2014 Yampa Valley Athlete of the Year
From Joel Reichenberger
■ Storm Veilleux shows up
A kid named “Storm” is a sportswriter’s dream, and in the season’s first football game, it was obvious that Soroco High School sophomore Storm Veilleux was an athlete I’d have a lot of fun writing about.
Storm was everywhere that night, scoring four touchdowns, one in each facet of the game. He had one receiving, one rushing, one on an interception and one on a punt return. Even better, it was rainy — perfect for the kind of corny Storm-storm reference I’m too weak to ignore.
The most standout part of it all, however, came later when my story was up on our website. I had made a mistake, crediting Storm with five touchdowns instead of four. He saw it and immediately sent me an email, intent on deflecting some of the praise I heaped on him back to his teammates.
What a performance!
■ Hayden slogs on
“Miserable” could define nearly everything about the Tigers’ football game against Rangely this year as rain mixed with snow on a cold night.
Injuries at one point sidelined five Hayden starters. Quarterback Isaac Bridges was so banged up that he appeared as if he could barely walk, limping heavily between plays.
The Tigers racked up three turnovers on downs, three interceptions and one fumble.
But they didn’t quit, even though they were down, 15-0, and in that weather. It was a brutal, hard-fought game, but both teams proved tough enough.
Bridges scored his second touchdown late in the fourth quarter to pull his team within one, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, and the team lost, 15-14.
It was a loss, but for me, the Tigers’ effort overshadowed the end result.
From Nate Waggenspack
■ Kayla Pinnt flies at state
It’s tough to beat the kind of day Moffat County sophomore Kayla Pinnt had on the final day of the state track meet. Pinnt sprinted to two state titles, in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and anchored the Bulldogs’ 4x100 relay team to a second-place finish.
But what was even more impressive was the way Pinnt took care of business. In both her individual events, she crushed her best times of the season and ran away from the competition, including defending state champ Alicia Lawrence. Then in the 4x100, she took the baton in fourth and tracked down two other teams to get the Bulldogs a silver medal.
■ Jesse DeMoor bounces back
I won’t ever forget the disappointment on Jesse DeMoor’s face after his loss in the quarterfinals at the state wrestling tournament, when he nearly pinned his opponent for a comeback win. With blood dripping from his lip, DeMoor said the official should have called the pin, and he should have been in the semifinals.
It would have been easy to lose interest after that, but DeMoor did just the opposite. He approached every match with his usual manic kind of focus and ripped off four straight wins to take third place at 182 pounds.
An emotions-on-his-sleeve kind of guy, DeMoor hugged his coach and mom with the same level of energy after each win.
From Ben Ingersoll
■ Dan Engle does it all
The odds already were against the Hayden Tigers boys basketball team.
Playing with a roster of five, the Tigers literally couldn’t have a player sit out. An injury, an ejection or even an overly exhausted player, and Hayden was done against North Park in the regular-season finale at home Feb. 22.
But with little to play for outside bumping up a slot in the district tournament and salvaging some pride from an otherwise dismal season, Dan Engle took over, turning in a performance no other Routt County hoops player — boy or girl — can boast.
In the overtime win, Engle poured in 15 points, 10 assists and 10 re-
bounds to snag a triple-double and a 55-49 win.
■ Zach Dunklin carries the load
Without senior Zach Dunklin, Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball would have found itself in a big hole during the Feb. 7 game against Palisade at home.
Dunklin scored the first 11 points for the Sailors and finished with a game-high 27 points in the wire-to-wire close contest. The win sparked a six-game winning streak to close out the Sailors’ regular season.
It was the highest-scoring game for a Steamboat player this season. The Sailors finished 18-7 and advanced to the second round of the 4A state tournament.