Simon earns Player of the Year honor in conference

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— Sailors defenseman J.J. Simon capped off his senior season by winning the 2000 Player of the Year award in the 4A Western Slope Conference.

Simon, who led his team to a 14-3-1 record, also was named to first-team all-conference and first-team all-state. Six Sailors received all-conference honors including Jason Flower, Mike Rinn and Simon, who were named to the all-conference first team.

Rob Zehner, Andrew Johnston and Kyle Nelson were honorable-mention selections. Rinn made second-team all state.

Simon, who was the team's captain this season, also was an academic all-state award recipient. He was chosen player of the year for his efforts both offensively and defensively, Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said.

"He was just a tenacious tackler and ball-winner," Bohlmann said. "He was dominant in the air and he just did a quality job for us in shutting down our opponents' attack and with starting our attack." Simon won the majority of the headers he went after.

Simon led his team to a first-place finish in the conference but more importantly was an instrumental part of the Sailors' playoff run. Steamboat won its regional playoff game 8-0 over Brighton Oct. 21. The team then defeated Conifer 3-2 in overtime Oct. 27 in a first-round state playoff game.

The Sailors' season came to an end when the defending state champion Broomfield Eagles defeated them 6-0 on Nov. 1 in a state quarterfinal matchup.

"We had a great season, a great team," Simon said. "We would have liked to go further, but we played really well."

Chris Kerlin, Sailors assistant coach, said Simon was chosen as player of the year for his consistency on the field.

"He was a team leader for us," Kerlin said. "He was our captain all year. It's rare for a defensive player to win the award, but he was a critical part of our success."

To reach Eric Rineer call 871-4229

or e-mail erineer@amigo.net

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