A few months ago – while Summit County was still mired in the coronavirus pandemic and the response – I wrote about why I thought sport was essential for the holistic health of our community, our families and our people. children. Thinking about the 2020-21 Summit High School athletic season, I couldn’t be happier that, since February, our local high school kids and their families have had the opportunity to experience what they love. and what they live for.
With that – and with the last few sporting seasons 2020-21 coming to an end with athletics coming to an end next week – it’s time to honor the athletes, coaches and teams who have made the most of a year without. previous. From my perch behind the camera in the stands for the past few months, here are the honors I want to give:
Best Male Athlete: Cam Kalaf
Kalaf has proven this year that he’s more than a good quarterback in high school. He racked up stunning statistics for the football team in the fall, led the basketball team to the state playoffs with his athleticism and captain rank, and is now aiming for the competition record and high jump school. Colorado Mesa football team is doing well.
Most Outstanding Female Athlete: Olyvia Snyder
While several other athletes deserve this honor as well – Lily Hess, Jenna Sheldon and Bryton Ferrari are just a few that come to mind – Snyder stands out. Frankly, the elite level alpine skier has an excuse not to participate in Tigers’ athletics with her club ski getaways. Surely other kids at her level don’t. But not only does Snyder compete for the Tigers, she dominates. The rising senior is a state champion alpine skier. It is a star of the track who wins meetings. And she is a high level collaborator in the wing of the rugby and football teams. What is she not doing?
Most Inspiring Teammates: Boys’ Lacrosse
It may have been a tough year in the winning department for Matty Marks ‘team, but the boys’ lacrosse team was playing for more this season after teammate and friend Toby died by suicide last year. Gard. In every game this season, Marks has designated a player to wear Gard’s number 4. Each time, the Tigers athlete who adorned the jersey played hard for Toby.
Coach of the Year: Karl Barth
There is not much to say here. Barth is unequivocal on Mount Rushmore in the Athletics Summit. Not only did his team win a 13th straight title this season, but Barth did whatever it took to give his daughters a season, including refereeing when referees were not showing up to games. Oh, and he also trains skiing and track and field.
Rookie Coach of the Year: Jotwan Daniels
Talk about passion – my God, Daniels maintains it for the Tigers women’s football program. After being unable to coach the squad last spring due to COVID-19, Daniels put everything he had into this year’s squad. And although he only led the inexperienced team to one victory, Daniels got a return of commitment from his daughters – a group that has never wavered in their dedication to the coach they love.
Most Passionate Coaches: James Wagner and Pete Baker
Daniels could easily win this one too, but given that we’ve ranked it above, we’ll be giving that to Wagner and Baker. Why? Because they were two guys who went out of their way to provide their football and wrestling teams, respectively, with as normal seasons as possible. And that was even when everything else in this county was not normal in the beginning and middle of winter. With COVID-19, their seasons were far from normal. But that doesn’t mean Wagner and Baker weren’t scratching and scratching to provide the normalcy they thought their children deserved.
Boys’ team with stock: Baseball
Patrick Stehler’s boys – namely his busy sophomore class – are special. If you haven’t had a taste of the Tiger’s mullet craze on our Facebook Lives this spring, check back next March. Great future ahead.
Girls Team With Stock Up: Football
Kayle Walker-Burns’ women’s basketball team could qualify here – many of the same talent – but we’ll give Daniels the green light again. Katy Clapp and Kelley Duffy are stars in the making, and Daniels has done a wonderful job bringing together the best young athletes from multiple sports to buy into what he preaches. Oh, and like their trainer, they have the motivation to burn. The west slope better beware.
Men’s Team of the Year: Basketball
You’d be hard pressed to find a better basketball player and bigger basketball fan in this county than Jordan Buller. And the proud Indian coach finally got his breakout squad this season. He would tell anyone who wanted to listen to him in December that these boys were special and deserved a season. Led by Tyler Nakos, boy, they delivered – all the way to the State Tournament under sweat-soaked cloth masks.
Women’s Team of the Year: Rugby
Again, considering Barth’s dynasty, there isn’t much to say here. But we’ll say this: The Summit 2021 women’s rugby team will not be lost in the program’s overflowing history. And this is because they seized the opportunity to reach the high level of their predecessor, regardless of unforeseen obstacles that have encountered, on or off the pitch.
Unsung hero: Rob Courtney
Does this guy sleep in a bunk in the Tigers athletic training room? All kidding aside, Courtney was always – ALWAYS – there for the Tigers kids. It was rubbish during a year when student-athletes missed out on many other elements of school and childhood. He even shot the girls’ soccer team a yellow card because his instinct was to run on the pitch in the middle of the game when a player was screaming in pain on the grass. The guy is engaged. In Courtney, Tigers director of athletics Travis Avery has proven himself in the all-star business of public school: serving children.