Spring preps spotlight: Summit High’s McKenna Ramsay, Lexi VanderHoeven, Logan Ramsay and Nate Martin
It’s not easy playing an All-American spring sport in Summit County.
By early April — about a month after the start of high school preps season — Summit High School’s baseball team and both lacrosse teams had already dealt with nearly a dozen cancellations and postponed games. Sometimes it was due to snow in the mountains (four feet in two weeks!), other times it was due to snow in every corner of the state — the amount of travel a mountain team endures is staggering — but not to worry. Every game will get played at some point, even if the rescheduled matches fill a solid two weeks in early May before the start of spring tournament season.
Between snow delays and never-ending bus rides, the Summit Daily sports desk caught up with 13 of the most talented Tigers playing soccer, boy’s and girl’s lacrosse, track and field, baseball, and boy’s rugby this spring. Some are seniors, others are just insanely good at what they do, but all are ready to take the season by storm. Once the snow lets up, that is.
Lexi VanderHoeven, No. 1 Lady Tigers soccer
It’s been a rough start for Lady Tigers soccer (1-6-1), but it would’ve been much, much rougher if not for senior keeper Lexi VanderHoeven. After missing a few months with an injury, the 18-year-old captain and 4A Western Slope All-Conference player is now back and nothing short of a brick wall in the net, with an average of 15-20 stops per game. Like all veteran keepers she’s also adept at managing her defense, a young group that started the season slowly and has now found its groove in time for the second half of the season.
First soccer memory: The first time I played soccer I was very little so I don’t remember it very well, but what keeps me coming back is the thrill I get every time I make an awesome save and the love I have for my teammates, who are like my second family.
My soccer highlight: Receiving my varsity letter as a freshman, the MVP award when I was a junior and the Western Slope League All-Conference Honorable Mention award, also my junior year.
My favorite memory off the pitch: The bus rides. As cheesy as it sounds, the bus rides are the best part about travelling to other schools. Whether the bus ride is an hour or four hours, we have always made the best out of it.
If I weren’t playing soccer…: I would probably be twinkle toes. I would still be dancing today if I didn’t play soccer because I started dancing when I was 2 years old and continued dance until my sophomore year of high school. I had to quit dance because it was starting to interfere with my soccer season, both high school and club.
Pregame meal: Definitely have to be mac ‘n’ cheese or pasta.
Post-win celebration: Go out for ice cream or smoothies afterwards and let it sink in.
Pump-up music: “My House,” by Flo Rida. It just gets me super pumped up and ready to play.
My pre-game ritual: Every time I put on my goalie gloves, I have to put the left one on first, and if I have to take the left one off for any reason, I have to take the right one off before I put the left one back on again.
Biggest rival on the pitch: According to MaxPreps our biggest rival is Battle Mountain, which I guess could have been true at some point in time. But, nowadays, Battle Mountain isn’t so much a rival anymore. I guess my biggest rival for me personally would be Ocoee Wilson, who is the goalkeeper for Steamboat. She is incredible and has a natural talent that I am envious of.
McKenna Ramsay, Tigers track and field
It would be so simple for senior track star McKenna Ramsay to sit back, relax and take it easy this spring. Shortly after the fall cross-country season, the 18-year-old captain committed to the Montana State University Division II track program, which means collegiate running is more-or-less guaranteed when she graduates this May.
But taking it easy is hardly Ramsay’s style. After three meets, she owns every 4A Slope sprint record (100m, 200m, 400m and 800m) and has led the girl’s 4x400m relay to a league-leading 4:15.64. That’s more than enough to qualify the team for state, where she’s eyeing a top-5 relay finish and more than a few individual podiums.
First track and field memory: The first time I started running track I fell in love with it. People always think that track athletes are crazy for wanting to run and often ask, “You like to run for fun?” For me, I keep coming back to the sport because I love to run fast and I love to see the progression in not only myself, but my teammates and our relay teams as the years have gone on.
My track and field highlight: Probably my individual third-place finish in the 400m at the 2014 4A state track and field meet. However, another huge highlight of my track career so far was at last year’s state track meet, when our 4x800m — consisting of Ruthie (Boyd), Megan (McDonnell), Jess (Horii) and myself — made the podium with an eighth-place finish.
My favorite memory away from a meet: My last practice from the end of last year. It was just the few of us practicing who were going to states. I always love these type of practices because it consists of close friends, nice weather and excitement for the meet in front of us.
If I weren’t running track…: I would probably be big-mountain skiing because I love to ski as well as run. Big-mountain skiing is something I have always wanted to try but have never actually tried because I was always afraid of getting hurt before track season.
Pregame meal: Like any runner will probably tell you, my favorite pre-race meal is pasta. All runners love to carbo-load.
Post-win celebration: Go on a cool-down run with my team at the end of the meet so we can all talk about our races and how we did.
Pump-up music: “Intro,” by The XX.
My pre-game ritual: I do not really have any lucky rituals or items while racing. I would be worried that if I forgot to do my lucky ritual or forgot my lucky item that it would throw me off my game.
Biggest rival on the track: Niwot, because they have a good 400m runner (Mary Gillett), who I will be fighting with for the state championship. For our team in general, Battle Mountain is a big rival for our relay teams.
Logan Ramsay, Tigers track and field
Like his sister, senior Logan Ramsay started running track in third grade and is now one of the best sprinters on the Summit team. Also like his sister he has a knack for the 200m, 400m and 800m distances, and has been a vital member of the talented 4x400m relay with Nate Martin, Daniel Keller and Ben Jorgenson. That crew looks to defend it’s 4A Slope title at the league championships on May 6.
First track and field memory: The first time I ran at a track meet was in sixth grade. I ran the 200m and won my heat. The idea that I could become a good runner kept me coming back.
My track and field highlight: Winning the 4x400m relay at the league championships last year.
My favorite memory away from a meet: Warming up for the 4x400m relay at the league championships last year.
If I weren’t running track…: I’d be skiing and training for cycling season.
Pregame meal: Red meat.
Post-win celebration: Cool down and celebrate with the team.
Pump-up music: The Rolling Stones.
Biggest rival on the track: My biggest rival is my own body. I usually get shin splints or stress fractures from running on the asphalt track. It is difficult to balance intense training with injury prevention. It is always a challenge to push through the injury and run to my full potential.
Nate Martin, Tigers track and field
“I’ve been running ever since I can remember,” 17-year-old senior Nate Martin said. “I used to make my mom stop the car at least a mile away from our house so that I could run home.” And he hasn’t stopped since. Along with Logan Ramsay, Martin is part of the defending 4x400m relay team, and he’s already notched several top-5 individual finishes this year in the 400m dash and 800m run.
First track and field memory: The first time I (tried) events was when my older brother and sister ran track and I would try to clear or jump the hurdles.
My track and field highlight: There hasn’t been a very specific highlight of my track career yet because I’m always striving to do better and beat my best.
My favorite memory away from a meet: The track banquet in Parachute, Colorado at my other high school, Grand Valley. We had so much delicious food. Then afterwards we went outside to our coach’s house and spun each other around in the big tire swing until we couldn’t stand up straight and tried to run.
If I weren’t running track…: I would probably playing rugby or lacrosse. I say this because lacrosse is pretty exciting to play and there’s no better feeling than scoring a goal for your team. Now, playing rugby is kind of in the same boat — I love the game and it helps out quite a bit to be fast in that sport.
Pregame meal: A pretty big turkey sandwich with all the good stuff, like mayo, mustard, spinach, tomato, provolone and Swiss cheese. Or just like seven tangerines — those are pretty tasty.
Post-win celebration: I like to kind of just lie on the ground (and) focus on not dying from exhaustion.
Pump-up music: “Freaks and Geeks,” by Childish Gambino.
My pre-game ritual: I don’t really have a specific routine.
Biggest rival on the track: I don’t have any rivals that are a person. My main rival is probably me. If I don’t better myself each time I run a race, then I become very upset and angry because I know I didn’t give it everything I had.
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