Junior Mattea Dolan of the Overland co-op gymnastics team poses outside of Empower Field at Mile High — home of the Denver Broncos — after the fall sports portion of the Broncos’ High School Media Day on Aug. 16, 2021. Dolan, a Grandview High School student, is the defending Class 5A state champion in the all-around. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

DENVER | Three Aurora athletes from the upcoming fall prep sports season got their chance for some bigtime exposure Monday, as the Denver Broncos held their annual High School Media Day event.

Held at the Broncos’ Dove Valley facility in its previous two years, the event moved to Empower Field at Mile High, where a swath of prep football teams from across the state and individual athletes in a variety of other fall sports got a true media experience.

The Regis Jesuit field hockey duo of Paris Corporon and Ellie Johnson and Mattea Dolan of the Overland co-op gymnastics team were among those invited to the event, which featured a press conference featuring questions from local media, a photo shoot with the Broncos’ professional photographers, a training session on the use of social media for athletes and a tour of the Empower Field facilities.

It was somewhat of a surprise to Dolan — the defending Class 5A state champion in the all-around competition — who didn’t find out from Overland coach Lisa Sparrow that she would

Regis Jesuit senior field hockey players Ellie Johnson, left, and Paris Corporon pose for a photo during the Denver Broncos High School Media Day for fall sports on Aug. 16, 2021, at Empower Field at Mile High. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

“I was definitely a little bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but I was really excited,” Dolan said. “It was a little nervewracking because there were a lot of people and cameras and I was up there for everybody to see, but I felt like it went better than I expected it to go. …Overall, it was an amazing experience.”

Dolan was glad she went through the media training ahead of her press conference session with a smattering of local print and television reporters, which helped her handle a difficult question. Sparrow gave her high marks for how she responded.

Corporon and Johnson appreciated the attention given to field hockey, which is often one of the small sports that gets overshadowed in the fall by football.

In addition to the other perks of the experience, the chance to speak with the media — and talk about their massive victory over Cherry Creek in the state championship game in April — was one not taken lightly by the Regis Jesuit pair.

“It was amazing and being able to have not all the media coverage just be about football,” Johnson said. “I’m glad things are changing. Football is great, but obviously it’s not just the only sport and there are athletes that work just as hard. It was nice to get the recognition.”

Added Corporon: “Because it’s a female sport, I feel like we definitely get less attention than even some of the other boys sports, so this was cool to see.”

No Aurora football teams were in attendance this year as they had been back in 2019.

The Broncos event — which started in 2018 — was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic last year.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

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