Barto named second team all-state
Rewarded for a season in which he led his sub-.500 hockey team on a shocking run to the state tournament’s Frozen Four, Summit High School defenseman Billy Barto has been named second team all-state by Colorado’s high school hockey coaches.Barto, a senior, led the Tigers in scoring despite playing a traditionally non-scoring position. He scored 13 goals – second on the team to Chase Underbrink – and had 11 assists. He also missed a number of games in the middle of the season with a shoulder injury.The multisport high school star had set a goal for himself at the beginning of the season: first team all-state. He didn’t quite reach that, but considering only two defensemen were honored ahead of him, he said, “getting second team kind of accomplishes that for me.”Barto also said he saw both of the first team blue-liners play firsthand this season, and he felt like he was right at their level, if not ahead of them.
“But that’s the coaches’ decision, and I don’t have any say in that,” he said. “It’s still a huge honor to make the second team.”According to Summit head coach Bryan Smith, who led the team to a 9-13 record overall in his first season on the SHS bench, Barto’s all-state distinction comes as no surprise.”I knew Billy was going to make it in the top four defensemen,” Smith said. “He’s a force. His presence as a hockey player is always noticed. He has a lot of poise carrying the puck, and he’s a good skater – that’s the one thing that will always get you noticed.”Throw in a rocket of a shot, both wristers and slappers, and Barto was rarely not the best player on the ice in a game this season. He was also Summit’s only skater with a “C” on his chest; three others wore “A’s” as alternate captains behind him.Barto scored two goals at the senior all-star game last weekend, a contest in which fellow SHS seniors Chase Underbrink and Jackie Koetteritz also competed.
For the past two seasons he had flirted with the potential of leaving Summit to play for a higher-level juniors team, but said before the Tigers entered the state tournament (as the No. 13 seed) that he was finally content with having chosen to remain a Tiger.His season was highlighted on an individual level when he posted back-to-back hat tricks in a pair of December wins over Colorado Academy and Coronado.His leadership will be missed as much as his scoring next year, Smith said.”The other kids totally look up to him,” the coach said. “It’s a different game when he’s on the bench.”Billy always stepped up in the situations we needed him to,” Smith said.
Underbrink garnered all-state honorable mention this season, a campaign in which he scored a team-best 16 goals.”To be honest with you, I was surprised that Chase didn’t make it on the first or second teams,” Smith said.Summit won the first two postseason games in school history this year, and the nine wins broke the previous high mark of six.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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