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Doubles give Mustangs 4A pleasure

Mullen ends 5th; doubles teams shine as much as team’s future

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

“Massive!”

In a word, boys tennis coach Jacob Ohrman described his team’s improvement in 2018, a Mullen Mustangs team that jumped from 12th place at the 2017 Class 4A tournament to fifth on Saturday at  City Park in Pueblo.

Through improvement, growth, commitment and development of talent, the Mustangs took another step toward challenging 4A’s elite both as a team as well as individually.

“We’re really excited,” Ohrman said. “Our guys were pretty awesome.”

The Mustangs earned points at five of the six spots that advanced and had two third-place winners and a fourth. A year ago, only two made it past the first round in the championship bracket.

Mullen finished with 24 points. Colorado Academy (95) was dominant in winning and joined with Niwot (71) to make it a two-horse race. Cheyenne Mountain (45) and 2017 winner Kent Denver (43) were a distant third and fourth, respectively.

“We had a chance at third,” Ohrman said. “There were tough matches and if a couple of others went our way … we’ve just come a long way since.”

J.P. Starkey-Dante Dino grabbed third place at No. 1 doubles as did Greg McMullan-Charlie Manta at No. 4, and Thomas Logan-Coleman Guthrie were fourth at No. 2.

Starkey-Dino won twice after losing in the semifinals, the second a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 handling of Cheyenne Mountain. McMullan-Manta also had to win twice, including a three-setter in their first playback match, then clinched third with a 6-0, 6-3 defeat of D’Evelyn. For Logan-Guthrie, they were headed on the same path before being tamed in the conso finale by 7-5, 4-6, 3-6.

Mac Caldwell won an opening-round match at No. 2 singles as did Tanner Amman at No. 3. Both went out in playbacks, although Amman won again before being eliminated. And sophomore No. 1 George Henry Hanzel, who dropped his opening match and didn’t make it into the consos, can sleep well knowing eight of this year’s 16 qualifiers are seniors.

Ohrman, in his second season, will be looking for another Mustangs jump in 2019. They will lose only two of their 11 varsity regulars. They were 7-3 in dual meets, won two tournaments and were third in another.

“Oh, yeah, there’s no reason why we won’t be better next year,” Ohrman said. “We should have a legitimate shot to win state next year, I think so. Our guys will be working hard at singles and our doubles will get better.”

 

Mustangs still fighting in 4A consos

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

After a promising opening round at the Class 4A boys tennis tournament at City Park in Pueblo on Thursday, Mullen enjoyed some advancements on Friday before hitting the wall a bit.

The Mustangs are down to four entries, all in consolation rounds, and are in sixth place with 12 points.

Colorado Academy (77) and Niwot (60) have commanding holds on the top two spots. Next are defending state champion Kent Denver (22), Cheyenne Mountain (17) and Discovery Canyon (16).

After Thursday was delayed and only one round was contested, Friday’s schedule was loaded to set up as many rounds as possible before Saturday’s finals to help beat the pending weather.

On Friday, at No. 3 singles, Mullen’s Tanner Amman got smoked 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals, but returned the favor in playbacks, winning 6-0, 6-0. He will be attempting to play for third place.

The rest of the Mustangs still in contention are in doubles and each won in the quarterfinals before falling in the semifinals.

The J.P. Starkey-Dante Dino duo at No. 1 won in quarterfinals by 6-1, 6-2 before getting knocked out 6-1, 6-4 by Niwot. They also have two matches to win to nab third.

Mullen’s No. 2 grouping of Thomas Logan-Coleman Guthrie also won in quarterfinals before falling 7-5, 6-1 a round later, also to Niwot. They, too, will have to win two matches to grab third.

Ditto for Greg McMullan-Charlie Manta at No. 4, who were 6-0, 6-4 winners in the quarterfinals and 6-2, 6-3 losers in the semis. Their path to third also will require two consolation victories.

The top four teams have scored points at each of the three single spots and four doubles teams.

While multiple rounds will have to be played in consolations, the finals are set and loaded with team leaders. Colorado Academy is alive in all seven spots and will go head-to-head with Niwot two of three singles and three of four doubles.

The Mustangs could finish as high as third among teams.

 

Boys netters have strong opening day

Weather delays can’t stop ‘Stangs from winning 5-of-6 matches

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was a long, trying day and full of delay, but Mullen worked through all of the weather problems and showed very well.

At Pueblo City Park, the Mustangs advanced five of their six entries on Thursday into the quarterfinals and are tied for the second-most team points after the opening round of the Class 4A boys tennis tournament.

The Mustangs scored five points to tie with Aspen. Leading are Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Academy, Kent Denver and Niwot with seven, who each ran their tables.

At No. 2 singles, Mustangs sophomore Mac Caldwell handled senior Tucker Travins of Coronado in three sets, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. In the upper bracket, Caldwell will face Kent Denver’s Oliver Greenwald, a senior.

Mustangs junior Tanner Amman breezed at No. 3 singles, winning 6-2, 6-0. He will next face Colorado Academy sophomore Braden Thomas. The two played in late August with Thomas winning a third-set tiebreaker to 10, winning 10-4.

As for doubles, all three Mustangs duos advanced, headed by J.P. Starkey-Dante Dino winning 6-2, 7-5 at No. 1. Starkey is still battling an injury to his left wrist and Dino has been picking up a lot of slack. They will face Dawson School’s Sam Troughton-Luke Orris.

Thomas Logan-Coleman Guthrie also rolled at No. 2, winning 6-1, 6-4 and advancing to play Dawson School’s Liam Keeley-Coby Grant-Krenz.

And at No. 4, Greg McMullan-Charlie Manta got through by 6-2, 6-3 and will get a piece of the team tied with them, Aspen and Nolan Farrey-Ethan Godfrey.

Mullen’s lone loss came at No. 1 singles, where sophomore George Henry Hanzel put up a fight being taken down 6-4, 6-3 by Fountain Valley’s Jo Ota, a junior. Hanzel awaits the chance to see if he qualifies for playbacks.

As play was delayed until about 2 p.m. through wet-and-cold weather, officials indicated they would ride play as much as possible on Friday, depending on conditions, in hopes of getting through the semifinals in the winners’ bracket. After a morning in the mid-30 degrees, Pueblo is forecast to climb to a very warmer 61 degrees.

 

Mullen’s net worth high

Mustangs sending 6-of-7 spots to Pueblo for 4A for state tennis titles

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They are a year older, a year more experienced, a year more-seasoned and a year improved.

So it will be a more-confidant Mullen Mustangs boys tennis team headed to next week’s Class 4A tournament at City Park in Pueblo. It hosted 4A Region 3 Tuesday and Wednesday on campus and at Pinehurst Country Club, easily won the team chase and will send six-of-seven singles and doubles positions into the bracketing that will be released early next week.

And it’s not a surprise.

”Six-of-seven is good,” second-year Mustangs head coach Jacob Ohrman said. “Yeah, absolutely, I knew my team was better than last year, so I expected this.

“We were such a young team last year, but they’re fundamentally better, their strategy is better and their mental game has gotten better, so I expected this.”

Overall, Mullen’s six spots were won through four sweeps and a three-setter in finals, and the top singles spot overcoming a shutout in the title match to grab second.

Singles players George Henry Hanzel (No. 1), Mac Caldwell (No. 2) and Tanner Amman (No. 3) have advanced. In doubles, J.P. Starkey-Dante Dino (No. 1), Thomas Logan-Coleman Guthrie (No. 2) and Charlie McMullan) (No. 4) are eager to begin and extend their roll.

Only Mullen’s No. 3 doubles team of Ben Logan-Luc Caldwell didn’t advance. They had multiple chances before going down in three sets in a challenge match.

A year ago, the Mustangs sent four spots – their no. 3 singles and three of the doubles teams.

Hanzel, a sophomore who finished runner-up in the region, will be at state for the first time and realizes what he will be up against – he has been taking on the other team’s best player the past two seasons and now will face the elite of the group. And he’s ready.

“It’s a little bit nerve-racking,” he admitted. “You know (No. 1 opponents) are going to be good. So you have to be prepared. It’s exciting.”

Mac Caldwell, another sophomore and first-tike state qualifier, said he “definitely: thinks he “can make it through a couple of rounds. That would be great.”

The only junior of Mullen’s singles players, Amman needed three sets to win, overcoming a loss in the middle round, and said “I felt good coming back in that I got over the second set and lost it. I gained back my mentality.”

He added: “I’m really excited. I think this is our best team by far and this is my third year. I made it as a freshman and sophomore both times in doubles. This will help with the jitters.”

In doubles, Starkey-Dino rolled 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 (Dino advanced last year at No. 3 singles) and Logan-Guthrie had to fight a bit, winning 6-2, 6-4.

“It’s going to be difficult,” Guthrie, a junior, said of the Pueblo rounds. “We played a lot of good teams tough (during the regular season), but I think we have a chance.”

Logan termed it as “great, we all played real well, really solid and we were positive and did what we needed to do. I’m feeling really confident and I think we have a shot at it if we play our best.”

The Manta-McMullan group, consisting of Mullen’s M&M guys, know they can add depth to their team’s pursuit next week.

Manta, a junior, said “we had some things to work out, but we’ve had some pretty good tennis going on … we’re really confident. We know there are good teams out there, but every team at state is good.”

His partner, McMullan, a sophomore, is one of multiple Mustangs who haven’t tasted state-tournament matches, “so I’m excited about the first time. I hadn’t been consistent in my game, but have added some spin on my serves. I’m ready to go.”

Mullen’s team total was 76. Next were: Discovery Canyon (49); George Washington (27); Littleton (24); Evergreen (17) and Conifer (0).

 

Boys netters set for another regional run

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It is an upbeat Mullen boys tennis team that will host a Class 4A regiona lrom Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 3-4.

The Mustangs were 7-3 in dual matches. They won five-of-seven duals in the Class 5A-based Centennial League. Their losses were mostly to heavyweights, such as Cherry Creek and Colorado Academy. They won one tournament and finished third in another.

And they’d like more.

“It has been a great regular season,” second-year Mustangs coach Jacob Ohrman said. “We played CA and Cherry Creek pretty tough and we just beat Kent Denver. That’s a huge win for us. They only one that got away from us was Arapahoe (a 4-3 loss).”

In looking back, the Mustangs won the Kadet Court Kickoff at Air Academy; suffered back-to-back losses to Cherry Creek and Colorado Academy by 6-1, but won significantly more games; used their Varsity II team to beat Eaglecrest; rolled Cherokee Trail; dropped the Arapahoe match; beat league foes Grandview, Smoky Hill and Overland by 7-0 scores; and edged regular 4A winner Kent Denver 4-3.

“I feel great about it,” Ohrman said. “I think the Greeley Tournament got a little away from us, too, but we played well despite losing some super tiebreakers. But, yeah, I feel great about it.”

Here’s the lineup the Mustangs will have at their home courts as well as those at Pinehurst Country Club: Singles – No. 1 George Henry Hanzel; No. 2, Mac Caldwell; No. 3, Tanner Amman; Doubles -- No. 1, J.P. Starkey-Dante Dino; No. 2, Thomas Hogan-Coleman Guthrie; No. 3, Ben Lohan-Luc Caldwell; No. 4, Greg McMullen-Charlie Manta.

Champions and runners-up will advance to the state championships.

“I think we can get them all there,” Ohrman said. “That’s the goal and I think it’s a realistic goal.”

Joining the Mustangs in Region 3 are Abraham Lincoln, Conifer, Discovery Canyon, Evergreen, Littleton and George Washington.

“The biggest unknown is No.1 singles,” Ohrman sad. “I don’t know some of them and any school can have a really good No. 1 player. But I expect the rest of the guys to make it through.”

A year ago, Mullen finished first and advanced four of seven spots, including three doubles teams to state, which will be held Oct. 11-13 at City Park in Pueblo.

Still mostly underclassmen, the Mustangs are back to challenge again, but more armed than in 2017.

“I think the big part is maturity,” Ohrman said. “We were so young last year, so, definitely, maturity and being more confident in the big moments and winning the tiebreakers … our serves got better, our volleys got better. Every player worked in the off-season really hard and turned into a much-better tennis player.”

Draws for regionals are due Sunday.

 

Boys tennis humming along, in stretch run

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen boys tennis fell to Arapahoe on Friday in a Centennial League dual meet as it hits a busy stretch that will take it through the regular season.

The Mustangs dropped a 4-3 decision to the host Warriors to put them at 3-3 on the season in head-to-head matchups in the Class 5A-based league. Plus, Mullen downed Cherokee Trail 6-1 in another league dual on the heels of finishing third in the Greeley West Invitational.

Against Arapahoe, Mullen dropped all singles matches, but won three of the four doubles matchups – J.P. Starkey-Dante Dino at No. 1, Thomas Logan-Coleman Guthrie at No. 2 and Luc Caldwell-Ben Logan at No. 3 were winners.

At home against Cherokee Trail, the Mustangs cruised six times in straight sets. In singles, George Henry Hanzel (No. 1), Mac Caldwell (No. 2) and Brayden Sorrells (No. 3) each won, with Hanzel and Sorrells winning second sets with tiebreakers. In doubles, Starkey-Dino, Logan-Caldwell and No. 4 Charlie Manta-Greg McMullen (No. 4) each swept and dropped only a combined six games.

And at the Greeley West Invitational, the Mustangs grabbed third place (69 points) behind Monarch (78) and Broomfield (76).

Individually, Hanzel, Mac Caldwell and Tanner Amman were strong at singles. In doubles, Starkey-Dino, Logan-Guthrie,  Logan-Luc Caldwell and Manta-McMullen each accounted for big points.

Coming into this week, the Mustangs hosted Grandview on Monday and will be at Smoky Hill in Aurora on Thursday.

The following week, Mullen will host Overland on Sept. 25 and be at Kent Denver in Cherry Hills Village on Sept. 26 to wrap up the regular season.

Boys tennis is No. 2 on the fall docket for the postseason.

VII for victory on the road in boys tennis

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It’s the beauty of high-school sports.

In a word, it’s participation. In another word, it’s exerpeicne. And for still another, it’s, well, cool.

On Thursday, Mullen sent its Varsity II boys tennis team to take on host Eaglecrest in Centennial. Mullen won 4-3. Yes, it counts in the Centennial League standings and, yes, it counts as a varsity match for Mustangs participants.

It addresses the middle ground of sorts between Varsity and Varsity II, Mullen senior Peter Hovland said, and Mustangs VII coach Gary Webster insists it’s even more.

“It’s just designed to kind of even out the burden between Varsity and VII,” he said. “We want them to know that they can play with Varsity.”

Plus, he said, the Varsity will be in a two-day tournament in Greeley this weekend, so the opportunities for practice and rest came into play, and no one on the Mustangs coaching staff wants to end the season with dozens of players getting to play only a couple of matches.

And with tennis offering just 11 spots (three singles and four doubles teams) without much substitution, keeping the higher end of 70-plus team members interested and happy is imperative, and sending out your second wave isn’t such a bad idea.

Hovland, for example, got to play a No. 1 singles match, an opportunity not available to just anyone.

“Yes,” Webster said, “and I reminded him about that. It’s No. 1 singles. He played the best player in that school.”

Indeed, Eaglecrest’s Brandon Russell beat Hovland 6-1, 6-3, but there were no complaints. Hovland, who played a varsity match earlier in the season in a tournament at Air Academy, said “it went pretty well, but he’s a really good player. I hit some good shots, but it just wasn’t enough.”

He added that “it was a nice opportunity to be able to play some better players and to try and improve my own game.”

Brayden Sorrells was Mullen’s only singles winner, taking his match at No. 2 by 6-3, 7-5. The Mustangs won three doubles matches – Tanner Beck-Jack Berger won by 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) at No. 2; T.J. Lane-Roman Fresquez won 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 3; and Ashton Smaldone-Connor-Manzer won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4.

No. 2 singles Kevin McGuire fell as did the No. 1 doubles team of Ethan Hart-Dom Jablonsky, but overall the matches were tight, there were multiple tie-breakers and experience was gained.

There was something else, too.

“It was fun,” Hovland said.

‘Stangs fall, but make additional strides

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was a second consecutive loss in a dual meet in less than a week.

But the losses were hardly the point. They came to Colorado Academy and Cherry Creek, respectively, arguably the best teams in each classification as well as the programs with considerable histories.

Particularly in the case with Cherry Creek, Mullen showed well on Tuesday despite its 6-1 setback to open the Centennial Leaue season. The Mustangs made the perennial-power Bruins work considerably more than last season and they know it’s a climb that will take time and patience.

“It was competitive,” Mustangs head coach Jacob Ohrman said. “We had some matches where the sets were definitelybetter than last year.”

The Mustangs’ one victory came at No. 4 doubles, where senior Charlie Manta and sophomore Greg McMullen won 6-3, 6-4.

Overall, Mullen’s doubles had opportunities. Nos. 2 (junior Coleman Guthrie and senior Thomas Logan) and 3 (senior Ben Logan and sophomore Luc Caldwell) forced tiebreakers in the second set after losing the first, and the No. 1 team of sophomore Dante Dino and junior J.P. Starkey went down 6-4, 6-2.

At singles, where everyone’s strength lies, Mullen’s 1-2-3 lineup of sophomore George Henry Hanzel, Mac Caldwell and Tanner Amman combined to win 20 games. A year ago, Mullen got swept 7-0 and singles won only a combined five games. And in doubles, Mullen won nine games in doubles in 2017. On Tuesday, they earned an aggregate of 30.

“We were definitely more competitive than last year,” Ohrman said. “And these teams we’ve played are very good. I’m definitely happy with how we fought and competed.”

Mullen will be back at it again on Thursday, when it visits Eaglecrest for another Centennial match, first serves at 3:45 p.m.

 

CA beats Mullen in dual meet 6-1

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The early season gauntlet for Mullen boys tennis continued on Tuesday, when powerful Colorado Academy rolled to a 6-1 dual-meet victory at Pinehurst Country Club.

Still, Mustangs head coach Jacob Ohrman said, his younger team made some strides.

“It was still better than last year,” he said in pointing to a 7-0 whipping in 2017 that involved all straight-set losses.

However, the Mustangs No. 4 doubles team of Charley Manta and Greg McMullen earned a 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 victory. The two were down 3-6 in the first set and fought off four match points.

“They played a super match,” Ohrman said.

And at No. 3 singles, Tanner Amman, Ohrman said, split two sets “and lost a super tiebreaker.”

While other Mustangs competitors went down quickly against CA’s deep and talented lineup, Ohrman said he was pleased with the team’s progress, particularly against its schedule. While the dual meet against defending Class 4A state champion Kent Denver was postponed because of weather, Mullen has beaten Air Academy, won the Kadet Court Kickoff and will host perennial power Cherry Creek on Tuesday as the heavyweight Centennial League begins.

“They could win state,”Ohrman said of CA’s Mustangs. “It’s a very tough start to the season for us, but we’re playing the best teams and it’s good for us to roll the dice and see where we are and where we have a chance to go.”

Mustangs grab 1st place at Kadet Kickoff

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Everyone else had finished, so all eyes were on George Henry Hanzel.

The Mullen sophomore took advantage while in the spotlight and won a thrilling three-set match with a tiebreaker to clinch the Mustangs’ first place in the Kadet Court Kickoff held Friday and Saturday at Air Academy.

“Yeah, I was thrilled,” Mustangs coach Jacob Ohrman said. “It was awesome watching that match and so much fun. George showed so much heart and toughness. And for a sophomore to come through like that ...”

Competing against Broomfield at No. 1 singles in the final and after the other two singles matches and all four doubles matches were completed, Hanzel had split two sets and found himself down 5-9 in the 10-point tiebreaker, He managed to win the next four points to tie it, trailed again at 9-10, tied it again, then won the next two points for the set, match and tournament victories.

“It was pretty exciting stuff,” Ohrman said.

Over two days, there were three pools of four teams and Mullen first beat Rock Canyon 4-3, before sweeping Pine Creek 7-0. The Mustangs had five tiebreakers against the Jaguars, then two more against the Eagle, so they had to works. In also downing Arvada West 7-0, Mullen advanced to the final, dealt with a lightning delay that nearly forced a postponement, and hung on despite missing multiple players in favor of testing.

Of note, the Mustangs’ Mac Caldwell, a sophomore, also was 4-0 for the tournament at No. 2 singles.

No. 3 singles Tanner Amman was 3-1, losing in the final.

At doubles, J.P. Starkey and Dante Dino also were 3-1 and alternates Ethan Hart and Dominic Jabloinsky got into the act because of the vacancies and played at both No. 3 and 4 doubles.

Ohrman called it a total team effort.

“It was great,” he said.

Next up for Mullen is a dual match on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 3:45 p.m., at Pinehurst County Club. CA is an annual Class 4A challenger and Ohrman said the match should involve another set of strong competition for his team.

 

Fall '18 PREVIEW

10 of 11 netters return for Mustangs

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

(Third in a series of fall previews for the 2018 season)

Concerning Mullen boys tennis for 2018, it figures to be many happy returnees.

The Mustangs welcome back 10 players from the past season’s 11 singles and doubles spots, a group that was 6-3 in dual meets, won an invitational, finished first in a regional and advanced a singles spot and three doubles teams to state in finishing 12th in Class 4A.

“We’re only going to get better,” second-year head coach Jacob Ohrman said.

The thing this year, Ohrman said, is significantly more Mustangs may be switching spots than in 2017, probably a tribute to the versatility of the group as well as for its competitiveness and growth.

After a 7-0 sweep of Colorado Springs-area Air Academy the past week to begin the season, Ohrman’s current lineup is as follows: Singles – No. 1, George Henry Hanzel, sophomore; No. 2, Mac Caldwell, sophomore; No. 3, Tanner Amman, junior; Doubles – No. 1, J.P. Starkey, junior, and Dante Dino, sophomore; No. 2, Thomas Logan, junior, and Coleman Guthrie; No. 3, Ben Logan, senior, and Luc Caldwell; and No. 4, Charlie, Manta, junior, and Greg McMullen.

Current changes – Amman is up from No. 1 doubles, Dino, a state qualifier a year ago, is now at No. 1 doubles, Guthrie is new to the lineup, the Logans are split and Greg McMullen is up from Varsity II. The alternates are Ethan Hart and Dominic Jablonsky, who comprised No. 4 doubles a year ago.

It’s really a relative wealth of talent for the Mustangs and Ohrman knows he has to manage it accordingly. Players taking other players’ spots, others moving up … it’s part of development for a program that has higher aspirations.

“Tryouts have been interesting,” the coach said. “We’ll see how many make the (varsity) team again.”

Plus, he added, the lineup could change multiple more times “as the returning guys have put the work in over the summer and gotten better. The singles kids have gotten a lot better. They’re bigger, stronger and faster.”

The Mustangs, who split sites between the nearby Pinehurst Country Club and newly renovated courts on school grounds now known as the Vicky Matarazzo Tennis Center, will visit defending state champion Kent Denver on Tuesday (Aug. 21) in Cherry Hills Village.

The regular season will run through Sept. 27. Regionals will be completed by Oct. 6. Mullen again will serve as host in Region 3. Abraham Lincoln, Conifer, Discovery Canyon, Evergreen, Littleton and George Washington also will be on hand.

The 4A state tournament will be Oct. 11-13 at Pueblo City Park.

 

V for Vicky

Newly tuned tennis courts dedicated to former coach Matarazzo

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was a Tuesday evening dark, gloomy and rainy with hail, not to mention laced with lighting, and it forced about 200 well-wishers, family, friends and Special Olympians of all ages inside, but no one really seemed to mind.

“I think that was Vicky’s way of driving us into the Chapel,” Mullen athletic director Vince Massey said.

Eventually, the group managed to get outside for what they came for, a ceremony to celebrate the Mustangs’ newly refurbished tennis courts and have them named in honor of Vicky Matarazzo. Even faulty strings and covers over the two signs that debuted on the Mullen courts, now known as the Vicky Matarazzo Tennis Center, couldn’t keep the crowd from celebrating the life of the former Mustangs coach who also was well-known throughout Colorado’s tennis community.

Victoria Gean Matarazzo, affectionately known as Vicky, was 68 when she passed on Nov. 20, 2017. But her presence remains and it goes well beyond husband Dr. Joe, their five children and 12 grandchildren. The native of Floral Park, N.Y., loved the game, displayed tremendous faith and those who knew or encountered her felt it.

“What I remember about Vicky,” said former Mullen principal and current interim President and CEO Linda Brady, “is that I never saw such a compact, strong body of energy, enthusiasm, compassion and just general goodness. She had an incredible impact on kids. Great tennis coach, yes, but she taught kids more than that.”

Massey, who came to the Mustangs in 1995, when Matarazzo was already leaving a mark, said. “her contributions to Mullen can never be overstated.”

Not surprisingly, Matarazzo put up a fight against both breast cancer and stage 4 lung cancer. She handled them both with the fervor she had that also produced a state title with Mullen, highlighted a 35-year coaching career that included two decades with Special Olympics and left a lasting legacy that was felt by even those even who didn’t know her.

“I learned a lot just listening to that ceremony,” Mustangs second-year boys coach Jacob Ohrman said. “It’s going to be hard for me to live up to it.”

The past fall and shortly before she died, the team sportsmanship award presented at the 4A boys state tournament was named in Matarazzo’s honor.

Her middle son, Brett, said of Tuesday’s gathering: “it’s overwhelming listening to it, it really is … It’s easy for us to know what she meant to us, but what we don’t know is how she affected other people. Since she passed away, we keep hearing stories, genuine things that people tell us. It’s kind of hard to keep composed.”

Indeed, there were tears shed, not unlike what fell from the sky.

“She really was a person who just lived life head on,” Brady said. “She was one of the most giving and service-committed individuals.”

For Massey, having Matarazzo’s name forever associated with the Mustangs can only be a good thing now and into the future.

“She’s the kind of person who makes Mullen what Mullen is,” he said. “She ran regionals here even after she quit coaching. She did things the right way. And that says a lot about the kind of person she was.”

 

Big season ends for Mullen tennis; 12th at 4A state

With four of seven entries qualifying, a younger Mullen group finished in 12th place at the Class 4A boys tennis state tournament held Thursday-Saturday at Pueblo City Park.

The Mustangs managed only 3 points as a top-heavy team chase ultimately had Kent Denver outlasting Colorado Academy 89-81.

Mustangs No. 3 singles player Dante Dino, a freshman, and the No. 1 doubles team of J.P. Starkey and Tanner Amman – both sophomores who qualified at No. 2 doubles a year ago -- each won first-round matches before falling in the quarterfinals.

Dino won a playbacks match before getting knocked off and missing a chance to play for third place after going 2-2 in the tournament. Starkey-Amman didn’t advance to playbacks, but lost to the eventual third-place winners, from Valor Christian.

At No. 3 doubles, Charley Manta and Johnny Grow lost in the preliminaries and had no playbacks, the same for Dominic Jablonsky and Ethan Hart at No. 4 doubles, who went out against the Cheyenne Mountain group that eventually finished third.

In all, the Mustangs, under first-year coach Jacob Ohrman, reloaded nicely and laid some ground work for the program. They also were 6-3 in dual meets and won an invitational tournament.

--- Neil H. Devlin

10.12.17

Former Mustangs tennis coach Vicky Matarazzo honored

It’s an award associated with class and now it is also carries an appropriate name.

On Thursday on the first day of the Class 4A boys tennis state tournament held in Pueblo, it was announced that the sportsmanship award for teams would be presented in the name of Vicky Matarazzo, former longtime Mullen tennis coach.

The annual award couldn’t be in line with a better person, Mustangs athletic director Vince Massey said.

“She always did a great job coaching and hosting regionals and it doesn’t surprise me that they named that award after her,” Massey said. “It’s a very appropriate thing to do.”

The first Vicky Matarazzo Sportsmanship Award will be presented on Saturday, the day of the individual and team championships.

--- Neil H. Devlin

10.12.17

Mustangs young netters show some mettle at state

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

After Day 1 of Class 4A state boys tennis at Pueblo City Park, Mullen went 2-2 in the first round and has three-of-four possibilities for playbacks.

On Thursday in the preliminaries, Mustangs freshman and No. 3 singles Dante Dino as well as No. 1 singles J.P. Starkey-Tanner Amman, both sophomores, advanced. Dino was spanked in the first set 1-6 by Valor Christian’s Nick Solimene, a sophomore, but rallied to take the next two games 6-3, 6-4. And Starkey-Amman, who qualified for the tournament at No. 2 doubles a year ago, were able to outlast Lewis-Palmer’s Isaiah Dawid-Garrett Rademacher 7-5, 6-4.

But the Mustangs went out in both spots in the quarterfinals. Dino lost 5-7, 2-6 to Colorado Academy senior Jordan Wagner and Starkey-Amman were knocked off 1-6, 4-6 by Valor Christian’s Xavier Pacheco-David Bomgaars.

Also in preliminaries, Mullen No. 3 doubles Charley Manta-Johnny Grow were handled 1-6, 2-6 by Lewis-Palmer’s  Zach Lundgren-Reece Colson and No. 4 singles Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart lost 2-6, 3-6 to Cheyenne Mountain’s Bennett Ziegler-Carver Ward.

 Jablonsky-Hart are out, but Dino, Starkey-Amman and Jablonsky-Hart are awaiting Friday morning’s semifinals results to see if they are eligible to enter playbacks and compete for third place.

Teamwise, Colorado Academy and Kent Denver, always annual challengers, were tied with 21 points. Mullen had two and was tied with George Washington at 11th.

10.5.17

Boys tennis wins regional chase, 4 of 7 spots advance to state

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

“If you told me on the first day of practice that I would make it to state at any position, I would have told you (that) you were crazy.”

Dante Dino is being honest. The Mullen freshman genuinely thought he had zero chance of advancing to the Class 4A boys tennis state tournament, to be held Oct. 12-14 at Pueblo City Park. And he probably had the same thought process about regionals. After all, the Mustangs also compete in the Centennial League, which has been dominant for decades, and as a group they reloaded this season with inexperienced schoolboy players.

But there Dino was on Wednesday at Pinehurst Country Club as the Mustangs hosted 4A Region 3, And he was seeded second at No. 3 singles.

After a bye, Dino basically dominated. He won a second-round match 6-3, 6-1, then just about owned the court in the final, winning by 6-1, 6-0.

“I think by far Dante played the best tennis (on Wednesday), maybe of his life,” Mustangs coach Jacob Ohrman said.

And the first-year coach had plenty of success stories to choose from – Mullen also advanced its Nos. 1, 3 and 4 doubles teams; had two other freshmen finish third at Nos. 1 and 2 singles; and placed third at No. 2 singles. Plus, Mullen won regional team honors.

Dino was just trying to take it all in, but make no mistake. He’s enjoying it.

“It has been pretty interesting, a new experience, the whole high-school tennis aspect of it,” Dino said. “As a freshman I’ve got nothing to lose.”

So why not take advantage of it? Mullen got a taste of it with its boys golf team that placed at state with three freshman and a sophomore. However, tennis is more of a one-on-one sport, including doubles, and Dino is running into 17- and 18-year-olds as seniors, young men who are more mature, drive automobiles and have girlfriends. Plus, Dino recently took on an opponent who had a full beard.

“That part of it is pretty funny,” Ohrman said of his young troops.

Again, Dino embraces the team aspect, and that goes for all of it. He said his amateur tennis outside school usually was just him and his father, but with the Mustangs “taking my first bus ride with my team … that’s a memory I’ll never forget.”

And, sure, he added, “I got a little crap because I’m a freshman, but today is just a testament to all I’ve worked for and I’m really excited to see where I can go with it. Like I said, I’ve got nothing to lose.”

Also in singles, freshmen No. 1 George Henry Hansel and No. 2 Mac Caldwell placed third in the six-team chase.

In doubles, which included a couple of two-and-a-half-hour matches, sophomores J.P. Starkey and Tanner Amman, two of the three Mustangs who competed at state a year ago, provided a highlight with a rally, wining 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) over Evergreen’s Carter Morrill and Konrad Ladow, both seniors.

“It was a tough first set,’ Starkey admitted. “But the second set we kind of came out and just really kind of destroyed them.”

The Mustangs as a whole, he added, “are really close and I think everybody is in the right spot.”

Plus, he said heading back to state “is really exciting.”

The Logan twins, Ben and Thomas, took third at No. 2 doubles, and Dino, Starkey and Amman will be joined in Pueblo by the No. 3 team of Charley Manta and Johnny Grow, who won their championship by 6-3, 6-2, and the No. 4 group of Dominic Jablonsky and Ethan Hart, who won their playback on Thursday.

A year ago, Manta was part of a No. 4 doubles winning team at regionals as were Starkey-Amman at No. 2 doubles.

“We’ve just pulled it together,” Amman said. “But we can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

In the team chase it was Mullen winning it all with 59 points, followed by George Washington (36), Discovery Canyon and Littleton (32), Evergreen (23), and Conifer (1).

 

10.3.17

Mustangs set to host Class 4A Region 3 boys tennis

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They’ve had a surprisingly strong season to date. They’ve been doing it under a new coach. And the roster is lined with freshman.

So Mullen’s Mustangs are ready for their outstanding fall to continue on Wednesday, when they will host Class 4A Region 3 boys tennis competition at school and the nearby Pinehurst Country Cub.

“I think I’m lucky to have an entire team that has been committed,” first-year head coach Jacob Ohrman said earlier this week. “It has been fun.”

For it to continue, Mullen will be going against Conifer, Discovery Canyon, Evergreen, Littleton and George Washington. Two entrants from each of the three singles and four doubles spots will advance to Colorado Class 4A tournament (Oct.12-14) to be held in Pueblo at its City Park.

As he was entering his first season the past August, Ohrman admitted that he didn’t know much about the level and it’s the same case when his team meets the five schools on Wednesday.

“They all play in different leagues,” Ohrman said.

The coach added that “Wednesday is the real test ... if we do well Wednesday, I will be very happy.”

Matches on Wednesday will be 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for the three rounds. There are draws of six and the 1 and 2 seeds will have first matches in the semifinals.

Mullen No. 1 singles player George Henry Hanzel is seeded fifth as is Mac Caldwell at No. 2. No. 3 singles Dante Dino is seeded No. 2.

In doubles, which has accounted for a lot of the strength and production this season, the seeding reflects it – No. 1 J.P. Starkey-Tanner Amman are top-seeded; No. 2 Ben and Thomas Logan, twins, are seeded second; No. 3 Charley Manta-Johnny Grow is another group seeded second; and No. 4 Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart is seeded No. 1.

Overall, Ohrman said, the production has been uplifting. The Mustangs were 5-2 in dual matches, won the Greeley Invitational and placed fourth at the Air Academy tournament. One of the losses in duals was to perennial power and national record-holder Cherry Creek, a 7-0 sweep; the other by 4-3 to Arapahoe. Both compete in 5A.

Ohrman said he hopes to get as many matches completed by Wednesday as possible to perhaps have only playbacks the next day and avoid any weather-related problems.

He added that he has grown from a coaching standpoint while his competitors grow as players.

“I’ve really enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “I didn’t expect quite as much off-court work, but think some of it was learning about it. But the on-court stuff is awesome.”

 

9.18.17

Now 5-2 in duals, boys tennis remains quite a racquet

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They may be getting a little green around the gills, but they keep earning valuable experience and continue to learn.

And they keep winning.

Mullen’s boys tennis team earned another sweep on Monday, handling host Overland 7-0 at Utah Park in a dual match. It followed two interesting matches the past week, when the Mustangs won 6-1 over Cherokee Trail before getting outclassed 7-0 against Cherry Creek, which has set state and national marks for team prowess.

“Sometimes Cherry Creek doesn’t always send its Varsity I,” Mustangs head coach Jacob Ohrman said. “We definitely got (its) Varsity I.”

In improving to 5-2 in head-to-head team gatherings, Mullen may have arrived at the proverbial wall, but it hasn’t hit it. Yet.

“A lot of our guys were dragging,” Ohrman said of his team’s play on Monday against Overland. “I think this season is starting to take its toll, it was hot and they were tired, but it’s encouraging that they weren’t playing their best and still got the win.”

All three singles players are freshman – in order, George Henry Hazel, Mac Caldwell and Dante Dino and Nos. 1-3 have done more for the team than occupying spots.

“Getting those three freshmen also has helped the depth of our team,” Ohrman said.

A big boost has been relevant to doubles teams, where J.P. Starkey-Tanner Amman, Ben and Thomas Logan, Charley Manta-Johnny Grow and Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart have evolved and carried a lot of the play while the ninth-graders been given time to emerge.

“We feel confident about our (doubles),” Ohrman said.

Truth is, Ohrman added, his ninth-graders continually tell him that they’re facing men, 18-year-olds, and he’s not sure his younger set has to shave.

One thing the coach said his group needs to work on is keeping the pressure up against teams that haven’t had a lot of success.

“Sometimes we struggle when we’re playing a lesser opponent,” he said. “We need to work on playing our game when you’re expected to win.”

The Mustangs will be at home on Wednesday, 3:30 p.m., against an always solid Arapahoe, then finish its regular season on Sept. 26 at Smoky Hill. Class 4A tennis regionals are to be completed by Oct. 7.

Said Ohrman: “We need to keep going.”

9.11.17

Young Mustangs keep winning by taking first at Greeley West Invitational

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The substantial season that began with lots of inexperience and another new coach for Mullen boys tennis continues.

The Mustangs won the past weekend’s Greeley West Invitational behind another strong doubles showing.

Mullen totaled 68 points to edge runner-up Grandview (65) and third place Monarch (64) in a 12-team field.

The Mustangs’ No. 1 doubles team of J.P. Starkey and Tanner Amman and the No. 4 doubles team of Ethan Hart and Dominic Jablonsky each finished first.

Dante Dino finished second at No. 3 singles and Ben and Tom Logan at No. 2 doubles and Charlie Manta, Johnny Grow and Coleman Guthrie at No. 3 doubles did likewise.

Mac Caldwell took seventh at No. 2 singles and George Henry Hanzel was eight at No. 1 singles.

To date under new coach Jeff Ohrman, Mullen also is 3-1 in dual matchs and took fourth in the Kadet Kickoff at Air Academy.

Next up for the Mustangs: A Centennial league match at Cherokee trail in Aurora on Tuesday (Sept. 12) at 4 p.m.

9.7.17

Mustangs sweep Eaglecrest; Greeley West tourney next

By Eli Hernandez

For mullenhigh.com

In its first Centennial League dual match of 2017, Mullen cruised against visiting Eaglecrest, earning a 7-0 sweep at Pinehurst Country Club on Thursday.

It was particularly pleasing for the Mustangs to sweep all three singles matches as each spot is manned by a freshman. Each match and tournament showing is only adding to their experience and they advanced to 2-1 in duals.

“We are jumping right into our tournament (Friday) morning at Greeley (the Greeley West Invitational),” Mustangs head coach Jacob Ohrman said. “This really is our preparation right here; this match, hopefully, it gets us ready to go play a couple matches (Friday).

“Ideally, we would be able to practice in between, but it is what it is. We have to go play another match … I think my guys learned a little bit from today and they’ll be ready to go.”

Mullen No. 1 singles player George Henry Hanzel was tested by Eaglecrest’s Brandon Russell before winning 6-4, 6-4.

“It was not the best match, but I still won … that’s all that matters,” Hanzel said.

Mac Caldwell and Dante Dino also backed up Hanzel, both winning handily, by 6-1, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-0, respectively.

The Mustangs’ double groups also had their way with the still-building Raptors, all four winning in straight sets. J.P. Starkey-Tanner Amman (No. 1) and the Logan twins, Ben and Thomas (No. 2) combined to lose only four games.

Both Charles Manta-Johnny Grow (No. 3) and Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart (No. 4) had to go to 7-5 in their first sets before running away in their second rounds.

MULLEN 7, EAGLECREST 0

No. 1 singles --- George Henry Hanzel def. Brandon Russell 6-4,6-4

No. 2 singles --- Mac Caldwell def. Josef Dankenbring 6-1,6-3

No. 3 singles --- Dante Dino def. Jacobie Dankenbring 6-1,6-0

No. 1 doubles --- J.P Starkey-Tanner Amman  def. Brian Shim-Jacob Tibbitts 6-1,6-0

No. 2 doubles --- Ben Logan-Thomas Logan def. Alex Davis-Logan Ming 6-1,6-2

No. 3 doubles --- Charles Manta-Johnny Grow def. Anthony Davis-Jared Oates 7-5,6-2

No. 4 doubles --- Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart def. Schuyler Wilcox-Jack O'Donnell 7-5,6-3

 

9.5.17

 

Home opener a smash, Mustangs handle Grandview

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They doubled their fun.

Mullen’s Mustangs opened the Centennial League season at home on Tuesday and took a 4-3 decision of Grandview. Better yet after getting handled in all three singles positions, the Mustangs rallied to win all four doubles matches.

And they did it in convincing fashion – they swept all matches in two sets.

At No. 1 doubles, J.P. Starkey and Tanner Amman won 6-4, 6-3 in the closest of the four doubles matches. At No. 2, Mullen’s Ben Logan and Thomas Logan won 6-2, 6-0; at No. 3, Charlie Manta and Johnny Grow won 6-1, 6-1; and at No. 4 Dominic Jablonsky and Ethan Hart won 6-3, 6-1.

Earlier last month, the Mustangs finished fourth of 12 teams in the Kadet Kickoff Classic hosted by Air Academy.

Pine Creek won all three singles titles and one in doubles to finish first and Rock Canyon won the other three doubles crowns to take second.

However, Mullen did advance freshmen singles George Henry Hanzel (No. 1), Mac Caldwell (No. 2) and Dante Dino (No. 3) to the third round. The same was for Starkey-Amman at No. 1 doubles, the Logans at No. 2 doubles, Manta and Coleman Guthrie at No. 3 doubles and Jablonsky and Hart at No. 4 doubles.

Also, the Mustangs were shut out in a dual match against Colorado Academy, losing 7-0. No Mullen singles or doubles entries were able to win a set against a CA program that historically challenges among smaller schools.

On Thursday, the Mustangs will host Eaglecrest, 3:30 p.m., in another Centennial match.

8.14.17
New coach, new look for Mustangs boys tennis

 By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

(Second in a series of fall previews for the Mustangs.)

Quiet on the court … Mullen is serving a new wave of boys tennis.

From a new head coach to a fresh batch of freshman hopefuls, the Mustangs have opened 2017 with a new look.

It began in the off-season and head coach Jacob Ohrman has liked what he has seen.

“We had been doing camp three days per week,” Ohrman said. “The summer with these kids has been great. We were having a ton of fun and I couldn’t be happier with how it went, it was better than expected.”

He expects 50-60 players to be active in the program. Ultimately, the top 11 (three singles players and four sets of doubles) will stay at varsity, then others will comprise the varsity II and junior-varsity units.

“Depending on the school we play, they may all get to play or some will get to play,” Ohrman said. “Obviously, if possible, it would be great to get everyone to play.”

This year’s Mustangs will be freshman and sophomore heavy, perhaps exclusively – Ohrman said he has no returning seniors and two juniors were “on the fence” about playing when preseason camp practice opened on Monday.

As it is, the coach said he has about five players on the same level. Sophomore Tanner Amman and No. 2 doubles partner from a year ago J.T. Starkey are returning. They will be pushed by three freshmen, Mac Caldwell, Dante Dino and George Henry Hansel.

Ohrman, who was a top singles player as a high-schooler and participated in the John Necombe Academy in Texas, said he enters his first prep coaching job “definitely a little bit blind, and I was warned that Mullen may be in a bit of a rebuilding year. But these freshman kids are good. Tennis is their sport. It’s what they play.”

As usual, the Mustangs will be facing the high end of Class 5A competition in the vaunted Centennial League, including the likes of annual big-school state champion Cherry Creek, before heading into the 4A postseason. Top regular-season competition, including against 4A’s Air Academy, can only prepare the Mustangs for a playoff run.

“I think we can be good,” Ohrman said. “Our depth will help. We might struggle a bit at the top, but we’ve got some really good depth. This is me saying it without seeing any other teams, but I think we can be competitive.”

Mullen will open the regular season with a dual match against Air Academy on Aug. 23, then will play in the Kadets’ tournament a couple of days later.

Regionals, which will be hosted by Mullen, are to be completed by Oct. 7. The 4A state tournament will be Oct. 12-14 at City Park in Pueblo.

 
 

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'Stangs garner winter awards
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Winter-sports awards have rolled in for Mullen and there are several.

In girls basketball, where the Mustangs (20-8) won their first Class 4A Colorado championship since 2006, four players were recognized for outstanding play.

In the 5A-based Centennial League, sophomore point guard Megan Pohs was named to the first team for the second consecutive season. She was the team’s leading scorer at 11.6 points per game, shot 50 percent from the field, made a team-high 52 3-pointers and was tops in free-throwing shooting (85 percent).

Freshman Imani Perez was named to the second team and was right behind Pohs in scoring (10.6 points), and first in rebounding 5.7) and blocked shots (1.6).

Freshman Gracie Gallegos, a starter, and Alexa Dominguez, a sophomore reserve, were listed as honorable mention.

In addition, sophomore guard Elaina Martinez has been named to The Show Top 40 games to be played March 23 at Metropolitan State.

Concerning boys basketball, junior Isaac Ondekane was first team all-Centennial. The 6-foot-8 center was second on the team in scoring (13.2 points) and led the Mustangs in rebounds (12.2) and blocked shots (1.7). He also was named to The Show games.

Guards Christian Davis and Isaac White were named to the second team. Davis, a senior, averaged a team-leading 13.4 points and made 69 3-pointers on 3-point shooting. He also had a 55-ppint game in December against Chatfield and was named to the team for the second time. White, a transfer from Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania, started slowly after football season and was injured, but eventually grabbed control down the stretch, averaging 19 points over the final 10 games of the season.

The Mustangs were 16-10.

And in ice hockey, the Mustangs were named winner of the Les Schwab Tire Centers Academic Team award, surpassing a 3.5 grade-point average. The Mustangs also qualified for the state playoffs. Senior defenseman John Witwer made the Senior All-Star Game. And forwards Utah Bryant, Robby Witwer and Nick Gilbert, and goalie Connor Mahon were named honorable mention all-state by Colorado Hockey.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Pool play: Mustangs girls swim into multiple all-state selections in Class 4A
Thursday, March 07, 2019

Mullen girls swimmers and dive were pool sharks in the winter season.

They finished fourth in the Class 4A state meet – up from sixth a year ago and 20th the year before – and had Sofia Zinis win the 50-yard freestyle, the program’s first swimming title since 2008.

As well, Zinis, Gabrielle Zinis, Claire Chahbandour and Lindsey Sowitch teamed to win the 200 free relay, the program’s first relay win since 2007.

Interest also is up -- just a few years ago, only 13 girls were in the program. Some 65 showed up for tryouts the past season.

And for a (swim) cap, Chahbandour, Sowitch and Gabrielle and Sofia Zinis have bene named first team all-state; Micaela Clode and Julianna Zinis were second team.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Mustangs girls hoopers tied for lowest seed of any class still alive in playoffs
Monday, March 04, 2019

Excitement about Mullen girls basketball making the Class 4A final four permeated through the campus as quickly and effectively as the recent frigid cold.

The Mustangs also are the 14th seed. No other girls team alive in this week’s rounds is relatively close in terms of lower seeding and of the top three classifications in boys, only the No. 14 Pueblo East Eagles can match Mullen’s designation.

For Mullen, is it a case of poor seeding, the Mustangs playing over their heads, just dumb luck or all of the above? The Mustangs are 18-8 on a six-game winning streak and won eight of their past nine games. Their only in-state losses are to Cherry Creek and Grandview (twice) and Regis Jesuit. All three are in the 5A final four. And they beat two-time defending 4A state champion Evergreen. And in the bracket, they won at No. 3 Pueblo West and No. 6 Montrose.

The Mustangs will face No. 2 Holy Family in their half of the final four on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum. The other half is No. 4 Pueblo South vs. No. 1 Air Academy, 5:30 p.m.

Below are the final fours and quarterfinals with seeds for the top three classes that will crown titles this week:

5A boys: 1. Chaparral; 2. Mountain Vista; 3. Rangeview; 5. ThunderRidge.

4A boys: 1. Lewis-Palmer; 2. Longmont; 4. Holy Family; 14. Pueblo East.

3A boys: 1. Lutheran; 2. Sterling; 3. Manual; 4. Vanguard; 5. Delta; 7. Montezuma-Cortez; 8. Denver SS&T-Stapleton; 11. Resurrection Christian.

5A girls: 1. Highlands Ranch; 2. Regis Jesuit; 4. Cherry Creek; 6. Grandview.

4A girls: 1. Air Academy; 2. Holy Family; 4. Pueblo South; 14. Mullen.

3A girls: 1. St. Mary’s; 2. C.S. Christian; 3. Pagosa Springs; 4. Delta; 5. Eaton; 6. Lutheran; 9. Alamosa; 10. Centauri.

Here is a link to the 4A girls bracket: http://www.maxpreps.com/tournament/6Vry2uOcEeiAxKkkK9HIDg/71MqJ-OcEeiAxKkkK9HIDg/girls-basketball-winter-18-19/2019-chsaa-girls-basketball-state-tournaments----class-4a.htm

 

Mustangs boys headed to No.1 Chaparral for a Sweet 16 matchup
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mullen’s best playoff run in years is still going. And to keep it going, Mustangs boys basketball will have to take down the top seed.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m. the Mustangs will roll into Parker to meet No. 1 seed Chaparral, which also has been atop assorted Class 5A polls for much of 2018-19. The Class 5A Sweet 16 matchup should prove to be interesting.

For Mullen, which is 16-9 and a game from matching its best mark in 12 seasons, the 17th seed battled throughout the Centennial League, which was considered to have the best big-school group and verified it with a Colorado-leading six of the round’s teams(to the Continental’s five).

A mix of seniors and juniors has been doing it for the Mustangs. Senior shooting guard Christian Davis (14.0 points) is about as smooth as they come from the perimeter. Point guard Brady Parris, off guard Vaughnn Stitt and forward Matt Veen have been making assorted contributions. Of note, Veen has been rising of late, including blocking a 3-point attempt in the final couple of seconds the past round at Castle View. Parris has been running the offense and Stitt has been effective from the perimeter as well as going to the basket.

Juniors Isaac Ondekane and Isaac White have proved vital. The 6-foot-8 Ondekane, limited the first two rounds because of illness, is expected to be back at full strength. He averages 13.3 points and 11.4 rebounds. And don’t be fooled by White’s 11.5 scoring average. He started the season slowly, was injured and went out of state to visit his family in Pennsylvania, but has scored 31, 20, 18, 9, 17, 17 and 19 points in his past seven outings.

In addition, 6-6 senior Connor Riepma has contributed inside play and scoring.

Overall, Mullen’s defense has picked up and coach Bob Caton also has preached ball movement.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Caton said of the matchup.

For Chaparral, 20-4, the Wolverines were second to Regis Jesuit in the Continental. And the rest of big schools spent a lot of time looking up at them.

Junior Kobe Sanders (16.7 points) and seniors Bryce Matthews (12.4 points, 6.5 rebounds) and Tanner Giles (10.7 points) head Chaparral.

The winner will play the (24) Cherry Creek-(8) Fairview survivor in the Great 8.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

 
 
 
Tough matchup awaits Mustangs, but they pronounce themselves ready for the Class 4A Sweet 16
Tuesday, February 26, 2019

It is a tough matchup, easily the most-enticing of the round, and more than a few observers are wondering why it is occurring this early in the bracket.

But Mullen understands it and realizes what’s awaiting its Mustangs on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Class 4A Sweet 16 -- the Pueblo West Cyclones, the No. 3 seed, a program that has had a winning record for 12 consecutive seasons and a contender over two classifications.

“We’re aware,” Mustangs head coach Frank Cawley said. “And we know we have to play.”

Disappointed with their designation as the No. 14 seed, the Mustangs’ only in-state losses were to two-time defending state champion Grandview and Cherry Creek (twice each), and Regis Jesuit. All are Class 5A powers. Plus, the Mustangs are 16-8 and were 10-4 in the 5A Centennial League, in addition to showing very well in a January scrimmage against Holy Family, which is seeded second, in a salute to the old Parochial League.

Sophomore point guard Megan Pohs, an all-league performer a year ago, heads Mullen. Bigger – and taller – news has been the additions of freshmen Imani Perez, a 6-foot-2 center who has played well on both ends, and Gracie Gallegos, a versatile, emerging forward who has regularly guarded the opponents’ top player. Another dynamic has been the overall play off the bench by senior Iliana Perez.

Cawley said his group “remains a defensive team first,” and will need it against the Cyclones, who also draw well and are 21-3, including 9-1 in the South Central League, the same marks held by rival Pueblo South, the No. 4 seed. The two programs split their two matchups this season.

The Cyclones, who have won at least 21 games in six of eight seasons, are led by 5-8 junior Hannah Simental, who averages 22.2 points.

Tuesday’s winner will meet the winner of the (11) Ponderosa-(6) Montrose matchup on Friday.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Spring sports are open as preseason practice is under way
Monday, February 25, 2019

Spring will be sprung on Monday  … at least, it will be for in-staters set to compete in the third of three seasons offered during the school year.

Participants in spring sports have the go-ahead to begin preseason practice.

As usual and with snow on the ground virtually across the state, baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming and diving, girls tennis, and boys and girls track and field can open drills.

Thursday will have opening scrimmages for girls golf and girls tennis, and others may follow on Friday.

Here are dates to keep in mind:

--- Baseball: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through May 14, state championships May 31-June 1.

--- Girls golf: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through May 4, regionals May 10, state championships May 20-21.

--- Boys and girls lacrosse: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through May 4, state championships (boys, May 17, and girls, May 22).

--- Girls soccer: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through May 4, state championships May 21-22.

--- Boys swimming and diving: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through May 11, state championships May 16-18.

--- Girls tennis: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through April 25, state championship May 9-11.

--- Boys and girls track and field: Regular season begins March 7 and runs through May 11, state championships May 16-18.

---  Neil H. Devlin

 

No individual placers for Mustangs at state wrestling tournament
Sunday, February 24, 2019

Mullen was shut out form individual placers in last week’s Colorado wrestling tournament held at the Pepsi Center.

The Mustangs qualified two competitors in Class 3A, John Sumner, a 145-pounder, and Angelo Damian a heavyweight.

Both went out in consolations and were 2-2 in the classification.

Sumner, a junior who finished 43-9 and was the team’s top producer all season, was 2-2 against the field, first losing in Friday’s quarterfinals. His two losses were by one and two points, respectively, in his first state appearance.

Damian, a senior who ended 38-13, dropped his opening match by pin before getting into three consolations, two of which he won by pin. It was his second state showing.

As a team, Mullen was 33rd of 50 with 11 points. Alamosa was tops with 141.5.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Mustangs Icemen headed to hills for playoff meeting against Battle Mountain, a first-rounder
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

With its first winning record since going 10-9-1 in the 2012-13 season, Mullen will participate in Colorado’s ice hockey playoffs beginning on Wednesday.

The Mustangs are 10-7-2, seeded No. 21 and will meet host and No. 12 Battle Mountain at 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Ice Rink.

After an 8-3 start, Mullen was 2-4-2 in its past eight games and will be taking on a Huskies team that finished second to Crested Butte in the Peak Conference. However, the Titans are No. 13. Top scorers for the Huskies are Parker Nash (17 goals, 13 assists), Harry Green (16 goals, 13 assists) and Joey Beveridge (12 goals, 13 assists).

For Mullen, which only has two seniors on the roster and mainly consists of sophomores, Robby Witwer, Utah Bryant and Nick Gilbert have combined for 34 of the team’s 67 goals.

And in goal, junior Connor Mahon has been standing on his head for two seasons and registered a sparkling 2.61 goals-against average as his team often was outshot.

Denver East (14-4-1), the No. 5 seed and which downed the Mustangs twice during the regular season in the Highlands Conference, awaits the winner.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Wrestlers headed to Jefferson in Edgewater for state qualification
Friday, February 15, 2019

Mullen wrestlers will be on the postseason mats Friday and Saturday.

The Mustangs will be at Jefferson in Edgewater for Class 3A Region 3.

Along with Arvada, Alameda, Conifer, Eale Valley, Eaton, Elizabeth, Englewood, the host Saints, Middle Park, Sheridan, Skyview, Strasburg and Weld Central, the Mustangs will be attempting to place within the top four spots of each class for qualification for next week’s state tournament at the Pepsi Center.

The wrestling pairings will be released Sunday.

Mullen's top wrestlers are John Sumner, Noah Linares and Angelo Damian.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Grandview sweeps Mustangs in girl-boy doubleheader
Saturday, February 09, 2019

Mullen dropped a basketball doubleheader to Grandview in the Centennial League on Saturday at Hutchison Fieldhouse.

Mustangs girls fell to the Wolves 72-59 and the boys dropped a 52-42 decision.

Grandview is two-time defending Class 5A champion in girls and won last season’s boys crown.

In girls, Mullen led 21-14 after a quarter only to have the Wolves go on a 23-2 run to take a commanding 27-23 halftime lead.

Mullen girls, who are nearing an official spot in the 4A playoff bracket, are 12-8 overall, 7-4 in league. Grandview is 17-3, in command of the league at 11-0 with a one-game lead and has won 11 consecutive games.

In boys, the Mustangs defense was relevant and they held an early lead. However, the Wolves took scoring edges in each of the final three quarters.

Mullen is 13-7, 6-5. Grandview is 14-6, 9-2, and has a one-game league lead.

Entering the final week of the regular season, the Mustangs will have three games before the brackets are released on Sunday, Feb. 17, beginning with a girl-boy doubleheader against Eaglecrest at home on Monday (girls at 5:30 p.m., boys at 7).

Smoky Hill will be at Mullen on Wednesday for another doubleheader and the Mustangs will complete their 23-game slates with a doubleheader at Overland in Aurora on Friday.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Wrestlers drop 37-35 home dual meet to Chatfield; Overland next
Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Wrestling dropped a 37-35 dual meet to visiting Chatfield on Tuesday in nonleague.

The Mustangs won six of the matches.

Winning by fall were: Noah Linaries, 113 pounds; Aaron Gonzales, 126; Nick Machock, 132; and Cole Nading, 152.

Junior John Sumner won a technical fall in the first period at 145 and senior Angelo Damian won by forfeit at heavyweight.

The Mustangs will complete their regular season schedule on Thursday, 7 p.m., when they will host Overland in a Centennial League dual.

Class 3A regionals will have Mullen at Jefferson Feb. 15-16 and the state championships will be Feb. 21-23 at the Pepsi Center.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Wrestlers drop 1-point dual to Smoky Hill; 3 still ranked in 3A
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Mullen wrestling dropped a 37-36 dual meet to Smoky Hill on Thursday, a tight Centennial League setback held at the Old Gym.

The Mustangs also suffered another loss – heavyweight Angelo Damian sustained a knee-ligament injury in his bout and may be sidelined for a couple of weeks.

As it was, several Mustangs earned victories, five by pin.

Max Gonzales (106 pounds), Aaron Gonzales (126), Blake Elms (138), John Sumner (145) and Cole Nading (160) won by fall. Noah Linares (113) won via forfeit.

The Mustangs next will host Chatfield in a nonleague dual match on Tuesday, 7 p.m., at the Old Gym.

In addition, Linares (fourth), Sumner (fifth) and Damian (eighth) are ranked in their respective weights in the latest offerings by On The Mat.

---  Neil H. Devlin

 

Mullen Softball Alumni to host Jan. 26 gathering
Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Mullen Softball Alumni will host a gathering on Jan. 26 from 3-5 p.m. at Old Chicago in Lakewood.

The still new coaching staff and alumni will meet for appetizers and drinks at 3550 S. Wadsworth.

There also will be free Mullen Softball Alumni T-shirts for attendees and families.

 

Sumner's 8th place tops Mustangs at Jimmy John's NCCT in Loveland
Sunday, December 16, 2018

John Sumner finished eighth at 145 pounds on Saturday, the only Mustang to place at the always strong Jimmy John’s Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament contested in Loveland.

Now 17-4, the junior topped Mullen, which scored 44 points to tie for 46th with Castle View and Overland in the 72-team field that included out-of-state teams.

Mullen will be idle through the holiday break and resume competition in a home tournament on Saturday, Jan. 12, with Alameda, Bear Creek, Evergreen, Grandview, Lotus School for Excellence, Mesa Ridge, Plate Canyon and University.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Mat matters: Mustangs grab 2nd dual win, beat Bear Creek 50-18
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In earning its second dual-meet victory, Mullen beat Bear Creek 50-18 on Tuesday night in the Old Gym.

Five Mustangs were the better wresters head-to-head in the 14-weight meeting that also was laced with forfeits.

Taking quick pins against the Jefferson County Bears to top the local list were freshman Mark Troni (120 pounds) in 27 seconds and Aaron Gonzales (126) in a second fall in less than a minute, 56 seconds. Cullen Martinez (220) earned a third mat slap for Mullen late in the second period, winning in 3:57.

At 113, Noah Linares won by technical fall and Nick Machock may have turned in the match of the night, winning 7-6 in the final seconds on a reverse.

Four other weights resulted in forfeit victories for the Mustangs and there was a double no-entry at 106.

Another dual will precede the final tournament before the holiday break – the Mustangs will be in Aurora on Thursday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m., to meet Cherokee Trail in the Centennial League. Saturday, Dec. 15, will be the always interesting and loaded Old Chicago Northern Colorado in Loveland.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Early winter efforts bring back a buzz around campus
Monday, December 03, 2018

It was only the first week and there’s certainly no need to begin entertaining state-championship ideas.

Then again, early promise, a wave of returnees and increased interest has Mullen winter-sporters and their followers rather excited.

To wit:

--- Boys basketball is off to a 2-0 start. The Mustangs waxed two Jefferson County teams through a combination of improved and tight seniors, plus a dab of newbies. At first glance, they seem to be able to regularly offer the full gamut of an inside-outside game, easily getting into transition, defending and containing a rotation without losing much whoever is on the floor.

--- Girls basketball won a season-opening tournament, is dominated by underclassmen with a sprinkling of talented freshmen, and looks as if it’s playing without fear. Even better, the Mustangs also offer height, a glaring void in 2017-18. It’s no small point – they can now play man-to-man defense instead of sitting in a zone. Height matters.

--- Hutchison Fieldhouse was fairly crowded for the first two boys hoops games and it appears attendance will remain on the upswing, including for girls. Coaches and athletes are sincerely following – and rooting for – peers in other games and events.

--- Girls swimmers and divers have gotten a bunch of state-qualifying out of the way and showed well in an eight-team meet in which the other seven school entrants were Class 5A (the Mustangs are 4A). They were sixth at the state meet in 2018 and are staring at getting higher,

--- Wrestlers have more than two dozen Mustangs on the roster and they contain some experienced and newer talent. There are still some holes in assorted weight classes, but there’s quality to offset the lack of quantity.

--- On the ice, Mustangs hockey players now number enough to field something of a junior-varsity team and all of the underclassmen from a season ago are back to seriously challenge for a playoff spot. You should have seen their opener, in which they fell late to Columbine – the stands were packed and students lined one side of the boards.

--- And as for the winter coaches? If there is a more-excited group around Hampden Avenue and Lowell Boulevard, show us. From the head folks to the assistants, there’s bounce in their steps, purpose in their direction, and life in their statements.

Of course, it was only the first week, there are many more to handle, there’s a holiday break to deal with and nothing’s promised.

But for openers, it was the kind Mustangs winter-sporters and their followers needed.

The buzz around school is real.

---- Neil H. Devlin

 

Holy Family-Mullen, Regis Jesuit-Arapahoe highlight highlight extra hoops
Monday, November 26, 2018

It basically amounts to an extra game, although it won’t count in the standings and the statistics will be meaningless. However, opportunity to play for a cause and purpose as well as participating in extra basketball couldn’t be ignored.

Mullen will have its chances, on Jan. 19 at Hutchison Fieldhouse against Holy Family, and rival Regis Jesuit and its girls will have theirs, Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Arapahoe to provide an ealry peek at the event.

Mustangs head coach Bob Caton will be watching.

Opportunity for a 24th game, Caton said, “was brought up in the coaches clinic and you can do whatever you want with it.”

While the Regis Jesuit-Arapahoe boys won’t play, the girls will at 7 p.m. and have opted to focus on mental-health issues and proceeds from the game will go toward the cause in the wake of multiple teen suicides this school year for the Warriors in Centennial. In Mullen’s case, there will be both boys and girls games, lower-level games, feeder-school games as well as a unified game. Its focus will be on a salute to the old Parochial League.

“It doesn’t count on your record or in the RPI (qualifying) and you can’t list it (in the team schedule), and you still only get 23 legitimate (regular-season) games, but this gives you the 24th and everyone is doing it differently,” Caton said. “We’re making it (a real game), so kids get to play another game.

“While we’re honoring the old Parochial League, others are trying to make it a fundraiser … and that’s great what Arapahoe and Regis are doing for suicide prevention.”

A fee to the state organization was required for the chance to host the events and the amount depended on how many games were to be played, but Caton added that there will be regular referees and most everything that is necessary to host games, as well as bringing back a number of coaches and players from the old Catholic-school group. It’s a salute to Mullen’s beginnings in athletics against a lot of schools that no longer exist.

“Not a lot of other people are doing it,” Caton said, “but I would do 25 if they let us. Kids love to play games. I think it’s a good idea.”

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Games on! Winter competitors begin practice as it’s open season
Monday, November 12, 2018

Today, Monday, Nov. 12, is the day for winter-sporters across Colorado.

Season No. 2 on the annual high-school sports docket, winter, may officially begin practice today. Mustangs competitors in boys basketball, girls basketball, ice hockey, girls swimming and diving, and wrestling will begin preseason drills after today’s classes, and boys and girls skiing will begin soon.

Practice will run into the final week of the month before contests may begin on Nov. 26.

The Mustangs will field teams and individuals in all sports, save for skiing competitors, who may co-op with other schools.

Opening day for winter competition will be in two weeks, Nov. 26. 

The first portion of winter play will run into the third week of December. As usual, it will be interrupted by the holiday break, from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1, which will contain only limited practice.

Play will resume in the first week of 2019.

Below are general winter outlines with Mustangs class designations:

Boys basketball – Class 5A regular season runs through Feb. 16; playoffs Feb. 18 through March 9, final rounds at the Denver Coliseum.

Girls basketball – 4A regular season runs through Feb. 16, playoffs Feb. 18 through March 9, final rounds at the Denver Coliseum.

Ice hockey – One class, regular season runs through Feb. 16, playoffs Feb. 19 through March 5, championship game at the Pepsi Center.

Boys and girls skiing – One class, regular season runs through Feb. 16, state championship Feb. 21-22 at Purgatory.

Girls swimming and diving – 4A regular season runs through Feb. 2, state championship Feb. 7-8 at VMAC in Thornton.

Wrestling – 3A regular season runs through Feb. 9, regionals Feb. 15-16, state championship Feb. 21-23 at the Pepsi Center.

 

Locascio, McIntire strong at Englewood's Windjammer
Saturday, October 06, 2018

Mullen junior Will Locascio took advantage of cooler temperatures for a hotter time.

In finishing in 16 minutes, 16 seconds, Locascio took third place on Saturday at the annual Windjammer Invitational at Englewood.

He led the Mustangs to 10th place in the 25-team field. Nick Espinola (54th, 17:55); Owen McCarter (79th, 18:33); Jack Tolbert (87th, 18:43); and Aidan Schwarz (99th, 18:43) also accounted for the scoring.

In girls, Hallie McIntire turned in another strong race, ending in 20:31 and taking 15th place. She led the Mustangs to ninth place (of 17 teams) and was backed by Madison Wainscoat (41st, 21:09); Alicia Muller (56th, 21:43); Anika Rosengarten (65th, 22:00); and Morgan Atwell (75th, 22:15).

---  Neil H. Devlin

 

J.P Starkey's mini odyssey: From Harvard to Pueblo
Thursday, October 04, 2018

It nearly cost him a chance at making the state tournament for tennis, but J.P. Starkey visited the hallowed ground of Harvard the past Sunday.

The Mullen junior was part of perhaps 100 lacrosse hopefuls who flocked to Cambridge, Mass., that were getting a look-see by the Crimson staff.

It was just about a slice of Heaven for Starkey, who plays attack for the Mustangs.

“We stayed in Harvard Square across from the sports complex,” Starkey said. “It was a cool place and we got to walk on campus a bit. The sports complex is off the charts. The facilities they have there are impressive. We didn’t get to play in the stadium. We played on the rugby field. But it’s really cool.”

A member of the Colorado Fire lacrosse team, Starkey said he received an e-mail to set up his tryout that included drills and competition, but it also came with an injury. He fell and injured his left wrist at the beginning of the day.

A trip to the doctor diagnosed it as a sprain or broken growth plate and it made it interesting heading into Wednesday’s Class 4A regional play. Starkey plays No. 1 doubles with Dante Dino and the pain followed him into the opening round.

How did he handle it?

“With a brace and a bunch of tape and Advil,” Starkey said.

He said he was able to get through the first set of play and “I had to figure out how to hit with it. But Dante played extremely well and we got through it.”

Starkey and Dino wound up winning the No. 1 doubles spot to qualify for next week’s 4A tournament, including 6-1, 6-1 in the final.

Ultimately, Starkey-Dino helped Mullen to account for six of the seven berths by the Mustangs for the 4A tournament that will run from Oct. 11-13.

“Glad I’ll be there,” he said.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Tuesday wrapup: Softball goes 2-0; boys soccer and volleyball continue skids
Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Mullen won recent, back-to-back, one-run decisions in softball; boys soccer dropped a third consecutive Centennial League game; and volleyball lost another league sweep in recent Mustangs sports news.

The softball team, which had lost nine games in succession, snapped the long drought with a 5-4 victory at home against Grandview on Saturday before getting past host Smoky Hill 7-6 on Thursday. Both were in the Centennial.

Junior Marissa Sanchez earned the weekend pitching victory and was 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored, but had lots of help and it went beyond the Mustangs being guilty of only one error. Tiffanie Brieno had a double, RBI and run scored. Avery Panozzo singled and scored as did Bella Hawkins. Margaret Bertsch tripled, scored a run, sacrificed and drove home two. And Bella Sevier singled and had two RBIs.

Sanchez went the distance and was touched for eight hits, but struck out 10 and walked only one.

At Smoky Hill, Hawkins had two doubles among three safeties to pace a 12-hit attack. Hawkins also scored a run. Brieno scored twice, had two hits and walked two times. Emma DiGiacomo doubled, singled and scored two runs. Sanchez doubled, singled and drove home two runs. Bertsch had a single and RBI. Sevier contributed two singles, a run scored and RBI.

Sanchez was touched for nine hits, three home runs among them, and the six runs, but battled through and struck out four.

The Mustangs improved to 6-14 and next will host Overland on Thursday, first pitch at 4 p.m., to wrap up league play, where they are 2-4.  They will travel to Fairview in Boulder on Saturday, 4 p.m.

In boys soccer, coach Matthew Guglielmo’s Mustangs fell 4-1 at home to Cherokee Trail to remain winless in league play.

Sophomore Patrick Keeley had the only goal for Mullen, now 6-4 overall, 0-3 league.

The Mustangs will resume play on the pitch on Thursday against powerful Arapahoe (9-0-2, 3-0) at Littleton Public Schools Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

As for volleyball, the Mustangs lost 19-25, 16-25, 10-25 at home to Grandview. It was their fifth consecutive loss and kept them winless in league at 7-7 overall, 0-5 in league.

Mullen, which also has lost its past three matches by sweeps, will be at Smoky Hill on Thursday, 6:45 p.m.

 

Volleyball drops a close one, 3-1 at Eaglecrest in Centennial League play
Friday, September 21, 2018

Mullen volleyball dropped a close on the road on Thursday night, 3-1 to host Eaglecrest in Centennial.

The Mustangs fell 19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 20-25 in Centennial League play.

In falling to 7-4 overall, 0-2 in league, Mullen stayed within range, but was unable to finish.

The Raptors climbed to 9-2, 2-0.

Next up for Mullen will be another league match, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at home against Cherokee Trail, 6:45 p.m.

 

'Stangs dip to 4-11, fall to Creek in league opener
Thursday, September 20, 2018

The learning experience for a younger Mullen softball team continued on Thursday in a 9-1 home setback against Cherry Creek.

In their Centennial League opener, the Mustangs fell to 4-11 overall. They have dropped nine of their past 11 games and been outscored by a combined 117-60 on the season.

Cherry Creek (11-7, 2-0) banged out 10 hits against two Mullen pitchers.

Mullen’s lone run came in the third inning on a triple by Emma DiGiacomo and a ground out.

First-year Mustangs head coach Alan Colglazier said reloading the program continues to be a process and insists his group is improving.

Mullen will resume play on Saturday at Eaglecrest, which is 13-3. First pitch will be at 11 a.m.

 

 

Mullen boys tennis enjoying its emergence
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Indeed, Mullen boys tennis was spanked recently by Colorado Academy. CA won 6-1.

However, it was a gradual improvement from a year ago and Mullen appreciates the climb.

No. 1 singles player George Henry Hanzel, a sophomore on the underclassmen-dominated team, is enjoying the ride and is realistic about it. He fell 6-1, 6-2 to a very good Richter Jordaan and felt much better about his play. Jordaan was the runner-up at Class 4A No. 1 singles as a freshman and last year was third at No. 1 singles.

Jordaan also is considered a top player in the five state region, Hanzel said, “and you have to know he’s better than you, but you still give 100 percent. It’s the very point. Otherwise, there’s no point in playing the match if you don’t even try.”

The growth evident in the early part of the season that is emerging despite being in the heavy part of its schedule has been there for Mullen.

“I think last year we were just getting the hang of it, but now this year we’re bigger and stronger and everything, and we have a better of chance of being competitive with (the likes of) Kent Denver, Arapahoe an CA,” Hanzel said.

--- Neil H. Devlin

Spring has sprung: Mullen set for Season No. 3
Monday, February 26, 2018

There’s still snow on the ground throughout much of Colorado, so it can only mean one thing concerning high schools – the spring sports season is here.

Mullen will join hundreds of in-state schools in opening preseason practice on Monday, Feb. 26.

The third of three sports seasons in the school year includes seven sports and the Mustangs will field entries in all of them – baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming and diving, girls tennis, and boys and girls track and field.

There will be three new head coaches for the Mustangs – Jim Alexander in baseball, Melynda Brown in girls lacrosse and Ashley Tait in girls golf.

Weather permitting, girls golf and girls tennis may open competition on Thursday, March 1. All others are slated to open on Thursday, March 8.

Below is a spring schedule outline for Mustangs by sport:

Baseball: Regular season runs through May 8; 5A districts to be completed, May 12; 5A Championship Series, May 18-19 and May 25-26, All-City Field.

Girls golf: Regular season runs through May 4; regionals to be completed by May 11; 3A state championship, Elmwood Golf Course, Pueblo, May 21-22.

Boys lacrosse: Regular season runs through May 5; 5A boys lacrosse playoffs, May 10-May 18, final at Mile High Stadium.

Girls lacrosse: Regular season runs through May 5; playoffs May 9-23, final at University of Denver.

Girls soccer: Regular season runs through May 5; 4A playoffs May 8-23, final at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Boys swimming and diving: Regular season runs through May 12; 4A championships, May 18-19, U.S. Air Force Academy.

Girls tennis: Regular season runs through April 27; regionals to be completed by May 5; 4A state championships, May 10-12, Pueblo City Park.

Boys and girls track and field: Regular season runs through May 12; 4A state championship May, 17-19, Jefferson County Stadium.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Maddi Lane to receive rugby award from Sportswomen of Colorado
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It’s a busy time for Maddi Lane.

The senior at Mullen is on the mend from suffering three concussions. She’s training to keep up her rugby skills. She’s dealing with keeping her grade-point average above a 4.0. She’s headed out of state to visit some college campuses.

And she won an award from Sportswomen of Colorado.

Lane will receive the rugby award from the organization that annually highlights female athletics. She will join other winners in the 44th annual awards program on Sunday, March 11.

“I’m nervous and I didn’t know what to expect,” Lane said in commenting on her application being sent in, then recognized. “I didn’t think I would win it.”

Lane, whose mother, Karen, is an administrative assistant in Mustangs athletics, played for the West Side Swarm Club team the past fall that finished second in Colorado. She said she’s “not sure if I’ll play this spring. The plan right now is to lay low. I’ve gotten the three concussions within the past year and I really want to play in college. I’m just trying to take a recovery break.”

Her spring team is the Rocky Mountain Rebels and her primary positon is scrum-half.

As for colleges, Lane said, “I’m kind of all over.” Academic-wise, she said, her applications to Montana State and St. Mary’s, Calif., have been submitted. She’s also accepted at Long Island University-Post and Kutztown, Pa., and both have offered. She’ll also be checking out Queens in Charlotte, N.C.

“I’m looking east for rugby,” Lane said. “It’s more dominant on the East Coast … I just don’t know if I want to be that far away.”

If not, she also has applied to Regis Jesuit. Her GPA is 4.1 and remains undecided on a major, although international studies is an option “to help people.”

The banquet will take place at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Susie Wargin and Marcia Neville will handle the microphones. Sportswomen received a record number of nominations and will present 57 awards, plus the Sportswoman of the Year. More information at www.sportswomenofcolorado.org/banquet.

 

WINNERS

Michaela Onyenwere - Basketball - High School (Grandview High School) 

Kennedy Leonard - Basketball - College (University of Colorado) 

Elizabeth Constien - Cross Country - High School (Battle Mountain High School) 

Dani Jones - Cross Country - College (University of Colorado) 

Julie Lyons - Cycling (Greenwood Village, CO) 

Jennifer Valente - Cycling - Track (Colorado Springs, CO)

Sally Ann Foscha - Barrel Racing (Calhan, CO)

Kristina Matthews - Equestrian - Hunter/Jumper - (Denver, CO)

Emma Domich - Field Hockey - High School (Kent Denver School) 

Hailey Schalk - Golf - High School (Holy Family High School)

Mary Weinstein - Golf - College (Regis Jesuit High School) 

Kaylie Berens - Gymnastics - High School (Pomona High School) 

Meilan Haberi - Ice Hockey (Air Academy High School) 

Beth Goralski - Ice Climbing (Gypsum, CO)

Liz Anderson and Hailey Roberts - Competitive Jump Roping (Denver, CO)

Bridget Sutter - Lacrosse - High School (Colorado Academy) 

Sarah Brown - Lacrosse - College (University of Colorado)

Becky Wade - Marathon (Louisville, CO) 

Madison Lane - Rugby (Mullen High School)

Libby James - Running - Masters (Fort Collins, CO)

Carson Saabye - Shooting Sports - Air Pistol (USA Shooting/Palmer Ridge High School) 

Petra Hynčicová - Skiing - Nordic - College (University of Colorado) 

Stacy Gaskill - Snowboard - Freeride (Golden, CO)  

Lindsay Horan - Soccer - Professional (Portland Thorns (NWSL), USWNT) 

Haley Schueppert- Soccer - High School (Mountain Vista High School) 

Jalen Tompkins - Soccer - College - DI (University of Colorado)

Emily Garnier - Soccer - College - DII (Colorado School of Mines) 

Kaley Wilson - Softball - High School (Eaglecrest High School) 

Haley Hutton - Softball - College (Colorado State University)

Zoe Bartel - Swimming - High School (Fossil Ridge High School) 

Bailey Andison - Swimming - College (University of Denver) 

Kathy Garnier - Swimming - Masters (Littleton, CO)

Sarah Thomas - Swimming - Open Water - Marathon (Conifer, Colorado)

Ky Ecton - Tennis - High School (Poudre High School) 

Samantha Martinelli - Tennis (Denver, Colorado) 

Maya Evans - Track & Field (Field - Jumps) - High School (Lutheran High School) 

Arria Minor - Track & Field (Track - Sprints) - High School (Denver East High School) 

Brie Oakley - Track & Field (Track - Distance) - High School (Grandview High School)  

Mel Heri - Track and Field - Field (Chadron State College)

Alija Konieczek - Track and Field - Track (Western State University)

Joanne Marriott - Track and Field - Field - Masters (Arvada, CO)

Rose Namajunas - UFC - Professional (Denver, CO) 

Courtney Dauwalter - Ultra Distance Running (Golden, Colorado) 

Keely Davis - Volleyball - High School (Rock Canyon High School) 

Alexa Smith - Volleyball - College (University of Colorado)

Soliel Gaylord - All-Around - Telluride High School/USA Mountain Running (Telluride, Colorado)

Jim Turgeon - Coach of the Year - College (Colorado State University - Pueblo - Basketball) 

Mary Mosher-Stathes - Empowerment (Rosie's Ranch - Englewood, CO) 

Joy Rondeau- Inspiration (Grand County, CO) 

Caryn Jarocki - Milestone (Highlands Ranch High School)

Abby Farrell- Para-Olympic Athlete of the Year (University of Illinois/Colorado Springs, CO)

Jennifer Jansonius - Perseverance (Broomfield, CO)

Jessie Banks - Dorothy Mauk Pioneer Award (Pueblo, Colorado) 

Geneva Gray - Trailblazer  (Bacone College - Oklahoma)

Six honorees will become members of the hall of fame for receiving three awards in the same sport over the years. They join an impressive list, including Mikaela Shiffrin, Ellen Hart, Emma Coburn, Jenny Simpson and Missy Franklin.

Hall members are not eligible to receive awards in their sport in future years, but will remain eligible for Special Awards and Sportswoman of the Year.

Maya Evans - Basketball

Lindsay Horan - Soccer 

Samantha Martinelli - Tennis

Michaela Onyenwere - Basketball 

Carson Saaybe - Shooting 

Bridget Sutter - Lacrosse

--- Compiled by Neil H. Devlin

Busy sports weekend to include ice hockey gathering and tribute to Sawyer Dow
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Despite no classes because of parent-teacher conferences at the end of the week, Mullen winter sports will have a busy couple of days, notably on Saturday, when the Mustangs will host a tribute to Sawyer Dow.

Before the Mustangs’ ice hockey game at the Edge Ice Arena against Pueblo County, there will be a moment of silence for Dow, a senior who was killed recently in Clear Creek Canyon. The community is invited to come out and celebrate his life with Mullen students, share some pizza and swap memories while enjoying the Highlands Conference game.

The puck will drop at 8:30 p.m. Mullen is 3-8 overall, 2-6 in conference. Most recently, it blitzed Woodland Park 9-0. The Hornets are 9-1, 8-0, and right behind conference-leading Valor Christian (10-0 in the Highlands). The two teams will have the second game of a back-to-back on Saturday, 2:30 p.m., at Pueblo Plaza Ice Arena.

The Mustangs boys and girls basketball teams also held moments of silence for Dow earlier this week in addition to players either wearing T-shirts in his honor or marking themselves as a show of support for him.

On Friday, basketballers will take on Overland in the Centennial League. In boys, where the Trailblazers have rallied after a 1-7 start to even their overall mark and race to a 5-0 league start, are currently in command of the Centennial. They beat Grandview by a point on a 3-point buzzer-beater on Wednesday. Mullen, now 8-5, 3-2, is coming off a 66-40 home victory against Cherokee Trail and matched its most league victories since the 2009-10 season.

And in girls, the Mustangs are 6-8, 3-2, and fresh from a 62-51 victory at Cherokee Trail. The Trailblazers are 4-7, 2-2.  

As for wrestling, the Mustangs will be in the dual meets at Jefferson on Friday, then head to Kersey on Saturday for a series of duals at Platte Valley.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Mullen sports action to resume on Jan. 2 and include grade-school play
Sunday, December 31, 2017

Welcome back.

The second half of the 2017-18 sports year for Mullen will begin on Jan. 2 despite classes not resuming until Jan. 8.

On Tuesday, boys basketball will host Aurora’s Grandview, tip-off at 6 p.m. It will be the first of three meetings for Mullen with the Wolves – the two will meet twice later in the Centennial League, but this one will fill a previously open spot for both programs and be nonleague.

Ice hockey will have two demanding games in the week. First, the Mustangs will host regular-challenger Valor Christian on Wednesday, 2:30 p.m., at the Edge Ice Arena, then travel to Family Sports Center Hamilton on Friday to meet always powerful and longtime-rival Regis Jesuit.

On Thursday, boys and girls basketballers on all levels will open league play against Arapahoe, with the boys being on the road and girls at home at Hutchison Fieldhouse. Varsity games will start at 7 p.m.

Girls swimmers will compete in the GrandVista Invitational at Littleton from Friday-Saturday that also will include Lotus School for Excellence, Northridge, Platte Canyon, Ralston Valley, Rampart, Evergreen and Grandview.

Saturday competition also will involve boys and girls basketball at Eaglecrest – boys varsity at 4:30 p.m. and girls at 6 p.m. – as well as the Mustangs Invitational for wrestling, an all-day gathering that will feature finals matches at approximately 4 p.m.

In addition, on Jan. 2 Mullen will have Celebrate the New Year Basketball Games prior to its matchup against Grandview. Several top club teams on the grade-school level as well as feeder teams for Mullen will be in action and coached by familiar names.

Below is a schedule:

2 p.m., Hutchison, girls, The Edge Sixth Grade, coached by Mike O’Connell, vs. Colorado Skills Sixth Grade, headed by Gabe Trujillo.

3 p.m., Old Gym, boys, Legend Third Grade (Dan Simington) vs. Mustangs Third Grade (Vince Valdez).

3 p.m., Hutchison, boys, D’Evelyn Eighth Grade (Enrique Aguilar) vs. Mustangs Eighth Grade (Brian Davis).

4 p.m., Old Gym, boys, Pro Skills Fifth Grade (Ross Schraeder) vs. Mustangs Fifth Grade (Dom Martinez).

4 p.m., Hutchison, boys, ThunderRidge Eighth Grade (R. Ray) vs. Mustangs Eight Grade (Brian Davis).

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Mustangs' Caton, Schenbeck to join CHSCA hall of fame in March
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bob Caton and Tony Schenbeck, each with Mullen ties, have been named to the latest hall of fame class of the Colorado High School Coaches Association.

Caton is in his first season of heading Mustangs boys basketball and Schenbeck had two long stints in Mullen coaching and administration.

A Denver West graduate and familiar figure on city-area basketball sidelines for decades, Caton uniquely played in the CHSCA all-state game – in 1967 in Pueblo – as well as coached in it, in 1985 and 2011. A man who has more than 500 victories with other stops at Manual, Denver West, George Washington, Aurora Central and Highlands Ranch, Caton’s teams own two state runner-up finishes, six trips to the final four and 14 times to the quarterfinals. He’s also a former team captain and MVP at Colorado State.

When he took over the Mustangs program to start the 2017-18 season, athletic director Vince Massey referred to Caton “a legend.”

As for Schenbeck, the Nebraskan and Northern Colorado graduate started his career at Mead Junior High before landing at Mullen, where his 10-year stint included leading the baseball program to a state title (1978) and a runner-up finish (1972). A 20-year run as baseball coach and athletic director followed at the new Overland in Aurora and included the 1990 championship and 1989 semifinals appearance. Then it was back to Mullen for another nine years (with a semifinals showing in 2002). All told, his teams were 398-269, he had 40 years on the jobs and he coached in the all-state game six times, three at Mile High Stadium, where the Denver Bears played.

Caton and Schenbeck are joined in the class with Swink’s Al Blanc, who coached boys basketball for nearly 50 years; Prairie’s Maggie Kilmer, a stalwart in volleyball who was there at the outset of female sanctioning; and Simla’s Al Snyder, well-known in small-school girls basketball and who will join his wife, Sue, in the hall.

Induction ceremony will be March 24 at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast in Aurora, 5:30 p.m. Tickets and additional information can be found at www.colochsa.org.

--- Neil H. Devlin

  

Boys hoops tourney set for Thursday-Saturday
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Mullen Holiday Classic Tournament for boys basketball has been set.

It will be played Thursday through Saturday at the Hutchison Fieldhouse.

Host Mullen will play on Friday, 7 p.m., against Pomona, then on Saturday, 2 p.m., against Thompson Valley.

Below is the complete schedule:

Thursday

Thompson Valley vs. Pomona, 7 p.m.

Friday

 Pomona vs. Mullen, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Thompson Valley vs. Mullen, 2 p.m.

Pomona vs. Denver West, 3:30 p.m.

 

Several Mustangs honored as all-league in fall
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Several Mustangs have been honored as all-league in fall competition.

Below is a sport-by-sport list:

 

Boys cross country

First team all-Centennial – Bryce Maderis.

Second team – Will Locasio.

 

Football

First team all-Mt. Cameron – Damien Cearns, Wind Henderson, Adrian Jackson, Aiden Keenaaina, Broc Langren, Florian McCann III, Taye Mitchell, A’Jon Vivens.

Second team – Damien Quiroz, Ivan Rodriguez, Vincenco Saurini, Vaughnn Stitt.

Honorable mention – Silas Daffin, henry Haen, Cooper Johnson, Zach Krause, Dante Silva.

 

Boys golf

First team all-Centennial – Mario Dino.

 

Boys soccer

First team all-Centennial – Andrew Zeaman.

Honorable mention – Grant Reuter.

 

Softball

First team all-Centennial – Tatum Maloney, Marissa Sanchez.

Second team – Elena Garcia, Caley McKune.

Honorable mention all-state – Tatum Maloney, Marissa Sanchez.

Senior all-state game – Tatum Maloney.

 

Volleyball

First team all-Centennial – Kendall Malone.

Second team -- Shannon Stone.

Honorable mention – Morgan Wills.

All-State Game by Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports – Kendall Malone.

 --- Neil H. Devlin

 

 

 

Ready, set, begin … Winter sports set to rock on Wednesday
Monday, November 27, 2017

Sports season No. 2 on the annual docket, winter, will begin competition on Wednesday (Nov. 29).

Mullen will field teams in boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, girls swimming and diving, and wrestling.

There are two new head coaches this season – longtime Colorado figure Bob Caton now is in command of boys basketball and John Howes, a former assistant to Vince Massey and longtime figure in Jefferson County, has taken over wrestling. Frank Cawley remains as head girls basketball coach, Susan Stone continues to lead Mustangs in the pool and Devon Brady heads ice hockey.

As usual, winter sports will overlap with the final three football titles of the fall season, which will be played on Saturday (Dec. 2), and shut down over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period. First state titles will be contested in February, then wrap up in mid-March.

Mullen competitors will have a busy first week.

Boys basketballers will have two home games, opening on Wednesday against Abraham Lincoln, then hosting longtime parochial-rival Regis Jesuit on Saturday. Tip-offs will be 7 p.m.

In girls basketball, opening night will be Thursday. The Mustangs will meet Broomfield at 5:30 p.m. at the ThunderRidge-Castle View Tournament to be held in Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock. They’ll also play in the Douglas County District-sponsored gathering on Friday and Saturday, times and foes TBD.

Concerning wrestling, Mullen starts with a dual meet on Thursday, 7 p.m., at Grandview in Aurora. The Mustangs also will be in the Golden Tournament on Saturday, an all-day affair.

In the pool, Mullen will begin with a meet at Arapahoe on Thursday, 5 p.m., then travel to ever-present Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village on Saturday.

And on the ice, Mullen will host Denver East on Saturday, 8:30 p.m., at the Edge Ice Arena.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Winter sports set to begin practice on Friday
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Season No. 2 can open practice on Friday.

Boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, boys and girls skiing, girls swimming and diving, and wrestling are set to open winter sports. Preseason practice will last for nearly three weeks.

Winter’s regular season may begin on Nov. 29 as there once again will be overlap with the end of the fall season.

As usual, the holidays will interrupt winter play from before Christmas until after New Year’s Day.

Below are key dates and sites for each sport as related to Mullen:

Boys and girls basketball – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 17. Playoff brackets to be released on Feb. 18. Championship March 10 at the Denver Coliseum.

Ice hockey – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 17. Playoff bracket to be released on Feb. 18. Championship March 5.

Boys and girls skiing – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 17. State championship May 22-23 hosted by Lake County.

Girls swimming and diving – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 3. State championship Feb. 9-10 at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, Thornton.

Wrestling – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 3. Regionals Feb. 9-10. State championship Feb. 15-17 at the Pepsi Center.

--- Neil H. Devlin 

 

Max Thenell, a special guy, honored with a special award
Saturday, November 04, 2017

Mullen honored senior Max Thenell, a popular football team member, with an award on Frifday night in the game against Northglenn.

He was presented with the Brandon Burlsworth Award, which goes to a senior player who demonstrates great team character and sportsmanship.

It is for an individual who is an outstanding teammate and expects very little in return.

The players gets recognition for hard work and contributions to the team, yet gives his all every single day.

It was presented to him by his uncle, head coach Tom Thenell, in a ceremony on the field before the game. It was Senior Night.

--- Neil H. Devlin

I

 
Northglenn at Mullen will be Broncos high school game of the week
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

In its final home game of the regular season, Mullen football will have an interesting partner of sorts for pregame festivities in Friday Night Lights.

The Denver Broncos.

The Mustangs’ game in Week 10 of 2017 against Northglenn in the Class 5A Mt. Cameron League will also be the Broncos high school game of the week. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., tailgating at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at de La Salle Stadium will include the Broncos Cheerleaders, Super Bowl Trophies and Children’s Hospital Colorado/Broncos giveaways. In addition, the game can be heard on iHeartRadio.

Here is a schedule:

Pictures and autographs with Broncos cheerleaders as well as Broncos alumni, 6-6:50 p.m.

Pictures with Super Bowl L Trophy, 6-7 p.m.

Children's Hospital tent giveaway before the game.

The Mustangs, 2016 league champions and state quarterfinalists, are 4-5 overall, 2-2 in league. They currently stand 13th in RPI playoff-qualifying through their considerable schedule that included games against the likes of Pomona, two-time defending 5A state champion Valor Christian, Bothell, Wash., Columbine and Fairview. Sixteen teams will be announced in the Class 5A postseason bracket on Sunday.

Northglenn is 5-4, 1-3.

 --- Neil H. Devlin

 

Parris again played on All-Academic Team in Arizona Classic in baseball
Friday, October 13, 2017

Mullen baseballer Reggie Parris recently played in the Arizona Senior Fall Classic on the All-Academic Team.

It was the second straight year Parris played in the game. He made it through his club team, Slammers Martin.

It was held at the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona.

In the spring, Parris helped the Mustangs to a 10-10 mark in the Class 5A Centennial League. He pitched, played 1st base and in the outfield.

In 10 pitching appearances, he was 3-2 on the mound with a 3.20 earned-run average. He also was 2-for-6 batting with 4 RBIs, according to statistics posted by the Mustangs.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Like others, Mustangs on the pitch embarrassed by U.S. Soccer failure
Thursday, October 12, 2017

I laughed as much as I was disgusted a few years ago, when U.S. Soccer suddenly decreed that promising teenagers playing the high-school game were considered as completely wasting their time and the people who ran the national pitch insisted that they switch to academy play.

It was supposed to help U.S. standing among world soccer powers.

But on Tuesday night, when the good, ol’ U.S. was unceremoniously ousted from World Cup qualifying, I had pretty much the same feelings, although laughter probably had a comfortable edge.

Not only was our country in a weak qualifying group, but the U.S. fell 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago. Not some soccer juggernaut such as Brazil or Germany or Italy, but Trinidad and Tobago.

For those of you just joining us, Trinidad and Tobago.

Mullen soccer folks can spot a joke when they see one.

“Who even knows where Trinidad and Tobago is?” Mullen senior and leading scorer Andrew Seaman wondered. “A lot of kids can’t find it on the map. I had a world report on it and had never heard of it.”

ESPN led the assault on the national program, ripping everyone from the director to the players. And why not? The sport that was supposed to sweep our country for at least the past five decades hasn’t even come close. The alleged beautiful game suddenly has an ugly following ... if anything resembling a following at all.

“I don’t think that a couple of people tweeting about it or having a theory fully covers the breadth and scope of what’s wrong,” Mullen head coach Matthew Guglielmo said.

The coach laments the lack of people of color not playing the game in this country as well as the astronomical costs of entering young players into the clubs and academies, turning it into an upper-class sport versus what is considered more of a sport for the poor across the planet.

And it’s not working.

“Something’s wrong,” Guglielmo said. “We’re trying to use a European or South American model that can’t be constructed.”

Discarding high-school soccer also is a ludicrous, he added: “It will never be the end of high-school soccer, but they haven’t done their jobs.”

Said Seaman: “I don’t get it, either. Soccer is soccer, whether you’re playing a good team or a bad team, or in club.”

And not knowing what to do with top prospects or how to develop them has been an American problem for generations. It has been underlined – the rest of the world plays real soccer; what happens in the U.S. is something else entirely.

“If my kids are studs, really good and boys, I’ll just send them to Italy or France,” Guglielmo said. “It’s not happening here. We don’t have the funding for it, it’s not on (television), people don’t care …”

Seaman termed it as “an embarrassment. We have no soccer teams and for the people who watch it’s really bad. The MLS (Major League Soccer) is, like, the laughingstock of soccer.”

And while U.S. head coach Bruce Arena was on TV attempting to deflect criticism and remain resistant to massive changeover, practically everyone else screamed for wholesale, sweeping change.

That is, if they cared., a fact U.S. Soccer officials must now consider.

“Heads have to roll everywhere,” Guglielmo said.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Keep up and pay attention, or you'll fall back
Monday, October 09, 2017

The dominoes effect is under way for fall state championships.

So pay attention to the information below and try to keep up …

Beginning with Saturday’s climax of boys tennis championships, the mad dash is on for the fall postseason.

In addition to tennis, softball will have regional action on Saturday.

Keeping the train moving, on Oct. 16 the state softball pairings will be released with play from Oct. 20-21 at the Aurora Sports Park. Oct. 21 also is the day for final, regular-season play in boys soccer and volleyball, as well as 6-man football.

And on it goes … soccer pairings will be released on Sunday, Oct. 22. The field hockey title will be decided on Oct. 26. The cross country championships will be Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

More? State gymnastics from Nov. 3-4 at Thornton High. Larger-class football will end its regular season on Nov. 4. Soccer championships on Nov. 11 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. And, lest we forget, winter sports will begin practice on Nov. 10. They can play for keeps on Nov. 29

The top two classes of football will decide crowns on Dec. 2 at the Broncos’ Stadium.

Busy? You bet. It’s the way of the Colorado student-athlete at this time of year.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

5 Mullen facts to know heading into state golf
Friday, September 29, 2017

Here are five facts to know about Mullen heading into Colorado’s Class 4A boys golf tournament on Monday and Tuesday:

  1. It will be contested at Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton that has hosted two girls championships and one other for boys. The Mustangs got in a practice round on Friday.
  2. It will play at par-72 and about 7,000 yards. Think “Caddyshack.” “Big hitter, the Lama … l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g.”
  3. First-day Mullen tee times, all on No. 1 tee – Mario Dino, 8:30 a.m.; Thomas Hicks, 8:39; Rhett Johnson 8:48; Cole Reister, 8:57.
  4. Ground is being cleared for a new clubhouse at the course.
  5. The head professional is Pat Tait, father of Ashley Tait, a Mustang who was medalist three times in the early-to-mid-2000s. The elder Tait has been a pro for 29 years (also at The Meadows G.C.), the past 20 at Raccoon Creek.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Suddenly stating principles doesn't mask bad behavior and examples
Monday, September 25, 2017

Certainly, unless you were under a rock and missed Sunday football, you saw what happened across the NFL.

Players and others in the league refused to traditionally stand for the National Anthem. Some stayed in the locker room. Others knelt. A few displayed raised, clenched fists.

The debate rages on as to whether or not you stand with the President and his comments or if you side with the players, who also were a bit divided as to why they actually were trying to protest and if Sunday was the end of it or there would be more.

But there is zero debate about the following – even with players insisting they were concerned about making social change, they certainly did little to even hint at making a switch in their on-field antics that clearly have gotten way out of hand.

To wit (and without bothering to name names because you know who they are):

A New York Giants receiver who has been hurt and whining about his salary scored his first touchdown of the season and promptly went to all fours and pretended to defecate on the field like a K-9. Afterward, he was quoted as saying “I’m a dog.”

A Chicago defensive back had a blocked field goal fall right in between the numbers on the front of his jersey. He took off to run for what should have been an easy 71-yard touchdown, but in order to be ready to celebrate and let the crowd and world know what he did, he slowed near the 5-yard line, was caught from behind and had the ball knocked out of his hands, thereby erasing what would have been a sure score. “I thought I was in,” he said. “But, you know, obviously, I wasn’t.”

And a Denver defender, one who’s ordinarily a high-character guy, knocked down a quarterback, got up, reached out to lend a hand to help up the quarterback, then suddenly pulled back as if to say: “Psych!” He was given an unsportsmanlike penalty that helped lead to a loss.

They weren’t alone as for some reason seemingly every tackle, sack, knocked-down pass, catch, pass, rush, return, block or kick on every Sunday of every month of every season apparently needs to be “celebrated” so that players “can have fun.”

However, if the Fun Boys suddenly insist they are principled and stand together in what just recently was a more-divided NFL, and want to display a stand on something, it would be easier to take them much more seriously if their self-centered shenanigans all about I, me and mine (and their money) didn’t set such a horrid example of how to act on the field for kids, notably high-school players who frequently hang on their every action.

A bad example is a bad example and suddenly stating principles doesn't mask them.

Period.

--- Neil H. Devlin

Cherry Creek knocks off Mustangs 2-1 in Centennial softball
Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mullen dropped its second consecutive Centennial League softball game on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village.

The Mustangs dipped to 7-6 overall, 0-2 in league.

“We left too many runners on base and didn’t have the timely hitting,” Mustangs head coach Greg Hogan said.

The Mustangs stranded seven runners and didn’t back up the six-hit pitching of sophomore Marissa Sanchez, including making two throwing errors.

A very busy week awaits the Mustangs, four games in six days, three in league. On Monday, they will be at Cherokee Trail in Aurora; home against Smoky Hill on Tuesday; at Air Academy on Thursday; and home against Overland on Saturday.

“We’ve got to get some ‘W’s’, got to get it going,” Hogan said.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Don't blink, the first postseason event of 2017-18 is upon us
Monday, September 18, 2017

Time flies.

Don’t argue.

Believe it or not, the postseason for 2017-18 begins Tuesday (Sept. 19). Mullen’s boys golfers will be in Colorado Springs competing in regional rounds, the step before the state tournament.

I know, I almost can’t believe it, either. But the boys golf season is short, begins in August and here we are.

It could be interesting for Mullen, perhaps right away as well as long term. The Mustangs will be sending one sophomore (Cole Reister) and three freshmen (Mario Dino, Thomas Hicks and Rhett Johnson) to the Country Club of Colorado. All have enjoyed assorted moments this season and they did well as a group by keeping within range of Centennial League powers Arapahoe and Cherry Creek.

They will be playing in Class 4A Region 2 along with members from Air Academy, Arvada, Cheyenne Mountain, D’Evelyn, Elizabeth, Green Mountain, Littleton, Mitchell, Ponderosa, Pueblo County, Standley Lake, Wheat Ridge, Valor Christian, Vista Ridge and George Washington.

And they have an opportunity to send one, two, three or all four players to the 4A championship, Oct. 2-3 at Raccoon Creek G.C. In Littleton.

So, yes, it goes by quickly.

Pay attention before you miss it.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Soccer match postponed after Silver Creek bus in an accident
Saturday, September 02, 2017

Mullen’s boys soccer home match on Friday against Longmont’s Silver Creek was postponed after an accident.

The Raptors were travelling to the match and their bus was involved in an accident, according to Mullen coach Matthew Guglielmo.

However, no injuries were reported, Guglielmo said.

A makeup date has not been announced.

The match was scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.   

--- Neil H. Devlin

Mullen falls to reigning power Valor in softball
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mullen fell to three-time defending Class 4A state champion Valor Christian on Wednesday.

The Mustangs lost the road game 4-3 to fall to 1-2 on the season.

In continuing their demanding schedule – they earlier faced 4A power D’Evelyn and emerging 5A Regis Jesuit – the Mustangs also were outhit 10-7.

Jessica Haley had two of Mullen’s hits. Marissa Sanchez, a sophomore who also took the pitching loss, Cakey McKune and Tatum Maloney each drove home runs for Mullen.

Mullen next will be in action this Thursday (Aug. 31) and into the weekend in the Erie Tournament.

--- Neil H. Devlin

Boys soccer drops first match in 2017, 5-2 to JFK
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A first-half barrage was too difficult for Mullen to overcome on Monday.

The Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season, 5-2 to the Denver Prep League’s John F. Kennedy.

Now 1-1-1, host Mullen was hit for five goals in the first half of the Class 4A nonleague match.

Freshman A.J. Gamueda and senior Michael Jimenez scored for the Mustangs. Junior Patrick Rooney added an assist.

Mullen will return to action on Friday, 4:30 p.m., at home against Longmont’s Silver Creek in another 4A nonleaguer.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Boys soccer ties 2-2 at Steamboat Springs
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mullen hit the road into the mountains on Saturday and earned a tie.

The Mustangs drew at host Steamboat Springs, 2-2, in their second match of the season, a Class 4A nonleaguer.

Ryan Irvine and Christian Rapp scored for Mullen, which now is 1-0-1 on the season.

The Mustangs next will see action on Monday, in their home opener, 4:30 p.m., against nearby John F. Kennedy of the Denver Prep League.

Former K/P JK Scott alive and kicking at Alabama
Friday, August 25, 2017

Remember JK Scott? The tall, lean kick/punter who starred for Mullen from 2010-13?

He has been punting since his freshman season for perennial power Alabama. In his three seasons for the Crimson Tide, the 6-foot-6, 204-pound Scott has averaged 48.0, 44.2 and 47.2 yards per punt … basically at sea level.

For his career, Scott has punted 189 times for an average of 46.3.

It may get better for the former Mustang very soon – he will remain the team’s punter, coach Nick Saban said, but it’s a possibility Scott may also combine kicking off and being the Alabama man for long field-goal attempts.

Below is a link for an interesting story – including quoting Mullen head coach Tom Thenell – on what lies ahead for Scott this season.

The story, from BAMAinsider.com, suggests Scott could save the Cromson Tide’s kicking game.

https://alabama.rivals.com/news/jk-scott-could-solve-alabama-s-kicking-problems  

 

 

Boys golfers again take 3rd in Centennial League meet
Friday, August 25, 2017

Boys golfers took third as a team and fared well individually at the second Centennial League gathering of the season.

Playing on Thursday at Aurora’s Murphy Creek Golf Course, always a tough track, the Mustangs took third in the eight-team league field. They totaled 304.

They also were third in the first match of the season, at Aurora Hills G.C.

Better yet, Mullen had two players shoot 1-over par – Mario Dino and Thomas Hicks each fired 73s. They tied for third place. Cole Reister contributed 78. Rhett Johnson shot 80 and Nic Mayhan had 88.

In junior varsity, Mullen also finished third, scoring 351. Individuals -- Sean Wallace 82, Eli Marquez 84, John Wallace 89 and Jakob Beckish 96.

Next up on the schedule – another league gathering, on Wednesday at South Suburban G.C.

 

Boys soccer wins debut, 1-0 at Vista Ridge
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mullen opened the boys soccer season on Thursday night with a 1-0 victory against Vista Ridge in Colorado Springs in nonleague.

The only score of the game came from Andrew Seaman. He was assisted by Grant Reuter.

The Mustangs next will be at Steamboat Springs on Saturday.

Wednesday roundup: Boys tennis, softball earn victories
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mullen’s boys tennis opened its season on Wednesday and earned a 5-2 victory dual-match over Air Academy at the U.S. Air Force Base above Colorado Springs.

In the debut of new coach Jacob Ohrman, the Mustangs won one of three singles spots and all four doubles placings.

At No. 2 singles, Mac Caldwell won 6-0, 6-2. In doubles, J.P. Starkey-Tanner Amman won 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 at No. 1; Ben Logan-Thomas Logan won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2; Charley Manta-Johnny Grow won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3; and Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart won 6-4, 6-3.

At No. 1 singles, George Henry Hanzel dropped a tight one, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, and at No. 3, Dante Dino fell 6-1, 6-1.

The Mustangs will return to face the Kadets and others in the Air Academy tournament Friday-Saturday.

In softball, the Mustangs, who dropped a one-run decision to Class 4A D’Evelyn on Tuesday, came back on Wednesday and downed host Regis Jesuit 3-0. Now 1-1, Mullen plated a run in the third inning and two more in the fifth.

The Mustangs permitted only three hits. They next will be at 4A power Valor Christian on Sept. 30.

 

 

Come and support the Mustangs on Friday
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A message from the Mullen football staff:

Come out and support the Mullen Mustangs as they take on Pomona Friday, 7 p.m., at the North Area Athletic Conplex (NAAC, Hwy. 93 and 64th in Arvada).

All students who are wearing a Mullen t-shirt and have their Mullen ID get free pizza at the gate.

We will be located in the southeast corner of the stadium parking lot.  Come cheer on the 2017  MUSTANGS!!

The game will also be televised live on the NFHS network,

Boys golfers finish 11th at Cherry Creek Invitational
Monday, August 21, 2017

Mullen boys golfers finished 11th as a team in the Cherry Creek Invitational on Monday at Buffalo Run Golf Course in Commerce City.

The Mustangs totaled 236 strokes to finish 11th in a 23-team field.

There were two four-man teams for Mullen.

Mullen Blue -- Thomas Hicks 77, Eli Marquez 78, Sean Wallace 81 and Joseph Long 89.

Mullen White -- Mario Dino 78, Nic Mayhan 79, Rhett Johnson 79 and Cole Reister 82.

 

JV golfers take third place at Heather Ridge
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Competing at Heather Ridge Golf Course in the Bishop Machebeuf Invitational, Mullen players faced a par-70. It’s a tight course built in 1972 that was private, then purchased by surrounding homeowners in 2010 and turned public.

The Mustangs posted individual scores ranging from 77 to more than 110, according to head coach Jerry Koehler.

Leading the way was Eli Marquez, who also was Mullen’s top scorer earlier in the week in varsity at The Broadlands G.C. in Broomfield. He shot 9-over-par 79 and finished third. Joseph Long was fourth with 80; Blake Good 20th with 90; and Jakob Beckish 24th at 92.

The varsity will play on Thursday at Meadow Hills G.C. in Aurora, the first Centennial League match of the season.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Precious few days remain for summer down time, so why panic?
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

 A-N-T-I-C-I-P-A-T-I-O-N … is making them wait.

With precious few days before the widespread start of fall practice as well as the first day of school, what’s a fall student-athlete to do?

Cram for a bunch of workouts and weight-room sessions? Go for long runs or sprints? Or nab a little – and probably much-needed – down time before the beginning of a busy stretch?

These are the thoughts that must be crossing the minds of teenagers not only here, but across the country.

Call it part of the process, including growing up.

So fret not. Preseason practice (Aug. 14) soon will be here. And so will the first day of school (if they haven’t started already).

And enjoy.

 

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