Berthoud fall sports wrap-up

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Fall is the busiest time of year for high school sports. Seven Berthoud High School (BHS) teams competed across six different sports — boys golf, boys soccer, boys and girls cross country, football, softball and volleyball — this fall. Below is a wrap-up of the Spartans’ results this season and well as our picks for the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor’s players of the year in each sport.

Boys golf — Berthoud entered the 2017 golf season with one goal in mind — improve over the course of the season and qualify as a team for the state tournament. Evan Poll’s 73 (38-35) at Saddleback in the second tournament of the year was Berthoud’s best individual score of the season. A strong showing from all four varsity players in the regular season finale at Mariana Butte, where Berthoud posted a team score of 240, was good enough for the Spartans to take third-place in the TVC.
Jack Hummel and Evan Poll, Berthoud’s top two golfers on the year, opted out of participating in regionals for personal reasons. Junior Cameron Poll, who had made steady improvement over the course of the season, stayed focused through the 18-hole grind at Boomerang Links in Greeley, finishing the day with an impressive 83 and securing himself a spot in the two-day, 36- hole state tournament at Raccoon Creek in Littleton. At state, Cameron Poll again turned in a strong showing, shooting 166 to taking 31st place in the 84-player field.
Surveyor boys Golfer of the Year: Cameron Poll

Boys soccer — The Berthoud High soccer team came into 2017 under the leadership of new Head Coach Scott Washenfelder and had a roster laden with talented and experienced seniors. After several years of struggles, Washenfelder brought a new approach that focused on methodical passing and patience on offense. The veteran team fully bought into Washenfelder’s philosophy and it paid dividends; Berthoud put together what was far and away their best season in years. The Spartans finished the year 7-8 overall and 3-4 in TVC play.
Forward Tyler Markell turned in another stellar season for the Spartans. The senior paced Berthoud in goals scored (19) and total points (44) that included a three-goal hat-trick in a thrilling overtime win against Mountain View early in the season and was recognized with All-Conference honors. Markell finished his soccer career with 100 total points in his 45 career varsity matches.
Surveyor boys Soccer Player of the Year: Tyler Markell

Cross country — 2017 was a big year for the Berthoud High cross country team. For only the fourth time in the program’s history, and the first time since 1984, Head Coach Kristi Leonard’s squad saw both the boys and girls teams qualify for the state meet. It was a remarkable season for the Spartan harriers.
Only four teams from each region qualify for state and Berthoud brought their best to Monfort Park in Greeley. On the boys side, Kade Leonard paced the boys team, running the 5K in an astounding 17:30 to take 15th place while Eli Greenslit (17:50, 24th place) and Noah Burtis (17:55, 27th) also placed in the top-30 and were closely followed by five more Spartans who were separated by less than 10 seconds. All did their part as Berthoud edged-out Estes Park for fourth place to qualify for state.
The Lady Spartans saw Maycee White (20:44, ninth place), Cailey Archer (20:51, 10th) and Ellie Sundheim (20:55, 15th) all place in the top-15 and qualify as individuals for state. The strength of Berthoud’s top-three was augmented by strong showings from Alex Schultz, Alyssa Radloff and Liz Bosnich to give the Lady Spartans the second-place trophy at regionals.
At the state meet in Colorado Springs, the Spartans saw Leonard take 72nd place with a time of 18:01 to pace the Berthoud contingent who finished 18th in boys team scoring. Archer beat her 2016 showing by nearly eight-and-a-half minutes to finish in 21:35 and in 88th place while White ran 22:13 as the Lady Spartans took 20th in team scoring.
Surveyor Cross Country Runners of the Year: Kade Leonard (boys XC), Cailey Archer (girls XC)

Football — 2017 saw a remarkable turnaround for the BHS football program. Playing in what was unquestionably the toughest conference in the 3A ranks, Berthoud finished the regular season 6-4 and made their first appearance in the state playoffs since 2014.
Head Coach Troy Diffendaffer got his team to embrace a family-like mentality and the approach worked wonders. The Spartans made mincemeat of their non-conference competition, winning all five games by a combined 197-45. The Spartans dropped a pair of closely-contested Tri-Valley Conference contests in the second half of the season, but thanks to the hot start and the strength of schedule, Berthoud earned the No. 15 seed for the postseason. While Berthoud lost to No. 2 seed Palmer Ridge in the opening round, Diffendaffer’s team has set the bar high for next year.
With the team having made a commitment to the offseason program, Berthoud was able to specialize and have most players focus on a one specific role. The platoon system kept players fresh and the team’s depth proved to be strength. Quarterback Brock Voth led the TVC in passing yards (2,359) while leading Berthoud with 432 rushing yard while accounting for 32 total touchdowns. Danny Pelphrey led the Spartans with 657 receiving yards while Ryan Schmad scored 14 touchdowns on offense while also contributing a sack and an interception on defense and made 28 PATs and five field goals as the team’s place kicker. Ty Beaman led the TVC with nine sacks and Jake Yuska snagged five interceptions.
Surveyor Football Player of the Year: Ryan Schmad

Softball — The Berthoud High softball team was able to recover from a rough start to the season to finish the season strongly and earn a spot in regionals. The Lady Spartans began the season 3-4 but turned things around midseason, winning three of their four contests at the Spartan Classic and six of their final seven conference games to finish 12-7 overall and secure a spot in the postseason. Unfortunately, Berthoud was bested in two of their games in regionals and did not make a third-consecutive trip to the state tournament.
Third baseman Ashlynn Balliet led the TVC with 33 RBI while batting .437 and tallying a team-high three homeruns on the year. The sophomore was recognized with All-Conference honors and was also named as an honorable mention for the CHSAA All State team. Sarah Jorissen, who was also named All-Conference, was Berthoud’s workhorse inside the circle on the season. The junior pitched in all of Berthoud’s games, finishing the year with 11 wins, a 3.88 ERA and a TVC-leading 85 strikeouts. Jorissen also led the Lady Spartans with 35 hits and a .467 batting average.
Surveyor Softball Player of the Year: Ashlynn Balliet

Volleyball — Mil Santos returned as the Berthoud volleyball team’s head coach in the 2017 season. Santos had been an assistant for the last several years and was previously the team’s head coach during their state championship season in 2001. Santos and his team took a little while to find their groove but Berthoud finished the year in stellar fashion. The Lady Spartans won eight of their last nine matches of the regular season, including a sweep to take first place in the annual Golden Tournament. The strong finish saw Berthoud move up seven spots in 4A Rating Percentage Index which, unfortunately from their perspective, put the Lady Spartans in the regional bracket with perennial powerhouse Lewis-Palmer. Berthoud was able to beat No. 36 seed Battle Mountain 3-0 but were swept and kept out for the state championship pool by the Palmer, who the next week won the 4A state championship.
Superstar outside hitter Julie Ward finished her senior season in style, pacing the Lady Spartans in kills (382), aces (56) and digs (227) and taking home All Conference honors in the process. In a home match with TVC rival Roosevelt on Sept. 19, Ward tallied her 1000th career kill and would finish her four years on the varsity roster with a school record 1,235 kills.
Surveyor Volleyball Player of the Year: Julie Ward

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