Top Berthoud sports stories of 2020
2020 was a unique year, to say the least, but with it finally behind us, here is a look at the top sports stories of 2020.
COVID Pandemic wreaks havoc
The COVID-19 Pandemic left no aspect of our lives untouched and that most certainly applied to the world of Berthoud sports. Just two days before the BHS girls basketball team (more on them later) were set to play in the 4A State Final Four, the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) came within an inch of shutting down sports due to concerns over the pandemic. After the Final Four games, however, CHSAA brought down the hammer and ended high school sports for the remainder of the school year. It was the first time in the organizations history that state champions were not crowned in high school basketball.
Spring sports – baseball, girls soccer, girls golf, girls tennis and track and field – were all canceled, a decision which cost a plethora of Berthoud High seniors their final seasons on diamond, pitch, track, court and course. It was heartbreaking for so many. Things did not end in the summer, however, as prior to the beginning of the school year CHSAA, following guidance from the Governor’s Office, developed an entirely new schedule for the remainder of the year, and into this one, shifted almost everything around, shortened seasons and trimmed rosters. While some traditional fall sports – cross county, boys golf, softball and football – were able to get in some semblance of a season, it was not the same for anyone involved. Boys soccer and volleyball were moved to the spring and are hopeful both will be able to get in something resembling a normal season.
Even despite the massive upheaval the pandemic created, in typical Berthoud fashion, our young student athletes and their coaches carried themselves professionally and made the best of what was nothing short of an awful situation.
Berthoud girls swimming enjoys another stellar year
In just their second season in existence, Berthoud girls swimming and diving team continued to be a major force in the 3A ranks. The Lady Spartans dominate the competition in spirts, relays, distance and diving. Berthoud took second place by the thinnest of margins to Holy Family at the conference championships. In individual competition, Berthoud saw two swimmers bring home gold medals from conference as standout junior Jamie Dellwardt took first in the 200-yard individual medley, clocking in at 2:14.90 in the final race after posting 2:17.85 in prelims. Fellow-junior Kysa Keck took the top spot on the podium in the 100-yard butterfly, her season-best time of 1:05.12 coming in the finals.
Dellwardt and Keck were joined by eight teammates – Arika Beard, Marin Kasperbauer, Abby Dodd, Hannah Roberts, Kristina Ball, Trinity Payne, Sarah McCormick and Macy Fitzgerald – at the state meet where Berthoud continued to impress. Dellwardt brought home silver medals in both of her events, 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard IM, earning All-State honors. Dellwardt has established herself as one of the top swimmers in the entire state and, this fall, signed a National Letter of Intent to swim collegially at Northern Arizona University. Berthoud reached the finals in nine events at the state meet, posting personal records in virtually every race, and finished in a solid 12th place in team scoring.
Berthoud girls basketball win conference crown, advance to Final Four
It was truly a special season. Even for a program that has a long and storied history of success, the winter of 2020 was a season that no one who witnessed will ever forget. The Berthoud High girls team, under the leadership of Head Coach Alan Gibson, who was named 4A Coach of the Year, were nothing short of spectacular.
The team made mincemeat of their competition night in and night out. Berthoud’s full court defense created turnovers early and often while the team’s offense fed off the energy created, routinely jumping out of leads of 10, 15, 20, even 30 in the first halves of games.
After securing the No. 4 seed in 48-team 4A state playoffs, Berthoud handily defeated Golden and Falcon before setting up a rematch with conference rival Erie in the Great 8 round. It seemed that the entire town of Berthoud showed up to support the Lady Spartans in game, the line to get in wrapped around east side of the school and nearly reached Spartan Ave. The team fed off the support of a football game sized crowed that left not even standing room in the Rusty Mathena Gymnasium. Erie proved a worthy foe but Berthoud held off their rivals, winning by a 64-60 final score in overtime to advance to the Final Four. The Lady Spartans, playing in a virtually empty Denver Coliseum, lost their final game of the year to Mullen but it was unquestionably a season for the ages. Berthoud’s starting five – Emily Cavey, Bre Fowler, Maddie Barcewski, Ally Padilla and Celsey Selland – all were named All-Conference and Cavey and Fowler each also took home All-State honors.
Berthoud’s TPC Colorado hosts professional tournament
In July, Berthoud was front and center for golf fans nationwide as TPC Colorado at Heron Lakes hosted the second annual TPC Colorado Championship, an event on the Korn Ferry Tour. The event was played absent fans but certainly not absent from drama.
Will Zalatoris, the 23-year-old San Francisco native turned in a workman-like performance over the four-day event, shooting 67-67-70-69 to finish at 15-under and claim his first career victory. Zalatoris held off Chase Johnson who was nothing short of stellar in the final round, carding 10 birdies over the course of 18 holes, shooting 31-32, to post a 14-under and head into the clubhouse with a share of the lead.
Great as Johnson was, Zalatoris remained unfazed, however, and kept playing his game. A birdie on the signature par-3 16th hole put him one stroke ahead of Johnson. Two par fours remained. A textbook four on 17 afforded Zalatoris the leeway of having to only make par on 18 to avoid a playoff with Johnson. Zalatoris missed the fairway off the tee and found himself 212 yards out, in the rough.
After hitting the approach shot, Zalatoris explained, “I told my caddy, ‘that’s gone,’ I thought it was 30 yards over the green and next thing I know everyone is clapping and I get up there and its 10 feet and it went from very stressful to a stress-less finish.”
He birdie putt skimmed past the top of the cup by hair. A straight three-footer remained and Zalatoris’ putt hit the cup dead-center to clinch the victory.
Berthoud Cross County posts top-10 finishes at state
2020 was a record year for the BHS Cross County squad as both the boys and girls teams finished in the top-10 at the 3A state championships in Coach Jordan Jennings’ second season leading the team. Berthoud’s boys finished in ninth place and the girls in seventh, the first time in the storied program’s history that both cracked the top-10 in the same year. The girls seventh-place finish was the highest ever, surpassing the 2010 team ninth place finish.
The girls team benefited from transfer student Olivia Kruger who brought her remarkable abilities down to the Lady Spartans squad after running the last two years for rival Thompson Valley. Krueger paced the girls team in virtually every race and at state finished in a team-best 14th place. Berthoud saw the emergence of Jaycee Williams who, despite being a freshman, was a pillar of strength and consistency for the team. Williams took 19th place at state to join Krueger on the All-State team. Senior Ellie Sundheim, who has been a mainstay of the team all four years of her high school career, left it all on the course in her final cross-country race, taking 24th at state and earning an All-State Honorable Mention award.
The Berthoud boys team had a somewhat steep hill to climb at state and several of team’s top runners did not get the opportunity to state the first wave of the meet, due to social distancing protocols which limited the number of athletes. Yet, the veteran Spartans knew how to manage and navigate the trek at the state meet and turned in a collectively terrific effort. Senior Eli Greenslit, who suffered from a serious Achilles injury throughout the season, led the Berthoud boys with a 38th-place finish and followed closely by Lane Pirkey (43rd place), Nick Williams (45th), Afton Cooper (62nd), Evan Torres (70th) and Wyatt Schmidle (72nd).
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