Moffat County High School athletics to honor high-achieving student-athletes with Dude Dent award
Usually, Moffat County High School student-athletes would be preparing for the year-end banquet and awards ceremony with a just a few weeks left until graduation. Instead, the student-athletes had to adjust this year – much like everyone else – as COVID-19 shut down schools and stopped spring sports in their tracks, canceling the annual Dude Dent awards ceremony.
Instead of celebrating with good food and an awards ceremony, the Dude Dent award nominees, their parents and coaches will have to watch a pre-taped interview and awards banquet that Moffat County Proud spent time putting together.
The video, featuring the five Dude Dent award nominees, the Male and Female Active Scholars 2020, Three-Sport Athletes, and the Four-Year Scholar will be unveiled on Moffat County Proud’s Facebook page at 7 p.m.
As the athletics department prepares to honor student-athletes who have excelled in physical and academic pursuits, the top award handed out Thursday night will be the Lewis “Dude” Dent Memorial Award, given to the top male and female student-athlete for the academic year.
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 in multiple sports while also staying at the top of the class.
Dent’s top sport was football, in which he was named an All-State fullback. The accolade later 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 served in the Army reserves and ROTC before deploying to the European Theater in World War II as part of the 94th Armored Artillery Battalion, where he was later killed in action in France in August 1944.
On August 25th, 1944 near Troyes, France out ahead of the advancing U.S. forces, Dent was on the radio relaying firing coordinates for the artillery when he was gunned down by Nazi forces. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
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.
This year, five student-athletes — three girls and two boys – headline the nominees. The list of nominees includes three girls for Outstanding Female Athlete. They are: Jenna Timmer, Stephanie Swindler, and Eliana Mack. The two guys on the short list for the Dude Dent trophy are Dagan White and Dario Alexander.
Swindler, the daughter of Stephen and Janese Swindler, was a four-sport athlete during her time at Moffat County High School. Swindler competed in volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field for the Bulldogs, lettering three times each in basketball and track, twice in volleyball and once in cross country.
As a junior, Swindler helped lead the Bulldogs’ 4x200m relay team to the 2019 3A state championship with a time of 1:45.83, helping MCHS Track & Field claim its first state title since 2016.
That state championship serves as Swindler’s favorite memory as an athlete at MCHS.
In basketball, Swindler served as a defensive stalwart for the Bulldogs, playing a key role in leading the Bulldogs to a 12-9 (5-4 3A WSL) record and a playoff appearance. Swindler averaged 4.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 3.2 steals per game throughout the 2019-20 season.
For her career, Swindler recorded 93 steals.
“I would like to thank my parents for all the support, encouragement and opportunities they have given me thus far and for all the ones yet to come,” Swindler said.
Following graduation, Swindler plans on pursuing a career in dental hygiene.
Mack, the daughter of Mike and Cassie Swaro, was a standout student, musician, and athlete during her four years at Moffat County High School.
While at Moffat County High School, Mack competed in volleyball, basketball, track & field, and swimming, while also being involved in choir. Mack received four letters in track & field, two in volleyball, and one in swimming. Mack also went to the Western State Honor Choir the last three years, and was named to the Colorado All-State Choir team as a junior.
Along with her on-field accolades, Mack is a standout in the classroom, earning three Academic All-State First Team honors.
As a senior, Mack helped lead the Bulldogs to a 9-14 (3-6 3A WSL) record in volleyball, finishing the year with 52 kills and 29 total blocks. Picking up swimming as a senior, Mack had a strong first year in the pool, earning a spot as a state alternate at the state championships. Mack’s best finish in track came at the 2019 Steamboat Springs Invite, winning the triple jump with a distance of 29 feet, 3.50 inches.
Following graduation, Mack will attend Colorado Mesa University, where she will pursue a degree in general psychology.
Timmer, the daughter of Jake and Stacy Timmer, stared down a lot of adversity in her senior year, but came out on the other side stronger.
While at Moffat County High School, Timmer competed in basketball, track & field, volleyball and the FFA program. Leading into her senior year, Timmer suffered a knee injury in summer basketball, threatening her senior season on the court. She attacked her rehabilitation though and was able to come back for her senior season, debuting in a win over Steamboat Springs in mid-December.
In her senior season, Timmer averaged 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Bulldogs as Moffat County went 12-9 (5-4 3A WSL), reaching the state playoffs. Timmer finished her Bulldog career with 145 career points and 143 career rebounds over two seasons on varsity.
Following graduation, Timmer will attend Colorado Mesa University, where she will major in Kinesiology: Sports and Exercise Science.
“I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my life these past 12 years for the memories and the encouragement,” Timmer said. “I especially would like to thank my family for always being there for me through the good and hard times and for their unconditional love.”
If you’ve followed Moffat County Bulldogs athletics the last four years, chances are you’re familiar with Dario Alexander.
Alexander competed in football, basketball and wrestling during his time at Moffat County High School, earning three varsity letters in football and two in wrestling.
In football, Alexander helped the Bulldogs reach the playoffs for the first time since 2015. A receiver and defensive back, Alexander hauled in 29 receptions as a senior, totaling 449 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Alexander totaled 21 tackles. Alexander’s best game came against Battle Mountain, hauling in seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, adding a rushing touchdown in the second overtime to lead the Bulldogs to a thrilling 36-34 win over the Huskies.
Following graduation, Alexander hopes to attend a barber’s school to become a personal barber.
He’ll hold fond memories of Moffat County moving forward thanks to his time here as a student-athlete.
“I hope one day someone loves this place like I do,” Alexander said. “I greatly appreciate what high school sports has done for me and I hope these memorable moments go with me everywhere.”
White, the son of Darin and Diana White, was a standout wrestler and football player for the Bulldogs over the last four years.
On the mat, White was a two-time state qualifier, and on the gridiron led the Western Slope League in interceptions as a senior, helping the Bulldogs reach the state playoffs for the first time since 2015.
White was named an All-Conference Honorable Mention defender for his senior season after recording four interceptions to go along with 40 tackles. Offensively, White paired with fellow Dude Dent nominee Dario Alexander to form a formidable receiving duo, finishing the year with 18 receptions for 218 yards and a touchdown.
White has wrestled since he was seven and had two strong seasons to end his high school career, reaching the state tournament as a junior and senior. White says he planned on playing baseball as a senior, but the pandemic closing down schools and shutting down high school sports put an end to that plan.
Following graduation, White plans on attending IBEW 111 in Grand Junction, for an Electrician Apprenticeship.
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As the conversation is brought to the fore in the district’s school board race, Moffat County School District is already in the midst of active discussion about the possibility for a four-day school week.