2015-2016 was a good year for Berthoud High School athletics

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

By any measure, the 2015-16 school year was a highly successful one for Berthoud High School (BHS) athletics.

Several teams and multiple individuals represent BHS at state competitions

The Spartans crowned a pair of state champions in wrestling, with seniors Chad Ellis (195 lbs) and Jimmy Fate (160 lbs) claiming their second and third state titles, respectively. Eleven other wrestlers also qualified for the state tournament, with five of them – Ellis, Fate, Ben Poirier, Kyler Bailey and Matt Bailey – all reaching the big show via winning individual regional championships. The 13 state qualifiers represent the highest  number of BHS wrestlers to qualify for state in a single season, and the team took the bronze medal home from the Pepsi Center.

Three other BHS teams – volleyball, softball and boys track and field – all won their conference or regional titles and made trips to their respective state tournaments. The Lady Spartans basketball team also qualified for state and, by besting Colorado Springs-based Sierra High School, reached the state Sweet 16, the deepest run the team has made in a decade.

A pair of Berthoud golfers – Josh Schumacher and Molli Boruff – qualified for the two-day, 36-hole state golf tournaments and six Spartan athletes – Alyssa Strong (second-place, triple jump), Josie Spitz (third-place, pole vault), Kristina Cavey (fourth-place, high jump), Max Bump (fifth-place, shot put), Kelly Chamberlain (fifth place, pole vault) and Cailey Archer (sixth-place, high jump) took the podium at the state track and field championships.

Berthoud Weekly Surveyor male and female Athletes of the Year

The Berthoud Weekly Surveyor, in conjunction with the Berthoud Sports Hall of Fame, are proud to name senior football player and wrestler Jimmy Fate and senior basketball player and track and field athlete Kristina Cavey as the 2015-16 male and female Athletes of the Year. Both were presented with a trophy and received a $500 scholarship sponsored by OTSN at the Berthoud Sports Hall of Fame banquet on May 25.

Fate, in addition to winning his school-record-tying third state championship by pinning Hayden Johnson of Steamboat Springs in just 55 seconds, was also named Class 3A Wrestler of the Year. “It feels great to tie to the school record. I’m grateful for all the people along the way, all the coaches, all the teammates that helped me get there,” Fate said after winning his third state title in February. “That’s all you can be is grateful; I wouldn’t change anything.”

Cavey led the Tri-Valley Conference and finished second in all of Class 4A in scoring average and was named to the all-state team. The senior, who will attend Fresno State on a basketball scholarship, also broke the BHS record in the high-jump and claimed fourth place in the event at the state championships. After the Lady Spartans won their opening-round game of the state basketball tournament, Cavey said, “It’s been such an honor being able to play with these girls. I think we all really wanted to win this for each other and win this for our school; that’s special and it feels great.”

14 BHS athletes to play college sports

The class of 2016 is one of the most athletically gifted classes to ever pass through the BHS doors. A whopping 14 seniors committed to continue their athletic careers in college.

Taylor Armitage (softball, Regis University), Issac Bracken (baseball, University of Northern Colorado), Cody Braesch (football, Colorado State University-Pueblo), Steele Castles (football, Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa), Kristina Cavey (basketball, Fresno State), Kelly Chamberlain (track and field, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs), Chad Ellis (football, Oklahoma Panhandle State University), Jimmy Fate (wrestling, University of Northern Colorado, Jamie Gray (football, Black Hills State University, South Dakota), Jackson Hall (football, Concordia University, Nebraska), Sydney Kouns (softball, Trinidad State Junior College), Stephen Lockard (football, Rocky Mountain College, Montana) Josie Spitz (track and field, University of Sioux Falls, South Dakota) and Alyssa Strong (track and field, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs) all signed their letters of intent in various signing ceremonies this school year.

All 14 left an indelible mark on BHS athletics. Armitage, a standout on both the softball field and basketball court, worked both games of the double-header in the softball regional champions, hitting two home runs and striking out Silver Creek’s Casey Wagner with the bases loaded in the seventh and final inning to send the Lady Spartans back to state.

The Braesch-to-Hall connection on the football field was one of the state’s most effective quarter-wide receiver tandems and both broke school records for passing and receiving yards and touchdowns and completions and receptions. Ellis is one of the most gifted all-around Berthoud athletes in recent memory and opted to play football in college despite being one of only a few four-time regional and two-time state wrestling champions in the school’s history and a state-qualifier in the 400-meter run.

Bracken has a legitimate claim to the title of the best baseball player in school history and, in addition to being named a Rawlings All-American and to First Team All-West Region by Perfect Game, was instrumental in getting the Spartans baseball team its first winning season in over a decade. The soon-to-be-UNC Bear led the Tri-Valley Conference .462 batting average and was second in the TVC in both ERA (1.28) and on-base average (.541) and third in slugging percentage (.692). Spitz broke the BHS school record in pole vault and her 11 foot’, 11 inch’ vault at state was good enough for a third-place finish.

As all of these athletes will attest, they could not have reached their individual goals without the support of their teammates and coaches. It is a sentiment Armitage has shared frequently. After Lady Spartans softball team claimed the regional title she said, “I could not have done it without these girls; they’re so great to me. They pick me up every time, and this is definitely a team win.”

BHS coaches claim multiple honors

Buddy Kouns, who manages both the softball and baseball teams at BHS, was honored as the Tri-Valley Coach of the Year for his work with the baseball team. Likewise, girls soccer coach, Corbett Leatherwood, was named TVC Coach of the Year as the Lady Spartans finished a weather-affected 2016 season by winning five of their six games. Girls basketball coach, Randy Earl, who has well over 300 wins in his career, got his team to the state Sweet 16 and helped navigate his team through the very-tough TVC. Long-tenured BHS wrestling coach, and two-time state champion for Berthoud as a student-athlete, took a school record 13 wrestlers to state, claimed two state champions and three other state placers. Pickert was named Coach of the Year by the Berthoud Sports Hall of Fame.

While the 2015-16 season was without a doubt a memorable and highly successful one for numerous Berthoud teams and athletes, in just two short months the 2016-17 sports seasons will begin. And the bar has been set awfully high.