BHS sports 2016-17 year in review

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Jessa Megenhardt —
Surveyor female athlete of the year
Surveyor file photo

As quickly as it began, the 2016-17 Berthoud High School (BHS) sports season seemed to come to an end. Across the spectrum, the BHS girls teams enjoyed wildly successful seasons. The Lady Spartans softball, volleyball, cross country, basketball and golf teams all reached the state playoffs.
The 3A state golf tournament, held this season at the Broadlands Golf Course in Broomfield, was the last event in which any BHS team competed in the 2016-17 school year, and Berthoud saved the best for last. The Lady Spartans team of Molli Boruff, Shannyn McEntee, Kyra McDonald and Emma Garner posted a team score of 558 in the 36-hole event that was good enough for fifth place, the best showing at state in the program’s history.
The day prior to tee-off at state, golf was the conclusion of the weather-shortened two-day state track meet at Jeffco Stadium Lakewood. The Lady Spartans saw several stellar performances with Sam Mulder leading the way. The junior had battled back from an injury she suffered earlier in the season to place sixth in 100 meter hurdles and 12th in the 300 hurdles. Mulder also participated on 4 x 200 meter relay team with Cora Fate, Sophia Visger and Alyssa Bailey that raced their season-best time at state and took 11th place. Mulder, Fate and Bailey were joined by Faith Kouns on the 4 x 100 relay team that placed seventh. Sophomore high jumper Cailey Archer, who won the event five times over the course of the season, took ninth at state, her second top-10 showing in as many years.

Liam Gately — Surveyor male athlete of the year
Surveyor file photo

The BHS girls soccer team entered the 2017 season with an almost entirely different look from the 2016 team. Berthoud lost 12 seniors to graduation and was led by new a head coach, Kelly Hardegree-Ullman. Berthoud finished with a 6-9 overall record as many new faces were acclimated to varsity competition. Junior Kyley Leatherwood, who suffered a dislocated foot mid-season and missed three games, returned to finish the year leading the team with 11 goals scored, while freshman Maddie Barcewski added another 10 to go with six assists to pace the Lady Spartans with 26 points.
Transitioning from doubles play to singles proved not to be a problem for tennis star Leah Marty. The sophomore turned in a strong season in three-singles for the Lady Spartans, posting a team-best 8-2 record that included a pair of wins in extra sets. Berthoud’s primary one- (Delaney Fouts and Riley Lundgreen, 5-4), two- (Emily Casper and Megan Lucero, 6-2) and three-doubles (Eriana Rennacker and Kali Thoren, 2-1) pairings also posted winning records on Head Coach Leigh Vitasek’s 2017 team.
After having lost five seniors, three of whom were starters and all five played significant minutes, the BHS girls basketball team entered this season not quite knowing what to expect. Yet, as the season progressed, the team got more and more comfortable as a unit, and a pair of the team’s youngest players – freshman Emily Cavey and sophomore Sydney Meis – turned in All-Conference-caliber seasons. Cavey led Berthoud in virtually every statistical category while Meis displayed almost a sixth-sense operating as the Lady Spartans point guard.
Berthoud once again made the state tournament, besting JFK High 55-40 in the opening round before getting bounced-out by No. 4 seed Air Academy. With both Cavey and Meis on board for the next two seasons, the future appears awfully bright for girls basketball.
The girls cross country team, led by Maycee White and Alyssa Radloff, placed in the top 15 at regionals and, in so doing, gave Berthoud their fourth appearance at the state meet. At state, White finished in 87th place, Alex Schultz in 98th, Radloff in 121st, Liz Boznich took 135th, Kathryn Mathiesen 141st, Julianne Evans Dennison 148th and Cailey Archer 155th. As a team, the Lady Spartans took 19th place overall at state.

Berthoud softball, long one of the school’s most successful programs, entered the 2016 season tasked with replacing five seniors that included both starting pitchers, both corner infielders, and the team’s starting centerfielder. Yet, as the team seemingly always does, a group of new players led Berthoud through the ultra-competitive Tri-Valley Conference (TVC) and back to the 16-team state tournament. Senior catcher Hannah Langer, who will play collegiately at Hastings College in Nebraska, provided the leadership while also pacing Berthoud with a stellar .429 batting average. Sophomore Sarah Jorissen occupied the circle in 114 of 118 regular-season innings, pitching phenomenally while also leading Berthoud in hits and RBI. The sophomore joined Langer as an Honorable Mention on the CHSAA All-State team, and the pair, along with sophomore Addie Spears, were named TVC All-Conference. Freshman Ashlynn Balliet played exceptionally well at the hot corner and blasted a pair of homeruns in Berthoud’s game against No. 2 seed Mullen at the state tournament in October.
Even by the high standards the program has set for itself since winning the state championship in 2001, the Berthoud volleyball team turned in a fantastic 2016 campaign. The Lady Spartans finished the year 21-6 overall and, in winning their third-straight regional championship, were one of three TVC teams to qualify for the 12-team 4A state tournament. While a loss to powerhouse Lewis-Palmer on the tournament’s opening day dashed Berthoud’s hopes of hoisting the championship trophy, the Lady Spartans won the day after in a for-pride match with TVC archrival Windsor, the first win at state for every player on the team’s roster.
Even a midseason ankle sprain did not derail the final high school season of setter Jessa Megenhardt. The senior’s savvy court awareness and leadership were on full display night in and night out as she was named to three All-State teams, took home TVC Player of the Year honors and, in April, signed a letter of intent to play at Division-One Seattle University. While replacing a player of Megenhardt’s caliber will be next to impossible, the future appears bright as junior outside hitter Julie Ward, one of the state’s premier players and also an CHSAA All-State honoree, will return in the fall for her senior campaign where she will be joined by a quartet of freshman who displayed poise beyond their years and gained invaluable experience in 2016.
Surveyor Female Athlete of the Year: Jessa Megenhardt
While on balance the Berthoud boys teams did not enjoy the success of their female counterparts, there were many bright spots to be found.
Berthoud’s football (2-8), boys soccer (2-13) and boys basketball (2-21) teams all experienced the expected struggles of rebuilding seasons with young rosters. Yet all three teams got glimpses of what could be bright futures. Junior tailback Wyatt Woodrick led Berthoud in all-purpose yards and tackles for loss despite suffering a back injury that cost him the final three games of the season, and junior receiver Jake Rafferty hauled in three touchdown passes in Berthoud’s win over Frederick on Oct 21. Junior soccer player Tyler Markell scored a three-goal hat-trick in Berthoud’s win over Mead on Sept. 8 and a sophomore, Curtis Peacock, learning from the fine examples of seniors Karsten Bump and Noah Purdy, led the Spartans basketball team in scoring average after having begun the season on the team’s junior-varsity roster.
Despite a preponderance of youth on the roster and a season that saw several players suffer injuries, the BHS wrestling team turned in another strong performance. Six Spartan grapplers — 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 state tournament. Bailey, a four-time state qualifier, closed out his high school wrestling career with a strong fifth-place finish at state, while Binkley, just a sophomore, took the podium for the second time in as many years by winning his third-place bout in a 5-4 decision in overtime.
Like their counterparts on the mat, the BHS baseball team also turned in a strong 2017 season. The Spartans finished with a winning record, 10-9 overall, for the second time in as many years, as the hard work Manager Buddy Kouns (who also leads the BHS softball squad) has put in to rebuild the program is beginning to pay dividends. Even though Berthoud missed the postseason by just fractions of points in the RPI, strong performances from a deep and talented roster saw the Spartans competitive in just about every game of the year. Senior pitcher Joshua Archer recovered from a torn ACL suffered last summer to lead the TVC in strikeouts, finish second on the team in a plethora of offensive categories, and signed a letter of intent to play Division 1 baseball at Tennessee’s Belmont University.
While a few of the boys teams struggled, there were a litany of strong individual performances. Golfer Josh Schumacher, who was joined as an All-Conference selection with junior Jack Hummel, signed a letter of intent in April to play golf collegiately at Knox College in Illinois. Senior Josh Doyle also shined as an All-Conference selection in boys cross country, and his 54th-place finish at the state meet was the best showing by a Berthoud boys runner in 10 years. Doyle and Markell were joined by Ty Williams and Carlos Gutierrez to finish in 12th place in the 4 x 800 relay at the state track meet.
In what was perhaps the most noteworthy singular individual performance by any BHS athlete on the season, junior Brock Voth recorded a mark of 43-3 in the triple jump at the Randall Hess Invitational on April 22, breaking a BHS record that had stood since 1972. Voth ultimately took 15th place in the triple jump at state. The junior was joined by Rafferty, Ryan Schmad and Miguel Sarmiento in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relay teams that took home fourth and fifth place, respectively, at the state meet. Voth is also the football team’s starting quarterback where he was selected an All-Conference Honorable Mention.
The performance turned in, not only this season but over the course of his high school career, put Liam Gately on par with any athlete who has ever come through Berthoud High. Gately, who attends BHS but swims for Thompson Valley, won state titles in 100- and 200-yard freestyle events at the state meet in Colorado Springs. Gately turned in the fastest times in any classification in the state, breaking the standing 4A records in each race and earning All-American recognition. The two state titles he took home in 2017 round out a high school swimming resume that also includes state titles in 500-yard freestyle races as both a sophomore and a junior. The four-time state champion has committed to prestigious Northwestern University in Illinois where the conditioning he developed swimming at altitude will no doubt give him an advantage over his Big Ten Conference competition.
Surveyor Male Athlete of the Year: Liam Gately
The 2016-17 sports season marked the last for several of Berthoud’s most successful and longest-tenured head coaches. Wrestling coach Scott Pickert, girls basketball coach Randy Earl, volleyball coach Daisha Agho, boys soccer coach Jason Hughes and girls golf coach Mary Durkin will not be leading their respective team’s come next season. Both Pickert and Agho will be replaced by long-time assistants Wil Carron and Mil Santos, respectively. Santos preceded Agho as head coach just as Earl’s replacement, Alan Gibson, was his predecessor. Durkin’s replacement has yet to be named, but it was confirmed earlier in the year that Scott Washenfelder, who teaches at Turner Middle School, will be Hughes’ replacement on the boys soccer team.
The 2017-18 high school sports season will begin in mid-August.

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