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Brann-tastic end to a career

IHS defender earns league, statewide salutes
Ignacio's Kristianna Brann (8) greets Pagosa Springs' captains prior to non-league action this season inside PSHS' Golden Peaks Stadium. Brann recently received honorable mention 2A (to go along with her first team all-league status) for her senior-year efforts. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Reliable from start to finish of a fatigue-filled, resolve-testing soccer season, Kristianna Brann was a rock upon which new head coach Tori Burch could attempt to build a foundation for future Ignacio squads.

Used primarily as a defender/midfielder, the recently-graduated senior was named not only First Team All-Intermountain (South) for 2024, but also received Honorable Mention All-2A distinction just a few days after Westminster-based Flatirons Academy’s 2-1 victory over Buena Vista in the State Championship on May 22, in Commerce City at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.

Counting their final-day forfeit to league champ Crested Butte Community School, Ignacio ended up 1-14-0 overall and 1-6-0 in league – their only win coming at the expense of Del Norte (1-12-0, 0-4-0), playing an unbalanced league schedule.

IHS senior defender Jillian Middlebrook and sophomore goalkeeper Bella Lorenzini each received second team all-league praise.

CBCS senior center midfielder Leigh Harpel was voted first team all-league as well as the Intermountain-South’s Player of the Year (and First Team All-2A to boot) for helping the Titans go 7-0-0 in league play and finish 15-3-1 overall after falling 3-2 to FA in the State semifinals. The playoffs’ initial No. 4 seed, Crested Butte – guided by IM-South Coach of the Year Tom Lewis – had blanked No. 13 Denver Rocky Mountain Lutheran 8-0 in the opening Round of 16, then No. 5 Loveland Classical Academy 5-0 in the Great Eight.

The IM-South’s Goalie-of-the-Year award, as well as first team all-league (and All-2A) status, went to Telluride senior Jayden Fortner. THS went 4-3-0 in league and ended up 6-8-1 overall.