Berthoud Spartans winter sports wrap-up

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Collectively, the 2018-19 winter sports season at Berthoud High School (BHS) was one of the most successful in recent memory. This winter saw the debut of the BHS girls swimming and diving team, and what a debut it was, with the Lady Spartans winning the conference championship and turning in a stellar showing at the state meet. The girls basketball team made their deepest run in the postseason since the early 1990s, and the always formidable Berthoud wrestling squad also won their conference championship and saw six grapplers take the podium at the Pepsi Center. Below is a wrap-up of the winter sports season as well as our picks for the Surveyor players of the year in each sport.

Boys basketball

The BHS boys basketball team took the court this season with a talented and experienced roster in what was Head Coach Mike Burkett’s fourth season leading the team. After a strong start that saw the Spartans win three of their first four games, the going got tough for Berthoud. After losing five-straight contests, Berthoud righted the ship with a convincing 76-57 win on the road in Fort Morgan and, two games later, took it to Erie 69-53 to even their conference record at 2-2.

Unfortunately for Berthoud, things went south, as the Spartans dropped five consecutive conference games, including a 90-72 blowout at home to Frederick. The losing streak prompted BHS principal Sarah Beth Bliss to part ways with Burkett – who maintains he did not resign from the program voluntarily despite the school communicating as such – and replaced him with varsity assistant Joel Davidson. The Spartans responded the following night, turning in their best performance of the year with a 79-62 drubbing of Fort Morgan to complete the season sweep of the Mustangs. Berthoud battled hard in their final games, losing a few heart-breakers and finishing the season with a 6-17 overall record.

While the season itself fell short of expectations, Berthoud saw a number of standout performances from players on the team. Senior guard Curtis Peacock led the Spartans with a 14.7 points-per-game (ppg) scoring average, the fifth-best mark in the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC), while fellow senior Jake Lozinski also averaged double-digits in scoring with a 10.5ppg clip. Lozinski also paced the Spartans in rebounds, assists and steals. Seniors Ben Burkett and Cameron Poll proved dangerous from beyond the arc, with Burkett making good on a team-high 41 three-pointers and Poll adding another 32. Junior Aaron Hardy, in addition to demonstrating phenomenal on-court leadership, was a monster on the defensive end of the floor, and late in the season juniors Brent Hoogland and Cooper Hidalgo shined for the Spartans.

Surveyor Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Curtis Peacock

Girls basketball:

Even with a long history of success, the 2018-19 season was one of the best in decades for the BHS girls basketball team. Berthoud advanced all the way to the 4A Great Eight round of the state playoffs – their furthest advance since 1992-93 – where they succumbed to undefeated No. 1 seed Air Academy. Even with the loss that ended their pursuit of a state championship, it was a terrific season by any measure.

Berthoud made mincemeat of their opponents throughout the season, the only losses coming to defending state champion Evergreen just before Christmas and razor-thin defeats at the hands of 5A Windsor and eventual TVC champion Holy Family. Berthoud’s average margin of victory in their 12 conference wins was an astounding 15.5 points, while the four losses came in games decided by two, five, one and 11 points.

 

After throttling their way through the regular season Berthoud earned the No. 8 seed in the 4A state playoffs. Following a bye in the opening round, the Lady Spartans handled Widefield with ease, winning by a comfortable 75-57 margin. In the Sweet Sixteen round, Berthoud hosted No. 9 Mesa Ridge in what was a game for the ages. Berthoud, despite trailing by 12 points with less than seven minutes remaining, went on a 35-point tear to win the game by an 80-73 final in a performance that will not be soon forgotten by anyone who was in attendance. The game was a perfect representation of what the Lady Spartans of 2018-19 season were; every player on the roster contributed in a meaningful way to the win and provided a textbook example of the family-like closeness that propelled Berthoud to their best season in nearly 30 years.

Berthoud got contributions from all over their roster as seniors Sydney Leeper and Eriana Rennaker, juniors Emily Cavey, Celsey Selland and Maddie Barcewski, sophomore Bre Fowler and freshman Ally Padilla all proved forces to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. Fowler, after showing some glimpses of what she could be last year as a freashman, burst onto the scene in a big way this year as she led Berthoud with a 16.8ppg scoring average which was the second-best mark in the TVC. Cavey returned after missing more than half the season to average nearly 15 points and four rebounds per game, and Leeper was equally outstanding; the senior team captain who committed to the South Dakota School of Mines finished the year averaging nearly 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals per game.

Surveyor Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Sydney Leeper

Girls swimming:

In their inaugural season in the pool, the BHS swimming and diving team turned in one of the best performances the school has seen this year. Competitive from the very beginning, Head Coach Matthew Goldsmith’s team won their conference championship and turned in an exceptional performance at the 3A state meet.

Not only did Berthoud win the conference title, they won it convincingly by topping second-place Eaton 390-226 and winning eight of the 12 contested events. Jamie Dellwardt (100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley) and Abby Dodd (50-yard and 500-yard freestyle) won two individual conference titles apiece, while Sarah McCormick took home the gold in the one-meter diving competition. Berthoud also won all three relay races at conference.

At state, Dellwardt shined, taking third place in the 200 IM and second place in the 100 backstroke. Dellwardt’s personal best time of 58.21 in the 100 backstroke garnered the Berthoud sophomore All-State honors. As Dellwardt told Surveyor sports reporter Jordan Schachterle at the state meet, “I’m really proud of that. I knew I could do it, and I think that’s actually a personal best for me. I just had to find the right time and the right competition. It made me so happy to see that time.”

Dodd turned in a strong showing at state, finishing in 12th place in the 50 free and was also a part of the 11th-place 400 free relay team with Dellwardt, Kysa Keck and Hannah Roberts. The same quartet shaved nearly three seconds off their time in the B finals of the 200 free relay. Berthoud’s Arika Beard competed in the 100-yard breaststroke B final where she took 14th overall with a time of 1:15.80.

Surveyor Girls Swimmer of the Year: Jamie Dellwardt

Wrestling

Berthoud head wrestling coach Will Carron always preaches to his team that all the duals, tournaments and invitationals in which his team competes in the regular season are nothing more than glorified practices; the real meat of the season doesn’t begin until February and the regional championships. Once there, however, the Spartans put the rubber to the road and show just how formidable a team they are.

“One thing that we really preach is all of those matches all season long, they’re just exhibition matches, that’s all they really truly are is exhibition matches, just another practice. Until our final meets, the regional and state tournaments, they’re all just another dual for us,” Carron said.

Berthoud, beset throughout the season by injury and illness, was fully healthy come regionals, where they 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.

At state 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. Johnson, a soon-to-graduate senior who also turned in an All-Conference performance for the Spartan football team, wrestled his way to a bronze medal at the state meet. It was an extraordinary performance considering Johnson had recovered from a pair of devastating knee injuries earlier in his high school career and suffered a concussion in January which kept him off the mat for several matches during the stretch run of the season.

Binkly who entered the year as 3A’s No. 1-ranked wrestler in the 145-pound weight class and faced every opponent’s best effort all season long, ultimately entered state as a regional champion. While Binkly fell in the championship match by an 8-2 decision, his four appearances on the state podium in all four years of his high school wrestling career and includes a state title last year, completes a resume that is more than enough to etch his name alongside the best grapplers to ever don a Berthoud singlet.

Surveyor Wrestler of the Year: Austyn Binkly

 

 

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