Glenwood’s Horning is Male Athlete of the Year
To select the 2015-16 Glenwood Springs Post Independent Male and Female Athletes of the Year, athletic directors at six high schools — Basalt, Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs, Coal Ridge, Rifle and Grand Valley — reached out to their coaches to get a nomination for one male and one female to be submitted to the PI. Once the nominations were turned in, each athletic director voted, with sports editor Joshua Carney tabulating the results.
If you’ve been following the sports section through the year, Glenwood Springs senior Cameron Horning has popped up frequently for his achievements in soccer and basketball, where he put together two impressive individual seasons during his senior year. He caps things off by being named the Post Independent’s 2015-16 Male Athlete of the Year, as voted on by the athletic directors in the valley.
The award adds to the large collection of hardware Horning has gathered during high school, not only as an athlete, but as a student thanks to his 3.8+ GPA and membership on the Principal’s Honor Roll.
“I’m definitely excited about this,” Horning said during an interview after being notified of his selection. “It’s a big honor to be recognized by those athletic directors; it shows that all my hard work paid off in the end.”
Horning started his impressive senior season for the Demons’ soccer team by scoring a 4A Western Slope League-high 19 goals, which played a big part in him being named to the 4A WSL First Team All-Conference team.
As the lone striker on the team, Horning was given the opportunity to cash in on a lot of chances at the net, using his deft touch and good height to his advantage, helping the Demons 9-6 season under head coach Wayne Smith.
Although he’s known more for his prowess as a basketball player in the area, Horning was just as dominate on the pitch throughout the year.
“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life,” Horning said. “But the big thing that helped me take that step this year was that our coaches had us participating in all of these skill camps. I’m really competitive, so obviously I wanted to be the best I could be at soccer too. But I was surprised with how many goals I scored because I hadn’t worked as hard at soccer as I did for other sports.”
While he got his senior year off on the right foot with soccer, the buzz really started to generate once winter hit as Horning simply heated up night after night, often willing the young Demon squad to wins throughout the season.
There was the 34-point game against Centauri to start the season, which he followed with 26- and 21-point performances the next day in a season-opening tournament. In the 21-point game, Horning was nearly perfect from the field, finishing with an 86 percent shooting percentage.
His three-game performance to start the season put the league — and the rest of the state — on notice.
In a three-game stretch later in the year, Horning scored 27, 28 and 31 points against Delta, Ponderosa and Battle Mountain, eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for his career in the process. The senior guard later followed that up Jan. 19 with 33 against Rifle on the road before dropping 33 points against Durango in the 4A Western Slope League tournament.
Combined with his nightly scoring outburst, Horning was a triple-double threat every time he stepped on the court as the de facto ball handler for the Demons under head coach Cory Hitchcock. The offense ran through him consistently, and when things clicked, nobody was better than him on the court during a year in which he averaged 23.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.6 steals per game.
Thanks to his impressive year on the court, Horning was the runaway winner of the 4A WSL Player of the Year, while also earning First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-State honors.
“This year’s team needed a leader on and off the court,” Horning said. “They needed someone that was going to be consistent scoring-wise and leadership-wise. Playing AAU this past summer in Denver, I wanted to see how far I could take it and test my limits as a player.”
Behind his eye-opening performances on a nightly basis, Horning generated a lot of college buzz. Recently, the senior guard signed his letter of intent to play basketball at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. The Rattlers compete in the Heartland Conference.
One would think that at some point during the season Horning really settled into the zone as a scorer, but there was never a time where things weren’t clicking offensively. Going back to summer workouts is when Horning really started to feel good about his abilities as a basketball player.
“During the summer coach [Glenwood head coach Cory Hitchcock] really started to give me a lot of responsibility,” Horning said. “I knew that if I was coachable and could lead my team properly, I could be pretty dominant myself and give my teammates better scoring chances.”
Although the 2015-16 season might have been a down year — in some regards — for a young Glenwood team, Horning helped carry the Demons to the first round of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s state playoffs. The Demons received a tough draw and had to take on the No. 1 seed Valor Christian Eagles. The first-round exit was hard to swallow for Horning and his teammates, but it didn’t take away from the special season the senior had on the hardwood.
“It felt really humbling,” Horning said. “Obviously we were a small team, but we played hard every night and played to our potential. I’m sad it’s over, but it’s something I’ll never forget. I’m just thankful for all of the opportunities I’d received and everything that I was able to accomplish here.”
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.