The year 2019 was another great one for the local sports scene.
Double state championships in basketball for the second straight year, incredible efforts in track and field, the baseball team making a run to the regional final, the football team finding its way to the playoffs for the first time in years, and a Yuma competing in the National Finals Rodeo — it definitely was just a year to remember.
And that is just a small sample. Let’s jump right in and revisit what transpired over the past 12 months.
• It was announced in January that longtime Yuma educator, coach and administrator Jack Lubbers will be among six inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2019 at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast.
• The YHS girls and boys basketball teams both resumed their seasons with home wins over Akron. Both teams then beat Wray a week later, the girls on a buzzer-beater. The evening also marked the unveiling of the girls and boys championship banners from the 2017-18 season. Many of the graduated players from both teams returned for the evening’s ceremonies.
• The YHS wrestlers got off to a strong start in 2019, including a good showing at the Lamar tournament, and tying Akron in the final home dual of the season.
• YHS seniors Taylor Hansen and Tania Morales both sign national letters of intent to play volleyball at North Platte Community College in Nebraska.
• The Yuma boys’ basketball team’s school-record 31-game winning streak is snapped w
ith a surprising 53-46 home loss to a two-win team from Sidney, Nebraska. It was a rare double-defeat Saturday in The Pit as the girls team also lost to Sidney, but the powerful Sidney girls team was expected to win.
• There was another signing in January as YHS senior Dillon White signed a national letter of intent to play football at the University of Nebraska Wesleyan.
• The YHS wrestling team ends the month being seriously challenged with a dual against top-ranked Wray, and competing in big-school tournaments, along with a triangular against two other top 2A teams.
• The month begins with the YHS girls wrestlers competing in regional, with freshmen Fatima Duran and Mia Dischner qualifying for the Colorado High School Girls Wrestling Tournament at Thornton High School.
• The YHS boys and girls basketball teams both enter the month closing in on LPAA regular-season titles after posting some big wins. The boys also picked up a big non-league win in overtime against Byers in a Top 10 showdown in The Pit.
• The YHS boys wrestlers conclude the regular season by winning the Stratton Invitational team title.
• Yuma senior Chasey Blach signs a national letter of intent to continue her volleyball career at Adams State College in Alamosa. She was the 2A Player of the Year while helping lead Yuma to the 2018 state championship.
• Mia Dischner picked up one win at the girls state wrestling tournament. Teammate Fatima Duran ended up not making weight and did not compete.
• The Arickaree/Woodlin boys basketball team is on track to win the YWKC League’s regular season title heading into the season’s final games.
• Eight Yuma wrestlers qualify at regional for the Class 2A State Tournament in Akron, sophomore Blaze Brophy at 132, sophomore Joey Ross at 138, junior Cayden Lynch at 195, junior Alec Holtorf at 120, sophomore Braden Smith at 126, freshman Jose Ruiz at 220 and freshman Lars Sims at 285. HOW As a team, the Indians finished second in the 16-school regional field with 158 points, behind only rival Wray.
• Yuma’s boys and girls basketball teams both win their regular-season finales at Haxtun — the boys had to go two overtimes for their win — as the programs both went 8-0 in LPAA play for the second straight season. It is the girls’ third league championship in four years, and the third in five years for the boys.
• It is announced that YHS graduate, and former teacher and coach in Yuma, Jud Hall has been selected as the new head football coach for Scottsbluff, Nebraska’s powerhouse program, after serving the previous six seasons as offensive coordinator.
• The Arickaree/Woodlin boys basketball team closes out the YWKC League regular season title, earning the top seed for district.
• Four of Yuma’s eight wrestlers at the state tournament won at least one match, led by Blaze Brophy reaching the semifinals before finishing fifth at 132 pounds. Alec Holtorf, Cayden Lynch and Lars Sims each won one match. Yuma finished 31st out of 48 schools with 16 points.
• Yuma’s Tate Kirchenschlager is off to a good start in 2019 on the profressional rodeo circuit, teaming up with Ross Ashford to win the team roping title at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, a tournament-style event.
• The YHS basketball teams swept the 2A District 2 titles for the second straight year. The boys cruised past Akron in the semifinals in Sterling, then knocked off rival Wray in the district final. The girls beat ?? in the semifinals, then held off Holyoke in the championship game. Snow forced the final round to be moved from Saturday to Sunday, and the venue changed from Northeastern Junior College to Sterling High School.
• Arickaree/Woodlin’s girls and boys basketball teams both placed second in the 1A District 5 Tournament, and the Startton/Liberty boys placed third, as all advanced to regional.
• The month begins with the YHS basketball teams hosting regional in The Pit. The girls team takes care of business by beating Dayspring Christian 66-22 and Highland 51-19, improving to 13-0 in regional games since 2013, qualifying for the state tournament for the seventh straight year. The boys follow suit, beating Lyons 67-37 and John Mall 65-44 to return to the state tournament for the second straight year.
• YHS senior Cody Robinson takes time out from leading the Indians to state to sign a national letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. She was the 2A Player of the Year as a junior when the Indians won the title.
• On the local 1A scene, the A/W girls and boys, and the S/L are all knocked out in regional.
• YHS basketball makes Colorado high school sports history as the girls and boys sweep the 2A titles for the second straight year, the first time a Colorado school has accomplished that regardless of classification.
• The girls cruised in the first two rounds at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, beat8ng Heritage Christian 54-19 in the quarterfinals, and Del Norte 51-35. They met Swink in the championship game, pulling away in the second half to a 41-25 victory. It is the girls program’s third title in four years, and fourth overall in the “modern” era. The Indians finished with a 23-3 record.
• Yuma’s boys finished 24-2. They beat Denver Christian 47-38 in the quarterfinals, then rallied in the fourth quarter for an exciting 56-47 win over Fowler in the semifinals. They met Highland and its high-powered offense in the championship game, limiting the Huskies to 11 points in the first half on their way to a 52-39 win. It is the program’s fifth state championship.
• Junior Alec Holtorf and sophomore Blaze Brophy are named to the All-LPAA wrestling team at 120 and 132 pounds, respectively.
• Spring sports began right after the state basketball tournaments. The YHS baseball team ran out to a 4-0 record, including an exciting walkoff victory over Haxtun to complete a sweep in the Tribe’s home opener on a sunny but chilly Saturday.
• Boys volleyball is introduced as a pilot program at YHS in March, opening its season at home by splitting matches with Longmont and Poudre.
• YHS’s Cody Robinson, Chasey Blach, Viri Escobar and Reagan Nolin are named to the All-LPAA team. Robinson and Blach also played in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Games at Arvada West High School.
• YHS’s Jake Chrisman, Steven Wells, Chase McCreath and Clay Robinson are named All-LPAA in boys basketball.
• YHS sweeps the top 2A honors in basketball as Cody Robinson is named the girls Class 2A Player of the Year, and Bob Rahm the 2A Coach of the Year, while Jake Christman is named the boys 2A Player of the Year, and Dave Sheffield the 2A Coach of the Year. Chasey Blach joined Robinson on the 2A First Team, while Viri Escobar and Reagan Nolin received honorable mention. Chase McCreath and Clay Robinson are named to the 2A boys Second Team.
• Yuma baseball sweeps Merion to improve to 6-0 in LPAA play, and No. 1 in the 2A Rating Percentage Index.
• Yuma senior Jake Chrisman signs a national letter of intent to continue his basketball career at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. He is a two-time 2A Player of the Year.
• Paul Brophy, Chase McCreath and Fabian Salcido combine for 30 strikeouts to lead Yuma to a 10-0, 10-0 sweep of Akron in a league doubleheader in Yuma. However, several days later the Indians suffer their first league loss while splitting a double dip with Wiggins.
• The YHS boys volleyball team is gaining attention locally after some fun matches in The Pit.
• The YHS track and field teams are experiencing some unwanted breaks in the season due to weather canceling meets, but are getting some outstanding performances when the Indians do get to compete.
• The Otis baseball team is having a great season, sitting at 12-0 after sweeping Briggsdale.
• The Yuma track and field teams finally are getting busy toward the end of April with a series of meets, marked by some outstanding performances.
• Yuma’s baseball team somewhat stumbles toward the end of April, losing three of four games, but still has the inside track on winning the LPAA regular season title.
• Early May is a great time for YHS athletics as the school sweeps three LPAA titles in two days. The girls and boys track and field teams both win the league meet on Friday, with the boys edging Sedgwick County by one point, 154-153, and the girls getting 148.5 points to best second-place Wray’s 140 points. The next day the baseball team sweeps Holyoke on the Dragons’ home field to claim the LPAA regular season title, the program’s first-ever league title since baseball was resurrected at YHS in the mid-1980s.
• Yuma senior Denae Beauprez qualifies for the Class 3A State Golf Tournament by placing eighth at regional. Beauprez did not take up golf in earnest until her junior year, but proved to be a quick learner. She had a busy week as she was in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix for several days, returned home for high school graduation, then played in the state tournament the very next day.
• The YHS boys volleyball team qualifies for regional during its pilot season. The Indians won their first match at regional, but see their season come to an end with a loss to Vanguard on Vanguard’s home court in Colorado Springs.
• Otis and Stratton/Liberty’s baseball teams both make the 1A regional, including Otis getting to host a four-team regional as the overall No. 2 seed after winning the District 3 Tournament. Stratton/Liberty goes to third-seed Nucla.
• Yuma baseball won its second ever district title, the other coming in 2013, in somewhat unusual fashion. The Indians had lost in extra innings to Wray in the semifinals, but it was discovered after the game that a Wray pitcher had put in too many innings on the hill, resulting in a forfeit, and in Yuma driving back from Yuma to Akron for the championship game against Holyoke, which the Indians won easily, sending them to regional as the fourth-seed in the 16-team field.
• The Otis baseball team reaches the 1A semifinals after beating Elbert and Evangelical Christian in a regional the Bulldogs hosted at the Yuma ball park. The Bulldogs end up losing to Nucla in the semifinals, finishing with an impressive 19-3 record.
• Yuma athletes combined for eight top-three finishes at the Class 2A Track and Field Championships in Lakewood. Victor Mendoza won the long jump and triple jump. It is believed he is the first YHS athlete to win both of those events. Jake Chrisman won the pole vault, and second in the high jump. The girls 4-by-200 relay team of Julissa Garcia, Staci Higgins, Cody Robinson and Chasey Blach took first in a close final. The same foursome finished second in the 800 sprint medley. Blach took second in the high jump. Clay Robinson placed third in the 100-meter dash. Blach, Robinson, Garcia and Higgins placed fourth in the 4-by-100 relay. Higgins was sixth in the 100, and Garcia ninth. Braden Smith was seventh in the pole vault, and Kail Cooper eighth. Beau Tate was eighth in the 300-meter hurdles. The boys finished second in the final team standings with 52 points, its highest finish since the 1990s.The girls finished sixth with 37 points.
• The Yuma baseball team had a tough ending to its season, beating Clear Creek 9-2 in the regional semifinals, its first regional win since 2013. However, the Indians then lost to Wiggins 6-5. The Indians’ 17-5 record represents the program’s second-most wins ever.
• Locals did well in the Class 1A Track and Field Championships in Lakewood. Otis senior Keyla Dracon added another state title as he won the discus. He was second in the shot put, which he had won the year before. Otis’ Landston Schaffert was sixth in the pole vault, and Anthoneya Schaffert was fifth in the girls pole vault. Lone Star’s Alivia Weathers was second in the triple jump, third in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles. Lamya Kuntz was second in the pole vault, Weathers third, Andrea Kuntz fourth and Michaela Kuntz seventh. L. Kuntz was fourth in the 1600. Lone Star’s 800 sprint medley was seventh, and the 4-by-800 relay was eighth. Lone Star’s Brady Kuntz was third in the pole vault, and Charles Hobbs seventh. Elton Yarger led Stratton/Liberty to third place in the 1A standings, winning the long jump, triple jump and 400 dash, and finishing third in the 100. Trevor Frank was third in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles. Levi Shean placed in the long and triple jumps, and the boys placed in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relays. The girls placed in two relays, as well as in the 300 hurdles and triple jump.
• Yuma High School’s Victor Mendoza is on the Class 2A First Team after winning the long jump and triple jump. Jake Chrisman also made all-state by winning the pole vault. For the girls, Yuma’s 4-by-200 relay team of Chasey Blach, Stacey Higgins, Cody Robinson and Julissa Garcia were named all-state. The foursome also placed in two other relays at state. In 1A, Stratton/Liberty’s Elton Yarger was named Athlete of the Year. The senior was all-state after winning the 400-meter dash, long jump and triple jump. Otis’ Keylan Dracon also is all-state after winning the discus.
• All-LPAA in Track and Field are: For the girls, Chasey Blach was All-LPAA in the high jump, triple jump, 400-meter dash and 4-by-200 relay; Julissa Garcia in the 100-meter dash, 4-by-200 relay and 800 sprint medley; Cody Robinson in the 4-by-200 relay and 800 sprint medley; Staci Higgins in the 4-by-200 relay and 800 sprint medley, and; Ema Richardson in the 800 sprint medley. Victor Mendoza was All-LPAA in the long jump, triple jup and 4-by-200 relay; Clay Robinson in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4-by-200 relay; Jacob Long in the 400-meter dash and the 4-by-200 relay; Jake Chrisman in the high jump, and; Beau Tate in the 4-by-200 relay.
• In baseball, Paul Brophy, Manny Tena and Chase McCreath are named to the All-LPAA team, while Trevor Salzman and Steven Wells each earned honorable mention.
• The All-State baseball selections are announced as Yuma’s Paul Brophy is named to the 2A First Team, and Manny Tena earns honorable mention. Otis’ Cullen Glosson and Stratton/Liberty’s Ethan Richmond both were named to the 1A First Team, and Otis’s Ty Hunt to the Second Team. Bryce Miracle and Isaac Wells of Otis each earned honorable mention.
• Competing in the Colorado High School Coaches Association’s annual All State Games were Yuma’s Cody Robinson in basketball, Jake Chrisman in basketball and Chasey Blach in volleyball. Otis’ Cullen Glosson and Ty Hunt played in basketball, and Makenna Metzler was in volleyball.
• Siblings Coy, Cash and Cassidy Evans, along with Olivia Cullen have earned positions on the Colorado State/Provincial National Junior High rodeo team. They will be traveling with fellow teammates to Huron, South Dakota, June 23 through June 29 to compete at the 15th annual National Junior High Finals Rodeo (NJHFR). Cassidy ended up second in the All Around Rooking Cowgirl with 640 points, and 10th in All Around Cowgirl. Coy placed in tie-down roping.
• Several youth baseball teams converged on Yuma on the last weekend of June to compete in the Jeff Armstrong Tournament. Yuma’s 12U team reached the semifinals before getting knocked out, and the 10U team finished second in its division.
• Otis graduate Essence Tolson is featured as she is enjoying a successful basketball career at Hesston College in Kansas. That has led to her getting a scholarship to Oklahoma Wesleyan University on a full scholarship for her final two years of college.
• Yuma’s 10U and 12U Cal Ripken teams compete in their respective state tournaments in early July. Neither team won a game, but the 10U team was involved in a 26-25 nine-inning marathon that led to them having to forfeit their next game due to a lack of pitching as dictated by new pitch count rules that left the team no available pitchers.
• The fifth annual Indian Hills Classic Golf Tournament was a big success, raising $14,000 for the High Plains Recreation District. The foursome of Kris Dresen, Lyle Smith, Mike Foor and Bruce McClaren win the Championship Flight.
• Coaching assignments for the next school year are approved by the Yuma-1 Board of Education. All of the head coaches at Yuma High School will be returning.
• Yuma native Tate Kirchenschlager keeps tearing it up on the Mountain States Circuit. The team roping header currently sits 10th in the PRCA World Standings after a good run in Wyoming rodeos.
• Andrews Brothers Seeds won the Yuma Recreation Department’s Co-ed Softball League Postseason Tournament, defeating defending champion Log Cabin in the championship.
• The YHS Spirit Squad hosted a three-day Universal Cheerleaders Association home camp in late July, learning several cheers, dances and stunts. The team received a trophy for Superior performance.
• Yuma’s Chloe Smith placed second at state in the floor routine. She competes with the High Plains Gymnastics Team, as do a several other girls from Yuma.
• The Yuma High School boys golf team is the first to get its season started, competing in several tournaments before school even starts, including hosting the Allison Turvey Memorial at Indian Hills Golf Course.
• The Yuma Trap Club hosted an ATA Registered Shoot at its Yuma location. Paul Dible won the High Overall trophy.
• The YHS softball team is the season to open its 2019 season, competing in the Valley/Platte Valley Fall Classic in the Greeley area.
• Meanwhile all other fall sports teams, including the YHS football, volleyball and cross country teams, continue preparations for their season openers.
• The Yuma High School volleyball opened its season September 3 with three-set loss at Sedgwick County, snapping the program’s 40-match win streak in the Lower Platte Activities Association.
• Defending state champion Startton/Liberty loses its opener 48-14 to Kit Carson, the team the Knighted Eagles beat for the 6-man championship the previous season.
• The YHS cross country teams opened their seasons with a strong showing at a meet in Greeley.
• Yuma’s Tate Kirchenschlager remains in contention for a berth to the National Finals Rodeo, sitting 11th in the PRCA World Standings among headers in team roping entering the final weeks of the qualifying rodeo circuits.
• The Yuma football team finally opens its season on September 6 with an impressive 44-3 win at home over Pine Bluffs, Wyoming. It is the Indians’ first season-opening win since 2011.
• The volleyball team picks up its first win of the season, beating Pine Bluffs, but it is going to be an up-and-down season for the Tribe.
• Yuma’s 2009 football state championship team is honored during the Homecoming game against Lyons. The team also has a reunion that was open to the public the following evening.
• The season comes to a close for the YHS boys golf team. Nobody qualifies for state, but the Indians do finish third in its league.
• The Yuma foothall team ends the month with a 3-1 record in non-league play, including a 32-0 win at Crowley County, and a 49-12 win over Lyons in the Homecoming game.
• Yuma’s volleyball team end September 6-6 overall and with a winning record in league play, winning three straight LPAA matches after the season-opening loss.
• Stratton/Liberty’s football team ends with the month with four straight wins after its season-opening loss. Meanwhile, the Otis and Arickaree/Woodlin teams are experiencing unusally-tough seasons on the 6-man circuit.
• Liberty student Jaret Lichty sets a record by running for 474 yards and eight touchdowns in Stratton/Liberty’s 84-35 victory over Idalia.
• The Yuma Middle School football finishes a great season by coming in second the league playoffs with a close loss to Holyoke in the championship game, Holyoke was the only team to bet the young Indians.
• The YHS softball team’s season comes to a close. The Indians played hard and improved, but did not experience much success in the win column.
• Things are looking tough for the YHS football team as the Indians get blown out by Holyoke and Limon — the top two teams in Class 1A — to begin North Central Conference play. The Indians go 10 total quarters without scoring, dating back to their Homecoming win.
• The YHS cross country season comes to an end at regional as no one qualifies for state. The boys and girls teams both ran well, but came up against some high-powered cross country programs.
• Stratton/Liberty blows past Hi-Plains/Flagler for the 6-man East Central Conference title and the second seed behind Kit Carson in the 16-team playoff field.
• The Otis volleyball team wraps yet another YWKC League regular-season title, and the top seed in the Class 1A District 5 Tournament.
• The Yuma volleyball team earns huge win at highly-ranked Wiggins in a thrilling five-set match. The Indians end up second in the LPAA behind Class 1A Merino, and tops among the league’s 2A schools.
• The Yuma football team picked up key wins over Wiggins and Burlington in NCC play to keep its playoff hopes alive. The 34-6 home win over Burlington is the Indians’ first over the Cougars since 2008, and secures the program’s first winning season since 2013. It also sets up a huge showdown with ancient rival Wray in the regular-season finale on November 1.
• Yuma’s volleyball team ends the regular season with a 12-11 record and has a week off while waiting to find out where it heads for regional.
• Yuma’s football team closes out a great run to the end of the regular season with a 27-7 home win over ancient rival Wray. It is Yuma’s first win in the annual showdown since 2014, and just the second since the Harvest Cup traveling trophy was introduced in 2009. The Indians finish the regular season 6-3, including 3-2 in the NCC for a third-place finish, and are the 10th-seed in the 16-team playoff field, Yuma’s first playoff berth since 2013.
• Alivia Weathers of Yuma, a sophomore at Lone Star, is a regional champion in the vault in Class 4A, and was second in all around, qualifying for state in four events.
• Otis volleyball suffers a rare loss in district but qualiifies for regional at Genoa-Hugo/Karval. Stratton/Liberty also quaifies for regioanl.
• Stratton/Liberty beats Walsh 60-14 in the first round of the 6-man playoffs, beats Branson/Kim 72-43 in the quarterfinals, then knocks off Cheyenne Wells 62-32 to reach the championship game for the third straight season.
• Yuma volleyball ends up as the 13th seed in the 2A regionals, just missing a chacne to again bost the regional round. However, the Indians go to Rye and sweep past Calhan and the host Thunderbolts to earn the program’s eighth-straight trip to the 2A State Tournament in Denver.
• Otis volleyball loses in regional, but still qualifies yet again for the 1A tournament as a wildcard thanks to its RPI.
• Yuma football plays its first playoff game since 2013, traveling to Colorado Springs Christian. The Indians jump out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. However, they cannot keep it going, eventually losing 17-14, bringing a fun 2019 season to an end. The successful campaign does set the foundation for hopefully great things in the future for Yuma football, which is in its second year under coach Kelly Seward and his staff.
• Alivia Weathers finishes sixth in All-Around at the Class 4A State Gymnastics Meet in Thornton. She placed fourth in the Vault in the Individual Finals.
• Yuma volleyball is in the 2A tournament for the eighth straight season, but experiences its shortest stay during that span, losing to Simla and Wiggins in the double-elimination format. The Indians went 14-13 on the season.
• The Otis volleyball team, which snuck into the 1A tourney as a wildcard, ends up having a great run, beating South Baca and second-seed Kit Carson, before dropping its next two, the last to eventual champion Fleming.
• Stratton/Liberty loses a heartbreaker 28-27 to Fleming in the 6-man championship game, ruining the Knighted Eagles’ bid to win two in a row and third this decade.
• Cassidy Evans qualifies for the KK Run for Vegas/Junior World Finals Barrel Race and Pole Bending that will take place in December.
• Yuma football reaps the benefits of its best season in six years as Chase McCreath, Cayden Lynch, Alec Holtorf, Rolando Caraveo and Jose Ruiz are named All-North Central Confernce, while Clay Robinson earns honorable mention.
• All-LPAA selections in volleyball include Yuma’s Reagan Nolin, Elle Roth and Ema Richardson.
• Other all-conference selections from fall sports include Lucy Day and Samantha Wells in softball, and Braden Smith, Hailey Eyring, Javier Duran and Wells in cross country.
• The YHS Spirit Squad competed at the state championships in the Denver Coliseum for the first time in early December, and did very well as the team finished seventh in Class 2A.
• Yuma Middle School’s boys basketball A-team wins the league tournament championship.
• The YHS wrestlers have a series of home duals right before the Christmas break, attracing large crowds to The Pit while winning all three duals under the spotlight.
• Yuma’s boys basketball team finishes December still top-ranked in Class 2A after winning five of six games, including a win over rival Wray and taking third in the Topside Tipoff Touranment in Goodland, Kansas.
• Yuma’s girls basketball team struggled a bit, but won its last game in December over a ranked foe fo finish the month 2-4, and still ranked in the 2A Top 10.
• YHS hosts a Yuma Athletics Holiday Extravaganza on Friday, December 20, the last day of school before Christmas vacation. Both the girls and boys teams beat Simla in basketball, followed by the wrestling team rolling Fowler in a dual. The evening concludes with an exhibition match between Tbe Grinch and Santa, with Santa pulling out the win by fall in the second period, much to the delight of the crowd in The Pit.