Standout seniors earn Athlete of the Year

Between seniors Emily Mortensen and Kevin Voorhees, there are enough varsity letters to start their own alphabet.

With 21 letters between them, and both with GPA's of 3.5 or higher, these two student-athletes have climbed to the pinnacle of sports success at Moffat County High School.

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Kevin Voorhees is up to bat during a game this spring. Voorhees remained the Bulldogs' lead-off hitter for most of the year.

For all of their toils on the field and in the classroom, the two were honored with the Outstanding Athlete of the Year award.

"The award is decided by two factors: How many times an athlete has lettered and their GPA's," Athletic Director Julie Baker said. "Whoever has the highest in both categories wins."

The award is the longest standing athletic honor in the school, known as Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year for the girls, and Dudent of the Year for boys.

The title "Dudent" for the boys award comes from Lewis S. Dudent, a former Moffat County student-athlete who earned a Silver Star in World War II and was killed in action.

Mortensen and Voorhees, both three-sport athletes, have headlined sporting events throughout the year, and have proven to be the soul of their teams.

Mortensen earned her 11 varsity letters in volleyball, basketball and track lettering all four years in both track and basketball.

On the court, she was the leading scorer as a point guard, scoring 320 points last season, and helping her team to the second round of the state tournament. On the track, just last Saturday, she ran the anchor leg of the fastest 4x800 team in the state of Colorado, and in volleyball, she was the setter for the team.

"Emily always has had a good work ethic," said Craig Mortensen, her father and basketball coach. "In basketball, she was one of the girls you never had to encourage to go into the game and shoot, she always did it on her own she has a lot of individual initiative."

Voorhees, a three-sport standout, yielded 10 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball, and was a four-year letter winner in baseball.

Voorhees' impact is evident.

In football, he played on both sides of the ball, as a cornerback on defense and a receiver on offense, and was named to the Rocky Mountain News' All-State football team as a receiver.

In basketball, he was a force both offensively and on defense, leading the team in points with 298, and rebounds with 168.

On the baseball diamond, Voorhees was the lead-off hitter for the Bulldogs throughout most of the season, stroking a solid .342 against some of the state's best 4A pitchers.

"Kevin is one of those 100 percent, all of the time guys," baseball coach Kip Hafey said. "It doesn't matter what it is, athletic or academic, the kid is going to do what he needs to do he always finds a way to motivate himself."

These two self-starters won't lose sight of each other after this year. Both will attend Dakota Wesleyan in the shadow of Mitchell, S.D.'s, famed Corn Palace.

The private, liberal arts college competes in the NAIA.

Voorhees plans to play basketball at Dakota, and is contemplating a major in business.

Mortensen will compete in basketball and track, and looks to study biology, with a minor in nursing.

While the Outstanding Athlete of the Year awards have proven to be the icing on the cake for the high school athletic careers of both athletes, there is also much to look forward to.

"This is the highest award that a student-athlete can receive here," Mortensen said. "But, I hope it isn't going to be the greatest achievement that I'll ever fulfill."

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