Coal Ridge’s Gerber is PI’s Male Athlete of the Year
These students had strong athletic and academic performances and won male athlete of the month during the school year.
Michael Glen, Basalt
A standout basketball and baseball player, Glen led the Basalt Longhorns to a second-place finish in the 3A Western Slope League regular season standings, as well as a second-place finish in the 3A WSL district tournament. On the year, Glen averaged 21.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game. That earned him the 3A WSL Player of the Year award while leading the Longhorns to a Great Eight appearance in the 3A state playoffs. On the diamond, Glen hit .409 with six doubles, one triple and 11 runs batted in while recording a 1-0 record with a 1.06 ERA in 10 appearances on the mound for Basalt. Glen committed to the School of Mines to play basketball, where he’ll major in engineering to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Aldo Pinela, Roaring Fork
Pinela earned All-Conference honors in football, basketball and baseball in his senior year with the Rams. He was the September 2016 PI Male Athlete of the Month. On the football field, Pinela rushed for 387 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in nine passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. In basketball, Pinela averaged 13.3 points, 3.9 rebound and 3.3 assists per game for the Rams as they reached the state playoffs once again in 3A. Wrapping things up, Pinela hit .356 with three doubles and 13 RBIs, stealing 18 bases in the process. The Roaring Fork product will not play sports in college. Instead, he’ll head to Colorado Mesa University to study diesel technology.
Myles Wilson, Glenwood Springs
Arguably the best wrestler in Glenwood history and the winningest wrestler in Colorado state history, Wilson won his second straight 4A state wrestling championship. He rolled to the 182-pound weight class state championship back in March after winning the 170-pound state title in 2016. Wilson won the PI’s Male Athlete of the Month for March. Wilson will head to Iowa to wrestle for the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten. He has Olympic aspirations, but for now he’s focused on a Big Ten team and individual title, all as a pre-med and biology student.
Jacob Boone, Rifle
Boone dominated on the court for the Rifle Bears. Standing high above the rest of the competition, Boone blended his ability to shoot from the perimeter, ball-handling skills and size in the post to put up averages of 20.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the 10-14 Bears. An avid fisher and hunter, Boone is the true definition of a Rifle product. Boone, a quiet, reserved type, wants to go to a trade school in Denver and learn how to become an electrician or a heating and cooling technician.
Evan Hoff, Grand Valley
A tenacious linebacker in football and a powerful wrestler, Hoff earns honorable mention here for the Athlete of the Year award. As a linebacker and guard for the Cardinals, Hoff played a large role in reigniting the football program in Parachute. On the year, Hoff finished with 45 tackles and 4.5 sacks, while paving the way on the ground for the Cardinals’ rushing attack that racked up 1,666 yards and 19 touchdowns. On the mat, Hoff fought his way to a showing in the 3A 220-pound state title match before dropping a heartbreaking 7-5 decision at the buzzer. Hoff will attend Colorado Mesa University, where he’ll compete for the wrestling program while studying mechanical engineering.
It’s been a whirlwind senior year for Coal Ridge High School’s Hunter Gerber.
He won a second-straight 3A Western Slope League basketball regular season championship, a 3A WSL district championship and the Sportsmanship Award with his fellow Titan basketball teammates. He signed with Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania and secured a spot in the state track meet for the high jump in just his first few months competing.
Gerber has been busy accomplishing things he’s set out to achieve in his final high-school season.
Now, after his graduation as salutatorian from the New Castle school, Gerber can add another accolade to his growing list: Post Independent’s Male Athlete of the Year. We recognize him for the 2016-17 school year for his performances on the court and on the track, as well as his impressive work in the classroom.
“I’m super thankful for the support, recognition and appreciation from everyone,” said Gerber, who was also named Coal Ridge’s Athlete of the Year during a pre-graduation ceremony. “You work so hard during the year, whether that’s in the classroom or in athletics, so it feels really good to be recognized for that. I’m just so grateful for everything and everyone around me, including my teammates and coaches. I know this is cliche, but none of this would be possible without them. It’s a great feeling to be honored like this, and it’s almost relieving because there’s a lot of hard work and mental stress put into this.”
Gerber, who is humble and kind, served as a role model for his younger teammates with his attitude, work ethic and sportsmanship. He also left a measurable mark on the Titan program, thanks to the number of records the forward now holds for career scoring, rebounding and steals in a career.
While his name will be synonymous with basketball at the school for years to come, there’s more Gerber wants to be known for.
“I would say the hard work and the extra efforts that I put in, whether that was on the court or in the classroom,” Gerber said. “I was fortunate to be blessed with some smarts in the classroom, but I put in the work and had plenty of long nights throughout my time here. That’s what I want people to remember me as: a guy who worked his tail off in whatever he did, and I think my parents really helped shape me that way.”
His father, Jeff, served as an assistant basketball coach under head coach Paul Harvey. Throughout Gerber’s high school career, Jeff has often had the best seat in the house to watch his oldest son grow as a young man and an athlete. Hunter receives the credit and accolades for his accomplishments on the floor. But the athlete himself is quick to praise his father, a former college player, with his development as a player and as a person.
“If it wasn’t me receiving this award, I’d have given it to my dad,” Gerber said. “He was the biggest factor in all of my success; he was behind all of it. It’s definitely tough thinking about going away and things like that, but he was such a big factor in everything that I’ve done and have become.”
After graduating from Coal Ridge, Gerber will now turn his attention to Lancaster Bible College, where he’ll major in sports management while playing basketball for the Chargers’ program. His time in the Coal Ridge track program as a jumper should play a part in him taking the next step at the collegiate level as a basketball player.
“Track helped me with my explosion,” Gerber said. “A lot of jumping is running as fast as I can and jumping as high as I can. [Ben] Kirk really helped me out and pushed me to a new level in the weight room, so I’m interested to see how my explosion has improved in basketball.”
Though he is preparing to move some 1,800 miles away, Gerber will always hold the New Castle and Silt communities close to his heart.
“These communities and this school changed me more than people think,” he said. “I’m going to miss going out there with the blue and white on, and I’m going to miss being a part of this community, considering I’ve never been part of anything like this. I’m just appreciative of the relationships I’ve built and the atmosphere here in general. It’s a special place, and it’s one that’s made its mark on me.”
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The Garfield County coroner has identified the pedestrian who was killed in a one-vehicle crash on Highway 6 in Rifle Wednesday morning.