Seniors set the standard for excellence
By Patty Unruh
Gilpin’s high school basketball athletes were honored at the Winter Sports Banquet April 10 at the school. Athletic Director Jeff Schuessler emceed the event, expressing thanks to parents, school staff, clubs, and individuals for their support. He especially praised the young people for representing their school well.
Schuessler told the gathered crowd about a new tradition that the athletic staff was beginning at Gilpin – that of trying to get kids to play sports through all four years of high school. He advised that those players were almost always the best players, proving his point by introducing the outstanding athletes who had played basketball all four years at Gilpin: Kenny Larson, Ty Schmalz, Mike Yerkman, Maria Garcia, Samantha Peterson, and Katura Sales.
Paul Hanson, head coach of the boys’ team, bestowed awards for academic achievement. First were the 5280 League awards for Academic All-League, given to Chase Boulter, Ty Schmalz, Kenny Larson, Alyssa Chareunsouk, Delainey Lepro, and Katura Sales.
Hanson also awarded honors from the Colorado High School Activity Association (CHSAA) to members of the boys’ team: Morgan Foelsch, Academic All-State, and Kenny Larson and Ty Schmalz, First Team Academic All-State. Girls’ players receiving the First Team Academic All-State awards were Ashlen Cortez, Andi Ramsey, and Katura Sales, with Grace Diekman receiving an honorable mention.
Hanson also announced with justifiable pride that the entire girls’ team received a CHSAA All-State Academic Team award for 2012-13. All members had to maintain a high grade point average to receive that honor. Hanson added that the boys missed receiving the same award by only eight hundredths of a point.
Following these significant awards, Hanson moved into his role as coach of the boys’ team. He noted that although the boys had little experience in varsity playing, they demonstrated a good effort. They won few games, he said, but really improved. “In my mind, they are a better team than some teams that won more games, because of their positive attitude, respectful manner, commitment, and resiliency.”
The highlight of the boys’ season was the first home playoff win against Denver-Boulder. Hanson believed they did a good job building the team this year and expects many more future wins with their new and incoming talent.
Team members honored were freshmen Jonathan Ramsey, Dylan Slack, Tyler Eldridge, Bjorn Tomlinson, Chase Boulter, and Jon Gonzalez; sophomore Dalton Dziedzic; juniors Andrew Immordino, Dan Garrett, and Morgan Foelsch; and seniors Trevor Dziedzic, Kenny Larson, Mike Yerkman, Ty Schmalz, and Ivan Pedroza.
Chase Boulter received All-League Honorable Mention and Offensive Player of the Year; Dalton Dziedzic was honored as Defensive Player of the Year and also received the Eagle Award; Dan Garrett was chosen Most Improved Player; Mike Yerkman garnered the Best Attitude Eagle Award; Morgan Foelsch received 1st team Academic All-State; and Ty Schmalz was awarded the Super Senior honor.
Assistant coach Buddy Schmalz concluded, “This is a great bunch of young men. They will be super-star pros at whatever they do.” The senior players thanked the coaches and wished the team luck for next year.
The girls’ team was then recognized. This season was much harder than last season, when they ended with a 23-3 record and won the Consolation Championship and the first State trophy in Gilpin basketball history.
Schuessler, as head coach of the girls’ team, gave an overview of their season, in which the girls varsity finished with a 15-7 record and were plagued with injuries along the way. He reminded the audience of the team’s difficult schedule and said that five of the team’s losses were to teams who qualified for their state tournaments.
“The adversity of season left us emotionally depleted, and physically we not the same as when started.” The team set lofty goals for themselves, but reality seemed to get farther away from those goals. Schuessler summed up the team’s experience as a process of endurance that was more important than a trophy. They had chosen to finish strong.
Scheussler thanked Brook Ramsey, who had served as assistant coach for the last four years. “She does an awesome job and puts in so much time. She notices things that I don’t,” he admitted.
Faith Trombley served as head manager, with the assistance of managers Cicely Lepro and Annabelle Diekman.
Team members honored were freshmen Khristine Barr, Marie Larson, Alexis Kennedy, and Hannah Randall; sophomores Kelsi Buhr, Alyssa Chareunsouk, Delainey Lepro, Ariel Planck, Siera Planck, and Stephanie Siegrist; juniors Ashlen Cortez, Grace Diekman, Andi Ramsey, and Julia Schmunk; and seniors Maria Garcia, Samantha Peterson, and Katura Sales.
Schuessler gave the seniors special praise. “They set the standard for excellence through their hard work and dedication,” he told everyone. “They provided a lot of excitement and good memories.” He acknowledged that their impact on the program will always remain.
Samantha Peterson received the honor of 5280 League First Team award for the third year in a row. Andi Ramsey and Katura Sales both received the 5280 League Second Team award. Samantha and Andi also were selected for the Clear Creek Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Team awards were given to Hannah Randall and Grace Diekman for JV Co-Most Valuable Players; to Khristine Barr for Rookie of the Year; to Delainey Lepro for Eagle Attitude Award and Most Improved Player; to Andi Ramsey for Offensive Player of the Year; and to Samantha Peterson for Defensive Player of the Year.
The Coaches’ Award was given to Andi Ramsey and Katura Sales. He said that in spite of both girls being injured, they were always there for the team.
Katura responded that she had heard no one would ever have the perfect coach. “But we do have the perfect coach,” she declared. She told her teammates, “I’ll come back next year and be your number one fan.”