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Out in Leftfield

Series: Out in Leftfield | Story 1

January 1, 2020 | View PDF


Niwot grad Mackenzie Fidelak was part of Stanford University's national championship volleyball team.


Mackenzie Fidelak (Niwot) was part of Stanford's NCAA national championship team, which defeated Wisconsin Dec. 24 in the NCAA finals. Fidelak, a sophomore opposite hitter, played in six contests during the season, but did not see action in the NCAA tournament. Her most extensive action came against Arizona State in a 3-0 victory Oct. 13, where she played all three sets, recording 11 kills and only three errors. She had an attack percentage of .348 against Arizona State, and also recorded six digs. She also played one set in each of the games against Colorado.

Sarah Falk (Niwot) played in 31 matches this season for Sacramento State, including 24 starts at middle blocker. Falk, a sophomore, played in 101 sets, averaging 1.05 kills, 0.72 blocks and 1.45 points per set to go with a .273 hitting percentage. She had a season-best eight kills on three occasions. Falk had eight kills and a .571 hitting percentage against Montana State. She also had a season-best six blocks on a pair of occasions and started 20 of the Hornets' final 21 matches of the season.


Following her graduation from Stanford University, Elise Cranny (Niwot) turned pro and continued her running career in 2019. Cranny was sponsored by Nike Bowerman Track Club. In her first season with the Bowerman Track Club she lowered her personal best in the 1,500m multiple times. She posted her best time of 4:05.83 by winning The Match between Team Europe and Team USA. Cranny also finished in the top 10 in both the 1500m and the 5000m at the USATF Championships.

Cranny's personal best in the mile is 4:31.29

Claire Gillett (Niwot) ran a 22:27.60 at the Cougar Classic in the 6K for Gonzaga. Gillett finished 27th overall in the event at Colfax, Wash. Held Sept. 13. She also posted a time of 18:09 at the Inland Classic Oct. 12, finishing 19th in the 5K event out of 81 runners. Gillett also finished eighth out of 32 runners at the Sasquatch Invitational 5K Oct. 18, with a time of 18:48.9.

Jenna McCaffrey (Niwot) posted a time of 22:17.1 in a 6K Cross Country meet for Northern Arizona University Oct. 18 at the Nuttycombe Invitational. The junior finished 54th overall. Earlier, McCaffrey finished 89th at the John McNichols Invitational Sept. 21 in a 5K event, with a time of 18:49.2.


Skyler Messinger (Niwot) finished his sophomore season at the University of Kansas by being named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team, and receiving Academic All Big 12 first team honors. Messinger played third base and shortstop for the Jayhawks, batting .280 (58-for-207) with 16 doubles, three triples, 31 RBIs and 20 walks. His 16 doubles led the team. Messinger started 57 of the 58 games he played.

Following the end of the collegiate season, Messinger joined the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaskan Baseball League. There he hit .223 with one homerun and 15 RBIs on the season. He was named to the league All-Star squad, and his clutch hitting and impressive defense at shortstop earned him MVP honors for the game, even though his American League squad lost 3-2. Messinger had a double in three official at bats, and his fly ball allowed a teammate to move from second base to third before the next batter drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

The league website noted Messinger's honor, saying, "Despite the loss, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound product of the University of Kansas impressed with his 1-for-3 day, which included an RBI double, and spectacular defense at shortstop." Messinger also received the Gold Glove Award as the best defensive player in the league at any position.

Former Niwot Baseball head coach Bob Bote recently resigned as head coach at Standley Lake High School after two seasons. Bote cited a lack of players in the program and the lack of a feeder program for the 1,300-student school.

Former Niwot High pitching coach Mike Newton will be the head coach at Erie High School next spring. Newton filled in as pitching coach for Erie last spring after Erie head coach Harold Simmons left the program mid-season.


Aaron Nicoll (Niwot) handled punting and kicking duties for Cornell College, which finished the season with a 4-5 record. Nicoll, a senior, was 7-14 in field goals, with his longest coming at 34 yards. He also made 15 of 19 extra point attempts. Nicoll's punting average was 34.3 yards with nine kicks downed inside the 20-yard line. On kickoffs, he averaged 58.3 yards, the highest of his collegiate career. He also completed his only passing attempt, good for 39 yards.

Alex Oelsner (Niwot) played in the season-opener for Northwestern University against Stanford Aug. 31, but did not record any statistics. Stanford won the game, 17-7. Oelsner is a junior tight end for the Wildcats, with his position also described as "superback."


Jake Butler (Niwot) finished 28th overall for Midland University's "C" team at the Northwest Iowa National Invite Sept. 16-17. Butler carded an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole on his second round, one of only three eagles recorded during the meet. Earlier in the season, Butler finished tied for 38th at the Morningside Fall Invite Aug. 28, out of a total of 91 golfers.

Kelsey Webster (Fairview) of Gunbarrel tied for 40th for the University of Colorado at the SMU Trinity Forest Invitational Sept. 9-10, carding a 77-76 score in the first two rounds. She posted a 78 on the final day of the meet, tying for 44th overall. She also posted a score of 74-76-78 at the Washington State University Cougar Cup Sept. 16-17, which resulted in a tie for 66th overall. Webster also finished tied for 47th at the Molly Collegiate Invitational in Portland, Ore., carding a score of 80-79-76 at the tournament held Sept. 30-Oct. 1.


Maddie Barkow (Niwot) started 20 of 24 games for the University of Northern Colorado last fall, earning Big Sky All-Conference first team honors. The junior defender worked primarily as a right wing on defense, limiting opponents' scoring opportunities. Her flip throw-ins often created scoring chances for the Bears. She scored one goal, coming against Montana Nov. 8 in a 2-1 victory in the semi-finals of the Big Sky Tournament.

Barkow was also named to the United Soccer Coaches NCAA DI All-West Region Second Team. Head coach Tim Barrera was quoted on the team's website, saying, "This is a big honor for Maddie after an outstanding season. I'm really proud of how she played all season for us and how she played in the tournament. Maddie continues the tradition of UNC players on the Untied Soccer Coaches teams." Barkow was named Big Sky Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year after helping UNC to the 2019 Big Sky Tournament championship, and was named to the All-Tournament team.

Two weeks later Barkow received United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-West Region, First-Team honors. She earned a 3.95 GPA while working towards a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. The Bears finished the season with a 9-11-4 record, losing 6-0 to the University of Colorado in the first round of the NCAA Div. 1 tournament.

Allie Colvin (Niwot) started all except two games at goalie for Fisher College. Colvin was kept busy in goal, recording double-digit saves in seven of the team's contests. Fisher College finished 4-13-1 on the season.

Four soccer players from Niwot High joined the Laramie County Community College soccer program last fall. Manny Tapia, Jonathan Jimenez-Flores, Jason Rodriguez and Mario Munoz came to Laramie County CC after playing together at Niwot in hopes of furthering their education and their soccer careers. Some received scholarships, and others had to earn a scholarship by their play. Each of them saw action in the final game of the season, a 4-0 loss to Eastern Florida State College Nov. 22 in the NCJAA National Tournament semi-final. Tapia had the most minutes with 58, and took three shots, including two on goal, but was unable to score. Jimenez-Flores scored a goal against Otero Junior College, helping Laramie County to a 3-2 victory in the Region IX Championship game. The Golden Eagles finished with a record of 16-5-1.


Lucas Bergeson (Niwot) has been a versatile swimmer for Whitman College this fall. He swam the third leg of the 200 Freestyle Relay at the Logger Invitational Dec. 7, which finished fifth overall. Bergeson, a junior, also finished 13th in the 50Y Butterfly with a time of 25.67, and 13th in the 500Y Freestyle with a time of 5:02.98. In a dual meet against Linfield College Nov. 16, he took fifth place in the 200 Freestyle with a time of 1:52.91 and fifth in the 500 Freestyle with a time of 5:10.58. In a dual meet against Willamette University a day earlier, Bergeson finished third in the 500 Freestyle with a time of 5:09.95.


Jocelyn Rowley

UNC defender Maddie Barkow battles for possession of the ball during the Bears' loss to CU the NCAA Div. I women's soccer tournament on Nov. 16.

Jose Lopez (Niwot) is wrestling in the 285 lb. division for Cloud County Community College this winter. Lopez, a freshman, won one and lost two matches at the Cowboy Open Nov. 2, with the victory coming in the first round of the consolation bracket against an Adams State wrestler. Lopez won the match by fall at 8:51. He also won one of three matches at the Bethany Open Nov. 16, winning the second match over a Neosho JC opponent by a 10-3 decision. Lopez also wrestled against Chadron State College, losing by a fall and followed with a 19-4 loss against Upper Iowa Dec. 22.


Michael Sdao of Niwot signed a contract in August to return to the Adirondack Thunder for a second season. The Thunder is an ECHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League. Sdao, 30, is a defenseman for the Thunder. Sdao has played six games this fall, but has yet to score.

Andy Sturtz, nephew of Brad and Jane Langdon of Niwot, played four games for the Brampton Beast of the ECHL this fall. The right wing played in four games, recording one goal and one assist. Sturtz is currently playing for the Belleville Senators of the AHL, where he has also recorded one goal and one assist in 14 games.


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