Recently graduated Grandview senior Taylor Dirks, center, earned Academic All-American honors from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) for the 2016-17 season. Dirks, who is headed to Carnegie Mellon University, also helped Grandview become a Gold scholar team for the fourth straight year. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | City prep swimmers had their thinking caps on as well as their swim caps in the 2016-17 season.

The National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (NISCA) revealed its nationwide academic awards for the year Friday and two Aurora teams and 12 boys and girls individuals were honored among Colorado’s representation on the prestigious nationwide list.

The Smoky Hill girls swim team was the big winner in the classroom, as coach Scott Cohen’s Buffaloes garnered the Gold girls scholar team award thanks to a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.880. That put Smoky Hill in a tie for 20th-best GPA in the entire country (for a team of at least 12 members) and put them in front of Colorado’s two other gold scholar girls team — another Aurora representative in Grandview (3.591) as well as Valor Christian (3.811).

Coach Karen Ammon’s Wolves earned the Gold scholar team distinction for the fourth straight year and won Silver the two years prior to that streak.

Recently graduated senior Carlie Andrie was one of six NISCA Academic All-Americans for Smoky Hill during the 2016-17 girls swim season. The Buffaloes also posted a cumulative GPA of 3.880 that tied for 20th best in the country. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Contributing to that mark for Smoky Hill were six swimmers who received NISCA Academic All-American status, a group made up of Carlie Andrie, Katie Anthony, Emree Bess, Ciera Munns, Sarah Power and Lauren Zurcher, all seniors. The Buffaloes finished 12th at the Class 5A state meet in February, a 10-place rise from the previous season.

Grandview finished in ninth place at the 5A state meet and continued its tradition of success in the classroom.

The Wolves had three Academic All-Americans in seniors Taylor Dirks, Maddy Dawes and Erin Cierasynski.

Dirks — who is headed to Carnegie Mellon University — had an outstanding final season in the pool that saw her finish ninth in the 500 yard freestyle, 11th in the 100 butterfly and swim on Grandview’s sixth-place 400 freestyle relay team and 12th-place 200 medley relay. Dirks’ older sister, Madison, was a NISCA Academic All-American for the 2013-14 season before she headed off to the University of Pennsylvania.

Dawes made state in the 100 and 200 freestyles, but just missed the cut for consolation finals in both.

No Colorado boys swim teams received scholar awards, but three Aurora swimmers garnered Academic All-American accolades.

Grandview teammates Gabriel Adriano and Jay Matheson were joined by Cherokee Trail’s Cameron Webb as the city’s honorees.

Webb qualified for the 5A state meet individually and swam a relay for the Cougars and Matheson swam on one of the Wolves’ state relays.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel



GOLD: SMOKY HILL (3.880 GPA); Valor Christian (3.811); GRANDVIEW (3.772); SILVER: Mountain Vista (3.591)


GABRIEL ADRIANO (GRANDVIEW); Connor Babbs (Arapahoe); Griffin Eiber (Arapahoe); Maxim Kondratenko (Fossil Ridge); JAY MATHESON (GRANDVIEW); Dylan Nasser (Valor Christian); Daniel Saunders (Fossil Ridge); Blaise Snowberg (Lakewood); CAMERON WEBB (CHEROKEE TRAIL)


CARLIE ANDRIE (SMOKY HILL); KATIE ANTHONY (SMOKY HILL); EMREE BESS (SMOKY HILL); Julia Burns (Arapahoe); Grace Butler (Fairview); Chloe Carlstrom (Monarch); ERIN CIERASZYNSKI (GRANDVIEW); Jordan Coker (Valor Christian); Sarah Danekind (Monarch); MADDY DAWES (GRANDVIEW); TAYLOR DIRKS (GRANDVIEW); Laurel Eiber (Arapahoe); Isabel Greenhut (Fairview); Elyssa Hofgard (Fairview); Andria Homan (Fossil Ridge); Kiersten Johnson (Mountain Vista); Bailey Kovac (Fossil Ridge); Erica Lewis (Fossil Ridge); Grace Meersman (Fossil Ridge); CIERA MUNNS (SMOKY HILL); Quinn Noonan (Monarch); Maria Passantino (Fossil Ridge); SARAH POWER (SMOKY HILL); Megan Rayl (Arapahoe, diving); Natalie Reck (Fairview); Maria Isabel Reinhardt (Fossil Ridge); Sarah Thomas (Fairview); Sidney Trimm (Monarch); LAUREN ZURCHER (SMOKY HILL)

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...