Academic All-Stars

MCHS boasts most Academic Team Champions in Colorado

There aren't any banners up in the gym, there wasn't any coverage in the newspaper and nobody put on a parade in their honor, but Moffat County High School had six teams that were state champions last year.

The boys and girls basketball teams, the boys and girls swim teams and both track teams were named the 2003-04 Academic Team Champions. The Colorado High School Activities Association, the Denver Post and NEWS4 named the teams in September.

"A lot of our athletes take academics seriously," Athletic Director Jim Loughran said. "Coaches press them to stay eligible, but most of the time that's not even a question."

Weekly grade sheets are delivered to coaches at the high school to make them aware of who might be in danger of being ineligible.

"We have kids who are very conscientious of their grades," girls basketball coach Craig Mortensen said. "I'm amazed at their ability to schedule time, because most of them aren't taking the easiest classes."

For a team to be considered, the cumulative grade-point average must be a 3.2 or higher. This year 131 schools nominated 951 groups or teams for the recognition. There were 91 teams given the recognition of academic team champions.

The awards are divided according to the school's size classification. Moffat County's teams were champions in Class 4A.

The Bulldogs had the most champions of any school in the state, regardless of class. Two schools had five champions.

"I didn't know we had the most," Loughran said. "We tend to have quite a few but to lead the state is a big honor."

The Bulldogs had seven team champions in the 2002-03 school year.

"I did my own little study and found that students involved in extra curricular activities had a significantly higher GPA," Mortensen said. "Being involved also meant there we a lot fewer failing grades."

CHSAA started the program in part to recognize the role that activities play in students' lives.

"We know from research in our own state that students who participate in interscholastic activities are better students," CHSAA commissioner Bill Reader said. "This program recognizes those teams and programs that have achieved a high standard in their chosen activities and in the class room as well."

The individual athletes recognized will receive a certificate.

Following were the athletes on each team that earned state title honors.

Girls basketball: Stephanie Brown, MaRanda Camilletti, Cortney Grandbouche, Ashlee Hafey, Mari Katherine Raftopoulos, Erin Robinson, April Sanchez, Emily Sperl, Brandie Telfer and Jessica Uecker.

Boys basketball: Chance Buckner, Derek Duran, Kyle Eitel, Kelvin Grinolds, Zach Haddan, Anthony Loughran, Cody Palmer and George Raftopoulos.

Girls Swimming: Karli Bockelman, Cara Conci, Andrea Dremel, Katie Gainor, Sarah Graler, Samantha Janiga, Emily Kirk, Sari Maneotis, Ashleigh McDonald, Vanessa Murray Lauren Stover, Julie Strahan and Amanda Vaughn.

Boys swimming: Chris Compton, David McClellan, Robert McClellan, Nick Ruckman and Zach Vorhies.

Boys track: Jeremy Bird, Shea Carr, Steven Crisp, Andrew Drake, Rowan DuBois, Derek Duran, Chad Eitel, Kyle Eitel, Ryan Gainor, Trey Gorham, Kelvin Grinolds, Brad Hurd, Anthony Loughran, Drew Lyon, Jacob Miller, Eric Montes, Kellan Moore, Stetson Otero, Cody Palmer, Aaron Sanchez, Peter Stamler and Daniel Tague.

Girls Track: Brandi Babin, Maggie Blackstun, Natalie Field, Cortney Grandbouche, Ashlee Hafey, Anna Herring, Brittni Kawcak, Angela Nelson, Mari Katherine Raftopoulos, April Sanchez, Emily Sperl, Stephanie Urbanoski and Brittani Weber.

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

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