All-winter athletes

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A state championship, a conference title, a conference runner-up and 11 state qualifiers seem to be a healthy resume for Moffat County High School athletics in the winter season of '02-'03.

To explain further, the Bulldogs established themselves even more as one of the top wrestling programs in Colorado in the past 20 years with a third-consecutive title -- going undefeated in every dual and tournament.

The girls basketball team extended its streak to 30 consecutive regular-season wins in the conference.

The boys basketball team finished second in the conference with one of the best regular season records since 1989 for the school.

A senior-laden swim team flirted with state qualifications throughout the season and, despite the loss of their top state finisher from last year, the team was able to qualify in three events for state.

In honor of these accomplishments, the Craig Daily Press has selected 26 of those participants as All-Winter Athletes.

To lead off are the top male and female athletes of the season -- seniors Laurel Mortensen and Ty Weber.

Laurel Mortensen, senior (girls basketball)

Mortensen went into every game with the opponent focusing on trying to stop her. Still, she scored 18.8 points a game and led the Bulldogs to 30 straight regular-season wins in the conference during her three years as a starter. She shot 50 percent from beyond the three-point line and 48 percent from the field. For the second year in a row, she was named the Western Slope Conference Player of the Year.

Ty Weber, senior (wrestling)

At the Las Vegas tournament this year, a Moffat County fan made a bet with an Esperanza, Calif., parent that Weber would pin his wrestler, who was second-ranked in California. While Weber was unable to pin the wrestler from the West Coast, he beat him twice, including an 11-1 win. The bet showed the confidence that the MCHS contingency had in their top wrestler all year. Weber finished a tremendous prep career with an undefeated season and his second state title. He was named as the best 152-pound wrestler in the state of Colorado by the Rocky Mountain News and pinned 32 of his 45 opponents.

Kaleb Brown, junior (wrestling)

Brown was the regional champion and went into the state meet as the highest-ranked underclassmen for the Bulldogs. Brown finished the season with a 40-6 record and 27 pins

Cara Conci, senior (swimming)

Conci was the top 100-freestyle racer at the Western Slope Championships for the Bulldogs. She swam at the state meet in the 200-freestyle relay team and was part of the 400-medley relay team that nearly qualified for the state meet.

Brandon Duarte, senior (wrestling)

Duarte finished the season with a 41-7 record, with all of his losses coming against a state champion or runner-up. After losing to the eventual state champion in the state tournament, he dominated the consolation bracket and pinned his opponent in the first minute for third place.

Eric Fredrickson, sophomore (wrestling)

Fredrickson was the only underclassmen to place at the state tournament with a sixth-place showing. The sophomore finished with a 35-11 record and will lead the lower weight classes for the Bulldogs next year.

Scott Garoutte, sophomore (wrestling)

In his first year in varsity, Garoutte came on to qualify for the state tournament and earn a win. He finished the season with a 28-9 record and with the top six wrestlers in his weight class graduating, he will be the top returning upper-weight class wrestler for the Bulldogs.

Chloe Gilchrist, senior (swimming)

Gilchrist just missed qualifying for the state meet by .3 seconds in the 200-individual medley. Gilchrist did qualify for the state meet in the 200-medley relay.

Ty Grandbouche, senior (wrestling)

Grandbouche only lost two matches to a 4A opponent this year, both to the state champion. He went 34-4 for the year and pinned 25 of his opponents on his way to a second-place finish at the state tournament. Grandbouche also did not give up any near fall points in the season

Bryan Hampton, senior (wrestling)

Hampton would not go down in the state tournament after losing his first match. He went undefeated the rest of the tournament for a bronze medal and he finished the season with a 33-9 record.

Miranda Hillewaert, senior (swimming)

Hillewaert was the only swimmer to compete in both relays for MCHS at the state meet. Her sprint abilities helped the Bulldogs throughout the year in relays and in the short events.

Jeni Jones, senior (girls basketball)

Jones was the rebounding specialist for the Bulldogs with 111 boards on the season. Jones was named honorable mention all conference.

Korey Kostur, freshman (wrestling)

Kostur showed glimpses of a future champion throughout his freshman campaign. He wrestled back at the regional just to earn a spot at state. He finished out the season with a knee injury but battled it out and finished with a 25-8 record.

Anthony Loughran, junior (boys basketball)

Loughran came on toward the end of the season for the Bulldogs with games of 28, 22 and 23 in the two weeks. The versatile post player regularly gave up several inches against the players he guarded but was still able to average almost 14 points per game.

Pablo Loya, senior (boys basketball)

Loya hit a school record 84 three-pointers in the season and averaged 18 points per game. Loya finished second in the voting for Western Slope Conference Player of the Year.

Jason Mosher, junior (wrestling)

Mosher overcame an early shoulder injury in the season to finish second at the regional meet and win two matches at state. He finished the season 26-13 and will be one of the seniors expected to lead MCHS next year.

Kallie Murphy, senior (swimming)

Murphy was the top swimmer in the breast stroke for her team this year. She swam at the state meet in the 200-medley relay for the Bulldogs.

Joe Padon, senior (boys basketball)

Padon was often the defensive specialist for the Bulldogs. He averaged eight points a game and was named to the Western Slope Conference's second team.

Cody Palmer, junior (boys basketball)

Palmer often guarded the opposing team's quickest player and focused on defense. He averaged around five points a game and was named to the All-Conference team.

Kate Schafer, senior (girls basketball)

Schafer was given the duty as the defensive stopper for the MCHS girls basketball team. She averaged almost two steals a night and was named to the Western Slope first team at the end of the season.

Brian Skowronski, senior (boys basketball)

Skowronski came on to earn a starting spot for the Bulldogs this year after having very little experience as a junior. He averaged almost six points a game as was named as an honorable mention all conference player.

Trevor Sloan, senior (wrestling)

Sloan won the regional title and finished the season with a 32-3 record. He finished second in the state tournament, all the while wrestling at a weight class above his weight.

Brandie Telfer, sophomore (girls basketball)

Telfer was the main inside scoring presence for the Bulldogs. She average almost 11 points and five rebounds per game. Telfer's efforts earned her second-team honors in the conference.

Amanda Tomlinson, senior (girls basketball)

Tomlinson played all over the court for the Bulldogs from post defense to guard. She averaged 6.3 points per game and in her final game as a Bulldog, scored 13 points against Longmont. Tomlinson earned honorable mention conference honors.

Amanda Vaughn, junior (diver)

Vaughn came on toward the end of the season as the Bulldogs' only diver. Her state-qualifying performance at the Western Slope Championships with a score of 331.70 was nearly a school record.

Jenna Waite, senior (swimming)

Waite just missed qualifying in the 100-back stroke by a second at the Western Slope Championships. She swam in the 200 freestyle relay for the Bulldogsat state.

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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