From “MVP” to “The Sky’s the Limit”
by Patty Unruh
Gilpin County Middle School athletes were awarded for excellence in basketball at a banquet January 9. Secondary principal Alexis Donaldson greeted students and their families and thanked the Booster Club and parents for their support. She recognized the talented and committed coaches who helped mold the school’s sports program. Donaldson also acknowledged the work of coaches through the Gilpin County Community Center, whom she said help the children begin their athletic skills. In turn, the middle school coaches prepare the young athletes for high school teams. “Our athletes work hard,” she praised. “I am proud to hear all the wonderful things about them wherever they go. They are wonderful individuals.”
Coach Aaron Moran and assistant Victoria Stephens presented certificates to the girls’ basketball A and B teams. “We had a great time. The girls made a lot of improvements,” Moran stated. “They showed good teamwork and came prepared. We were five and three in the league. There were a couple of heartbreaking losses, but no technicals, which was nice.”
Team members were Katelyn Armstrong, Aspen Nadeau, Alex Martin, Olivia Randall, Eve Bauman, Kasen Nelson, Kristi Schmidt, Skylar Murdock, Carly Johnson, Trystan Swan, Brooke Prentiss, Devyn Branning, Shania Gonzales, Breanna Kennedy, Annabel Diekman, Berkley Davis, Cicely Lepro, Jada Gohdes, Carissa Wiggen, Aspen Cowles, and Rachael Schmalz.
Aspen Nadeau received the Team Spirit Award, and Cicely Lepro got the honor of Most Improved Player. Offensive Player of the Year Award went to Jada Gohdes, while Rachael Schmalz was recognized as Defensive Player of the Year. Berkley Davis was awarded Most Valuable Player.
Coaches for the boys’ A and B basketball teams were Tom Randall, Ryan Raynes, and Tony Lorenz. Raynes thanked the other coaches and noted that this years’ group was the biggest in three years. “I am amazed at the amount of support we receive,” he said, giving special thanks to Orrin Snyder, athletic director at the Community Center, for his help.
Raynes told the young people, “You guys are the reason we coach. You have a bright future. I am very proud of how you act at other schools.” The coaches then distributed awards for participation to Ben Randall, Nick Peterson, Tyler Stevens, Zach Schell, Sam Snyder, Matthew Immordino, Chris Burtschi, Josh Trujillo, Eryk Lorenz, Tanner Davis, Austin Boulter, Justin Stundon, Alex Shumaker, John Immordino, Juan Madrigal-Garcia, Cooper Lindberg, Avery Schell, Chad Holmes, Emanuel Gomez, Alex Wilhelm, and Will Lorenz.
Awards were given to the B team players. Manny Gomez was recognized as Most Valuable Player, while John Immordino, Alex Shumaker, and Juan Madrigal-Garcia received Most Improved Player Awards. Rebound and Hustle Award went to Avery Schell, the Six-Man Award was given to Cooper Lindberg, and the Sky is the Limit honor was given to Alex Wilhelm. Will Lorenz was named Offensive Player of the Year, while the Defensive Player honor went to Chad Holmes.
Coach Randall commented on the A team. “This was a great group. Not one player was ineligible or quit. In the beginning, we turned over the ball quite a bit, but now we’re better. The shooting went from 32 percent on the free throw line to close to 70 percent at the end. At the beginning, we basically had one or two kids scoring, and then others began to step up.”
Coach Randall advised that there were competitions on various categories and announced the award recipients in each category. Tanner Davis got the Block-to-Block Award, Sam Snyder the Baseline Award, and Ben Randall the Shooting Elbow-to-Elbow Award. Overall winner of the competition was Tanner Davis.
Ben Randall received the award for Most Free Throws and Zach Schell got the Hustle Award. The two Most Improved Player Awards went to Tanner Davis, seventh grade, and Tyler Stevens, eighth grade. Eryk Lorenz, Justin Stundon, and Austin Boulter were “Role Players of the Year” for their unselfish attitudes.
Most Valuable Players were Tyler Stevens, Nick Peterson, Chris Burtschi, Sam Snyder, and Josh Trujillo. The coach commented, “These guys played on the A or B team. They came in and worked every day to make the team better. They worked their butts off.”
The Sky’s the Limit Award for potential went to seventh grader Austin Boulter and eighth grader Matt Immordino. Immordino also received Defensive Player of the Year, and Ben Randall received the Offensive Player of the Year honor.