Moffat County seniors get their game faces on for Dude Dent Awards | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County seniors get their game faces on for Dude Dent Awards

Dinner to honor scholar athletes of all grade levels

The Lewis "Dude" Dent Memorial Award and Outstanding Female Athlete plaques hang on the wall in the Moffat County High School office. The ceremony awarding the top senior athletes will take place Thursday at the Clarion Inn & Suites.

To excel on the football field, basketball court or any other sporting venue takes talent. To do that and also succeed in the classroom is especially worthy of acknowledgment.

Lewis "Dude" Dent Memorial Award Selection Dinner schedule

6 p.m. Dinner

6:15 p.m. Year recap by Athletics and Activities Director Mike Mitchell

6:20 p.m. CHSAA Active Scholar Awards

6:25 p.m. Four-Year Scholar Awards

6:30 p.m. Three-Sport Athlete Awards

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6:40 p.m. Speech by girls basketball coach Sam McLeod

6:50 p.m. Dude Dent/Outstanding Female Athlete description by James Neton

6:55 p.m. Coaches' speeches for nominees

7:10 p.m. Announcement of winners and acceptance speeches

— The ceremony takes place Thursday at the Clarion Inn & Suites, 300 S. Highway 13. Tickets are $15 apiece and can be purchased at the Moffat County High School first floor athletics office at 900 Finley Lane. For more information, call 970-824-7036.

Moffat County High School will pay tribute to its best and brightest athletes during the annual Lewis "Dude" Dent Memorial Award Selection Dinner Thursday evening at the Clarion Inn & Suites, a night that will honor those who have played multiple sports throughout high school while still paying attention to their schoolwork.

Who was the Dude?

The namesake of the plaque that will be given out is Lewis Dent, a local sports hero who graduated from Craig High School in 1939 after making a name for himself — and picking up a cool nickname — in multiple sports while also staying at the top of the class.

Dent's specialty was football, named an All-State fullback, which led to a scholarship to Colorado State University, then known as Colorado A&M, where he lettered in football, basketball and track, according to research by MCHS teacher James Neton.

Among his most noteworthy accolades was a selection as Best All-Around Athlete for the Mountain States Conference in 1943.

Dude Dent was a mechanical engineering major and also participated in the Army reserves and ROTC before moving into overseas military service in World War II as part of the 94th Armored Artillery Battalion, eventually killed in action in France in August 1944.

The Denver Post's Terry Frei has written numerous articles about Dent, including a mention about how the Craig athlete was posthumously honored for his war sacrifice as part of the Colorado Freedom Memorial in 2013.

The MCHS award was named for Dent and first handed out in 1957, with the accompanying Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year made part of the senior acknowledgements in 1977.

Who's in the running

The six seniors nominated for Dude Dent are Joe Camilletti, Matt Hamilton and Chris Kling and for Outstanding Female Athlete, Katelyn Peroulis, Alex Samuelson and Lauren Samuelson.

Among them in the past four years, they have participated in nearly every type of sporting event offered by MCHS, all of them participating on multiple teams in their senior season, many picking up significant honors in their last year as a Bulldog, some headed to college-level athletics and all balancing their physical work with the enhancement of knowledge.

Dude Dent nominees

Joe Camilletti

Senior sports: Football and basketball

Top honors this season: All-Conference First Team in both sports, All-State Second Team in basketball

What sets him apart: Statistics

Playing varsity since his freshman year, Camilletti led the boys hoops team in scoring and assists and tied for most steals with teammate Tyler Davis this season, as well as surpassing 1,000 total points in his high school career. He will play at the All-State game in Alamosa this summer.

College plans: Majoring in agriculture or business at Colorado State University

Looking back on four years of MCHS sports: "It's been a lot of work. It's an honor to be nominated for this award, and I really appreciate it."

Matt Hamilton

Senior sports: Football, golf, basketball, baseball and track and field

Top honors this season: All-Conference First Team in football and basketball; 2A Western Slope North League MVP, Quarterback of the Year and All-State in football; League Champion and third place state finisher in triple jump; five-sport varsity athlete

What sets him apart: Versatility

A golfer, a quarterback, a rebounder, a jumper and a pitcher, Hamilton has been the busiest athlete at MCHS this year, stepping into two new sports while still going strong in three others. He continued into the playoffs and state competitions in four of these five teams and was recognized as one of the top gridiron players in the area as an All-State selection by regional coaches in particular, also headed to Alamosa for the honorary summer game, as well as playing at the collegiate level after graduation.

College plans: Playing football and majoring in special education at Colorado Mesa University

What it's been like being part of five teams this year: "What's going to stick out for me is being able to hang out with my teams and making lifelong friends."

Chris Kling

Senior sports: Golf and swimming

Top honors this season: Regional competitor in golf, state qualifier in swimming

What sets him apart: Leadership

In addition to his own sports, Kling has served as manager for the girls swim team and aided them in practices in a capacity similar to a coach. As a relay swimmer, he has been to the 4A State Championships in at least one event all four years of high school, capping off many years competing in the pool.

College plans: Majoring in engineering at University of Colorado-Boulder

How it feels to be nominated for the school's top sports honor: "I think it's cool that they're recognizing me for sports that aren't really mainstream."

Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year

Katelyn Peroulis

Senior sports: Swimming, basketball and golf

Top honors this season: Regional competitor in golf, state competitor and All-Conference Honorable Mention in basketball

What sets her apart: Perseverance

Peroulis had a triumphant return to the sporting world after an ACL injury kept her from competing in cross country in the fall. She was able to join the basketball team for one of their most successful seasons, making it to the state quarterfinals, and marking the fourth occasion in three sports — twice in cross country, once in golf — she's made it to that level while at MCHS.

College plans: Majoring in math education and accounting at Colorado State University

What she's looking forward to most about the awards ceremony: "Last year, they started doing more with it and making it more of a formal event, and I think that's important for the school, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Alex Samuelson

Senior sports: Volleyball, swimming, soccer and track and field

Top honors this season: Buffalo Award for volleyball, four-sport varsity athlete

What sets her apart: Trying new things

Alex is the only female nominee who has played five sports throughout high school, participating in basketball her freshman year before finding her groove in the swimming pool. In addition to being ranked as one of the top 10 scorers in the 3A/2A Western Slope League playing for the varsity soccer team this year, she picked up the discus and shot put for the track and field team, joining sisters Emma and Lauren, with both of whom she had also played varsity volleyball.

College plans: Majoring in culinary studies at Colorado Mesa University

Moment that brings the most pride: "Playing soccer and participating in track, because I've never done two sports at the same time. I was glad to participate in both this year."

Lauren Samuelson

Senior sports: Volleyball, cross country and track and field

Top honors this season: Academic All-State First Team in all three sports, state competitor in cross country and State Champion in track

What sets her apart: Focus

Lauren's running path took on a new element when she joined the cross country team this year to supplement her work with track and field, making it to state in the meantime. Though part of the basketball program as a lowerclassmen, she chose to keep her attention on preparing for the senior season of track. As one of Moffat County's best relay runners and part of each of this year's four relay groups at state, achieving two 3A titles along the way, she will continue past high school in the sport.

College plans: Running cross country and track and majoring in biochemistry at Metropolitan State University of Denver

What it's like competing with her sister for the award: "Either way, I think we'll be proud of each other."

What the award means

The Dude Dent dinner will include a number of speeches, and MCHS will also take the opportunity to acknowledge scholar athletes of all ages with various awards. The seniors up for the biggest honors will have coaches speak on their behalf, and the number of varsity letters and grade point averages they've accumulated throughout the past four years will determine who takes home the big prizes.

Mike Mitchell, athletics and activities director for Moffat County School District, has only been in his position for nine months, though he loves the idea of the tradition of Dude Dent as a recognition of how much students can achieve with both their brains and their bodies, particularly in a school year that has seen spectacular things done by the Bulldog teams.

"You don't really realize how important and prestigious it is until you spend a little time here," Mitchell said. "It's really cool to recognize that kind of achievement."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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