State tournaments, playoffs, great efforts all over, it was another super year in sports in the Pioneer coverage area.

Let’s jump right into it and take a look back at 2017.

January 2017

• The new year begins with great news as YHS senior Luisa Hernandez signs on to play volleyball for North Platte Community College.

• Area high school teams resume their seasons after the Christmas break, including the YHS girls beating Brush at home, and the boys team losing, while the wrestlers get busy with tournaments and duals.

• Yuma’s sixth-grade boys win the I-76 Power to Play Challenge in Fort Morgan early in the month.

• The Yuma girls beat Wiggins, Holyoke, Burlington and Sedgwick County heading into its showdown with rival Wray in The Pit. The Indians close out the month on a high note, rallying from a double-figure deficit in the second half to win on a last-second 3-pointer by Kenedy Roth, finishing the month 11-2 overall, 3-0 in league play.

• The Yuma boys have some encouraging performances, blowing out Wiggins, beating Burlington and Wray, and nearly knocking off highly-rated in Holyoke before losing in overtime, and also playing highly-ranked Sedgwick County close in a loss in The Pit. The end the month 2-1 in league play, 6-7 overall.

• The wrestlers conclude January with their annual county showdown in Wray. Yuma won four of only seven matches decided on the mat, but several forfeits results in a 48-18 team loss to the Eagles. The wrestlers turn their sights toward the postseason as the month comes to an end.

February 2017

• The month began with more good news as YHS senior Blaine Cooper signs on to play football at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

• The wrestling season already is headed to the postseason as regional is February 10-11 in Sterling. Senior Spencer Holtorf places third at 138 pounds to join a select group of YHS wrestlers who qualified for state in all four years of high school. Senior Austin Newbury places second at 182 pounds to advance to state for the third straight year. Junior Gianni Trejo qualified for the second time, placing fourth at at 132. Senior David Nance qualified for the second time, his first as a Yuma Indian, by placing third at 220. The Indians finished seventh in the 15-team regional field with 83.5 points.

Yuma’s David Nance, Spencer Holtorf, Austin Newbury and Gianni Trejo pose for a photo after qualifying for the Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament, last February.

• The Yuma girls basketball team suffers an ugly 47-24 loss at Haxtun toward the end of the regular season, costing them the first first seed for district.

• The YHS boys team gets a “signature” win over ranked Haxtun, 61-48, but the roller-coaster ride continues as the Indians lose badly to Holyoke in their next game. They close out the regular season nearly upsetting Akron, but 11 missed free throws in the fourth opens the door to the Rams rallying for the win.

• Yuma’s wrestlers score 13 points at the Class 2A State Tournament, led by Austin Newbury taking sixth at 182 pounds after making it to the semifinals, including a thrilling come-from-behind win in the quarterfinals. Spencer Holtorf won one match at 138, and Gianni Trejo had one win at 132. David Nance went 0-2 at 220 pounds.

• After the big loss to Haxtun, the Yuma girls close out the regular season with wins over Holyoke and Akron, earning a share of the LPAA regular-season title with Haxtun, who is the top seed for district by virtue of its win over Yuma. They then open district play with an easy win over seventh-seed Sedgwick County.

• Yuma’s boys basketball team sees its season end in the first round of district with a loss at Haxtun after cutting a 16-point deficit to to two with 2 minutes left. The Indians finish with an 8-12 record and a lot of close calls against top teams, including to the three LPAA teams that eventually end up in the top five in the 2A tournament, Holyoke, Sedgwick County and Akron.

• The Yuma girls go to Sterling for the final rounds of district, grinding out a semifinal win over Holyoke, then surprising Wray with a blowout win in the championship game. It is the Yuma girls’ second straight district title, and third in four years, and also qualified them for regional for the fifth consecutive year. The Indians are the top seed in 2A regional.

• The Otis and Arickaree/Woodlin boys and girls basketball teams all qualify for the 1A regional. The A/W girls won the District 5 title, beating Otis in the championship game. The Otis boys placed second in District 5, and the A/W boys placed third.

• Blaze Brophy, an eighth-grader in Yuma goes 5-2 at the Colorado Pikes Peak Tournament, competing in the 15U division at 109 pounds.

March 2017

• Postseason basketball highlights the first portion of March. The YHS girls beat Limon in their regional final, qualifying for the 2A state tournament for the fifth consecutive year, reaching at least 20 wins for the same amount of seasons in the process. The LPAA as a whole goes 6-6 in regional as all three girls teams and all three boys teams win and advance to the 2A state tournament in Loveland.

• The Arickaree/Woodlin girls come up one one short of advancing to the 1A tournament, going 1-1 at regional. The A/W boys and Otis boys and girls team also lose at regional to end their seasons.

The Yuma High School girls basketball team poses with its regional trophy after beating Limon at Mullen High School to qualify for its fifth straight trip to the 2A state tourney. (Dave Gustafson)

• The Yuma girls fail to reach the 2A championship game for the fifth consecutive year, instead settling for third. They opened state play as the top seed with a blowout win over Ignacio. The Indians then ran into rival Wray in the semifinals, losing in a thriller, 46-44. However, they rebounded to knock off Del Norte 46-40 the next day for third place, finishing with a 22-4 record.

• The LPAA did very well in the 2A field as on the girls side Wray finished second, Yuma third and Haxtun fifth, while on the boys side Holyoke finished first, Sedgwick County second and Akron fifth.

• The 2A state tournament also marked the end of the play-by-play radio career of Eric Metcalfe as the “Voice of the Indians” on 100.9 FM KNEC Radio. The popular radio personality, who called the fall and winter sports games for many years said he he was hanging up the headsets due to increasing responsibilities with his “day” job with the City of Yuma, and the fact his son Braxton was now in school.

• The YHS baseball team opened its season one week after state basketball, sweeping Merino in a pair of 10-run wins at the Yuma diamond on a sunny and warm Saturday.

• Abigail Knapton, the daughter of YHS graduate Jeff Knapton (Class of 1984) makes the news as she places fourth in platform diving at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, competing for the University of Nebraska.d

• The track and field season opens with YHS hosting the Yuma Early Qualifier, where the Yuma boys finish third in the team standings, and the girls fifth in their division.

• Several locals played in postseason all-star games. Yuma sophomore Cody Robinson played in the 1A-2A-3A game at The Show in Downtown Denver. Otis seniors Essence Tolson and Hanna Stallings played in the 1A game of the CCGS all-state games, and Kayla Arvizo of Yuma was among those in the Senior Showcase held at NJC in Sterling.

• YHS sophomore Cody Robinson is named to the Class 2A All-State First Team, and teammate Chasey Blach received honorable mention. In 1A, Arickaree/Woodlin’s Haley Dietz was named to the Second team, and Otis’ Essence Tolson received honorable mention. On the boys side, Otis’ Cullen Glosson and Ty Hunt each received 1A honorable mention, as did Arickaree/Woodlin’s Darian Wagner.

• YHS’s Connor Hixon is named to the All-LPAA team. He is the only YHS boys player to be honored by the league coaches.

Connor Hixon goes horizontal while getting to the basket at Akron, last February. (Dave Gustafson)

• A total of nine Yuma wrestlers qualify for the Middle School State Tournament, Blaze Brophy, Yahir Trejo, Jose Ruiz, Christian Quezada, Braden Smith, Joey Ross, Tyler Allen, John Smith and Louden Blach. Brophy ends up placing sixth out of 48 wrestlers in his 110-pound bracket.

• The YHS baseball team ends the month with a 5-1 record, including a doubleheader split with Sedgwick County, ranked No. 6 in Class 2A.

• The YHS girls golf team also had a good start to its season in March, including senior Becca Wall being the second medalist at the Lady Dragon Invitational in Holyoke.

April 2017

• The YHS baseball team opens the month by sweeping Wiggins and Caliche to improve to 9-1 and move into first place in the LPAA. The Indians are ranked No. 5 in the 2A Top 10, and more importantly are 4-1 in the RPI.

• The month begins with Yuma hosting the Yuma Bill Kalb Invitational, where the girls finish third and the boys fourth. Chasey Blach won the high jump for the girls, and Jake Chrisman won the high jump for the boys.

• The baseball team loses to Brush but beats Limon in a pair of nonleague game before returning to LPAA action, while the track and field teams both finish third at the Wray Cobb-Godsey Invitational.

• It is announced that YHS sophomores Cody Robinson and Chasey Blach each were named to the All-LPAA Team by the league coaches, and junior Avery Whitehead received honorable mention.

• The YHS baseball team runs into a road bump during a swing through Phillips County, getting swept at Haxtun, and splitting at Holyoke, getting a win over the Dragons behind a stellar pitching performance by Gianni Trejo, who had a complete-game shutout.

May 2017

Yuma catcher Giovanny Rodriguez makes a throw to first base during the 2017 high school season. (Tim Sprouse)

• Yuma’s baseball begins the month by sweeping Akron at home on a hot Saturday, finishing 10-4 in league play and earning the fourth seed for the 2A District 2 Tournament that will be held in Yuma.

• Becca Wall earns herself a spot in the Class 3A State Tournament by placing in a tie for 17th in the Region 3 Tournament in Windsor, earning one of the at-large berths to state. She is the first YHS girls golfer to qualify for state in a couple of years.

• Yuma track and field athletes competed in the LPAA Championships in Wray, where the girls finished second out of nine schools with 116 points and the boys placed third with 95.5 points in their division. Chasey Blach was a three-time league champion, winning the 400-meter dash and the high jump, and teaming up with Cody Robinson, Staci Higgins and Reagan Nolin to win the 800 sprint medley. Elizabeth Kucera won a league title in the pole vault. For the boys, Victor Mendoza won the triple jump, and Jake Chrisman won the high jump. The foursome of Diego Escobar, Alex Schuetz Diego Gordo and Armando Olivas earned All-LPAA honors also by winning the 4-by-800 relay.

• The Stratton/Liberty baseball team advances to the 1A regionals after finishing second in its district tournament. Otis lost two games in its district to see its season come to an end.

• Yuma’s track and field teams close out the regular season, and have a handful qualify for state by virtue of being in the top 18 in 2A in their respective events. Several athletes from area 1A schools also qualify for state by being in the top nine of their respective events.

• The Yuma baseball team beat Akron in the District 2 quarterfinals, but then lose a close one to top-seed Sedgwick County the next day in the semifinals. However, the Indians are 12th in the 2A RPI after the district tournaments are completed, qualifying them for regional round the following weekend, the program’s first regional appearance since 2013.

• The Stratton/Liberty baseball team is knocked out in regional, losing 10-4 to third-seed Cheyenne Wells.

• Yuma’s baseball team forgets to pack its bats for its trip to regional in Pueblo, getting only two hits in a 3-1 loss to Burlington. Yuma finished with a 14-8 record, and there was optimism for the future as the Indians return nearly everyone for the 2018 season.

Jake Chrisman competes in the high jump during the 2017 track and field season. (Dave Gustafson)

• The YHS boys and girls track and field teams combine for 23 points at the 2A Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood. State was rescheduled into a two-day event thanks to rainy weather on Thursday. Jake Chrisman placed second in the high jump, Victor Mendoza fourth in the triple jump and ninth in the long jump. Chasey Blach was fifth in the high jump, and eighth in the triple jump. Blach, Cody Robinson, Reagan Nolin and Staci Higgins placed eighth in the sprint medley.

Reagan Nolin and Staci Higgins run a relay during the 2017 track and field season. (Dave Gustafson)

• YHS senior Becca Wall shoots a personal best 52 over the last nine holes of the Class 3A Girls Golf Championships in Broomfield. Wall, who graduated one day before competing in the state tournament, shot a 110 both days.

• In the 1A Track and Field Championships, Arickaree/Woodlin’s Marco Ramos won the discus and shot put titles. Classmate Haley Dietz placed second in the triple jump, and fifth in the long jump. Abbi Miller was fifth in the 100-meter hurdles, Darian Wagner sixth in the 200, and Joel Wagner ninth in the shot put. Otis’ Tate Goble was third in the pole vault, and Landston Schaffert fifth. Killian Hisam was third in the high jump, Peyton Uhrig fifth in the discus, and Keylan Dracon seventh in the shot put. Stratton/Liberty’s Philip Pickard won the triple jump, and the girls 4-by-800 relay team of Sydnee Roth, Emily Idler, Savannah Rothbauer and Emma Mandal palced eighth. Lone Star’s Michaela Kuntz placed ninth in the pole vault.

June 2017

• With school out for the summer, attention turns to summer sports, including Yuma’s 12U baseball team playing in the Small Town Showdown in Omaha, Nebraska, where the team had a great time.

• Several high school teams come to Yuma for the YHS summer camp, which features a couple of days of many games for all the teams.

• The Yuma Volunteer Fire Department wins the 3-person overall championship at the district races held in Akron. Team members are Gary Trute, Jud Hall, Cameron Josh and David Aagesen, who also took first in the one-person coupling. The YVFD did not field a 6-person team for the first time in a long time, and will not defend its 6-person state championship later in the month.

• Yuma hosts a wrestling camp with camp coaches being successful high school coaches Justin Morris and Yuma alumnus Tyler Herbst.

• Yuma baseball players Paul Brophy and Gianni Trejo earn All-LPAA honors from league coaches, while Addison Weathers receives honorable mention.

• Yuma’s high school-age baseball team has a comeback for the ages against Fort Morgan, rallying from a 12-0 deficit with five runs on two outs in the fifth inning. Fort Morgan responded with two runs in the top of the sixth, and Yuma still trailed 14-5 entering the bottom of the seventh. Yuma scored a few runs but was down to its last out when the Indians strung together six two-out hits, including Chase McCreath’s double scoring Paul Brophy and Steven Wells for an amazing 15-14 victory.

• The All-State baseball selections are released, and Gianni Trejo earns honorable mention in 2A. Otis’ Cullen Glosson and Stratton/Liberty’s Landon McCaffrey earn honorable mention in 1A.

• The Junior Golf Clinic at Indian Hills Golf Course is well attended by the area’s youth with 44 from ages 5 to 14 participating.

• Nobody from Yuma was in the Colorado High School Coaches’ Association’s All-State Games at Adams State University in Alamosa, though there were several from throughout the region, including Otis’ Mario Dracon and Essence Tolson in the basketball tournaments.

• Yuma’s 13-16 year old softball team places second in its league tournament, including beating Wray in the semifinals before losing to Holyoke in the championship.

• Yuma’s 12U baseball team won a thriller in the semifinals on its way to placing second int eh 2017 Strike Out Cancer Wood Bat Tournament in Sidney, Nebraska.

• The foursome of Kris Dresen, Lyle Smith, Mike Foor and Bruce McClaren shoot a 25-under par 119 to win the Indian Hills Invitational Golf Tournament. The Ladies Tournament also is held at Indian Hills in June, with Bette Patterson and Haley Perry taking top honors.

• It is announced Becca Wall had earned all-conference honors during the girls high school golf season.

• Yuma Baseball Organization hosts the big Jeff Armstrong Memorial Baseball Tournament at the end of June, and the first day of July. There are a total of 18 teams in the 10U and 12U brackets. Neither of the Yuma teams placed.

• Farm House Market wins the 9-12 year old Girls Fastpitch Softball League Touranment, after entering as the top seed.