Cherry Creek opens soccer season as state No. 1

It might be time to start calling Cherry Creek’s players the Cardiac Kids.

The soccer program survived several close finishes last season and came out on top, winning a Class 5A state title. Three of the Bruins’ five playoff games went to overtime — a 3-2 extra-session win against Fort Collins in the Round of 16, a 2-1, two-OT thriller over Boulder in the semifinals and an edge-of-your-seat 1-0 win versus Mountain Vista in the finals.

Head coach Chelo Curi says those close calls are ultimately a good thing.

“The experience playing in those kinds of games can’t be replaced by anything else,” he says. “Having been in those situations, I think our kids weren’t fazed when it went into overtime.”

It’s a dangerous combo — the Bruins are experienced, they’re calm under pressure, and they might be better than they were last year. It all starts with senior midfielder Karsten Hanlin, who was one of only three non-seniors to earn All-Colorado honors from The Denver Post last year.

“He’s one of the most creative players I’ve ever coached,” Curi says. “He’s certainly the quarterback of our team. He has a wonderful passion for the game.”

His sophomore brother, Jacob Hanlin, was injured for much of last season but his return adds another talented presence.

“He’s a superstar in the making,” Curi says. “He’s got better size and possibly just as good of skill and drive as his brother.”

Senior Nick Groesser, is a defensive midfielder who is outstanding at winning the ball in the back. Sophomore Miguel Jaime caught the eye of scouts while training in England this summer, and Curi has high expectations for the young forward.

“A lot of people think he could go pro before he leaves high school,” the coach says. “He has that kind of potential.”

Cherry Creek is currently listed as the state's top team and is No. 21 in the nation in the POWERADE FAB 50.