Volleyball and football teams note improvements
by Patty Unruh
Students in sixth through eighth grade at Gilpin County Middle School celebrated the end of volleyball and football seasons with a banquet and awards program on Wednesday, November 1. Athletic Director Jeff Schuessler welcomed the students and parents, noting, “Our program continues to grow in numbers.”
The audience applauded when he thanked the Booster Club for the thousands of dollars the club raises each year to help Gilpin athletics. Schuessler also thanked the school administration, the school board, Secondary Principal Alexis Donaldson, the teachers, transportation department, maintenance, and secretaries Gretchen Sechler and Terry Scharg. Parents were recognized for their support, and the coaches also received accolades for stepping in at the last moment.
“We had a pretty blank slate for who we were going to get for coaches,” Schuessler said. At the last moment, Pete Morgan and Chris Keller came on to coach the football squad, and Kellie Bayne and Jessica Selseth stepped up to lead girls’ volleyball.
Kellie Bayne and Jessica Selseth distributed the certificates of participation and had kind words for each young athlete and comments about the season.
“It was a challenge to get enough games for our C team,” Bayne remarked. She thanked Schuessler for finding games for them throughout the season. Principal Donaldson, who is also head coach of the high school varsity team, also filled in on occasion, and the high school’s assistant volleyball coach, Topher Rouse, came to many practices.
Bayne thanked parent Sherry Myer, who came to every practice and every game to help the girls. Since there were three teams and only two coaches, Myer’s help was invaluable, Bayne said.
“We started the season with many girls. There were balls flying everywhere, even into the locker rooms! But after a couple of weeks, the girls showed great improvement. They worked together well, maintained a positive attitude, and supported each other.”
Halle Yocom and Cassidy Wood were the team managers.
“A” team: Hannah Donaldson, Gracie Putnam, Reese Hill, Sydney DeLeon, Tommie DiMauro, Kennedy Perez, Sarah Lovett, Kendra Wenholz, and Camryn Ade.
“B” team: Skyley Ramsey, Abby Smith, Esmee Halsted, Bailey Bagwell, Brianna Godwin, Elizabeth Hebert, Madison Altman, and Jordan Hobson-Kroll.
“C” team: Ashton Turkaly, Jadin Braning, Alexa Brandon, Sophia Giuliano, Jordanna Gagnon, Cheyenne Wagner, Aucklynn Sacco, Skylar Webb, Samantha Rust, Lili Cope, and Kayla Marr.
Pete Morgan and Chris Keller gave a roundup of the season and summarized the accomplishments of the players.
“It was an adventure to coach this year. We had the largest team in recent memory and a lot to overcome,” Morgan noted. He acknowledged that Gilpin played many teams whose players were bigger and older. Only one other team had sixth graders, as Gilpin did. The other teams Gilpin played had all seventh and eighth graders, some as old as 15.
“We were outsized, but they stuck it out to the end and conquered their fears. And their grades were excellent.”
Morgan was optimistic for the future, as the middle school Eagles will have ten eighth graders next year.
“Middle school sports is about eighth graders,” he said. “These other teams value football greatly. They have youth football and have a systematic plan to develop their players.”
He related the difficult time Gilpin’s high school varsity team had against West Grand the previous week. Morgan encouraged the middle school players that there are valuable lessons to be learned in going into a situation where everything is against you. It’s important to put in a consistent effort over a long period of time, he said.
Ending on a positive note and generating enthusiastic cheers, Morgan said, “We ended our three-year losing streak by beating Clear Creek!”
Chrislyn Martinez was the manager.
Eighth graders: Kage Anthony, Alex Rodriguez, AJ Jewell, Jacob Bryant, Andal Innis, Seth Gordon, Jimmy Immordino, and Matt Marr.
Seventh graders: Penn Keller, Austin Patrick, William Siegrist, Zach Gebhart, Bradley Robinson, Brandon Robinson, Ellis Lopez, Lucion Amaya, and Kade Copeland.
Sixth graders: Cadence Lautrup, Dusty LeBeau, Roland Keller, Ben Zeckser, Joseph Morgan, Tony Rumer, Christian Lautrup, Styrling Innis, Eben Dodge, and Teddi Vaughn-Tom.