View profile

University's Tayt Chacon is a scary talent who is only getting scarier; plus, girls state swimming Day 1 results, thoughts

Make sure you fill out our audience survey (click here). We want to hear from our loyal subscribers o
The Playbook
University's Tayt Chacon is a scary talent who is only getting scarier; plus, girls state swimming Day 1 results, thoughts
By The Playbook • Issue #54 • View online
Make sure you fill out our audience survey (click here). We want to hear from our loyal subscribers on your thoughts of The Playbook and how we can improve your experience.
If you fill out the survey (which will takes 5 minutes), you will have a chance to attend a Colorado Eagles hockey game at the Budweiser Event Center. We are giving away a pair of tickets to two lucky winners.
It’s a win-win. Voice your opinion and win tickets. We will randomly select the two winners on February 18th.

The Bulldogs' Tayt Chacon, middle, listens to coaches during a timeout against Platte Valley on Feb. 1 at University Middle School in Greeley. (Photo by Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
The Bulldogs' Tayt Chacon, middle, listens to coaches during a timeout against Platte Valley on Feb. 1 at University Middle School in Greeley. (Photo by Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
University boys hoops team has 'special' talent in Tayt Chacon, yet he's only scratching the surface
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
GREELEY — As willing as University boys basketball coach Bobby Ervin was to talk about his prized freshman Tayt Chacon’s immense potential, the excitement in Ervin’s eyes may have said even more than his words did.
Coming from a family that plays baseball like it is their life’s purpose — and plays other sports with every bit the passion but perhaps not nearly the sense of duty — Chacon is carving his own path.
And, that path is a different one. It’s different than that of his brother, University junior Andre Chacon. It’s different than that of his father, former Major League all-star pitcher Shawn Chacon. It’s different than the way his numerous cousins and elder family members played basketball just for fun but swung bats and fired fastballs for college scholarships and for the chance to earn a living.
It’s also just a bit different than any other freshman in his class.
Bulldogs freshman Tayt Chacon, right, shoots against Platte Valley's Bryson Becker on Feb. 1 at University Middle School in Greeley. (Photo by Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Bulldogs freshman Tayt Chacon, right, shoots against Platte Valley's Bryson Becker on Feb. 1 at University Middle School in Greeley. (Photo by Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Chacon, a versatile 6-foot-4 ball-handling, slashing, driving and shooting forward, is the leading scorer among freshmen in Class 3A, by a wide margin.
He came into Friday night’s game against Sterling averaging 16.8 points per game, while the No. 2 freshman scorer in 3A, St. Mary’s Sam Howery, is averaging 14.5 points per game.
He’s also the second leading freshman scorer in the state among all classifications, behind Idalia’s Bru Carreras, who averages 19.4 points per game.
Yet, Chacon is far from one-dimensional. His 6.5 rebounds per game are sixth among all the state’s freshmen and third among 3A freshmen.
His 2.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game are team-highs and they also place him among the state’s leading freshmen.
If CHSAA handed out a Rookie of the Year Award, he’d be one of the state’s top candidates, and if the Patriot League handed out such an award, he’d be the runaway favorite.
University freshman Tayt Chacon drives into the lane for a bucket against Platte Valley.
University freshman Tayt Chacon drives into the lane for a bucket against Platte Valley.
“You don’t have too many come along who are freshmen like that,” Ervin said. “His ability is off the charts, but he’s coachable. … . If he wants to work as hard as I think he will, he can be special.”
Nearly a year ago, University finished its season 3-7 in Patriot League play, 8-12 overall, and it didn’t make it past the play-in game for the Patriot League district tournament — the first stanza of postseason play.
The Bulldogs (5-4 in league, 12-6 overall) have long eclipsed their win totals from a season ago.
As crucial as Ervin has been to that turnaround, taking over the program after previously assisting high-powered Resurrection Christian, the addition of Chacon has been just as important.
Last year’s University’s team had solid balance and team play — important components to any hopeful winner on the basketball court.
University boys basketball coach Bobby Ervin talks about freshman Tayt Chacon's immediate impact.
University boys basketball coach Bobby Ervin talks about freshman Tayt Chacon's immediate impact.
This winter, they have that same unselfish team play, but they also have an all-important bona fide go-to scorer in Chacon.
If the Bulldogs find themselves in a nail-biter down the stretch of a critical district tournament game in a couple weeks, they’ll know who to go to.
“I knew he would help us with his scoring, because he can shoot,” Andre Chacon said of his brother. “I didn’t think he would lead our team in scoring so soon.”
Andre was a critical part of University’s state championship baseball team this past spring. He remembers just a year or two ago, thinking maybe Tayt is a little different than he and their father.
Tayt’s a good baseball player. But, he’s a basketball player first and foremost.
“Since middle school, he’s just been dominating all the kids his grade,” Andre said. “They’re all tiny. He’s like 6-foot-4.”
Brothers Andre Chacon, left, and Tayt Chacon talk after a foul call as their University High team takes on Platte Valley on Feb. 1 on the Bulldogs' home court in Greeley. (Photo by Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
Brothers Andre Chacon, left, and Tayt Chacon talk after a foul call as their University High team takes on Platte Valley on Feb. 1 on the Bulldogs' home court in Greeley. (Photo by Michael Brian/mbrian@greeleytribune.com)
But, with all the praise Tayt Chacon is garnering during his explosive freshman campaign — with no doubt a ton more to come — a quick conversation with the soft-spoken Chacon provides evidence that he’s not really playing basketball for all these accolades.
He’s playing basketball because he loves the game. He loves it enough to push that other sport his family holds so dear to the back-burner.
As the Bulldogs wrapped up practice Tuesday, Ervin said Chacon doesn’t really know how good he is or how good he can be.
We’re all about to find out.
“This has been fun,” Chacon said. “On and off the court, it has been a blast with these teammates. … And, we’re just trying to get to the playoffs, hopefully.”
The Notebook: News and notes from around the league
Full of cheer
The University poms team had the opportunity to showcase its talents in front of thousands of spectators on Monday.
The squad performed during halftime of the University of Northern Colorado men’s basketball game, a 69-66 loss to Montana State at Bank of Colorado Arena.
League titles clinched
The Eaton girls basketball team and the Sterling boys hoops team spared any intrigue for the final week of the regular season, as each team clinched its respective league title with wins in recent days.
The Reds (9-0 Patriot, 17-1 overall) clinched the girls title with a 68-17 win on the road against Frontier Academy on Thursday, Eaton’s 10th consecutive win.
With one league game left, the Reds hold the head-to-head tie-breaker against resurgent Platte Valley (8-1, 15-2), which has second place locked up.
This is the Reds first league title since 2012.
On the boys side, unbeaten Sterling (10-0, 18-0) clinched its second consecutive league title with a 64-30 road win Tuesday against Platte Valley.
The Tigers then wrapped up their league schedule with a 64-35 home win against University on Friday.
With one league game left, Resurrection Christian (8-1, 14-4) has wrapped up second place.
Class 3A girls state swimming results, thoughts
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
The first day of the Class 3A Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at the Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins is in the books, and though the Patriot League didn’t have the most vast representation, numerous athletes made their marks.
After Friday’s prelims, two Patriot League individuals will compete for individual state championships today and numerous others will partake in the consolation finals.
Eaton led the way, but Estes Park and Valley certainly had its share of standout performance, as well.
Eaton
Standout freshman Alexis Bruntz made an impressive debut in the first state meet of her high school career, leading a solid first day for Eaton.
In the 100-meter freestyle prelims, she placed eighth with a time of 56.87. She will have a chance at a state title, qualifying for today’s championship finals.
Also, in the 200 freestyle prelims, she placed 13th with a time of 2:05.85. That’s good enough to qualify for today’s consolation finals.
Bruntz’s senior teammate McKenna McGehee was 17th in the 200 individual medley prelims, placing 17th in 2:26.74. She will also be in today’s consolation finals.
In the 200 freestyle relay prelims, McGehee, junior Emma Bjork, senior Jasmyn Thornberg and Bruntz placed 16th (1:49.84) to qualify for today’s consolation. finals.
In the 100 breaststroke prelims, McGehee missed out on today’s championship finals by one spot, placing 11th in 1:14.41. She will be a strong candidate to place first in the consolation finals today.
Eaton’s Bruntz, Bjork, Thornberg and McGehee placed 18th in the 400 freestyle relay prelims with a time of 4:06.76 to qualify for today’s consolation finals.
Eaton will also have a chance to further boost its performance when Clarise “Coco” Sviatko competes in 1-meter diving, which will take place in its entirety today.
The Reds may be hard-pressed to match the 17th-place team performance from last year’s state meet. But, with a notable amount of success this weekend, it’s clear Eaton is legitimately a top 20 or so program in 3A and will be for years to come.
Eaton diver Clarise "Coco" Sviatko
Eaton diver Clarise "Coco" Sviatko
Estes Park
Senior Kaelin Flanery had a strong day for Estes Park, as she is one of just two Patriot League swimmers to qualify for the championship finals.
In the 100 freestyle prelims, she earned the last berth to the championship finals, placing 10th with a time of 57.33.
She was 12th in the 200 freestyle prelims with a time of 2:05.22, earning a spot in today’s consolation finals.
The Bobcats quartet of Flanery, senior Annalise Basch, freshman Ella Santagati and senior Abby Lemirande placed 18th in the 200 freestyle relay prelims with a time of 1:50.66. They will compete in today’s consolation finals.
Lemirande will also be competing in the consolation finals of a pair of individual events. In 100 butterfly prelims, she missed out on the championship finals by just one place. She was 11th with a time of 1:03.61.
In the 50 freestyle, she placed 17th in 26.65.
Estes Park’s 400 freestyle relay team of Flanery, Basch, sophomore Eva Stein and Lemirande placed 22nd (4:14.46) in the prelims, earning the second of two alternate spots for the consolation finals.
With a small, young team, the Bobcats will likely be in full rebuild mode next winter. But, this state meet is serving as a nice swan song for the program’s experienced senior leaders, Lemirande and Flanery.
Estes Park senior Kaelin Flanery
Estes Park senior Kaelin Flanery
Valley
Valley’s 200 medley relay team of junior Gracelynn Frazier, junior Cora Smith, junior Molly Rymes and freshman Rylee Vilhauer finished 16th in prelims in 2:06.62. That quartet will be in the consolation finals today.
In the 100 butterfly prelims, Frazier was 31st in 1:09.86, missing out on today’s finals. Frazier also competed in the 100 backstroke, but results for that event were not posted on CHSAANow.com.
Rymes, junior Hannah Paetzel, Smith and Vilhauer were 23rd in the 200 freestyle relay prelims with a time of 1:54.43.
Smith placed 27th in the 100 breaststroke prelims with a time of 1:18.96.
Vilhauer, Rymes, Smith and Frazier placed 23rd in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 4:17.88. They were just one spot from being an alternate for today’s consolation finals.
In the 200 freestyle relay, Valley’s team of Rymes, Paetzel, Smith and Vilhauer was 23rd in 1:54.43.
The Vikings may not be a headline-grabbing program just yet. But, this is the most state participants Valley has had in years. The program is clearly on a rapid rise.
Valley junior Hannah Paetzel
Valley junior Hannah Paetzel
The Scorebook: Your daily results
Friday
Boys basketball
Brush 89, Estes Park 44
Eaton 77, Frontier Academy 65
Resurrection Christian 81, Liberty Common 24
Platte Valley 59, Valley 47
Sterling 64, University 35
Girls basketball
Brush 53, Estes Park 14
Liberty Common 46, Resurrection Christian 34
Sterling 60, University 54, OT
Coming up in Monday's edition of The Playbook
  • Final thoughts, impressions, results from Class 3A girls state swimming
  • A look at the postseason potential of the league’s top basketball teams, entering final week of league play
Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!
Bobby Fernandez, The Playbook

Did you enjoy this issue?
The Playbook

The Playbook — Your connection to Patriot League Sports News. Visit our Members page to start your subscription today.

This is a members only issue
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue
501 8th Ave., Greeley, CO 80631

Become a member to read this issue in your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and become a paying member. Learn more.

Already a member? Click here

Fill out your email address

We'll send over this issue. Make sure to use your membership email address.