2016 senior spotlight: Summit High’s Sam Hull, Marin Pennell and Sam Buer | SummitDaily.com

2016 senior spotlight: Summit High’s Sam Hull, Marin Pennell and Sam Buer

Editor's note: This is third in a three-part series on Summit High School senior athletes for homecoming week. Read on for part one with soccer, MTB and XC, and part two volleyball and golf.

The day has arrived: Today is the homecoming football game at Summit High School, and the energy around town is palpable.

Before kickoff at 6 p.m., the Summit Daily spoke with three final seniors — football captain Sam Hull, senior rugby veteran Marin Pennell and senior volleyball threat Sam Buer — to hear more about their careers as loud and proud Tigers on the field, pitch and court.

Sam Hull | No. 7 Tigers football

Sam Hull just might be the first band nerd who moonlights as a "football jock." Earlier this week (Sept. 21 to be exact), the four-year tight end and defensive end turned 18 years old, and chances are he'll be a not-so-secret weapon for the Tigers today when his team (2-2 overall) faces Clear Creek High School for homecoming.

But if the Tigers captain weren't on the gridiron, he'd be hard at work trying to launch a Summit High marching band to play at home games. He's already a trombone player with the jazz band, and so it would only be natural to take his musical tendencies to the gridiron.

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Until then, he's a "true example of what our program stands for," head coach John Shirkey said. This is his team and his game, and he's ready for it. Cue theme music.

First football memory: When I first started playing, I was terrified of hitting. I remember on my first hitting drill ever I had to go up against a senior — I was terrified. Once I got into it, though, I loved the physicality and I was hooked. The brotherhood that came from lining up with and against your teammates is something that cannot be replicated.

My football highlight: Being elected captain by my teammates this year trumps any big play that I have made. Knowing that I can make a positive influence and guide this team towards a whole new mental attitude has been the highlight my football career.

My favorite memory off the gridiron: I always have enjoyed our team dinners. My favorite one was when we got to go to the Grand Timber Lodge and swim in the pool after we ate.

If I weren't playing football…: I would be working relentlessly at starting a marching band. Outside of being the classic "football jock," I am a huge band nerd (trombone player) and would love to see a marching band at our home football games.

Pre-game meal: I love grilling out. Burgers and hot dogs are my favorite pre-game meal.

Post-win celebration: Singing and dancing in the locker room with my teammates.

Pump-up music: Anything upbeat that makes me excited. I can't think of anything specific.

My pre-game ritual: I always pray before the game. Superstition is not really my thing.

Biggest rival on the gridiron: In the past Battle Mountain has been our big rival, but with our recent close game against Niwot it is probably them now.

Marin Pennell | Summit rugby

Marin Pennell loves to tackle, and after four years with the Summit Rugby team she's become pretty damn good at it. The 16-year-old traveled with the team to nationals last year and has played in every state championship match, all en route to becoming one of Summit's most reliable varsity players. Like so many Tigers, she said her biggest rivals are her teammates, no matter how old or young, and simply practicing (and tackling) with a group of tough, dedicated girls has made her better. It shows.

First rugby memory: The first time I played was at touch the summer I moved here before my freshman year. I loved it immediately thanks to the welcoming nature of the team and the fact that I got to tackle people. I kept coming back for the both of those things, as well as for how much I learned every time I walked into a practice.

My rugby highlight: Nationals last spring. It was so fun to be able to train with a lot of my team from the fall, as well as new players who were committed enough to 6 a.m. practices to come with us. Playing at such a high level and doing well was very rewarding and exciting.

My favorite memory off the pitch: We went to Utah last year and our bus broke down, so we spent a lot of time on the side of the road before we were towed to a parking lot of a mall. We hung out playing games, dancing and talking. It was a really great bonding experience, and although we didn't get into Utah until 6 a.m., we had a great time and were ready to play in the tournament the next day.

If I weren't playing rugby…: I would be playing fall soccer because that is the other main sport I play. I would be hopeless at volleyball.

Pre-game meal: Oatmeal with fruit in it and a protein shake

Post-win celebration: Hanging out with the team and taking an ice bath.

Pump-up music: "Get Low," because everyone dances to it and it's a nice way to relax and have fun before a game.

My pre-game ritual: I like to wear a pair of spankies that I consider my lucky ones. They're ripped along the waistband, but what can you do?

Biggest rival on the pitch: My biggest rival(s) are my teammates. No one in particular, but as a general rule we all push each other and no one has a set spot on the team. If someone is performing better they will play over you whether they are a freshman or a senior. I am always being pushed and challenged for my spot so it's kind of an internal rivalry, but a very healthy and positive one!

Sam Buer | No. 10 Lady Tigers volleyball

Sam Buer is a machine in the middle. This season, the 18-year-old senior hitter has put up incredible numbers, with 52 kills and an above-average .108 hitting percentage in 21 games to trail only sophomore star AnnaMarie Dodson for points. Her trademark move is to hit from the very center of the court — a tough tactic for anyone, but one she's perfect since first playing in third grade. She regularly manages to place the ball just inside the line and outside of her opponent's reach. At 4-5 overall and 2-1 in the 4A Western Slope, her team is just warming up for league play in the second half of the season.

First volleyball memory: I had seen my dad playing volleyball for a long time and it has become a family sport. I have loved playing since the day I started. I learned to play from my sister. She taught me a lot of what I know today. She has supported me along with my parents since I started playing, and that is one of the reasons I still play.

My volleyball highlight: Playing on varsity as a freshman. I learned a lot from those girls, especially Kate Ramond, who taught me how to smile through any situation and always figure out a way to be positive.

My favorite memory off the court: The understanding we have among our team this year. If we communicate with each other, then we give each other space if we need it, or we talk things through with each other. That is support that a family gives to each other, and this year we have that unlike any other year I have played.

If I weren't playing volleyball…: I honestly couldn't imagine not playing volleyball. I have been playing for so long that I wouldn't know what to do.

Pre-game meal: Probably steak and some kind of pasta. Pasta is always a go to before a game along with salad.

Post-win celebration: I'm not really into celebrating in a big way. I like to go home and relax. Winning isn't as much of a big deal to me — I will celebrate if we work as a team and focus on playing together.

Pump-up music: I will listen to anything really. The thing that makes me focus is the energy of my teammates. I am not the type of person to listen to music before anything to get pumped up.

My pre-game ritual: I don't have any rituals, but our team does and we just pump each other up by saying our goals and getting each other excited in a little group talk.

Biggest rival on the court: Eagle Valley. I have been playing those girls since I was in sixth grade and a lot of them have become friends, which makes for competition.

Homecoming and rivalry schedules

Today — Summit vs. Clear Creek football, 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Saturday, Sept. 24 — Summit Sevens Rugby Tournament, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Tuesday, Sept. 27 — Summit vs. Eagle Valley soccer, 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Thursday, Sept. 29 — Summit vs. Eagle Valley volleyball, 6:30 p.m. at Summit High Gymnasium

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Hey Tigers nation, are you heading to any homecoming matchups this week? Tag your Instagram and Twitter photos with #SumCoSports to see them live on the SDN sports homepage.

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