By Martinique Davis
Telluride High School’s mascot is the Miner, but in 2008 it could have been the Pioneer, with local teams and athletes landing historic wins that will go down in school history.
With a regular season record of 10-0, the THS Boys Basketball team took top honors for their league in 2008, winning the league title for the first time since 1987. The team finished with an overall record of 19-3 after losing to eventual state runner up, Paonia, 57-56 in the 2A West Regional final in Grand Junction in March.
The team’s winning ways in 2008 helped catapult two of the team’s leading players into the limelight, with Ian MacCracken and Mike Matthews earning all-conference first-team honors (second-team honorees were Jeffrey Erickson and Carl Schroedl). Matthews was also named the league’s Player of the Year – for the second year in a row – and then went on to make school history by being the first-ever student to sign a full-ride basketball scholarship. He will play for Durango’s Fort Lewis College next year.
While Matthews and his team were making history on the basketball court, their coach and TMHS Athletic Director Mike Hughes was keeping pace with his accomplished players. Hughes was selected as Coach of the Year, after being named the state’s Athletics Director of the Year for the 2006-07 school year.
The 2008 U-19 Girls Hockey team became the first team from Telluride’s illustrious Lizard Heads hockey program to win a state championship title, after they toppled three teams in a row at the Colorado girls’ hockey state meet last March. The girls’ team, which just a few years ago posted a 1-20 record, flew onto the statewide hockey scene in 2007 with a second-place finish at the state championship. The team returned en force in 2008, beating third-seeded Arvada (the team that knocked them out of the championship the year before), and then went on to beat Aspen, and finally Colorado Select to take the title. The girls have started the new winter season on a strong note, notching four shutout wins to their early season record so far.
In two more Lizard Head firsts: Hurley Kane became the first Lizard Head Hockey player to be signed by a Junior team, announcing his signing with the Puget Sound Tomahawks this summer. Kane, 18, is the youngest of a long family of Lizard Heads. Another former Lizard Heads youth player to sign with a hockey club in 2008 was Ryan Swain, 15, who was accepted at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C.
Also hoping to engrave their names onto the state championship history books this year was the ever-talented THS Cheerleading Squad, a strong and mighty crew of local ladies who have traveled to the Denver State Cheerleading Championships three years running. After winning the title in 2006 and coming in second in 2007, the girls were especially poised for success in 2008 – their routine boasted tumbling and stunts worthy of a 5A school’s status. Yet the Lady Miners’ fate ultimately fell not on the strength of their routine (which was awesome). In the end, a misplaced hand-grab, resulting in a rules infraction, cost the team a weighty point deduction and sent them tumbling out of the competition without the 2A cheerleading title.
Meanwhile in the county’s West End, Norwood High School’s Hugh Hardman and Stryker Lane and Nucla’s Ty Sickels each won a state championship at the Colorado High School Activities Association 2A wrestling tournament in February. The Mavericks’ Hardman successfully defended his 140-pound title by pinning a Lyons wrestler in 1 minute, 36 seconds, finishing 41-1 on the season.
Lane, who won the 189 state title in 2007 as a sophomore while at Nucla High School, captured the 215 crown this year by pinning a Burlington wrestler in 1:42. Lane finished with an impressive 20-0 mark on the year.
For Nucla, Sickels obtained the 130 title with a 4-2 decision over a Grandview wrestler to finish 35-10.