Coal Ridge’s Gerber named PI’s Male Athlete of the Month |

Coal Ridge’s Gerber named PI’s Male Athlete of the Month

Coal Ridge senior Hunter Gerber relaxes in the office of Titans Athletic Director Ben Kirk. Gerber serves as Kirk's student aide throughout the school year and hopes to become an AD after college.
Josh Carney / Post Independent |

It’s been a rich senior season for Coal Ridge forward Hunter Gerber as accolade after accolade gets heaped on him due to his talent on the floor and character off the floor. Just don’t ask him about himself, though, because he’ll humbly deflect the praise elsewhere to his teammates, coaches and parents.

That being said, scoring your 1,000th career point at the varsity level and leading your young team to a second consecutive 3A Western Slope League title, while also being a standout in the classroom, is more than enough qualification to be Post Independent’s January Male Student-Athlete of the Month.

“It means a lot to know that people are recognizing my hard work,” Gerber said. “It also means a lot just to see all of the support from the community and all of the people around the school. It’s pretty cool to see all of this happening. I’ll be honest: I’ve really struggled this season a lot. Some of it’s mentally because I’m trying to meet my own expectations, so it was sort of hard to get all of these accolades and feel like you’re playing terrible. But I’ve had a lot of talks with my dad [Jeff Gerber] and just trying to play basketball and have fun.”

As a key senior for the 14-5, 8-1 Coal Ridge Titans, Gerber has played a huge part in the sophomore-heavy group winning a second straight 3A WSL title. On the floor, Gerber is averaging 15.2 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game and an impressive 3.7 steals per game.

During his senior season Gerber eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career in a home game against Cedaredge and also set the rebound and steals career record for the Titans program in the process. He’s a complete player and one of the top forwards in all of 3A in the state of Colorado, but the thing he really hangs his hat on this season is defense and play making.

“One thing I’ve really been trying to focus on this season is the defense aspect and trying to make plays for my teammates,” Gerber said. “There’s a lot of great guys on this team with me that I know can score the ball, too, so it’s nice to know that if I’m not playing well that these guys will pick it up.”

On the year, Gerber and the Titans have really stepped up defensively to put the clamps on opponents, allowing themselves to play freely on the offensive end where scoring comes naturally to almost everyone on the floor. This season alone, the Titans have allowed 50 points or less six times on the year, all of which have resulted in wins. That’s pretty remarkable for a team with just four seniors — only one of which starts.

“It’s incredible to see our defense work this season,” Gerber said. “It’s nice to be able to rely on our defense and know that we can win games that way despite having a great offense, but defense wins championships. So it’s really cool to see all of the roles that we play and how it all fits together that we play great defense. I was in that position once where you’re young and everything happens at such a faster pace, but these guys have really stepped up; it’s really cool to lead this great group of guys here.”

Off the floor, Gerber is just as driven in the classroom and in the community as he is in the classroom. As a senior, Gerber wants to study Sports Management in college and one day hopes to return to the valley as an athletic director. Currently, Gerber shadows Coal Ridge Athletic Director Ben Kirk as his student aide in seventh period of school, helping him schedule events while learning the day-in, day-out proceedings of what it takes to be an athletic director.

“He puts me to work every day,” Gerber said. “We do a lot of stuff, like setting up soccer, talking with kids and things like that. Working with Mr. Kirk has really opened my eyes to what type of impact you can have as an athletic director.”

Along with being involved Kirk shadowing him as an athletic director, Gerber also leads the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Coal Ridge High School and wants to remain a part of that long-term. But as a great student, a great player and having aspirations to work with kids down the line, Gerber likely can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to at this point in his life.

“The coolest things about Hunter is that he understands the community thing about sports as well,” Kirk said. “You know, he loves sports just like most kids do, but I think if he chooses this as a career, he can make a difference in the community with his character because he understands how important the community aspect is to sports. He actually gets to be everything I get to do as an athletic director. The majority of the time we’re setting up the gym, getting drinks and snacks for officials and getting teams to their locker rooms. He does a lot of the behind the scenes things that a lot of people don’t see happen.”

Gerber isn’t one to put the spotlight on himself, but it feels right that the Coal Ridge senior gets another accolade showered on him as the basketball player and the outstanding young man that he is.

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