By Dan Karpiel
The third leg of the high school sports season begins this week with five Berthoud High School (BHS) teams – baseball, girls golf, girls soccer, tennis, and track and field – set to compete, and a group of BHS students, led by two-time state champion Liam Gately, jumping in the pool for Thompson Valley.
On the links, Molli Boruff, a two-time state qualifier who begins her senior year already holding the distinction as the most accomplished female golfer in school history, will undoubtedly aim for a third trip to state. Berthoud has moved down to the 3A classification from 4A as part of CHSAA’s biannual reordering.
The shift figures to aid Boruff and the rest of the experienced BHS squad that includes Shannyn McEntee, Oliva Knudsen, Kyra McDonald, Emma Garner and Rayna Manto. Head Coach Mary Durkin returns to lead the Lady Spartans for the second season, and the team will compete at familiar courses in the area; including Saddleback, Ute Creek, Pelican Lakes and The Olde Course. Berthoud hosts a conference tournament at Mariana Butte on April 11. The two-day, 36-hole 3A state tournament will be held at The Broadlands in Broomfield.
The long-suffering BHS baseball team has experienced a resurgence in the last couple years under Manager Buddy Kouns. The Spartans, despite losing a once-in-a-generation talent in Issac Bracken and All-Conference catcher Pat Barron to graduation, both of whom now play collegiately, Kouns said, “I actually think we’re going to be a better team than last year,” in highlighting the squad’s depth.
Strength in numbers will help, as Kouns explained the Spartans will “not surprise anyone; the rest of our league knows the talent we have and so no one is going to take us lightly.” While position battles are still in a state of flux as Berthoud prepares for its season-opener on March 14 in Lakewood against D’Evelyn, senior Josh ‘G’ Archer and junior Chris DeSousa will frontline the Berthoud rotation, while Hunter Pearce is the leading candidate to don the mask behind the plate.
Nick Yuska, C.J. Balliet, Brogan Sontag, Josh Schumacher and Colin DeVore, whom Kouns called, “the best defensive outfield in the Tri-Valley (Conference),” are just some of the experienced and talented players that will take to Jack Sommers Field this spring as Berthoud aims for the postseason berth they missed by a razor-thin margin last year. “Expectations should be high. We’ve worked to get to this point. We’ve built to this point and it’s important to these guys,” Kouns said.
On the pitch, the Lady Spartans will have a bevy of fresh faces led by new head coach, Kelly Hardegree-Ullman. Berthoud lost 13 players from last year’s team to graduation as well as Tri-Valley Coach of the Year Corbett Leatherwood, who opted to retire. The new-look Lady Spartans play their first game on March 9 with a trip to Greeley and then host Weld Central at Max Marr Field at BHS for their home-opener on March 11.