Berthoud winter sports wrap-up

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

As the Colorado weather transitioned from temperate fall to cool winter, high school sports moved from the field, diamond, and pitch indoors, where Berthoud High School (BHS) student athletes competed on the hardwood, the mat, and in the pool.

Two of Berthoud’s most storied programs – wrestling and girls basketball – fared well in their respective rebuilding years, while the boys basketball team learned how tough rebuilding years can be. Furthermore, 14 BHS students competed for the state-qualifying swimming and diving team at Thompson Valley High School in Loveland. Below is a wrap-up of the Spartans results this winter sports season as well as our picks for the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor’s players of the year in each sport.

Boys basketball:

The Spartans had their growing pains over the course of the 2016-17 season, winning only a pair of games and finishing in last place in the Tri-Valley Conference (TVC). Berthoud won an early-season game over Windsor at the Vista Peak Tournament in Denver and got their only conference win with a 62-53 defeat of TVC rival Skyline. So often throughout the season the Spartans allowed their opponents to assemble quick scoring runs that allowed a close game to get away. Despite the team’s struggles, second-year head coach, Mike Burkett, remained adamant throughout the season that his team was learning valuable lessons, both as basketball players and young men, and as painful as some of the losses were, the Berthoud basketball program will be better in the long run for it.

Sophomore Curtis Peacock had a breakout year for the Spartans, leading the team with a 7.3 points-per-game scoring average. Fellow sophomore J.T. Lozinski also shined in leading Berthoud in rebounding (4.7 RPG) and assists (1.4 APG). Senior, and team captain, Noah Purdy played well on both ends of the floor, finishing second on the team in scoring average (7.0 PPG), third in rebounding (3.9 RPG) and paced the Spartans with 16 blocked shots while also making 16 three-pointers. Purdy, as well as Karsten Bump and Josh Doyle, will be lost to graduation, but a solid group of sophomores and juniors that includes Peacock and Lozinski as well as Jake Yuska, Ben Burkett, Trinity Buckley and Wyatt Stratmeyer, will return next year with the goal of improving on what was a rough 2016-17 season.

Surveyor Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Curtis Peacock

Girls basketball:

Despite a roster that featured only two players – senior Sarah Howard and sophomore Sydney Meis – who logged significant varsity minutes last season, the Lady Spartans made another trip to the state playoffs. Despite the relatively young and inexperienced roster, Berthoud finished in fourth place in the ultra-tough TVC with a 14-11 overall and 7-7 conference record. The regular season performance was strong enough for the Lady Spartans to earn hosting rights for the opening round of the state playoffs, where they topped Lakewood-based John F. Kennedy High School 55-40. The season ended in their next game, however, as Berthoud was able to muster only 16 points in Colorado Springs as they lost a lopsided game to No. 4-seed Air Force Academy.

The Lady Spartans’ time-tested man-on-man defense was once again central to the team’s success, but a proclivity for committing turnovers cost Berthoud against some of their tougher opponents. Freshman Emily Cavey burst onto the basketball scene in a big way; her 14.4 PPG scoring average paced not only the Berthoud squad, but was also the top mark in the TVC. Cavey also led Berthoud in rebounding (7.1 RPG) and was second on the team in assists and third in steals. The freshman’s raw talent is undeniable, and her future appears to be extremely bright. Even with Cavey and standout sophomore point-guard Sydney Meis, one of Berthoud’s biggest assets this season was the team’s depth. All eight members of the varsity roster saw significant playing time and contributed to the team’s success in multiple ways. That depth led long-tenured head coach, Randy Earl, who has logged well over 300 wins in his coaching career, to joke mid-season that one of the hardest parts of his job is getting everybody in the game, because all eight of his players do so many things so well.

Half of Berthoud’s roster, including three starters – Howard, Maddie Decker, Kyleigh Milan and Morgan Schachterle – will be lost to graduation next season. All four were particularly strong on the defensive end of the floor, while Howard often split duties with Meis as the team’s primary ball-handlers. The four will be difficult to replace; but Cavey, Meis and juniors Ashlee Burdette and Caisey Ellis routinely demonstrated their ability to play at a high level.

Surveyor Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Emily Cavey

Girls swimming:

While BHS does not have a swim team of their own, 14 Berthoud students swim for the Thompson Valley High School (TVHS) girls swim team and another two swim for Mountain View. With eight of the 14 who swim for TVHS being freshmen, Berthoud will be well-represented in the coming years in the pool. The 14 Lady Spartans were a big part in helping TVHS take first place in six meets this season and finish a strong second place in the conference meet.

Two Berthoud students – senior Ashlee Rome and junior Sophie Kubik – competed in the state swim meet in Fort Collins in mid-February, helping TVHS to a 12th-place finish. A scheduling snafu allowed Kubik to participate in only one individual event, the 500 freestyle, where she finished a respectable 14th. Kubik was also part of the 200 medley relay team that claimed 11th place, while Rome’s 400-freestyle relay team took 14th place.

Surveyor Girls Swimmer of the Year: Sophie Kubik

Wrestling:

The 2016-17 wrestling season marked the end of an era for Berthoud, as it marked the final season for long-tenured and wildly-successful head coach, Scott Pickert. The BHS grad, who himself was a two-time state champion, coached nine state champions in his career and every season kept the Spartans near the top of the wrestling heap in the state of Colorado.

The 2016-17 season was something of a rebuilding year for the Spartans on the mat, as the team lost a number of seniors, including two-time state champion Chad Ellis and three-time state champion Jimmy Fate to graduation. Berthoud also suffered a series of injuries during and prior to the season that thinned out the team’s varsity ranks. Yet it came as no surprise to observers of the program that six wrestlers, out of only 10 who competed in regionals, qualified for the annual state tournament. Dalton Williams (106 pounds), L.T. Torres (113), Miguel Sarmiento (120), Austyn Binkly (132), Matt Bailey (138) and Wyatt Larson (170) represented Berthoud at the Pepsi Center.

Bailey, a senior who qualified for state in all four high school wrestling seasons, finished in fifth place at state with a 3-1 decision over Hunter Branson of Holy Family. Binkly, a sophomore making his second trip to the state tourney, took a strong third-place finish. The bronze medal was a personal victory for Binkly, as the sophomore defeated his nemesis, Garrett Miller of Bennett High School, in the consolation quarterfinals with a 5-2 decision. Binkly’s win in the third-place match was one for the ages, as Binkly won a 5-4 decision in overtime to take the podium for the second time in as many years as a high school wrestler.

Surveyor Wrestler of the Year: Austyn Binkly