2016 Senior Spotlight: Summit High’s Graham Gaspard, Hays Braner, Jemma Jackman and Elle Lyne-Schiffer
Homecoming and rivalry schedules
Thursday, Sept. 22 — Summit vs. Steamboat Springs soccer, 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium
Friday, Sept. 23 — 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
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.
Editor’s note: This is second in a three-part series on Summit High School senior athletes for homecoming week. Check the Summit Daily tomorrow for football and rugby stars, or see the first part with boy’s soccer, cross-country and mountain biking.
Few varsity sports are more different on the surface than golf and volleyball. One is held on sunny, green, impossibly manicured courses outside — think of a round as a walk in the park with a purpose — and the other is held on indoor courts beneath white-hot fluorescent bulbs with screaming fans on all sides.
But, when you talk to players on both Summit High teams, it’s easy to see why they fell in love with their sport of choice. Seniors have found friends, competition and even favorite meals (coconut shrimp with plum curry sauce, anyone?) thanks to hours at practice and endless bus rides.
For day two of our homecoming week preview, the Summit Daily talked with seniors on both teams to hear about their favorite pre-game meals, toughest rivals and how they all came together in four short years.
Graham Gaspard | Tigers golf
Graham Gaspard is having the season of a lifetime on the links. In his final year with the Summit High golf team, the 17-year-old has perfected a stroke he’s been working on since he first picked up a club at age 5. He shot a career-best 78 at Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat on Aug. 23, and then blew away his personal record with a 73 (one over par) a month later at Adobe Creek National Golf Course in Fruita for the 4A Regionals. The 73 earned a third-place individual finish — again, his best of the season — and an invite to the 4A Colorado State High School Golf Tournament on Sept. 26-27 at River Valley Ranch Golf Club in Carbondale.
First golf memory: When I was a little kid with my grandpa and I loved it right away. I kept coming back because I thought it was really fun, and since my grandpa played all the time it was something that we would do together.
My links highlight: Playing at the Regional tournament last year. The competition and the team aspect is fun.
My favorite memory off the course: Bus rides back from matches because we can hang out and it is good team bonding.
If I weren’t playing golf…: I would be playing soccer because I played it all the way up until ninth grade. Both golf and soccer are fall sports so I had to make a choice (but) I think that soccer is also a fun sport.
Pregame meal: A bowl of spaghetti and a salad.
Post-win celebration: Going out to dinner with my teammates.
Pump-up music: G-Eazy for practice.
My pre-game ritual: Our coach’s dog, Nugget, is my lucky charm. She comes with us to all the matches and whenever I see her I have a good hole. She also brings back some enthusiasm when I’m having a bad round.
Biggest rival on the links: My teammate, Keegan (Cancelosi). We are both at around the same level and we like to compete to see who shoots better in tournaments or in practice.
Hays Braner | Tigers golf
Like plenty of high school golfers, senior Hays Braner has been playing golf since he could barely walk, starting with plastic Fisher-Price clubs before graduating to the real deal. Since then, he’s improved year after year until his final season on the Tigers golf team, when he shot a career-low 76 at the team’s home tournament at Keystone Ranch on Sept. 8. The score was almost enough to take home his first tourney crown — he tied with another player — but it was still a highlight of his high school career. He barely missed the cut for state at regionals.
First golf memory: I first played golf basically right after I could walk. I loved it. I would walk around everywhere swinging my plastic Fisher-Price clubs at whatever resembled a golf ball. I like how golf is a mental game. It keeps me focused and does not allow for distractions.
My links highlight: When I tied for first place in the Keystone home tournament. The other guy beat me on the harder hole so I settled with second.
My favorite memory off the course: The camaraderie. We do not see each other much during tournaments, but off the course we have each other’s backs. I moved to Summit a year ago and the guys on the team were the only ones I knew, and they’ve been amazing friends.
If I weren’t playing golf…: I would either join football or soccer. I grew up playing those as a kid and enjoy playing as a pasttime.
Pregame meal: A breakfast burrito. I need energy for the day so the protein helps, and who doesn’t like a good breakfast burrito?
Post-win celebration: Going out to eat with the team. It is only a team of four or five so we are pretty tight. We mess around and tell stories. The atmosphere is great.
Pump-up music: Anything that is kind of mellow but upbeat. Too much or too little energy is not a good way to start the day before a golf tournament.
My pre-game ritual: I always listen to the same playlist and do my best to take in what a great day it is. Anything negative can kill a golf game.
Biggest rival on the links: Aspen. They are typically pretty good golfers, but they love to rub it in. Win, lose, good day, or bad — they always have something to say or to brag about.
Jemma Jackman | No. 4 Lady Tigers volleyball
You could say Jemma Jackman was hooked on Tigers volleyball long before she suited up for varsity. In elementary school, the Summit native played her first match with coaches from the high school and had a blast. She knew she “had a bright future in volleyball,” she said, and dedicated her time to getting better on the court. The senior setter is key to the Tigers defense, with 34 digs in 21 sets. Her team has struggled in the past two matches, with losses to Eagle Valley and West Grand, but they’re still 2-1 in the 4A Western Slope with the bulk of conference matches to come.
First volleyball memory: The first time I played volleyball was in elementary (school), when we had high school coaches. They made the sport seem super fun and I knew right away that I had a bright future in volleyball.
My volleyball highlight: My first varsity game, sophomore year. It was so surreal that all of my hard work paid off and I could be a part of such an incredible team. My favorite memory off the court: When our team volunteered at St. John’s community dinner. It felt really good to help the community as a team.
If I weren’t playing volleyball…: I would be playing basketball. Basketball was a huge part of my life but I had to give it up so I could be more serious about volleyball.
Pregame meal: Some sort of pasta before a game, preferably mac and cheese.
Post-win celebration: Go spend time with my team and my friends.
Pump-up music: Any upbeat or remixed music.
My pre-game ritual: I like to listen to music before I play, just to clear my mind and prepare for a game.
Biggest rival on the court: Myself, because I always am trying to get better at the sport I play.
Elle Lyne-Schiffer | No. 11 Lady Tigers volleyball
Who knew volleyball was the cure for shyness? In fifth grade, 17-year-old Elle Lyne-Schiffer started playing volleyball with the optimist program in town and “fell in love with the atmosphere of volleyball.” She might have been shy at one time, but today, the 6-foot middle hitter is one of the most reliable cogs in the Tigers machine, with a .160 hitting percentage (nearly double the national average) and boundless enthusiasm. She makes a nice counterpoint to sophomore hitter AnnaMarie Dodson and fellow senior hitter Sam Beur, and together the three have combined for the majority of kills this season.
First volleyball memory: I was a pretty shy kid, but I fell in love with the atmosphere of volleyball. I love being on a team and being surrounded by others who love the sport and enjoy playing as much as I do.
My volleyball highlight: My junior year. I was hitting outside and I was given a spot on set from senior Lexi Zangari. The timing was right and I just destroyed the ball. It was the most perfect line hit I made that season and it felt amazing. We’ve just started this season and I hope to keep bringing my “A” game.
My favorite memory off the court: Our final practice last year. Coach Liz (Waddick) made us wear pirate hats for the entire practice and we could not stop laughing.
If I weren’t playing volleyball…: I would probably be preparing for ski season. I love hanging out with my dad, aka the Candyman. We enjoy racing each other and getting some pow-pow.
Pregame meal: Gluten-free coconut shrimp over jasmine rice with curry plum sauce. It is out of this world.
Post-win celebration: Taking the bus home with my teammates. It’s such a fun and silly time after working hard and allowing ourselves to relax for a bit. I also treat myself to a bite of dark chocolate or some potato chips.
Pump-up music: Rap. It gets me really pumped.
My pre-game ritual: Having one of my teammates braid my hair. Also, I always wear my lucky game day socks — black Nike Elites.
Biggest rival on the court: Myself. I am constantly working on my skills, my attitude, and my mental focus. I am in control of my actions and I always strive to do my best.
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