Steamboat Springs Five Steamboat Springs girls soccer players recently received All-Conference recognition for their individual play during the past season.
Western Slope coaches selected senior midfielder Julie Wernig, junior midfielder Nikki Garth and junior defender Abagail Fritz to the first team. Senior attacker Lia Utu and junior outside mid-fielder Anya Allen received honorable mention recognition by the same group of coaches.
Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann informed the five of their post-season awards toward the end of their annual soccer banquet on Wednesday night. In keeping with league policy, the actual names on the All-Conference lists weren't released until the completion of postseason play.
Steamboat's three first-team recipients Wernig, Garth and Fritz were given medals, while Utu and Allen received ribbons.
"I was so surprised," Fritz said. "This was my first time getting this for soccer. There are so many good players on our team, so to be chosen amongst all of them is great."
The Sailors went 9-6-1 overall during the 2002 season and 7-2-1 in conference play en route to making the playoffs. Steamboat hosted the opening round game against Legacy on May 4 but fell 3-1 to the Lightning to end the Sailors' season.
Wernig, still visibly upset about the loss, particularly as a senior, was pleased to be named to the first team but somewhat downplayed her selection.
"It's an honor that other coaches recognize the hard work that you do," she said. "But it's not like there is that big a step between the better people," she said.
Bohlmann echoed the words of Wernig. He said it is tough to pick the 22 top players in the Western Slope 11 to the first team and 11 to the honorable mention list based on several game encounters and reiterated the importance of the entire team in the sport of soccer.
"As far as results in games, I look at this as such a team effort," he said. "When it comes to selecting players it's certainly an honor, but it's like splitting hairs. All in all it's difficult as a coach to single out players in a process like this."
Still, Bohlmann felt the five Sailors picked by league coaches were deserving of the honor and serve as a great representation of the effort given by his entire team during the duration of the season.
"These players that were selected were selected because of their consistent play, impact and contribution to the team game to game," Bohlmann said.
Utu plans on continuing her soccer career at Regis University in Denver and Wernig, the other senior honored, isn't sure of her college selection yet but will pursue soccer wherever she decides to go.
The other three form a solid corps of returning players for Bohlmann's squad next season.