Dan Engle rumbles up the field in September against Rocky Mountain Lutheran.

Ben Ingersoll/file

Dan Engle rumbles up the field in September against Rocky Mountain Lutheran.

Hayden male athlete of the year: Tigers’ Dan Engle a leader in tough times

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Joel Reichenberger/file

Dan Engle gets airborne for a shot in January. While the Hayden boys basketball team struggled with injuries, Engle led the way as the only veteran varsity player on the court for much of the season.

When Hayden High School boys basketball needed it most, Dan Engle was there.

Injuries piled up before the 2013-14 season even began, but as the bench started to thin out, Engle did all he could to keep a once-dominant Tigers program competitive.

The losses came early — and they came big. A 23-point loss opened the season and was followed by a 29-point defeat and a 36-point drubbing.

But as Tigers basketball coach Mike Luppes explained, Engle took his lumps in stride, leading the team through the rough stretch as the only veteran varsity player on the floor for most of the season.

Engle went on to average 13 points and seven rebounds in his senior season, landing him a spot on the first-team 2A Western Slope all-league team and the label of Hayden High School male athlete of the year. He also turned in one of the most astounding performances this year on the hardwood, recording a triple-double in an overtime win against North Park to close out the regular season.

He did it on the football field, as well, as the team’s starting running back, linebacker, punt returner and just about everything else. Like the basketball team, the Tigers football squad struggled in comparison to previous years, but Engle’s presence helped them weather the storm.

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