County Schools Notes: ‘Angry’ Windsor Wizards using last season’s heartbreak to fuel run to girls soccer finals
April 11, 2017
Around the county
» Opening day: An entire month into its season, the Valley baseball team will experience a whole different type of opening day.
During its nonleague game against Class 3A Patriot League rival Platte Valley at 4 p.m. Thursday, the Vikings will play in their first game at their new baseball field.
The field is located just adjacent to the school’s football field on the north side of Gilcrest, off Weld County Road 42/14th Street, just west of Highway 85.
All past players, coaches and other former team members are encouraged to attend.
» Planting roots as a Ute: Windsor senior Rylan Lemons will continue his lacrosse career as he has plans to sign with the University of Utah men’s lacrosse team at 7 p.m. Monday at the Fireside Room at Windsor High School.
The Utes play at the Division I club level in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference.
Through eight games with the Wizards (4-4), Lemons had 19 ground balls and two assists.
» High tech: Speaking of Windsor signees, Wizards senior Mitch Watson will sign at 6 p.m. April 25 to play baseball for California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif.
His signing will take place in the Windsor High School library.
Caltech plays in the Division III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Through seven games for the Wizards (7-0), Watson batted .385 with a team-highs of seven RBI, three doubles, one triple and a home run.
May 21 was just as memorable as coach Mario Garcia and his Windsor girls soccer program hoped it would be.
But that date isn't memorable for the reasons the Wizards hoped.
On that day, Windsor saw its season come to an end, one win shy of the Class 4A championship match. As the third seed of the 32-team playoffs, the Wizards lost 2-0 to eventual state runner-up No. 7 Valor Christian at Legacy Stadium.
That loss capped a 17-2 season in which Windsor's only two losses were to the runner-up and the state champion, Lewis-Palmer
The Wizards outscored their opponents 111-13. But even with all those wins and all those goals, what mattered most to Windsor was the one win that eluded it and the few absent goals that would have made all the difference in that semifinals game.
"This is about the worst feeling I've ever had," Wizards Chaynee Kingsbury said, moments after wrapping up her sophomore season as Windsor's top goal-scorer, "but we're going to come back and do it again next year and we're going to win it all next year."
Over the past 10 months, that unrelenting determination hasn't wavered a bit. The sour taste of that semifinals loss no doubt still lingers, and the Wizards clearly have their laser-like focus aimed solely on playing for the state championship on May 24 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.
Windsor has shown every bit the form of a legitimate championship contender through the first month of the season. The Wizards have jumped out to an 8-1 record — same as at this point last year — while outscoring opponents 53-4 with six shutout victories.
They're seventh in CHSAANow.com's 4A rankings and 14th in RPI and are likely to rise on both lists as the challenges begin to stack up this spring.
A team full of upbeat, positive faces by nature, such a demeanor is misleading when it comes to Windsor's competitiveness on the pitch.
The Wizards play as well — perhaps better — angry as they do happy.
Case in point: After Windsor's sole loss this season — 1-0 at Niwot on March 23 — the Wizards came back after their spring break and drubbed Mountain View 10-0 on April 3.
The Wizards were intent on making a statement.
"We came into this one kind of mad," sophomore leading scorer Abby Gearhart said. "We wanted to redeem ourselves so we came in 100 percent ready."
Such a statement by Gearhart could apply to Windsor's mindset as a whole this spring.
The relentless Wizards are in hot pursuit of their first girls soccer state championship.
With a chip on their shoulders, Windsor is playing with a healthy anger now, hoping to be all smiles on May 24.
Bobby Fernandez covers county schools sports for The Tribune. Reach him at (970) 392-4478, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez. Listen to him at 11:35 a.m. each Tuesday and 6:35 p.m. each Wednesday on 1310 KFKA.