Fall Sports In Review

By the Bengal Cry staff

Cross Country

Runners for the 2016 cross country season included seniors Kylee Harless and Payton Swedlund, juniors Jacob Schroeder, Mona Aunjai, Rebecca Miller, Amela Nevaljalovic, Rachael Northup, Sydney Wright, Ons Laroussi and Chat Theerakitpaisal, sophomores Sophia Boothby, Cassidy Amen, Adam Hernandez, Humberto Guerrero, Shinyu Park, Joseph Coakley and Ryan Lock, and freshmen Adrian Aguirre, Dylan Cranwell, Justin Kassin, Thomas Rutherford, Ananisia Gallegos, Amber Gibbs, Joslyne Lopez and Esmeralda Guerrero.

The cross country coaches this year were Cheryl Rael and Lacy Flores. Senior Aby Aguirre and sophomores Kahlei Fleckenstein and Jazmin Renteria were the team’s managers.

This was Rael’s twenty-fifth year of coaching, and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

“The kids didn’t know that it was my twenty-fifth year, but it’s not about me, it’s about the team,” she said.

The runners were a part of eight regular season runs, as well as regionals.

Their first race was at Horizon High School in Thornton.  The girls’ team placed thirteenth out of 28 teams and the boys placed twenty-sixth out of 29 teams.

The second race was also held in Thornton, this time at Skyview High School. The boys placed thirteenth out of 16 teams and the girls finished third out of five teams. Lock and Park both ran their fastest times there, with both boys finishing in 23 minutes, only 18 seconds apart.

The team hosted their third meet at home. The girls placed third out of five teams while the boys placed fourth out of six teams.

A handful of the runners faced an unexpected challenge this season: sickness.

“I expected our bodies to wear down and I expected we would have a hard time to stay motivated but I didn’t expect to get sick,” said Northup.

“One expected challenge I faced was wanting to quit after I was sick and had to go through physical therapy,” said Gibbs.

The team then travelled to Kersey, for their fourth race at Platte Valley High School.dsc_6069-2

Runner’s Roost was the team’s fifth meet, which was held at Chatfield State Park in Littleton.

“The Runner’s Roost was a fun run, in the sense that it was a more relaxed run. All of our girls wore tutus while we ran, but we also wore eye black to show that we were still fierce,” said Northup.

Out of 12 teams, the boys placed eleventh at their Andy Meyers race at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley. The girls’ JV team placed tenth out of 10 teams and varsity placed fifth out of eight teams.

One thing that was unique about the 2016 cross country season was that there were five exchange students on the team, whom Rael described as a “pleasure to have on the team.”

“I didn’t mean to join cross country,” said Aunjai. “In Thailand, we don’t have cross country and I never thought about it before, but I was in Ms. Rael’s line at registration and she asked me, ‘Are you going to play any sports?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I’m going to do track.’ She said she is a track coach and cross country coach. She asked me, ‘Why don’t you do cross country?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know what that is,’ and then she said that if I wanted to join or try I could come to practice and finally I went to practice!”

The team’s Patriot League meet was held at Brush High School. The girls finished eighth out of eight teams and the boys placed ninth out of 11 teams.

Many runners ran their best times in Brush. Aguirre ran 22:27, Hernandez ran 19:43, H. Guerrero ran 17:40, Coakley ran 18:32, Rutherford ran 52:21, Miller ran 23:59, Laroussi ran 31:57, Theerakitpaisal ran 28:39, Swedlund ran 27:43 and Boothby ran 30:43.

Each runner had their own goal for the season.

“My goal was to run first girl all season and I met my goal,” said Gibbs.

“My goal for this year, which I met, was to make it to varsity,” said Aguirre.

“I had three goals for the season. The first was that we would be able to build team unity, the second was to stay in the top three of the girl runners, and the third was to have a PR of below 22:30. All of my goals were met, except for the last one,” said Northup.

The next race was a two-mile run. The boys placed twelfth out of 16 teams and the girls finished sixth out of 12 teams.

One thing that cross country is known for is the close bonds they form with each other.

“The team is a tight knit group. It’s fun to see them grow closer outside of cross country,” said Rael.

“They’re my best friends. I feel like I can go to them for anything,” said Gibbs.

“It felt like a second family; they always helped me. I did not expect that,” said Aguirre.

“One reason I never quit cross country was because the team made my day every day when I went to practice,” said Aunjai. “I want to say thank you to Rachael for your big hug during my second day of practice. I remember when my host mom came to pick me up after practice, she walked up to me and said, ‘I’m glad you joined our team.’ Those words are really good to me.  Also, thank you for running with me during my first time at the park! Thank you for being my partner that day because I didn’t know the courses and I stopped a lot and you still ran with me! Everyone on the team is always nice to me. Thank you all for this amazing season.”

At regionals at Monfort Park in Greeley, the girls placed tenth out of 13 teams while the boys placed twelfth out of 13 teams.

10 team members ran their fastest at regionals. Cranwell ran 21:19, Kassin ran 19:16, Schroeder ran 31:07, Amen ran 24:23, Gallegos ran 23:37, Gibbs ran 22:18, Lopez ran 22:10, Northup ran 23:29, Wright ran 23:51 and E. Guerrero ran 24:10.

Although the team did not make it to make it to state, they still had a great season.

“I want to thank the team for their hard work over the summer and during practice and also for representing SHS positively, both on and off the course,” said Rael.

Cross country awards:  https://bengalcry.wordpress.com/sports/cross-country/

 

Soccer

For the 2016 fall season of SHS soccer, we interviewed Brady Krier and Logan Kiefer to discuss the essentials and highlights of the season. Although they did not completely make it to State, the soccer team still fought their hardest and earned everything they achieved.dsc_5387

Though their goal was to make it to the second round of state playoffs, their greatest highlights of the season were taking Frontier Academy and Liberty Common into double-overtime. The game against Frontier Academy ended with a huge win at home, and the senior night against Liberty Common ended in a draw.

As for broken records this year, Krier made 7 shutouts this season (the most shutouts in a career) and broke the goals against average with a 0.8. Kiefer tied the record for assists in a game for a second year in a row. Kiefer said he’s sure that others were broken because the team had a spectacular season.

Like every year, however, this season had its own obstacles and challenges. Krier reflected that the team faced a couple of injuries throughout the year and so couldn’t play them at full strength. As a consequence, Krier said the team was helped to learn that they could “play in-depth with the bench”.

Kiefer said that, “Our biggest obstacle this season was the RPI ranking system. We were in the top 15 teams for win-loss percentage and second in our league, but because our RPI rank was so low, we were unable to qualify for the state tournament.”

Kiefer concludes, “Because we stumbled upon this obstacle at the end of the season, it really is a learned aspect for the upcoming players next year. They now are aware of how much more crucial it is to win every game and play against tough opponents that will ultimately better them.”

When it comes to what helped the individual players and team this year, Kiefer said what helped him the most was working with former goalie Derek Karg early in the year. He also said that what helped the team the most was that they all got along and played together. Kiefer said, quote, “I think what helped me the most this year was having such a strong core of teammates that believed they could win.” He emphasizes the team’s essential drive to win and the large advantage of returning experienced players.

We also took the time to ask the two seniors what their best memories of the season are. Krier said, My best memory of the season is probably when Victor got a red card or taking Frontier to double over time and helping a foot save to keep them from scoring.”

Kiefer really held onto this season as his last, saying, “I think I will remember most playing with eight other seniors. In soccer, that is a huge group of classmates to have on a team at one point. I grew up playing with these guys and that team chemistry and bond, that has been built since early middle-school, is one that can’t be beat.

But the rest of the team is not yet graduating and has a great many games ahead of them. Kiefer continues as saying, “I think that next year, the younger guys are hoping to avenge our team’s incapability of making state this year. It’s a tough thing to do, and I can’t wait to support them in their success next year with such a young squad.”

No matter what, the Sterling Tigers are sure to fight for every game they get. Krier ends the interview proud, saying, “I’ve taken away from the soccer experience that we may not be the best, but we would win the fight.”

 

Golf

Golf is a heavily individual sport, with each player’s score adding up to the team’s overall score. Due to this element, members of golf still have great core values of performance, positive teamwork, and aspirations.

Junior Braydon Lambrecht for instance has great aspirations in golf. We interviewed Lambrecht on his experience in SHS golf and his look towards the future. Lambrecht started to play golf at 8 years old, and evidently this early exposure to golf paid off fairly well, Lambrecht ranking 15th in the entire state. Golf is more than just a school sport for Lambrecht however. In the future, he wishes to play the sport prfessionally for Colorado Mesa University.

Lambrecht says that golf is probably more mental than physical, and is a tough game for sure. Although, he recommends golf as a very good pastime, saying it is a lifetime sport and you can play it at any age and any level.

We asked Lambrecht if his team and the high school experience has helped him reach this goal, he answered, “A little, the golf team pushed me a little bit more. I would have liked to win state but I didn’t meet that goal. But that’s alright. I met my goal at least of not shooting the 80’s.”

From all of these difficulties, he learned to try his best at everything. Lambrecht is still going strong into golf and his goal remains unwavering, to go for state.

Volleyball

 

This year the SHS girls volleyball team has made school history. They have won regionals and gone to state for five straight years. No other Sterling Tiger volleyball team has won regionals five years in a row. They are also the first volleyball team to win 20 matches in a season, since 2006. The SHS girls volleyball team has won 21 of their 27 games they have played this season. They are ranked number eight in the Colorado 3A region.

Junior Gracie Bacon said, “I honestly think I’ve improved over this season due to the help of my team and coaches.”

Bacon also commented of her favorite memory from the season, saying, “My favorite memory from this season game against Yuma and not having practice the day after the game. As a team we have improved a lot and have become a lot more powerful and grown to have a stronger bond. They aren’t my teammates, they are my family.”

As a team, Bacon said that their ultimate goal as a team was to make it to state.dsc_5773

She said, “Our ultimate goal as a team is to make it to the top four in state and then win state.”

Senior Jaycie Dillenburg also commented on the season and how she played this season, saying, “Everybody has good games and bad games throughout the season and I definitely did as well. Overall I think it was a great season, and I feel like I improved greatly and I’m so happy I decided to join volleyball again after taking last year off.”

“As a team, when we all came together and played our game, we were unstoppable. At time, we didn’t play our game and we weren’t ourselves, we didn’t play very good, but once we came together, it was a completely different team,” said Dillenburg.

“Building memories with your team is very important,” she said. “My favorite memory was at one of our tournaments over the summer. I saved the ball by kicking it and we got the point.”

Dillenburg said, “Winning regionals was an amazing feeling and it gave us confidence going into the state tournament.  We knew if we played like we did at regionals in state l, we had a chance at winning it all.”

The SHS girls volleyball team has done very well this season, especially by making school history.

Softball

The SHS softball team went out with a bang this 2016 season. The Lady Tigers had a winning overall record of 13-10 and 8-6 in their league. The Tigers are coached by Bob Knudson.

The Sterling Lady Tigers won this year’s Regional Championship over Gunnison and Basalt giving them a ticket to the State tournament. In the first round of state, Sterling beat Cedaredge 14-3 and advanced into the second round of the tournament. The Lady Tigers then moved on to play the Strasburg Indians in the quarterfinals and fell 9-6.

Senior pitcher Taylor Knudson, junior shortstop Brooke Polenz, and freshman second baseman Rylyn Nelson were all three selected for the Colorado All-League Softball first team for the Patriot League.

Taylor Knudson stepped up and was the leader of this year’s team.

“I will miss going to Dairy Queen at the end of every game with my team the most. I am very proud of my team and our accomplishments this season,” exclaimed Knudson.

This season the softball team gained quite a few new players, some of them being junior Kirstyn Fritzler and senior Mackenzie Thompson.

Fritzler was a vital part of this year’s team; she made the decision to join the softball team her junior year after not playing all of high school. She played the positions of third base and first base.

“My first season was definitely a challenge. I hadn’t played softball for about five years so starting varsity at the beginning of the season was a rush. It was great though. I had a ton of fun and I really pushed myself to do something great. My favorite part was definitely winning regionals. It was so much fun with everyone I played with and getting to participate in that victory,” shared Fritzler.softball

Another new addition to the Lady Tigers was senior Mackenzie Thompson. Although she wasn’t able to play for most of the season, because of her transfer from Holyoke, when she did, she played the position of catcher.

“The team was very welcoming towards me. I couldn’t be more proud of all the hard work, dedication, and progress we made as a team. The hardest part of this season was the feeling of being done as early as we were in the state tournament. We had a really tough bracket and a tough final team but we played as hard as we could and gave it our all,” said Thompson.

This season, the team had some easy games, and then they had some nail-biters. Games against Lyons, Platte Valley, the Classical Academy, Woodland Park, and University were all, as the team would say, “blow outs.” The games against Brush, Valley, Eaton, Palisade, and Strasburg were the nail-biters, always resulting in close scores like 13-12 against Eaton, 10-9 against Brush, and 11-9 against Valley.

Last season the team lost a lot of seniors forcing this year’s upperclassmen to really step up as leaders for the team. Juniors Emory Underwood and Grace Reeves were both leaders for the team this year.

“It was an amazing experience being an upperclassman on the team. I had more opportunities to be a leader. Individually, I improved a lot as a leader. As a team, we improved our teamwork ability and our defense,” said Underwood.

Underwood plays outfield.

“This season was different from our last two seasons because in the past we had more experienced upperclassmen that took on those leadership roles. This season we had a new, not so experienced team, and we had to rebuild and learn to play well with each other. Next year I am excited to pick up where we left off and continue to put in work,” said Reeves.

Reeves plays first base, outfield, and she also pitches.

Overall, this was a great 2016 season for the Sterling Lady Tiger Softball team and for the seniors.

Football

The SHS football team ended their season with a record of 7-4 overall, and 5-0 for the league. The team this year included 14 seniors.

Senior captain, Austin Chavez stated that the best part of football is the team aspect of the sport and being able to play next to the guys who he’s been playing with his whole life.

Sterling started off their winning streak by beating their first league opponent Eaton 14-0. They continued their winning streak beating Brush 38-7, Platte Valley 27-19, Ft. Lupton 49-16, Weld Central 27-13, Valley 41-7, and Manitou Springs 52-22. Manitou Springs was the first playoff game the Tigers hosted this year. They then hosted a second playoff game against Bayfield where the Tigers fell 41-0.

dsc_5943Senior captain, Mike Chavez says that the Weld Central game was the most memorable because it was the league championship game, and the first time since the 90’s that they had won it. It was a big goal of the season.

In order to prepare for each game, the teams warmed up, then headed inside to have a meeting in the coach’s’ office to “talk them up.” Then, right before the game they would break their huddle with “Tiger Pride!”

Senior captain, Austin Burkholder broke a school record this season for the most rushing yards in a game with 291. The previous record was set at 273. Burkholder also tied with the school record for the most touchdowns in a game with 5.

Senior Peyton Kloberdanz’s advice to underclassmen is to stay humble and respect the game. Senior Ty Wilterdink said, “The most important thing football has taught me is nothing will be handed to you. Sometimes, you have to work as hard as you can to prove yourself before you can get to where you want to be.”

The Tigers made it further in this season than any season since the 90’s. They are lead by Head Coach Rob Busmente as well as many other coaches who have had a hand in leading the Tigers this far into the season. The last time the Tigers hosted back-to-back playoff games was in 1991-92 when Coach Busmente was a player for the Tigers.

 

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