Gilpin H.S. volleyball season wraps up with awards night

Team reflects on a winning season

by Patty Unruh

Gilpin High School honored its volleyball athletes at a banquet and awards program on Wednesday evening, November 8.

Athletic Director Jeff Schuessler welcomed the young ladies and their families. He announced that the format would be a bit different this year. Instead of recognizing both the volleyball and football teams on the same evening as in the past, the two sports are each having their own separate event. The purpose was to allow each team to take more time reflecting on their season and elaborating on the achievements of each athlete.

Schuessler thanked the Booster Club for the thousands of dollars they raise each year for Gilpin athletics. He also acknowledged the administration, school board, principal, transportation and maintenance departments, secretaries, and coaches.

Five senior athletes received four-year commitment awards: Aspen Nadeau, Trystin Swan, Cicely Lepro, Alex Martin, and Katelyn Armstrong. They and fellow senior Devyn Branning, who joined the team this past season, each received their varsity letters.

The team received an Academic All-State Award for its cumulative 3.58 grade average as a team.

Varsity players Cicely Lepro and Aspen Nadeau received Academic All-League Honorable Mention, and Alex Martin was named to the All-League Second Team.

Head Coach Alexis Donaldson and Assistant Coach Topher Rouse introduced the teams and reported on the season. Donaldson took pride in the Academic All-State awards.

“That’s what it’s all about,” she said.

She congratulated the six seniors who participated in the volleyball program during the past season and thanked the parents for their help. She especially thanked Jenny Lepro for organizing all the team dinners.

Rouse, who worked with the C team and the junior varsity, began the acknowledgments. He had conducted volleyball camps at the school for several years before being hired at Gilpin and voiced his excitement at being part of the program.

“We have the easy part, going over the X’s and O’s on the court!” he joked. “The 2017 season was outstanding. The C team finished with an 8-4 record, and the JV team ended 13-5. There was not a single team that we didn’t think we could have or should have beaten. We were never outmatched.”

He referred to the final game of the season against Dawson School. “We stomped all over them. We kept our positive attitude and our team mentality during the season and really learned the game.”

Members of the C team and junior varsity were Olivia Ball, Emma Hanssen, Tristin Branning, Jasmine Crook-Arends, Jade King, Ashley Parkhurst, Courtney Holmes, Taby Gray, Sarah Trujillo, Devyn Branning, and Trystin Swan.

Donaldson expressed how fortunate she felt to work with Coach Rouse and what a privilege it was to work with all the athletes. Detailing the achievements of the varsity squad, she exclaimed, “It was a blast watching you play this season. It was great competition in a tough league and a lot of fun. I’m glad it ended as it did, with an 11-9 record. We will continue to work on our goal to get to the state tournament.”

She reported that the team spent the season getting ready for the playoffs and played to the top level. The team did go to the playoffs but lost their first match. Throughout the season, Donaldson said, the team worked a lot on the mental aspect of the game.

“Girls can be emotional,” Donaldson admitted – no surprise to the parents. “They played their hardest and loved the game of volleyball. Their court presence was huge.” As she distributed the certificates, she recounted each girl’s value to the volleyball program.

Donaldson said of the six seniors, “I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for the program.”

Members of the varsity included Bailey Hobson-Kroll, Nicole Adams, Courtney Holmes, Kasen Nelson, Devyn Branning, Trystin Swan, Katelyn Armstrong, Cicely Lepro, Alex Martin, and Aspen Nadeau. Managers were Isabell Szucs, Shania Gonzales, and Cheyenne Cowles.

Athletes Alicia Johnson, Claire Diekman, and Ella Felty were unable to be present.

The program concluded with gifts and words of thanks from the girls to their coaches, plus a video of season highlights.

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