A look back on Moffat County’s 2014 sports
2014 saw plenty of highlights for the sports scene of Craig and Moffat County, and it was a year to remember for many athletes.
Wrestlers fight their way to greatness
In February, six of the Moffat County High School grapplers made it to the 3A state tournament, following a solid performance at the regional event that included a win by Brayden Peterson.
Issik Herod, Brady Springer, Stelios Peroulis and Brett Loyd were among those who went on to the next level, though it was Jesse DeMoor who took third place at state for the Bulldogs’ highest finish of the season with a fierce comeback following a defeat in the first round.
Additionally, later in the year, Mikinzie Klimper was the top kid from Craig at the Rocky Mountain Nationals Middle School State meet, undefeated and winning first in the 145-pound division. Dagan White, Drew Rothermund, Daniel Caddy and Drake Zimmerman also fought hard at the event.
Boys, girls basketball go the distance
The 2013-14 hoops season at MCHS closed in March following a long run for both the boys and girls teams, as the Bulldogs made themselves known as a threat in the state playoffs. In a season that saw them go 17-7 altogether complete with a 3A Western Slope District Championship, the girls advanced as far as the Sweet 16 round of the postseason.
The boys ultimately finished sixth place in the 3A division with a 21-6 record as well as their own district title, making it to the Great 8 round of the playoffs.
Track titles achieved, records broken
The MCHS track and field squads saw plenty of accolades, but among the highest was a pair of state championships for Kayla Pinnt, who claimed both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash events in May. It was also earlier in the season that she broke long-standing school records in the 200 and the 400-meter dash.
Pinnt and her sister, Cheianne, as well as siblings Emma and Lauren Samuelson, also broke the 4×200 relay record for MCHS, and girls track as a whole was named the Yampa Valley girls team of the year.
Golfers swing big
With Katelyn Peroulis driving with the girls this past spring and Mike Bingham leading the boys during the fall, MCHS sent players to each of the state golf tournaments in 2014. The Moffat County girls last sent players to state in 2012 and the boys in 2010.
Peroulis scored 228 and placed 77th at the girls event in May, while Bingham took No. 46 at his competition in September with a 168 total score for two days.
The riders of the local rodeo teams got to compete at home in one of the biggest events of their season, with the Colorado State High School and Junior High Rodeo taking place at the Moffat County Fairgrounds during Memorial Day weekend.
Brother and sister Kasen and Kinlie Brennise reined in plenty of points throughout the season, which helped Kinlie place second overall in all-around points in addition to two state championships at the junior high level, while Kasen took his own championship title in tie-down roping, as well as all-around points champion of Colorado.
The two, as well as teammates Casey Barnes, Dusty Taylor and Denton Taylor all were able to move on to the national finals later in the summer.
Cross country qualifies 14 for state
The fleet of foot didn’t end their success in the spring, with the cross-country team hitting their stride late in the season this fall, just in time for the girls team to win the 3A Region 1 competition for the third consecutive year, with Emily Womble the runner-up of the day. The boys placed third, led by Ashley Suits in seventh individually, enough to send the team to state for the first time since 2011, leading to a slate of 14 runners between the girls and boys.
Football team makes its mark in 2A division
Out of all Moffat County sports in 2014, none had quite as rocky a start as the football program, bringing in a new coaching staff only days before practice sessions began.
Head coach Keith Gille saw the gridiron gladiators through a harsh opening against old foes before the Bulldogs settled in to conference play in the newly formed 2A Western Slope North League, eventually winning the league championship and a playoff berth that resulted in a first-round loss to top-ranked Brush, which went on to win the state title.
This was the first time in eight years MCHS was able to advance to the postseason.
The myriad honors received by players included 12 All-Conference distinctions from league coaches for Matt Hamilton, Joe Camilletti, Stelios Peroulis, Shandon Hadley, Keenan Hildebrandt, Brett Loyd, Keith Smith, Kearn Gerber, Eddie Smercina, Trevor Kuhn, Connor Scranton and Zane Shipman; honorable mentions for All-State for Loyd and Hildebrandt, from Colorado High School Activities Association and The Denver Post, respectively; and All-State, Player of the Year and Quarterback of the Year as selected by the WSNL for Hamilton, who will attend the All-State game this summer in Alamosa.
The multitalented player also led the team in total touchdowns with 12 during his senior season, with 1,055 passing yards, 470 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards on offense; 29 total tackles and one interception as a cornerback; 990 kickoff yards and seven PATs as a kicker; and 1,105 yards as a punter.