Recognize Colorado

Updated: January 14, 2009, 2:02 PM ET
ESPNRISE.com

Girls' Volleyball - Cherry Creek



After falling to an unbeaten Grandview team last year in the Class 5A state championship game, the Bruins decided the best way to win a title was to finish undefeated. So they simply went out and won every game. Led by All-Colorado and All-American senior outside hitter Carrie Baird, Cherry Creek avenged last season's loss by topping Grandview on Nov. 8. To the credit of head coach Sally Moos, a very experienced team had full faith that it could win this season. "These kids were driven because they were seniors, and they wanted to go out winners," she says. Baird, one of the nation's best players, was the Bruin who punished opposing defenses. "She was a very dependable player for us," Moos says. "She was just a strong all-around player for us."Others, such as All-American second team selection Gabi Dewberry and fellow seniors Samantha Peters and Elise Sage, gave the Bruins multiple weapons that made it nearly impossible for opposing defenses to shut them down. Dewberry, a setter, was one of the team's defensive stalwarts. "She can go onto the court and do all sorts of things for you," Moos said. "She never wants to let the ball hit the ground." Peters and Sage both evolved into great players for the Bruins this season. Other seniors, such as Andi Weber, Katie Ganny, Kristen Smith and Kat Davis, gave Cherry Creek tremendous depth. "They made the whole team stronger," Moos says.



Football - Mullen



Talk of a rebuilding year appears to have been wildly overblown for the Mullen football team. Armed with a potent rushing attack and as steady an offensive line as there is in Colorado, the Mustangs upended Cherry Creek, 20-16, to claim the 5A state championship on Nov. 29. Tailbacks Josh Ford, a senior, and Adonis Ameen-Moore, a sophomore, combined for 261 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the win.



Field Hockey - St. Mary's



In 12 seasons of field hockey in Colorado, St. Mary's has qualified for the playoffs 11 times but had never even reached a state final until this season. But with a thrilling 2-1 win over Kent Denver in overtime on Oct. 27, the Wildcats earned their first-ever state title. Senior Liz Deline scored both goals in the game for the Wildcats, who won all three of their playoff contests in the overtime session.



Boys' Soccer - Hotchkiss



Senior Manuel Ramirez doesn't even attend Hotchkiss, but he's the most popular athlete in the school lately. The co-op player from Delta was the hero of the team's first-ever Class 3A state championship  a 1-0 win over Colorado Academy on Nov. 4. Manuel's first-half shot from 40 yards out found its way into the net after a brief scramble for the only tally of the game. Seniors Jacob Fuller, Alex Quinonez and Kasey Sidor were also instrumental in the team's success this season.



BREAK OUT TEAMS



BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY  NIWOT
With three juniors finishing in the top 75, the Cougars are next in line in Class 4A.

GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY  HIGHLANDS RANCH
The 5A runners-up are led by sophomore Eleanor Fulton and freshman Kristen Kientz.

BOYS' GOLF  FAIRVIEW
Freshman Sam Rock could soon become the face of Colorado boys' golf.

SOFTBALL  WINDSOR
Catcher Kelsey Tillery and pitcher Megan Wilkinson, juniors, form an outstanding battery.