The week ahead in Aurora prep sports, 8.25-8.31.16

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Smoky Hill High School boys soccer Michael Payne, Pedro Navarrete and Jacob Roldon on Thursday Aug. 04, 2016 at Aurora Sentinel. Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel
Seniors Michael Payne, left, Pedro Navarrete, center, and Jacob Roldan lead the Smoky Hill boys soccer team into the new season when the Buffaloes play at Monarch on Aug. 25, the opening day of the regular season. Contests in a variety of sports make up the week ahead in Aurora prep sports (Aug. 25-31, 2016). (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | A look ahead at the key games, tournaments and happenings in Aurora prep sports between Aug. 25-31, 2016:

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

The Aurora City Championship cross meet is set for Aug. 25 at the Aurora Sports Park as the majority of city teams get together on the opening day of the 2016 season to decide early bragging rights. In the boys race at 3:30 p.m., Cherokee Trail will try to defend its team champion, while Eaglecrest’s George Rykovich looks to repeat individually. Smoky Hill is the defending team champion in the girls race (scheduled for 4 p.m.), while a new individual winner will be crowned after Janine Taurchini of Eaglecrest graduated in 2016.

Grandview plays host to Regis Jesuit in an all-Aurora volleyball opener Aug. 25 as two of the three Aurora teams that made last season’s Class 5A state volleyball tournament get together. First serve is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. for the non-league match that features new coaches on both sides, Rob Graham with the Wolves and Ellen Miks with the Raiders. Regis Jesuit snapped a long losing streak to Grandview last season.

Seven Aurora boys soccer teams take the pitch on Aug. 25 as they open the new season with a variety of non-league contests. Aurora Central, the team that made it further than any other Aurora program in last season’s Class 5A state playoffs, welcomes in Denver East for a 4 p.m. contest as new coach Ramiro Loera guides the Trojans into the regular season. Rangeview plays host to Arapahoe at 4:30 p.m. in another possible highlight contest and Smoky Hill plays a visit to Monarch at 4 p.m.

Grandview welcomes Arapahoe to field hockey on Aug. 25 as the Wolves play the Warriors in their first game since becoming one of new teams in the sport in 2016. The teams meet at Stutler Bowl at 5:30 p.m., while Regis Jesuit plays host to Palmer Ridge at 4:15 p.m. in a matchup of teams that both lost in last season’s semifinals.

The defending Class 5A state champion Cherokee Trail volleyball team opens its season Aug. 29 when the Cougars pay a visit to Ponderosa at 6 p.m. The new-look Cougars take the court for the first time since it downed Fairview to win last season’s 5A state championship and take on a Mustangs team that won 20 matches a year ago and made it to the semifinals of the 4A state tournament.

A strong slate of softball awaits Aug. 29 with some strong matchups that include Cherokee Trail playing host to Chaparral at 4 p.m. and Eaglecrest welcoming in Rock Canyon at 4:30 p.m. The Cougars battle a Wolverines team that won 20 games last season and advanced to the semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament before losing to eventual champion Mountain Range, while the Raptors — who play Brighton in a rescheduled game on Aug. 27 — look to avenge a 7-4 loss to the Jaguars from last season.

The Regis Jesuit boys tennis team opens the season Aug. 29 with a doozy of a Continental League matchup against Mountain Vista. First serve is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Regis Jesuit in a battle of teams that both finished in the top six at last season’s Class 5A boys state tennis tournament.

The Smoky Hill softball team plays host to Valor Christian at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30 as the optimistic Buffs get a tough test early in the new season. Smoky Hill looks to build off the momentum from an appearance in the Class 5A state tournament last season, while Valor Christian is the defending 4A state champions and has won 16 games in a row spanning back to last September. On the same day, Grandview takes on defending 5A state champion Mountain Range in a road game with a first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m.