Berthoud High School 2018-19 sports in review
By Dan Karpiel
The 2018-19 school year was not short on news for Berthoud High School (BHS) sports. Each week saw student athletes from across the spectrum turning in exceptional performances as history was made throughout the course of the school year.
The 2018-19 school year saw the first-ever BHS girls swimming and diving team take to the pool in their school colors. Under the leadership of Head Coach Matthew Goldsmith, the Lady Spartans won their conference championship and turned in a stellar showing at the state meet. Berthoud won eight of the 12 events contested at the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) championships, including all three relay races. Jamie Dellwardt won a pair of conference titles, taking first in the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley, while teammate Abby Dodd also took home two, winning the crown in the 50-yard and 500-yard freestyle races, and Sarah McCormick won the one-meter diving competition. At state, Dellwardt placed third in the 200-yard IM and claimed second place in the 100-yard backstroke, earning herself a place on the All-State team as only a sophomore.
Winter also saw the best performance turned in by the BHS girls basketball team since the early 1990s. Even though Berthoud took to the court without the services of All-State forward Emily Cavey, who missed the first two-thirds of the season rehabbing a knee injury, the Lady Spartans were downright dominant and finished the regular season with an 18-5 record that earned them the No. 8 seed in the 4A state playoffs. After enjoying an opening-round bye, Berthoud dismantled Widefield by a 75-57 final and then won one of the most thrilling contests ever held in the Rusty Mathena gymnasium at BHS by defeating Mesa Ridge 80-73.
The win took Berthoud to the Great Eight round of the state playoffs and a matchup with No. 1 seed Air Academy. The Lady Spartans held a 31-25 halftime lead, but a 22-point third quarter put the Kadets over the top and ended Berthoud’s season. Even with the loss, reaching the Great Eight round was the deepest advance by the Berthoud girls since the early 1990s. Senior point guard Sydney Leeper, who, over the course of her four-year career etched her name alongside the greats to ever come through the school, was recognized at season’s end with a spot on the All-State second team, while sophomore Bre Fowler received an All-State honorable mention recognition. While Leeper’s shoes will be impossible to fill, Head Coach Alan Gibson will have a deep, talented and experienced roster taking to the court next winter.
Just like their basketball counterparts, the always-competitive BHS softball squad also made their deepest postseason run in several years. With a roster heavy on experience and long in talent, the Lady Spartans advanced all the way to the state final four, falling just short of reaching the championship game thanks to a 2-0 defeat from eventual state runner-up Mountain View. Berthoud was dominant across the board with Ashlynn Balliet, Sarah Jorissen, Mandi Laib, Addi Spears, Natalie Fischer and Jordan Schachterle shining day-in and day-out. Collectively, the Lady Spartans turned in a .383 batting average, hit 25 homeruns, stole 40 bases and allowed a 2.82 earned-run average. Balliet and Jorissen each earned places on the All-State second team, while Spears was recognized with an honorable mention selection.
The BHS football team also reached the postseason as 2018 marked the second consecutive year the Spartans qualified for the state playoffs. Led by a dominant defense anchored by All-State first-team selection Ty Beaman, who recorded 12 sacks as a defensive end, the top mark in all of class 2A, standout linebackers Brock Johnson and Anthony Trojahn and stifling defensive backs Danny Pelphrey, Miguel Sarmiento and Austyn Binkly, Berthoud out-scored their opponents by 151 points in nine regular-season games. Senior Jake Lozinski, who played seven different positions – quarterback, running back, wide receiver, place-kicker, punter, kick returner and punt returner – led Berthoud in total yards, yards from scrimmage and total points, earned an invitation in the prestigious Blue-Grey All-American game, took home All-Conference honors, was awarded a scholarship to Adam’s State University, and was selected as the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor male athlete of the year.
The Spartans finished the regular season 6-3 with a thrilling come-from-behind win on the road in Eaton in the final regular-season game to earn their second spot in the state playoffs in as many years. While their season came to an end in the opening round of the postseason at the hands of eventual state champion La Junta, the strong season was a fitting way for long-tenured Head Coach Troy Diffendaffer, who announced his retirement in November, to end his decades-long run as part of the BHS football team. Berthoud will take to the gridiron next fall under the leadership of Cory Ticnor, who was hired in May.
Despite some early struggles, the BHS volleyball team found their footing late in the year. Under the always-steady leadership of 2001 state champion coach, Mil Santos, the Lady Spartans won six of their seven final matches, including the regional championship, and earned a spot in the state tournament for the fifth-consecutive year. In the new double-elimination format of the state tournament, Berthoud won a clean-sweep 3-0 victory over TVC rival Mead but suffered defeats to Longmont and Evergreen that ended their run at a state title. Kailey Berry earned All-State honorable mention honors as a senior and will be tough to replace on the outside, but the majority of the Berthoud squad remains intact for next year as Casady Berry, Sophie Kathol, Teagan Holmes and Trinity Penny will return for their fourth seasons as varsity regulars.
The fall of 2018 also marked the final season Kristi Leonard would be heading the BHS cross country squad. For the second consecutive year, Berthoud sent both the boys and girls teams to the state meet in Colorado Springs. At the state meet, senior Kade Leonard led the Spartans to a 10th-place finish, the best in school history, as he and Siler Stein, Eli Greenslit, Kyle Conlon, Lane Pirkey, Samuel Hatton and Jonathan Wyrwas represented the Spartans at state. The Berthoud girls finished in 18th place, led by Ally Padilla, who burst onto the scene as a freshman shining across the board in not only cross country but also on the basketball and track and field teams, and senior Cailey Archer, who took home female athletes of the year honors. Ellie Sundheim, Julianna Evans Dennison, Daria Degnan and Micaela Kilgoe joined Archer and Padilla in getting the Lady Spartans their top-20 finish.
The Berthoud wrestling team, long one of the top programs in the state, saw another strong year despite the fact the team was beset by injuries and illnesses throughout the regular season. Come regionals, Berthoud was fully healthy and took home the title in besting Sterling by a 200-198 final tally. Eight Berthoud wrestlers qualified for the state meet and six of them brought home medals from the Pepsi Center. Senior Austyn Binkly and junior Colton Williams won regional titles, while six others – Dalton Williams, L.T. Torres, Talyn Massie, Brock Leypolt, Kyle Conlon and Brock Johnson – qualified for state by placing in the top four in their respective weight classes. Binkly, a state champion as a junior, took home second place at the state meet while Johnson earned a third-place finish. Colton Williams and Torres made their way to the podium with sixth-place finishes, while Dalton Williams and Conlon both won their final matches of the year to take fifth place.
Also, 2019 marked the final season for Colby Shultz, Berthoud’s very accomplished and state-champion head track and field coach, who announced his decision to move on this spring. Berthoud saw standout performances throughout the year as Archer took home the bronze medal in the high jump and Kailey Berry did the same in the discus throw. Junior Alyssa Bailey saved her best for last, setting a personal best in the triple jump and earning a fourth-place finish at the state meet.
In addition, 2018-19 saw standout performances from senior soccer player Conrad Ellis, whose team-best 14 goals and 32 total points earned him All-State honorable mention honors. Senior Stephanie Haberkon earned a place at 3A state, second alternate for girls golf, and sophomore Gretchen Marty posted a stout 7-3 record for the Berthoud tennis squad. The Lady Spartans soccer squad had some ups and downs in 2019 as new Head Coach Isaias Gomez installed a new, complex system, but the future appears very bright as a plethora of talented upperclassman in Degnan, Hailey Pepper and Maddie Barcewski, among several others, will return to the pitch next spring.
The 2019-20 sports year will begin in mid-August.
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