flagship university? “In the future, we’re going to be proactive and ahead of the game,”

Continued on pg. 94

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MacIntyre said. “That (started) this January. This May, it starts with our junior day that we’ll be having. It starts with our summer camps, trying to get to know the coaches, trying to know these kids and convincing them this is a great place to be.” Actions have already spoken louder than words for MacIntyre. Within a week of being named the 26th head coach at the

“There are a loT of schools in The naTion ThaT should be fighTing for guys in colorado.” - Luke Del Rio, All-State quarterback and son of Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio University of Colorado, he had already rolled out a map of Colorado, tacking on notes of strategic places the coaching staff is already targeting – similar to what McElwain did when he first arrived in Fort Collins. “It’s going to be huge to me in what we need to do here at the University of Colorado because we are the University of Colorado,” MacIntyre said. “We need to make sure that the players that we believe are BCS-caliber football players, that we’re able to make sure the majority of them come and play here for us.” In order for MacIntyre to achieve his goals, he plans on doing exactly what he did at San Jose State: Setting up in-state recruiting camps, as well as developing personal relationships with area coaches and players. MacIntyre believes that by establishing training camps, players will grow to like and familiarize themselves with a school’s coaching staff while developing a sense of school pride in the process. “It’s all about meeting people and making contacts getting out there and hand-to-hand handshakes,” MacIntyre said. “There’ll be good football players in Colorado, and we’re going to try to hit every single high school in May. We’re going to have clinics around the state and we’re going to have camps around the state and we’re going to comb every situation to try to find every BCS player there is and hopefully keep them here to go to Colorado.”

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Rankings Rankings¯ by Class 1A 1 Caliche 2 Walsh 3 Fleming 4 Pawnee 5 Stratton 6 Weldon Valley 7 South Baca 8 Norwood 9 Elbert 10 Merino

a DeCaDe in¯ the books X Cherry Creek (2013) IX Regis Jesuit (2012) VIII Cherry Creek (2011) VII Faith Christian (2010) VI Hi-Plains (2009) V Cherry Creek (2008) IV Cherry Creek (2007) III Limon (2006) II Mullen (2005) I Kent Denver (2004)

92 | February 2013 |

It’s rare that a teenager can provide the kind of insight most national recruiting gurus spend hours, months and years scrutinizing over. But when that Colorado high school senior is Alabama-bound and hails from one of the nation’s premier recruiting hotbeds, you can take his assessment with more than a grain of salt. “I think Colorado is under-recruited, under-appreciated; we should have much more D-I recruits every year,” Luke Del Rio, an All-State quarterback and son of Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, explained. “There are a lot of schools in the nation that should be fighting for guys in Colorado.” Del Rio transferred to Valor Christian High School for his senior season after spending his first three prep years at two different schools in Jacksonville, Fla., where his father was the Jaguars’ head coach. When Jack took the Broncos’ defensive coordinator job in January, Luke moved to Colorado with his dad and led the Eagles to the 5A state championship in December. Despite the perceived talent gap between Florida, one of the biggest producers of college football talent in the country, and Colorado, Del Rio said that he thinks schools need to be investing more resources in the Centennial State. “I’ve played high school football in Florida and I’ve played in Colorado, and they’re not very different,” said Del Rio, whose first D-I offer came from McElwain and Colorado State in early 2012. “You have different kinds of recruits – you have bigger guys here (in Colorado) and you have more speed down in Florida – but there’s still a lot of talent here, which I think goes unnoticed. It’s kind of a shame.”

The Colorado exodus But Del Rio – citing a chance to play closer to his original Jacksonville home – ultimately chose to leave Colorado, continuing an unfortunate recent trend for the local schools. Barring an unexpected last-second turnaround, the class of 2013 will watch the top four in-state recruits leave, just a year after the class of 2012 watched the state’s top six recruits walk away. And the class of 2011 saw the state’s top three recruits and seven of Colorado’s top nine high school players leave, as well. It seems as if kids talented enough to get scholarship opportunities outside of


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Colorado will do anything to get out of the Rocky Mountains. So why exactly are Colorado’s top recruits leaving in droves? Well, the answer is simple. Just ask Michigan-bound Ponderosa offensive lineman Chris Fox, the state’s top-ranked recruit for the class of 2012. “Definitely, yeah,” Fox said when asked if he would have stayed in Colorado if CU and CSU were better than what they are. “One hundred percent.” With a combined record of 5-19 between Colorado and Colorado State in 2012, the challenge for McElwain and MacIntyre is convincing the local kids to stay – even if the win-loss record isn’t impressive. The class of 2013’s second-ranked recruit, Chaparral tight end Mitch Parsons, committed to CU in March, but he eventually de-committed, citing his desire to leave the state and move elsewhere. “I’m really excited to get out of the state,” Parsons said, while also making reference to CU’s 1-11 record as part of the reason he had a change of heart. “I want to experience stuff, and that’s part of the reason for re-opening things.” The reality is, the local programs aren’t currently good enough to keep Colorado’s best kids at home, which leads to a


Valley Vikings Enrollment: 566 Class: 3A Score: 28.44 Last Year: 48 (+12)


D’Evelyn Jaguars Enrollment: 630 Class: 4A Score: 28.25 Last Year: 88 (+51)

“I’ve played hIgh school football In florIda and I’ve played In colorado, and they’re not very dIfferent.” - Luke Del Rio

potentially vicious cycle: If Colorado’s best kids won’t stay at home, why would kids from other states venture here? And how do the local schools improve if talent won’t come to them? “Boulder is special,” MacIntyre said. “The Pac-12 is special. And the BCS is special. I think our university is tremendously respected all over the country and so that’s what we’ll sell.” Now the question is, will Colorado’s youth buy Macintyre’s and McElwain’s new messages to in-state recruits? Only time will tell.


Evergreen Cougars Enrollment: 946 Class: 4A Score: 27.60 Last Year: 32 (-6)


Peak to Peak Pumas Enrollment: 460 Class: 3A Score: 27.19 Last Year: 98 (+59)


Valor Christian Eagles Enrollment: 674 Class: 4A Score: 26.96 Last Year: 18 (-22) Continued on pg. 98

94 | February 2013 |


Photo by jason ChevaRRia Luke Del Rio, the son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack, is headed to Alabama next fall. He says Colorado has an abundance of football talent.

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Tale of The Tigers The 1936 Grand JuncTion TiGers: one of The GreaTesT fooTball Teams in colorado hisTory By David Walker Gilbert


hile Valor Christian stormed to its fourth consecutive state football championship this past fall, fans of Colorado high school football were reminded of great teams of the past. Valor was indeed excellent, and schools like Limon, Hugo, Cherry Creek and Mullen certainly enter the conversation, but one school, as it might be argued by those who remember, might be considered the greatest – the 1936 Grand Junction Tigers. ¶ This team was brought to the attention of Mile High Sports Magazine by David Walker Gilbert, the grandson of the great Bobby Walker, who led the Tigers that year. With some help from his grandfather, David relives the tale of the Tigers. Enjoy.

96 | February 2013 |


Photo courtesy of DaviD Walker Gilbert

The ’36 Tigers, photographed here in front of the their school, were a formidable bunch.

“Bobby,” Jack Lumley panted, as he galloped up to the huddle, “Is there something wrong with my nose?” “It’s lying under your left eye, Jack. Here, let me fix it,” said Bobby Walker, as he took a hold of his buddy’s broken nose – the cartilage and flesh lay smashed, flat under Lumley’s left eye. Walker pulled the nose out and snapped it back to an approximate place telling Lumley, “Now, get back from the huddle, you’re bleeding all over everyone.” Jack Lumley, the man who played center on the 1936 Grand Junction Tigers football team, was Bobby Walker’s best friend and future brother-in-law. They were tough – hardened by the trying times of Great Depression and seasoned by sucking in the foul air of the Dust Bowl as they played schoolboy games. And they were champions. It has been argued – on many occassions and by more than one person – that their Tigers were the greatest high school football champions Colorado has ever seen. You see, in 1936, the Grand Junction Tigers won their first State Championship game

28-0, capping off a season in which they outscored their opponents 506-0. Colorado has a long history of excellent, if perhaps unbalanced, high school football teams that have excited small towns and galvanized local communities for generations. Robert L. Walker – “Bobby” as he was known as a teenager – led both the ’36 and ’37 Grand Junction teams on and off the field. In the 1930s, the football season, and the state playoffs especially, brought unparalleled excitement to small Colorado towns at the height of the Great Depression. During the nation’s longest and most pervasive economic meltdown since the 19th Century, between 55,000 and 65,000 able-bodied Colorado men and women found themselves out of work each year. Spending money was minimal, and people’s spirits were often lower. High school football became an outlet for folks’ anxiety and, as in many small towns across the nation, the townspeople of Grand Junction turned to their young athletes for an escape from their daily struggles.

In an era when football players played both sides of the ball and had to sit out the rest of the quarter if they subbed out, Bobby Walker played quarterback, dropkicker and defensive safety – and he called all the plays in the huddle, offense and defense. Walker and his team of futurecollege players symbolized the type of hard-working and tough-boned hometown favorites that American fans of all classes, fortunes and predicaments could unite around during hard times. For the small, dry-as-salt western Colorado town just 30 miles from the Utah state line, the Tigers left an enduring historical legacy. But a gory reprise it was. Considered both an unnecessarily dangerous game and a measure of an Ivy Leaguer’s manliness since Teddy Roosevelt’s college days, football had captured the hearts of Americans since its inception in 1869. Back then, players wore leather caps tied tightly to their skulls. Little had changed by the 1930s. Footballers still eschewed any type of face protection – facemasks would not become regular features of football helmets until

@milehighsports | February 2013 |



University Bulldogs Enrollment: 424 Class: 3A Score: 26.43 Last Year: 124 (+83)


Merino Rams Enrollment: 96 Class: 1A Score: 26.36 Last Year: 38 (-4)


Hotchkiss Bulldogs Enrollment: 264 Class: 3A Score: 25.71 Last Year: 50 (+7)


Grandview Wolves Enrollment: 2,609 Class: 5A Score: 24.79 Last Year: 49 (+5)


Aspen Skiers Enrollment: 540 Class: 3A Score: 24.55 Last Year: 43 (-2)

Photo courtesy of DaviD Walker Gilbert

Co-Captain Harvey Owens (L) and Captain Bobby Walker (R).

the 1940s – and linemen often ended games a grisly sight. Lumley’s nose was a typical casualty. But for the Tigers, that was a small price to pay. In 1936, Grand Junction Tigers football games could constitute the best salve available to local townspeople as the Depression took its second dip downward. Playoff games especially spurred remarkable solidarity and local pride, galvanizing the small town train junction joining Denver with Salt Lake City. For the semifinal game in Salida, Colo., on Nov. 26, the Grand Junction community filled 17 train cars, leaving few behind to mind the town. The game was a rematch of the previous year’s championship game and the Salida Spartans’ seniors had never walked off a football field defeated, having won their previous 39 games. Like every team the Tigers had held scoreless all season, the Spartans outweighed them. But unlike the previous year, the Tigers came to win. More than 6,000 spectators packed the Salida stadium seats for the Thanksgiving Day game, and Grand Junction residents rode their train cars home proudly after winning 6-0. Walker remembered the party-like atmosphere of the train cars – people shouted and hollered across the train cars, congratulating one another for their sons’ victory. Team members paraded through all 17 train cars to soak in their celebrity. Walker recalled men slipping him one- and even five-dollar bills as he walked through the narrow train aisles.

Continued on pg. 100

98 | February 2013 |


“I must have made $100 in small bills,” said Walker. “And that was during the Depression!” To symbolize their victory, Tigers fans left Salida with one of the wooden goal posts tied to the back of their train. It was back to Junction to get ready for the state championship. Walker remembered the last game of his junior year, against another rival – Loveland. After running in the first touchdown of the game in front of the record 6,000 voracious fans at Lincoln Park Stadium, Walker dedicated the rest of the game to, as he remembered, making the “backs stand out and look good.” The three boys running the ball behind Walker – Chuck Turner at fullback, Billy Stevens at right halfback and Izzy Spector at left back – were all seniors at Grand Junction, and recruiters from the Universities of Utah, Colorado, Southern California and Colorado State were onhand to see the exceptional team play its last game. Turner scored later in the first half and Spector ran for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. That was when Walker realized that all four of his backfield could score and decided “to stop monkeying around.” Crouched in the huddle late in the game, Walker knew this would be his team’s last drive. The score was 21-0, but he felt the Tigers still owed themselves another score. “Okay,” he told the huddle, “Let’s get Billy one. Then, we all got one.”

EvEry Sunday EvEning

4:00-6:00 pm prESEntEd By


Denver Christian Crusaders Enrollment: 176 Class: 2A Score: 24.23 Last Year: 140 (+94)


Manitou Springs Mustangs Enrollment: 465 Class: 3A Score: 24.00 Last Year: 67 (+20)


Platte Valley Broncos Enrollment: 375 Class: 3A Score: 22.73 Last Year: 233 (+185)


Eads Eagles Enrollment: 66 Class: 1A Score: 22.50 Last Year: 126 (+77)


Coronado Cougars Enrollment: 1,390 Class: 4A Score: 22.38 Last Year: 47 (-3)

The Tigers drove down the field, and Stevens scored the game’s fourth and final touchdown on a short run play. The hometown fans surged with excitement and began a celebration that lasted all weekend. When asked if anybody expressed any qualms about running up the score so late in the game, Walker said that no one ever questioned his on-the-field calls. In fact, the Tigers had been coached not to. Since becoming the starting quarterback as a sophomore, Walker remembered that coach Raleigh Holt made it clear that no one but Walker could talk in the huddle. Walker recalled the coach’s pregame ritual that the team followed for his entire three years as leader. “Coach pulled out 11 sticks of Wrigley Spearmint gum,” said Walker. And then Raleigh would hand them to his team, look directly at his quarterback and bark out, “Bobby, you run ‘em!” At the final whistle, the Tigers beat the Loveland Indians with all four members of its ground attack going in for six points, plus Walker’s four extra points – an unusual accomplishment back when the football resembled a large, leather watermelon and players rarely practiced smashing it toe-first through the goalposts. Every starter on the 1936 Grand Junction team but one ended up playing college ball. Jack Lumley played center at Colorado State and end Oscar Jacobson went to Colorado. Both Izzy Spector and Chuck Turner became renowned running backs at Utah, and Robert Hogan played end at the University of Denver, where he made All-Conference and excelled in both basketball and baseball before getting shot down over the Pacific in World War II. Walker played out his senior year at Grand Junction and he did well. He led the Tigers to nine straight victories before losing to Price, Utah, on Armistice Day, 1937. Walker also earned what some still claim to be a national record by scoring on 42 consecutive drop-kicks – Walker himself does not acknowledge the record, claiming that he never “kept track of extra points.” Colorado College and the University of Utah recruited him in the spring of 1939. He chose CC, most likely, he made clear, because he had met Helen Zick, a striking sorority girl and future Colorado College class vice president over the previous summer working in Grand Lake, the small mountain town that hugs the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Walker saw Miss Zick walking out of her aunt’s general store, Humphrey’s, and prophesied to his buddy, “Ish,” that he’d get a date with her next fall.

Continued on pg. 102

100 | February 2013 |


“Unlikely,” Walker remembered Ish, already a CC student, telling him. At Colorado College, freshmen did not play on the varsity team. Maybe that’s why the young quarterback found himself returning the first kickoff of the season for Colorado College’s freshmen team’s game opener against Pueblo Junior College. Walker caught the ball and immediately felt his right knee give, if only slightly. He marched to the huddle and marshaled his team down for a quick score. After kicking the extra-point, Walker felt the knee give

Photo courtesy of DaviD Walker Gilbert In addition to playing quarterback for the Grand Junction 11, Walker had punting duties, too.

out completely and left the game for good. A Colorado Springs doctor who volunteered to work with the CC football team drove Walker to Denver to look into arthroscopy surgery. But in 1938, knee reconstruction was not promising, and the surgeon told the young man to quit playing football. Robert Walker, now 93, lives today with Helen Zick Walker, 95, in Grand Lake, Colo., and Boca Raton, Fla. He doesn’t walk outdoors too much anymore since having to give up golf just last year. But his mind is still sharp, so the great Bobby Walker doesn’t have a problem remembering the details that chronicle the tale of the Tigers – certainly, one of the greatest football teams in Colorado state history.

51. Cheyenne Wells 52. Alamosa 53. Mountain Vista 54. Niwot 55. Fossil Ridge 56. Silver Creek 57. Pine Creek 58. Byers 59. Longmont 60. Simla 61. Rifle 62. Lewis-Palmer 63. Elizabeth 64. Olathe 65. Legacy 66. Granada 67. Otis 68. Plateau Valley 69. Chaparral 70. Dove Creek 71. Ralston Valley 72. Strasburg 73. Springfield 74. Brush 75. Pueblo East 76. Battle Mountain 77. Sierra Grande 78. Hi-Plains 79. Windsor 80. Palmer Ridge 81. Boulder 82. Frontier Academy 83. Middle Park 84. Vail Christian 85. Doherty 86. ThunderRidge 87. Highlands Ranch 88. Fowler 89. Kit Carson 90. Burlington 91. Buena Vista 92. Bethune 93. Steamboat Springs 94. Rock Canyon 95. Denver South 96. Wiggins 97. Bayfield

102 | February 2013 |


98. Limon 99. Sargent 100. Vanguard 101. Ponderosa 102. Discovery Canyon 103. Eaglecrest 104. Holyoke 105. Columbine 106. Nederland 107. Rye 108. Dakota Ridge 109. Pomona 110. Community Christian 111. Shining Mountain Waldorf 112. Cherokee Trail 113. McClave 114. St. Mary’s Academy 115. Crested Butte Community 116. Mullen 117. Denver East 118. Erie 119. Montrose 120. Del Norte 121. Deer Trail 122. Pueblo West 123. Trinidad 124. Swink 125. Highland 126. Wray 127. Pueblo Central 128. Custer County 129. Dayspring Christian 130. Sangre de Cristo 131. Prairie 132. Rocky Ford 133. Holly 134. Bennett 135. Sierra 136. Roosevelt 137. Berthoud 138. Liberty 139. Smoky Hill 140. Peyton 141. Florence 142. Lamar


143. Green Mountain 144. Wiley 145. Legend 146. Meeker 147. Estes Park 148. Gunnison 149. Douglas County 150. Heritage 151. Centaurus 152. Grand Junction 153. Wheat Ridge 154. Briggsdale 155. Colorado Springs Christian 156. Hayden 157. Yuma 158 .Sterling 159. Arvada 160. Canon City 161. Rangeview 162. Chatfield 163. St. Mary’s 164. Denver SS&T 165. Gilpin County 166. Fountain-Fort Carson 167. Clear Creek 168. Alexander Dawson 169. La Veta 170. Evangelical Christian 171. West Grand 172. Vista Ridge 173. Mead 174. Sheridan 175. Lakewood 176. Mountain Range 177. Pueblo County 178. Coal Ridge 179. Cotopaxi 180. Kim 181. Machebeuf 182. Bear Creek 183. Monte Vista 184. Crowley County 185. Conifer 186. Standley Lake 187. Moffat County 188. Falcon 189. Eagle Valley 190. Kiowa 191. Rocky Mountain 192. Mesa Ridge 193. Widefield 194. Lone Star

195. Lake County 196. North Park 197. Basalt 198. La Junta 199. Pagosa Springs 200. Greeley West 201. Delta 202. Platte Canyon 203. Castle View 204. Fort Morgan 205. Salida 206. Weld Central 207. Colorado Rocky Mountain 208. Dolores Huerta Prepatory 209. Sanford 210. Centauri 211. Grand Valley 212. Las Animas 213. Mancos 214. Sand Creek 215. Summit 216. Manual 217. Golden 218. John F. Kennedy 219. Palisade 220. Vail Mountain 221. Durango 222. Poudre 223. Rampart 224. Dolores 225. Jefferson Academy 226. Mountain View 227. Gateway 228. Skyline 229. Palmer 230. Littleton 231. Glenwood Springs 232. Montbello 233. Montezuma-Cortez 234. Thornton 235. Harrison 236. Mitchell 237. Arvada West 238. Grand Junction Central 239. Fruita-Monument 240. Greeley Central 241. Overland 242. Northridge 243. Pueblo Centennial 244. Thomas Jefferson 245. George Washington

FebruarY sCheDuLe day


Coverage at



SAT. WEd. Mon. Thurs. saT. Mon. saT. sun. Tue. THurS.

FEB. 2 FEB. 6 FEB 11 Feb. 14 Feb. 16 FEB. 18 Feb. 23 Feb. 24 Feb. 26 FEB. 28

12:30 PM 7 PM 6:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 12:30 PM 1:30 PM 5:30 PM 8 PM 6:30 PM

vs. EdMonTon oilErS vs. AnAHEiM duckS vs. PHoEnix coyoTES at Minnesota Wild at edmonton Oilers vs. nASHvillE PrEdATorS at Los angeles Kings at anaheim Ducks at san Jose sharks vs. cAlgAry FlAMES

Hd Hd Hd hD hD Hd hD hD hD Hd

all times mountain standard time home games in Bold.

All dates and times are subject to change.

Home games aired live, away games shown with a delay.


Cheer Up, Denver

A Broncos playoff loss does not a calendar make By Woody Paige


eeling disconsolate, despondent, depressed, distressed, dejected, dismayed, disheartened, deprived, discombobulated, down in the dumps? Got that usual Triple D – Damn Denver Disease? The Broncos lost. Woe is us. Our Dusty Ol’ Cowtown can’t do diddly squat.   Well, Dr. Paige’s Traveling Wooly, Woody, Wild West Medicine Show has just the elixir for you. This’ll cheer you up, stir you up and cowboy you up. Denver has a chance to play in postseason games with all five of its major-league franchises (yes, I’m counting the Rapids, who actually play in Commerce City) for the first time in a calendar year in the city’s entire sports history. Bet you didn’t know that fact. Bet you’re feeling better already. Take another dose (but don’t take a knee): The Broncos already had their playoff game. Get over it. That’s one. The Nuggets surely will be in the playoffs again this year. That’s two.    The Avalanche are finally on the ice again, and the team looks early like a playoff team. That’s three. The Rapids get kicking on March 2, with the home opener March 9, against the pesky Philadelphia Union. And the Rapids should return to the playoffs. That’s four. And what about the Hard Rox? Hey, if the Rockies come up with some pitching and some hitting and some fielding and some other things, they could be in the playoffs, too. That would be five.

104 | February 2013 |

Five local teams in the postseason. Be still, your heart.

Five local teams in the postseason. Be still, your heart.”

Never happened before. To reflect on and start with, the Rockies arrived in 1993 and reached the playoffs in the strike-shortened ’95 season (losing to the Braves). They lost to the Red Sox (who had Mr. Red Sox – Johnny Pesky) in the 2007 World Series and lost in the first round to the pesky Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. The Avalanche transferred in for 1995 – and promptly won the Stanley Cup in the postseason (played in 1996). So they were too late for the Rockies’ first postseason appearance, and, oddly enough, did not make the playoffs in 2007 or 2009 (but did in 2006 and 2008). The Nuggets, who joined the NBA (after a fitful, fun time in the ABA) in 1976, did earn playoff spots the same years as the Rockies, but lost in ’95 and ’07 to the Spurs and in ’09 in the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers, who were more than pesky. The Broncos, who joined the NFL (after a fitful, fun time in the AFL) in 1970, didn’t advance to the postseason until 1977, but have been 18 more times since. However, they did not play in the postseason in the month of January in 1995, 2007 and 2009. The Rapids, who were born in 1996, also did not find a way to the postseason in either 2007 or ’09. So, based on my research, the only calendar year in which four of the five teams played in the postseason was 2004 – when the Rapids reached the quarterfinals of the MLS, the Avs made it to the second round, the Nuggets fell in the first round, and the Broncos were blasted in January by Peyton Manning and the Colts. The Rockies won 68 games and finished fourth in the division that year. Not so great for Denver, but it has been a lot worse.


four-for-five in professional championships.

Of course, the Broncos have won Super Bowls (1998 and 1999) and the Avalanche two Stanley Cups (1996 and 2001). The Rapids won the MLS Championship in 2010. The Rockies, as noted, had a miracle run to the World Series in 2007. The Nuggets played, and lost, in the last ABA Finals (1976), but have never gotten to the NBA Finals.

If, though, the Nuggets and the Avs, as well as the Rapids and the Rockies, could somehow play in the postseason, 2013 would end up as boon for our town, which is busted after how the year began.

So, why couldn’t this be the best overall year in the history of Denver teams?

And the Broncos could win a playoff game on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013.

Although the Broncos certainly matter most, Denver still could go

Mark your calendar, and drink your Kool-Aid.

Perhaps not. Definitely not.


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Mile High Sports Magazine: Febuary 2013  

The 2013 Mile High Sports High School Basketball issue. I was responsible for layout and design.

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