Discovery Canyon Ashten Prechtel

Discovery Canyon volleyball senior Ashten Prechtel is this week’s The Gazette Preps Peak Performer after leading the Thunder to a regional title. Photo taken Monday at Discovery Canyon High School.

Ashten Prechtel's future is filled with possibilities.

Let's start with the big one: This past summer, she committed to Stanford to play at the highest level of women's college basketball. Her other top choices were UCLA and Texas.

But that opportunity starts in about a year.

For now, she's the star of the Discovery Canyon volleyball team. And this past weekend, the 6-foot-5 senior proved that she's tough to mess with as she led the Thunder with 32 kills and 18 blocks in two wins in the Class 4A Region 2 tournament.

Her numbers were more than enough to land this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer honor. Last year, she earned the same accolade as a towering force for the Discovery Canyon girls' basketball team.

She could have skipped volleyball this season, but she said she had plenty of reasons to give it one last shot. That list includes her teammates, her coaches, staying active and a possible state title run.

"We all had high expectations coming in from last year," said Prechtel, whose Thunder appeared in their first state tournament in 2017. "Everyone knew we were going to be a better team. Everyone has improved a lot. And so, we came into the season expecting a lot."

So far, Discovery has lived up to the hype.

The Thunder (23-2) landed a No. 2 seed in the state tournament, a three-day event at Denver Coliseum, starting Thursday. It will be a double-elimination, Olympic-style crossover bracket, unlike last year when it operated on pool-play schedules.

This could mean they face No. 1 Lewis-Palmer (24-1), the defending state champion, in the final. The Rangers have steamrolled through their competition this season — including handing Discovery Canyon a rare defeat last month in Pikes Peak Athletics Conference action.

The Thunder believe they could win it all. And part of the reason, Prechtel said, is because of their setbacks. They used the losses as motivation. The first was the toughest, as Discovery Canyon opened the season losing to Erie in three straight sets.

It was a much-needed wake up call.

And since then, the Thunder have dominated — thanks in large part to Prechtel, whose 158 blocks is second in the state behind Ellicott's Dalton Herson (159).

"We have a really good opportunity to win state this year," Prechtel said. "I want to do everything I can to make that a reality. I think our team feels the same way."

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Just the Facts

Ashten Prechtel, Discovery Canyon

Sport: Volleyball

Year: Senior

Position: Middle blocker

Favorite movie: Mulan 

Favorite athlete: LeBron James

Little known fact: She can play a few songs on the piano.

Highlights: The senior was dominant in two Class 4A Region 2 wins last week, collecting 32 kills on just one error and 18 blocks to lead the Thunder to the state tournament. Prechtel's 158 blocks is second in the state behind Ellicott's Dalton Herson, who has 159.

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Other Peak Performers

Football

Hudson Grant, Pikes Peak Christian

The senior running back rushed for five touchdowns — including an 80-yarder — and 176 yards in the No. 8 Eagles' 52-16 win over No. 9 Vail Christian in the first found of the 8-man playoffs. He opened the game with a 55-yard rush.

Joe Dunn, Colorado Springs Christian School

The sophomore was an unstoppable offensive force in the No. 4 Lions' 51-30 win over No. 13 Monte Vista in the opening round of the Class 1A playoffs last week. It was CSCS's first postseason win since 2006, and Dunn did his part as he ran for three touchdowns and caught one another with 271 all-purpose yards.

Boys' soccer

Luke Louthan, Air Academy

The senior assisted on a goal in the No. 1 Kadets' 5-1 win over No. 16 Centaurus in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament last week. He then went on to score the game's lone goal in a 1-0 victory over No. 9 Skyline to lift Air Academy to the semifinals.

Volleyball

Trinity Jackson, Lewis-Palmer

The senior was part of a strong offensive attack during the Rangers' Class 4A Region 1 tournament run as she finished 21 kills, two blocks, 22 digs and four aces in two wins.

Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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