Moffat County sports honor best of the bunch with ‘Dude’ Dent award | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County sports honor best of the bunch with ‘Dude’ Dent award

Another year of Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School sports is in the books, and now comes the time to remember a bit of local history as a select group of athletes set their sights forward. sports is in the books, and now comes the time to remember a bit of local history as a select group of athletes set their sights forward.

Moffat County High School sports is in the books, and now comes the time to remember a bit of local history as a select group of athletes set their sights forward.

The Lewis "Dude" Dent Memorial Award ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday at Clarion Inn & Suites, a night that includes a variety of athletic awards and culminates in the presentation of the Dude Dent trophy and Outstanding Female Athlete to the Bulldog’s cream of the crop.

Dude Dent acknowledges one of the area's premier student-athletes, a well-rounded sportsman and scholar when he graduated from Craig High School in 1939. He was a fixture of football, basketball and track who continued his pursuit of excellence at Colorado A&M — now Colorado State University — before joining the United States' military effort in World War II. He was killed in action in August 1944, the same day as the liberation of France from the Nazis.

James Neton's May 9 "History in Focus" columnMay 9 “History in Focus” column tells Dent’s story in greater detail. tells Dent's story in greater detail.

May 9 "History in Focus" column tells Dent's story in greater detail.

Recommended Stories For You

In 1957, Dent's life was commemorated with the award named for him given to a deserving male student of athletic talent, classroom excellence and a high caliber of personal integrity, complemented by the Outstanding Female Athlete award in 1977.

The three nominees for 2016's Dude Dent are Shandon Hadley, Stelios Peroulis and Dusty Taylor, while up for Outstanding Female Athlete are Allie Dilldine, Morgan Lawton and Kayla Pinnt, all of whom have achieved a great deal in the past year and throughout their high school careers.

Dude Dent nominees

Shandon Hadley — Golf, football, track and fieldShandon Hadley — Golf, football, track and field

Shandon Hadley — Golf, football, track and field

Senior year highlights:Senior year highlights: Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; Academic All-State First Team; All-Conference First Team, Academic All-State First Team and state playoffs competitor in football; regional golf competitor; regional runner-up in sprints and relays, state track sprint medalist and relay competitor Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; Academic All-State First Team; All-Conference First Team, Academic All-State First Team and state playoffs competitor in football; regional golf competitor; regional runner-up in sprints and relays, state track sprint medalist and relay competitor

Senior year highlights: Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; Academic All-State First Team; All-Conference First Team, Academic All-State First Team and state playoffs competitor in football; regional golf competitor; regional runner-up in sprints and relays, state track sprint medalist and relay competitor

Future plans:Future plans: Studying architecture at Colorado State University Studying architecture at Colorado State University

Future plans: Studying architecture at Colorado State University

Defining characteristic:Defining characteristic: Balance Balance

Defining characteristic: Balance

Many people play multiple sports, but one can often overwhelm another if attention isn't given to each, and Hadley struck a good equilibrium in athletics.

After wrestling as a lowerclassmen, he turned his attention more to the gridiron and the track, becoming a reliable all-around player on offense and defense. In his senior season alone, he amassed more than 800 combined yards of rushing and receiving. A starting running back in every varsity game, during which the Dogs captured a Western Slope League championship.

He also spent a season on the golf course at the same time, narrowly missing attending the state tournament after a solid round at regionals.

This spring also saw Hadley take silver at the Western Slope Multi-Leagues Meet in the 100- and 200-meter dash and 4×200 and 4×400 relays, qualifying for and competing at state track in all four events, taking home an eighth-place medal in the 200.

While he has enjoyed the experience of multiple sports, there's one that has made the biggest impression for him.

"I believe football stands out the most, because it’s what I worked the hardest for," he said. "It has taught me to be a leader and to never give up. It has also taught me to listen to my coaches and anyone that is trying to make me a better person."

Stelios Peroulis — Football, wrestling, track and fieldStelios Peroulis — Football, wrestling, track and field

Stelios Peroulis — Football, wrestling, track and field

Senior year highlights:Senior year highlights: Academic All-State First Team; state playoffs competitor, Western Slope North League Player of the Year, All-Conference First Team and All-State selection for Colorado State High School Coaches Association and Colorado High School Activities Association in football; Warrior Classic champion, regional runner-up and third-place state medalist in wrestling Academic All-State First Team; state playoffs competitor, Western Slope North League Player of the Year, All-Conference First Team and All-State selection for Colorado State High School Coaches Association and Colorado High School Activities Association in football; Warrior Classic champion, regional runner-up and third-place state medalist in wrestling

Senior year highlights: Academic All-State First Team; state playoffs competitor, Western Slope North League Player of the Year, All-Conference First Team and All-State selection for Colorado State High School Coaches Association and Colorado High School Activities Association in football; Warrior Classic champion, regional runner-up and third-place state medalist in wrestling

Future plans:Future plans: Undecided between attending college and starting a career Undecided between attending college and starting a career

Future plans: Undecided between attending college and starting a career

Defining characteristic:Defining characteristic: Power Power

Defining characteristic: Power

On two teams full of hard-hitting teenagers, Peroulis was a leader on each, team captain in football and wrestling, having bulked up considerably in his final year of high school to literally be one of the big dogs.

As a lineman for Bulldog football, he recorded 65 total tackles throughout the season and scored four points for the team without ever touching the pigskin by recording a safety on two separate occasions. He was one of only seven individuals in the state to do so, and this secured his spot as the league's Player of the Year and a trip to the All-State game in Alamosa this summer.

His feats of strength continued into the winter as he took no prisoners as a grappler, moving up multiple weight classes from his junior year and competing on the low end of the 220-pound bracket. And, despite knocked out of first-place contention in the opening round of the state championships, he battled back to get the team's best finish to end the season.

Peroulis also forayed into the throwing rings of track and field's shot put and discus, though the physicality of football and wrestling suited him better.

"Both have high intensity levels, and I thrive on that," he said.

He added that the coaching staff of both teams, led by Keith Gille in football and Tanner Linsacum in wrestling, has had a huge influence on him.

"I always enjoyed being around them, never a dull moment," he said. "They taught me to go beyond physical and mental limits, because in the end it will pay off."

Dusty Taylor — Basketball, rodeoDusty Taylor — Basketball, rodeo

Dusty Taylor — Basketball, rodeo

Senior year highlights:Senior year highlights: All-Conference Honorable Mention, Moffat County Mr. Hustle Award and Team Steals Leader for basketball; state competitor in rodeo All-Conference Honorable Mention, Moffat County Mr. Hustle Award and Team Steals Leader for basketball; state competitor in rodeo

Senior year highlights: All-Conference Honorable Mention, Moffat County Mr. Hustle Award and Team Steals Leader for basketball; state competitor in rodeo

Future plans:Future plans: Competing in rodeo and studying finance at University of Wyoming Competing in rodeo and studying finance at University of Wyoming

Future plans: Competing in rodeo and studying finance at University of Wyoming

Defining characteristic:Defining characteristic: Grit Grit

Defining characteristic: Grit

An athlete is defined by his performance when he struggles as much as when he succeeds, and Taylor and teammates showed their spirit on the basketball court this year, refusing to quit during a season that was more of an uphill climb than the years before it.

"I have learned so much, such as work ethic, sense of humor and made some great memories," he said of his time in Moffat County sports. "You get out of it what you put into it."

That same attitude has served him well in his other sport during the fall and spring.

Taylor placed ninth in all-around points for the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association finals as he and team roping partner, Cutter Barnes, loomed large on the points board for Colorado State High School Rodeo Association early in the season.

Taylor will be unable to attend the Dude Dent ceremony, but he has a good reason — he will compete in the CSHSRA's finals in Lamar throughout the holiday weekend, currently ranked fourth in both team roping and tie down roping, retention of which will send him to the national level in July in Gillette, Wyoming.

And, Taylor will also be joining his older brother, Denton, at University of Wyoming for further cowboy adventures.

The MCHS senior said he wished to thank all who have cheered him on and leave them with a little wisdom.

"Never be afraid to chase your dreams," he said.

Outstanding Female Athlete nominees

Allie Dilldine — Cross country, swimming, track and fieldAllie Dilldine — Cross country, swimming, track and field

Allie Dilldine — Cross country, swimming, track and field

Senior year highlights:Senior year highlights: Academic All-State First Team; Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; third-place regional medalist and state competitor in cross country; relay champion, two-mile runner-up, third-place one-mile run finisher at regionals and relay runner-up at state in track Academic All-State First Team; Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; third-place regional medalist and state competitor in cross country; relay champion, two-mile runner-up, third-place one-mile run finisher at regionals and relay runner-up at state in track

Senior year highlights: Academic All-State First Team; Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; third-place regional medalist and state competitor in cross country; relay champion, two-mile runner-up, third-place one-mile run finisher at regionals and relay runner-up at state in track

Future plans:Future plans: Studying elementary education at Colorado Mesa University Studying elementary education at Colorado Mesa University

Future plans: Studying elementary education at Colorado Mesa University

Defining characteristic:Defining characteristic: Open-mindedness Open-mindedness

Defining characteristic: Open-mindedness

When she started high school, Dilldine had no plans to participate in a terrain sport such as cross country, but by her junior year, it was something she enjoyed whole-heartedly to complement her workouts in the swimming pool and on the track.

It showed this year, as she took a bronze medal at the regional meet and was an integral part of the Moffat County girls' four-peat as the top 3A team of the Western Slope.

Allowing herself to trust in the judgment of coaches is what she credits to her success, as well as countless long runs and hours in the water.

"The pain was temporary, but the memories of success will last forever," she said. "Without my coaches pushing me through the pain and telling me, 'let’s get better today,' I wouldn’t be the athlete I am."

The spring running season turned out just as well, culminating in her best-ever finish at the state track meet, part of the second-place 4×800-meter relay.

And, though cross country, swimming and track are perceived as largely individual sports, it was thinking beyond herself that helped Dilldine excel.

"My ability to go out of my comfort zone allowed me to find something I love," she said. "I became passionate about my sports and was very dedicated to all of them. In these sports I learned to become a teammate, to invest in myself to get better."

Morgan Lawton — Volleyball, basketball, track and fieldMorgan Lawton — Volleyball, basketball, track and field

Morgan Lawton — Volleyball, basketball, track and field

Senior year highlights:Senior year highlights: Academic All-State First Team; Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; All-Conference Honorable Mention in volleyball; All-Conference First Team, 3A Western Slope League Rebound Leader, All-State selection by Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports, state playoffs competitor in basketball; regional runner-up and state discus competitor in track and field Academic All-State First Team; Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; All-Conference Honorable Mention in volleyball; All-Conference First Team, 3A Western Slope League Rebound Leader, All-State selection by Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports, state playoffs competitor in basketball; regional runner-up and state discus competitor in track and field

Senior year highlights: Academic All-State First Team; Three-Sport Athlete; Four-Year Scholar; All-Conference Honorable Mention in volleyball; All-Conference First Team, 3A Western Slope League Rebound Leader, All-State selection by Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports, state playoffs competitor in basketball; regional runner-up and state discus competitor in track and field

Future plans:Future plans: Studying sports psychology at Harvard University Studying sports psychology at Harvard University

Future plans: Studying sports psychology at Harvard University

Defining characteristic:Defining characteristic: Focus Focus

Defining characteristic: Focus

Whenever game time came around this school year, Lawton was in the moment — at the volleyball net, beneath the basket or warming up her throwing arm in shot put and discus.

Watching her at any of the Lady Bulldogs' hoops happenings, you'd be especially impressed with her dedication to the sport, her determination to win and a sense of leadership at a young age.

After advancing to the state quarterfinals last year, MCHS girls basketball again made it to the big show as the district and regional champions — claiming the WSL title that eluded them last year — with Lawton one of the team's key starters in both seasons. They may not have snagged a state title, but her season numbers spoke for themselves, as she stayed in the top five in total points in the WSL and led the conference in rebounds with 258 total, second in the entire 3A division across the state in boards.

This spring, she decided to stick with the new activities of shot and disc after making it to state last season, again throwing the discus at the state championships.

However, it's in academics that Lawton stood out from everyone at Moffat County this year in terms of ambition, parlaying her prominence in the classroom into an admission to the Ivy League, set to attend Harvard this fall.

"I'd like to thank Coach Jensen, Coach McLeod, Coach Scranton and all my teachers for always believing in me and pushing me to do my best," she said. "I hope that I've been an example to other students in Craig that even though we're from a small town, we can still accomplish great things."

Kayla Pinnt — Rodeo, basketball, track and fieldKayla Pinnt — Rodeo, basketball, track and field

Kayla Pinnt — Rodeo, basketball, track and field

Senior year highlights:Senior year highlights: All-Conference First Team, Colorado Steals Leader, state playoffs competitor in basketball; 400-meter dash state meet record holder, regional and state sprint and relay champion, MCHS sprint and relay record holder in track and field All-Conference First Team, Colorado Steals Leader, state playoffs competitor in basketball; 400-meter dash state meet record holder, regional and state sprint and relay champion, MCHS sprint and relay record holder in track and field

Senior year highlights: All-Conference First Team, Colorado Steals Leader, state playoffs competitor in basketball; 400-meter dash state meet record holder, regional and state sprint and relay champion, MCHS sprint and relay record holder in track and field

Future plans:Future plans: Running track and studying business at Colorado State University Running track and studying business at Colorado State University

Future plans: Running track and studying business at Colorado State University

Defining characteristic:Defining characteristic: Speed Speed

Defining characteristic: Speed

If there's a faster girl than Pinnt who's ever attended MCHS, she must have been doing all she could to hide it.

Many basketball players found consternation in the winter when they were guarded by Pinnt, who time and again swiped away the rock and put it back for points, leading to her recording 133 steals in the season, more than any hoopster in the entire state in any class.

However, that was only a warm-up to the fancy footwork to come.

During last week's state track event, the rapid runner brought her total number of state titles to 10 — seven individual, three relays — as she defended her champion status in both the 100- and 200-meter dash for the third consecutive year, served as the anchor for the first-place 4×100 relay team and shattered a state meet record to win the 400 dash on top of the other new bests she recorded in each event during the season, setting Moffat County records in 100, 200, 400, 4×100 and 4×400 this season alone.

Those personal times will likely continue to go down as she continues with a track career at Colorado State University, but as much as the attention has been shone on her, there are so many people to thank, Pinnt said: her coaches, her teammates, her sisters, her father, the entire community of Craig and one person she wanted to thank specially.

"My mother has made me into the girl I am today," she said. "She's amazing, and I couldn't ask for a bigger fan. She's pushed me to my limits and made me the athlete I am."

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