DENVER — It's nearly impossible to choose just nine prep athletes for the All-Decade team. Here at 9News we did our best to select the Denver market (the Front Range to the Eastern Plains).
Take a look back on some of the best high school stars, and vote for your favorite!
9. Fran Belibi, Regis Jesuit
Fran became the first Colorado girl to dunk in a game as a sophomore. She dunked again as a senior, then threw down the first alley-oop later that season. She gained national attention on ESPN’s dunk contest and now plays at Stanford.
8. Josh Adams, Chaparral
Responsible for one of the most iconic moments in Colorado preps history with his last-second tip in to lift the Wolverines to a 69-67 overtime win over Arapahoe to win the 5A state championship game. Adams went on to star for the University of Wyoming. He went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft before signing a contract with the Denver Nuggets summer team and now plays overseas.
7. Mallory Pugh, Mountain Vista
Pugh’s path to the USWNT began in Highlands Ranch, where she scored 47 goals and recorded 23 assists over three seasons with the Golden Eagles. She was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a junior in 2015. She represented the US at the 2016 Olympics, becoming the youngest American to score and was part of the most recent World Cup team.
6. Marco Gonzales, Rocky Mountain
Now a regular part of the Seattle Mariners pitching rotation. Gonzales became the winning pitcher in his fourth straight state title game for the Lobos in 2010, the only player from Colorado to accomplish that feat.
5. Jennifer Kupcho, Jefferson Academy
The biggest name in Colorado girls golf, Kupcho was a back-to-back state champion her junior (2014) and senior (2015) seasons. She went on to play at Wake Forest, and most recently won the first-ever Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
4. Cohlton Schultz, Ponderosa
Schultz is arguably the most prolific wrestler in Colorado history. He went 188-2 with 152 pins over his high school career with the Mustangs. He joined the elite club of four-peat state champions in 2019 and now wrestles at Arizona State.
3. Annie Kunz, Wheat Ridge
Multi-sport athlete who starred in track & field and soccer at the same time for the Farmers. She swept the hurdle events at the state championships her senior year in 2011. She went on to Texas A&M and competed in the 2016 Olympics.
2. Christian McCaffrey, Valor Christian
A three-sport standout, McCaffrey helped lead the Eagles to three football state championships in four years. He racked up 7,845 total yards (5,340 rushing) and 141 touchdowns (86 rushing), averaging an impressive 9.8 yards per carry. McCaffrey went on to star for Stanford before becoming just the 13th Colorado player to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft (eighth overall, Carolina Panthers).
1. Missy Franklin, Regis Jesuit
Nearly every Colorado record (and some national) in the pool belongs to Missy Franklin. She was already an Olympian when she decided to swim for the Raiders, leading them to state championship titles her sophomore and senior seasons. She went on to win three individual NCAA titles at Cal, which landed her the ESPY for Top Female Athlete in 2015. She has won 27 medals in international competition – five of them Olympic gold.
Dominique Collier, Denver East
Collier averaged more than 23 points per game in the Angels’ 5A basketball championship winning season. He was named the Gatorade Colorado Player of the year as a senior in 2014. He went on to play for CU and was named the co-Pac 12 Sixth Man of the Year as a senior in 2018.
Rainey Gaffin, Legacy
The ace pitcher helped lead the Lightning to four straight 5A softball state championship titles over her high school career. She was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior (2011) before moving on to star for the University of Tennessee. She is now married to Denver Broncos OT Ja’Wuan James.
Nicole Dalton, Chaparral
A two-time Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year. Ranked No. 6 recruit in the nation in 2012. The outside hitter was named the 5A All-Tournament MVP. She led the Wolverines to back-to-back state championships before playing at the University of Texas and played on the Longhorns’ 2012 National Champion team.
Anna Hall, Valor Christian
A dominant sprinter, Hall was named the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year her junior (2018) and senior (2019) seasons. Hall set the national high school record in the heptathlon with 5,847 points at the PanAm U-20 Games and now competes at the University of Georgia.
Max Borghi, Pomona
Borghi was the recipient of the 2017 Denver Post Gold Helmet Award, given to the top football student-athlete in Colorado each year. He led the Panthers to the 5A championship as the top-ranked RB in Colorado his senior season, and also was a track state champion in the 4x100m. Originally committed to CU, Borghi switched gears and chose Washington State last minute in late June. He’s tearing it up in the Pac-12 now.
Elise Cranny, Niwot
One of the most decorated girls distance runners in the country. Many of the state championship times she clocked as a senior in 2014 ranked among the top 5 nationally. She swept the 800, 1600 and 3200 in both her junior and senior seasons. Now a senior at Stanford, Cranny has been crowned a two-time Pac-12 champion and 12-time All-American.
Michael Mooney, Broomfield
Mooney was named the Gatorade Colorado boys soccer Player of the Year. He scored the only goal in the Eagles’ 5A state championship victory over Denver East in 2017. He scored 19 goals and had nine assists his senior season.
Michaela Onyenwere, Grandview
A McDonald’s All-American and two-time Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year. Onyenwere capped off her illustrious high school career with a 5A championship, helping the Wolves crush Lakewood 61-32 in the title game.
Kyle Freeland, Thomas Jefferson
Posted a 1.44 ERA his senior season, graduating in 2011. Freeland was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 35th round of the 2011 MLB Draft and has become a regular part of the Colorado Rockies’ pitching rotation.
Lauren Gregory, Fort Collins
Gregory was the 5A girls cross country state champion her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. She fell short of joining the elite club of four-peat champs (only three runners have) with a runner-up finish to Grandview’s Brie Oakley in 2016. Gregory placed third at the Nike Cross Nationals later that same year. She now competes at the University of Arkansas.
Arria Minor, Denver East
Emerged as one of the nation’s top sprinters after her junior year in 2018. Minor had the fastest indoor 400 time in the nation, was a four-time state champion in the 100, and 3x in the 200 and 400, as well as Gatorade Athlete of the Year. She tied the 32-year-old state record this spring by running the 100 in 11.31 seconds. She joined fellow Colorado sprinter Anna Hall at the University of Georgia this fall.
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