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Hope springs eternal for SHS sports

Jason Starr

Only a few weeks remain in the season as Summit High School’s spring teams return from spring break Monday. That leaves little time to correct early season kinks and build on the positives that got the Tigers out to a solid start across the board in March and April.

With local fields drying out earlier than normal this year, the Tigers will get in more outdoor practices than they are used to this spring, which should help. And the home games scheduled for late April probably won’t get moved to Denver like they have in years past. A team-by-team look at the Tigers’ progress:

Girls soccer

The Tigers’ record couldn’t be much more even: 3-3-2 overall, 2-1-2 in the Class 4A Metro League. Each of their three wins have been shutouts, and they’ve only scored one goal in their three losses.

They came into break on a two-game tie streak, both league matches, that didn’t sit particularly well with the them. But in both contests (4-4 vs. Englewood and 1-1 vs. Sheridan) they were missing key players. Summit will see Sheridan again April 24, but it was the Tigers’ last shot at Englewood, which had already beaten them earlier in the season. This makes winning the league a longshot, but Summit is still in position for one of the Metro League’s three playoff spots.

The Tigers are hoping to equal last year’s berth in the state playoffs, or better, to improve on their first-round exit.

Amanda Groneman and Kate Chapman have fulfilled their scoring responsibilities, and, with three shutouts already, goalie Betsy Sodaro is having a stellar season. Freshmen Tiffany Novak has also made a name for herself with three goals in the last three games.

The crux of the regular season starts with the April 24 game against Sheridan. That begins a season-ending stretch of three league games that will determine Summit’s postseason fate.

Baseball

Summit came ever so close to equalling its win total from a year ago before spring break. But the Tigers blew a four-run lead and lost 7-6 to Faith Christian in their final game before the hiatus.

So they sit 3-4 overall and 2-0 in the Metro League after a dominating sweep of Sheridan in their only league doubleheader. But Summit followed that with a 22-2 loss at the hands of Class 3A Eagle Valley – a drubbing that started the two-game skid the Tigers were forced to carry into the break.

Still, this team is much improved over last year, with David Sustad, Ryan Norton and Casey Anderson showing their poise and experience on the mound and catcher Anje Sramek leading the charge at the plate.

The post-break schedule will be packed as some of the early season games were postponed because of weather. The Tigers hope to play a home game April 25 against Battle Mountain to end the regular season. With two league wins already under their belts, the Tigers should avoid the Metro League cellar, where they spent all of last year.

Tennis

These are joyous times for the SHS tennis team. After going winless last year, the Tigers have won four team matches already this season. They have lost twice.

It hasn’t been one dominant player. When the doubles teams faltered, the singles players came through. And when the singles players struggled, the doubles teams got wins.

Isa Pastor, the No. 2 singles player and an exchange student from Spain, has been the most consistent. Pastor was 4-0 before losing her first match, but she rebounded with a win in Kent Denver and is now 5-1. The No. 3 doubles team of Lindsey Holden and Diana Smithwick has also been reliable, as has No. 4 players Brittany Ellsworth and Paula Urda.

Summit has seven regular season matches left, including the April 20 Metro League tournament. Look for Pastor and one of the doubles teams to contend for a top-four finish at the May 2-4 regional tournament at Kent Denver. A state tournament spot is no longer out of the question for this team.

Swimming and Diving

The four Summit swimmers who came into the season with experience in the state meet quickly made sure they’d be back. In their first meet, Doug Borg, Eric Lowe, Pete Richmond and Andy Richmond qualified for the state competition in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays. That does not mean they will swim those events at state, where Summit will be hard-pressed to duplicate it’s 11th-place team finish for the third straight year.

Summit’s big four have set an example for the team’s more inexperienced swimmers, including freshmen Chris Marvin and David Shaffer. Summit’s junior class of Joel Baldwin, Jared Freeman and John Rutter has been productive both in the lanes and off the diving board.

The league meet takes place May 10-11 in Brighton, and the state meet returns to Fort Collins one week later.

Track and Field

Summit coach George Keyes had a lot of new faces to evaluate when practice began last month. It took a few meets, but the Tigers are starting to settle into a workable lineup, discovering who belongs in what events.

There was more work to do – more new team members needing events – on the boys side. The girls have a handful of returning runners who knew their places.

Chief among them is sophomore Tara Carosa, who has steadily improved her time in the mile during the early season. Senior Lani Pusey has anchored the sprinters, faring well in the 400- and 200-meter races.

With more than 30 athletes, Summit has almost all the events covered, including the discus and shot put with Kari Greenly and Mike Allard. Freshman Betsy Jason has turned some heads as a hurdler and junior Jessie Glynn has worked the hurdles and the long jump.

For the boys, sophomore Preston Johnson has showed a burst with solid finishes in the hurdles and triple jump, and junior Ray Zakahi has competed in the long jump and anchored Summit’s sprint relay teams.

The Tigers have five meets scheduled before the Metro League Championships May 3-4 in Elizabeth. They will try to peak at regionals, which takes place in Elizabeth one week later. The state meet returns to Jefferson County Stadium, and some of this group should find a way to get there.


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