Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Although the prep season has wrapped up, it's hard not to look at the 2008-09 year and think about some of the accomplishments. It gave us great performances from Hayden, Steamboat and Soroco athletes and teams. Several athletes won state titles, including Kylee Swiggart and Sara Bearss in tennis and Cole Worsley in swimming.
On Sunday, the Steamboat Pilot & Today sports desk will unveil its second annual Routt County High School Athletes of the Year. If anyone has suggestions, please send them this way.
This week, however, let's take a look at the top five games of the year. Certainly there were more, but these are the five that instantly stick out.
Aug. 29, 2008. Soroco football beats North Park, 51-26
The game marked the Rams' first victory in 8-man football. After several years of struggling with numbers and getting pounded in Class 1A, Soroco made the move down to 8-man. There were a lot of reservations about what to expect, but with coach David Bruner's experience, the Rams looked like old veterans this Friday night.
Dec. 5. Steamboat hockey beats Aspen, 3-2 in overtime.
This is when junior goaltender Matt Dawes announced to the rest of the state it was going to be tough to score on him. Dawes stopped 51 of 53 shots, including 28 in the third period. Steamboat trailed by two goals early in the contest before Cody Fritz tied it up in the third. Grant Ehrick got the game-winner 3:13 into overtime. The game set the stage for the Sailors' most successful season to date.
Jan. 24. Steamboat boys basketball beats Glenwood Springs, 47-45 in overtime
The two best teams in the Western Slope League certainly lived up to that billing. In a game that had four ties and five lead changes, Steamboat found the deciding mismatch down the stretch. Sailors senior Alex Wood scored all of Steamboat's points in overtime, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:01 left in overtime.
March 14. Hayden girls basketball beats Meeker, 42-40
The win capped off a brilliant season for the Tigers and gave them a third-place finish in Class 2A. The game was back-and-forth for most of the day. But down the stretch, Hayden showed its mettle. Delanie VeDepo and Jarah Woodley both sank free throws in the last minute of the game to secure Hayden's best season ever.
May 1. Steamboat lacrosse falls to Lewis-Palmer, 16-11
The game marked Steamboat's first in the playoffs. After a perfect 13-0 regular season record, there were a lot of questions about whether Steamboat could compete with teams from the Front Range. The Sailors answered that and nearly pulled the game out. Down for most of the game, Steamboat had cut the lead to 11-10 with 11:09 left. Steamboat got two quality shots, one hit the post, before Lewis-Palmer put the game away.