Thomas Beatty was part of many big moments for the Air Academy boys' soccer team this past season.
And he remembers those moments in great details.
In particular, the senior goalkeeper remembers the moment when things shifted for the Kadets during the Class 4A state championship game this past weekend. And he's grateful for playing a part.
A defensive teammate missed an opportunity to clear the ball, but Beatty was there to stop a shot on goal. The Kadets were up 1-0, and it could've changed the complexion of the game.
"I made a good save," he said.
This past week, he was stellar with wins against Glenwood Springs in the semifinals and Denver North in the title game. And for his effort, he landed this week's The Gazette Preps Peak Performer.
"It was kinda of a surprise we were able to put it all together after we didn't play too well against Glenwood Springs," Beatty said. "I'm still kind on a high about it."
In the end, the Kadets earned their second consecutive state title after a 2-0 win over Denver North.
And even with all his accolades, Beatty said he couldn't have done it without his back line. That list includes Dylan Cornejo, Cedric Englisch, Andrew Hess and Mason Shandy.
"It's the best in the state," he pointed out.
Defense was an important part of Air Academy's season, which ended with an 18-1-1 record. The Kadets' only true blemish was a 3-1 loss to Boulder, a 5A team that advanced to the state semifinals this year.
On one hand, Air Academy had boasted a stellar offense led by Thad Dewing, who had 27 goals this season. The Kadets also had other double-digit scorers, in Adin Schwenk (11) and Luke Louthan (10).
But it was the Kadets defense that kept opponents from becoming threats.
Air Academy was scored on only twice during the playoffs. In the second round against Centaurus, the Kadets allowed a goal in a game that was postponed over a three-day period because of heavy snowfall.
And Beatty was an integral part of the Kadets' reign in the state. In his four years at Air Academy, he started every game, according to coach Espen Hosoien. Yes, that means since he was a freshman.
And even in his position that featured the past two years as team captain, he still made time to pass on his knowledge to the underclassmen during practice — in hopes of keeping Air Academy's state title aspirations alive.
"It's difficult to win a championship, period," Hosoien said. "Trying to do it without a great keeper (is) almost impossible. I'm happy to say that we had that covered for four years with Thomas and he had a part in winning back-to-back titles."
Just the Facts
Thomas Beatty, Air Academy
Sport: Boys' soccer
Favorite movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite athlete: Gianluigi Buffon
Favorite team: Barcelona FC
Favorite Pump-Up Song: Drake's "Legend"
Favorite musician: The Lumineers
Favorite school subject: Math
Highlights: He had two stellar playoff performances last week, including producing his eighth shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over Denver North in the Class 4A championship game. He also had a key save in that game when the Kadets were ahead 1-0.
Other Peak Performers
Marshall Pike, Discovery Canyon
The junior rushed for three touchdowns and 131 yards last Friday, including the game-winning score in a 34-31 double-overtime win over Frederick in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs. His second TD tied the game at 21-21 with nine minutes left in regulation before he scored his third TD in the second OT. This season, Pike leads the Thunder with 1,268 rushing yards and 17 TDs.
Eddie Kyle, Pine Creek
The senior was a defensive stud in the Eagles' 50-0 laugher over Heritage in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last Friday. He had two interceptions, including one he returned some 35 yards for a TD. Those were his first two picks of this season, according to MaxPreps. He also had a 50-yard punt return that set up Pine Creek's first score of the game.
Thad Dewing, Air Academy
The junior forward had an impressive offensive showing during last week's Class 4A state title run. He had three goals and assist in two wins. In the final against Denver North, he finished with a score and assisted on a goal to help the Kadets to back-to-back titles. This season, he had a team-best 27 goals with eight assists. He averaged nearly 1.5 goals per game.
Charlie Tidwell, Colorado Springs Christian School
The junior outside hitter was stellar during the Class 3A state tournament, finishing with 95 kills in five matches -- which equals to 19-kill average. Her high was 26 against Alamosa. She also had 16 kills in a 3-1 loss to Lutheran in the title game. This season, Tidwell had 282 kills to go along with 221 digs, 44 blocks and 31 aces.
Kessandra Krutsinger, Lewis-Palmer
The senior posted an all-round performer during last week's Class 4A state title run, finishing with 39 kills and 20 blocks in four dominant wins. This season, Krutsinger collected 204 kills (third on the team behind Taylor Buckley's 275 and Trinity Jackson's 270). And Krutsinger's final kill of the season gave the Rangers their third consecutive title.