'Best of the best'

Denver Post names top athletes

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The last week of December seems a little late to be talking about prep football, but Hayden senior Evan Hilling doesn't mind, because the Tigers had a great season.

Hayden's successful 10-1 campaign is translating into numerous postseason awards, and the Denver Post released the latest -- and final -- All-State lists on Sunday.

In the newspaper's annual "Best of the Best" special section released during the holidays, the prep writers, editors and photographers list what they deem are the top athletes in all fall sports.

Eight Steamboat Springs athletes and five Hayden athletes were recognized this year.

Hilling and junior Keenan Bruchez were named first-team All-State by the Post. Hilling was selected as a defensive back, and Bruchez was named as an athlete. Seniors Jesse Drennan (athlete) and Chris Frentress (defensive back) and sophomore Brandon Ford (linebacker) were honorable mention All-State selections.

"It's nice to have our team get people on the All-State lists, but everyone knows how we did all together," Hilling said. "I think it was appropriate for Keenan and Jesse to be picked as athletes, especially Jesse. He fits in everywhere."

Hilling said his father went out early and got the newspaper for him.

"He already had it laying out," Hilling said.

Eight Steamboat Springs athletes likely have a copy of the Dec. 26 edition of "Best of the Best," as well, and all eight Sailors athletes deserve their honors.

Freshman Ramsey Bernard was selected to the Class 4A second team All-State team after winning the No. 3 singles title in October. Only three singles players make the first team, so the seniors who won titles were given that honor.

Joining Bernard on the All-State team were seniors Jonathan Solomon and Patrick Ayres (No. 1 doubles) and junior Nick Ludolph and sophomore Jesse Schaller (No. 3 doubles). Both doubles teams placed third at the 2004 state tennis championships. They were named to the honorable mention All-State team.

Steamboat senior Jennifer Hooper was named to the Class 4A honorable mention All-State cross-country team. She placed 25th at the state meet in Colorado Springs with a time of 19 minutes, 48.2 seconds.

Senior outside hitter Kristyn Bradbury and junior setter Tara King were named to the honorable mention All-State volleyball team in Class 4A. Both helped lead the Sailors to the regional tournament before the season ended.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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