By the Bengal Cry staff
The Tigers boys basketball team had an outstanding season that resulted in a 3A State Championship for the first time since they won the 4A title in 2011. The Tigers went 22-5 overall and 9-1 in their league. The Tigers are coached by Mike Holloway and assistant coached by Doug Holloway, Brad Hessler and Mike Gertner.
The varsity team consisted of a total of twelve players including three seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and one freshman. Each individual player did their part in helping the team make it to the state championship game. The team was lead by three seniors this year: Wade Kellogg, Mike Chavez and Austin Bornhoft. In the ceremony following the state championship game, Coach Holloway pointed out that this group of seniors were some of the best leaders he has ever had and also the least selfish.
Basketball is Chavez’s favorite sport. “It felt unreal to reach our goal, we knew we could do it but we were so in shock we had no idea what we accomplished. Even now a couple of weeks later I still can’t believe we won a state championship, especially because we’ve never made it to the great eight the past three years. It was the most memorable event I’ve ever been a part of and I’m happy I was a leader on the team,” he shared.
Bornhoft had been looking forward to this moment his entire basketball career. “It was probably the most bittersweet moment I have had in my life. Myself and the others on the team had put a lot of blood sweat and tears into this season and we came out and ended it in the way we had hoped. In terms of my final high school basketball game, it could not have gone any better. A clutch play for a come behind win is definitely the best way to win a championship and end my senior season. At the same time in all the joy that came from us winning there was also a lot of mixed feelings I had about being done with basketball. Our team this year was more like a family than anything else and not being with my boys everyday and having a sense of brotherhood is something I am going to miss but I could not have dreamt of a better way to go out,” he exclaimed.
For Kellogg, winning the state championship was something he had always dreamed of. “It’s the best way any senior can go out. It just felt so great to finally see our hard work pay off with all the long hours in the gym constantly putting up shots and to see it pay off the way it did was truly amazing. It was also really cool to see the whole community get behind us in the championship game, with the students and crowd going crazy and the band and cheerleaders coming up to support us. It’s something I’ll remember forever,” he said.
Before making it to the big game at DU, the Tigers had to make it through some tough playoff games. The boys had a heartbreaking loss, losing 66-63 in the Patriot League tournament championship to Resurrection Christian but that didn’t stop them from fighting in the state playoffs.
The Tigers went into the state tournament as the tenth seed. In the first round the Tigers played Buena Vista and easily beat them with a final score of 67-47. In the sweet sixteen, they faced Coal Ridge in an intense overtime game resulting in a close win with a score of 61-59. Ecstatic to make it to the great eight, the team beat Manitou Springs 58-50. The next day in the final four the Tigers went up against Colorado Springs Christian and won 51-43. All of these games lead up to the final game of the season: the state championship, in which the Tigers beat Faith Christian 48-47.
The Sterling Tigers boys basketball team had an incredible season that will go down as one of the best in history.
It has been a rough season for the SHS girls’ basketball team, but over all odds they are undefeated.
Junior Peyton Huss said, “Some of our starters were out because of the sick season.”
Sophomore Katie Masters actually subbed for one of the sick players.
She said, “It was a great opportunity to get on the court when the team needs it most.”
Huss also said, “The hardest game so far was Liberty Commons because most of the starters were out that game.” Huss also said that Eaton is their rival because, “they give us pretty good competition every year.”
The team has been doing great this year with the injuries and sickness. They are undefeated 19-0 and still going strong. Even when they had no starters they still won.
“It’s been amazing going to State this year too, but I did hope we would win first place,” said junior Brooke Polenz. “But overall it was an amazing season and next year we will try improving our play and hopefully win!”
Senior Taylor Knudson said, “Going to State my senior year was great and we did good. I am very excited about starting my next basketball season with Northeastern Junior College and hopefully it will be a good season.”
Junior Kaitlyn Maker has been swimming for 10 years; she began when she was six years old. She swims every week, Monday-Friday, from June to February.
Maker is one of 20 members of the Eaton swim team. The team includes 14 swimmers and six divers.
“I joined Eaton’s team because they were closer to home, had a lot of girls my age on their team and I really liked their coaches,” she said. “I joined the high school team because I was on their club team and I already knew the coach.”
Maker wasn’t sure what to expect about relationships with the team, but has developed a close bond with them.
“I love all the girls on my team. My best friends are the girls I swim with,” she said. “I am so happy that I have been blessed with these relationships. All of the girls on the team are so welcoming and loving towards me and for that, I am so grateful.”
During her freshman year, Maker was on the 200 yard free relay at state and had personal bests in her other events. Then for her sophomore year she qualified for state in the 100 yard breaststroke, 200 yard medley relay and the 200 yard free relay.
“I had a great first two seasons on the team,” she said.
This year at state, she placed eleventh place in the 100 yard breaststroke, sixteenth place in the 100 yard butterfly, tenth place in the 200 yard medley relay and fifteenth place in the 200 yard free relay.
“I had a lot of goals. All of my goals were times that I wanted to reach. I reached most of my goals, but God blessed me with an amazing season and I am super happy with how it ended,” Maker said.
Although she doesn’t have any set pre-race rituals, she gets in the zone by encouraging her teammates and cheering them on.
“Before my race, when I am behind the block, I always stretch, jump around a little and say a little prayer,” she said.
For Maker, swimming is more than just a hobby.
“Oh my goodness, it is definitely a passion,” she said. “I love the sport so much and it has taught me so many things. Swimming has brought the most amazing people in my life and I have developed so many life-long friends through the sport. I just love to swim.”
Her dream since she was a little girl is to swim in college. She is currently looking at Oklahoma Christian University, Tabor College (in Kansas) and a few others.
“My plans for next season are to just keep improving and dropping time. I am hoping to swim a qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke for a national meet. I also hope to sign to swim at a college before next season,” said Maker.
According to her coach, Hattie Carlson, Maker is the epitome of an athlete because “she always shows up willing to give 100 percent, whether it is in the pool, school or with her friends and teammates.”
“Kaitlyn is a great leader and example for her peers to follow. It is a pleasure working with an athlete who is so coach-able. Kaitlyn celebrates her successes, as well as her challenges. I’ve been able to watch her mature in the last three years that I have been working with her in getting to the point where she can use her hard times as a motivator to be better,” said Carlson. “This year she was awarded “Most Inspirational” for her continuing drive to bring the team together and for her outstanding performance in the pool and the classroom. Kaitlyn is an integral part of our team.”
The 2016-2017 wrestling season was a good season for the team. Although this was not the most wrestlers that Sterling High School had taken to state from the past years it was a good amount of wrestlers. Sterling took five wrestlers to state with only one wrestler actually placing in state.The five wrestlers that went to state were Drew Book, Tate Green, Ernesto Ochoa, Zach Loft, and Dylan Prelle. The one wrestler that had placed was Dylan Prelle and he had placed 5th. The wrestling team consisted of Drew Book, Jake Breidenbach, Eleazar Chavez, Gabi Deleon, Isaac Deleon, Jeremiah Deleon, Tate Green, Jaylen Lee, Zach Loft, Tristan Manley, Ernesto Ochoa, Dylan Prelle, Carlos Rodriguez, Trae Walton, and Pacen Whited.
Breidenbach has wrestled throughout his entire high school career. Sadly this was the last year for Breidenbach to wrestle on the Tiger wrestling team.
He said, “I’ll miss bonding with my teammates but I’ll miss feeling the excitement and being apart of the excitement for each other after winning a tough match or watching a teammate win a tough match.”
Breidenbach also said, “The biggest accomplishment as a team throughout my high school career was tying the school record for taking eight wrestlers to the state tournament my sophomore year. My biggest accomplishment in high school was placing 6th place at the state tournament my sophomore year and leaving my name on the wall of wrestling room forever.”
Senior Gabi Deleon has only wrestled her freshman and senior year. She had come a long way from her freshman year to now.
“I think the biggest accomplishment doesn’t really have to do with the wrestling its just getting to know each other and getting really close to your team and getting to know each other and individually just meeting new people and being brave enough to do like such a trying,” said Deleon. “I think I did pretty well this season and the most memorable part was probably leaving the school to go get subway with Tristan.”
For Prelle, this was his last year on the SHS wrestling team. He was the only one from the wrestlers that went to state that actually placed in state. He placed 5th in state this year.
“This was my best season by far, as a team we were really close friends and personally I had the best record and placed at state. I think I did well this season. The most memorable part of the season was standing on the podium at the state wrestling tournament. I will miss my teammates the most” he said.
Ochoa has wrestled for the Sterling Tigers since his freshman year and will continue until next year. He was one of Sterling wrestlers that went to state but did not place.
He said, “I like it more because of how far I went and how I was determined to prove people wrong. Next year I don’t just plan on just taking part of state I’m going to go take over state champion.”
Freshman Jeremiah Deleon this was his first year wrestling for the Sterling High School. He wasn’t one of the ones to go to state this year but is determined to go next year.
He said, “As a team our biggest accomplishment was winning Strasburg. My individual accomplishment was placing at regionals.”
Sophomore Isaac Deleon has returned for his second year of wrestling. He did not go to state this year but is determined to go the next two years.
Deleon said, “I did not do my best this year. My favorite memory from this year was when Ernesto said he couldn’t see cause of all the weight he cut. This year was a lot harder for me. I also improved a lot more on my wrestling moves.”
For Book, this was his first year wrestling for SHS. He was one of Sterling’s wrestlers that qualified for state but did not place.
He said, “I got along better with the team I even grew a love for the team. I liked this year a lot more. As a team we won a couple tournaments and did really good at duals. Individually I did well because I made it to state.”
This year was a good season for the SHS wrestling team, taking five of the wrestlers to state and having one senior place fifth in the state championship. Although Sterling will be losing three of their seniors, they still have more wrestlers ready to take a step up and lead the team.