Area prep athletes gifted with both brawn and brains
As a sports reporter, I get only a glimpse into the lives of the high school athletes I cover. I don’t know things like their favorite subjects in school, what hobbies they have or what they want to do after high school.On Saturday, while attending graduation ceremonies at Roaring Fork and Glenwood Springs High School, I got to see the non-sports sides of the schools’ student-athletes, and it was very educational.These kids throw right out the window the stereotypes of jocks who don’t take time to study or apply their brains off the field.Of the four valedictorians at RFHS and the nine at GSHS, more than half were varsity athletes.The two schools, combined, raked in almost $2 million in scholarships and, while some of those were athletic scholarships like the ones going to Rams Torrey Udall and Matthias Weissl to play basketball at Fort Lewis College, most were given to students for their academic successes.At Glenwood, more than 25 varsity athletes earned scholarships of all kinds, ranging from donations from local businesses to thousands of dollars from colleges and universities.All-around athlete Avery Denney earned a Provost Scholarship (among others) and is going to the University of Denver next year. Another three-sport star, Kelsie Hert, not only got an athletic scholarship to play basketball at Colorado Christian University, but received an academic one worth even more. Demon tennis player Teka Israel was granted multiple scholarships, including the L.S. Wood Charitable Trust Scholarship.Demon soccer player Dillon Martin collected his fair share of academic scholarships, as did multiple-sport athletes Jason Whiting and Ben Ziemann.There are so many Demon athletes with academic scholarships, they filled much of the 24-page scholarship awards book given out at graduation. When the school has to publish a 24-page document to list all the scholarship winners of a 124-member class, you know that’s a smart class. If I were to list all of them in this column, I would need 24 pages.Even though Roaring Fork’s 2008 graduating class was considerably smaller, with 54 students, there were still 24 Rams who earned one or more scholarships. More than half of them were varsity athletes at RFHS.Multiple-sport athletes Leslie French (a valedictorian), Oscar Alvarado, Celeste Comings, Daisy Tena, Nikki Smeins and Rebecca Roeber (the senior class president) all netted scholarships.Football star Travis Hawkins brought in three scholarships to go toward furthering his education at Colorado State University. Ram soccer player Ann Tempest (another valedictorian) also made the scholarship list.As both graduation ceremonies went on, I couldn’t help but smile as I learned just how smart these kids are and how bright their futures look. I knew these student-athletes were stars at their sports, but I had no idea they made all-star teams in the classroom as well.Contact Joelle Milholm: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.