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Sailor seniors have virtual signing celebration

Eight Steamboat Springs seniors virtually signed letters of intent to compete in sports in college via a Google Hangout on Thursday,
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — High school seniors have been deprived of so much already with school closures and canceled graduations and suspended sports seasons. Steamboat Springs Athletic Director Luke DeWolfe didn’t see why those playing a sport in college should also be deprived of a celebration for their achievements. 

On Thursday morning, eight Sailor seniors and a few dozen supporters gathered on a Google Hangout to honor the extension of their athletic careers. 

“I want to acknowledge the sacrifice that you and your classmates have made during these unprecedented times,” said DeWolfe over the call. “Some of you missed your senior seasons and all the opportunities that go with it. While I can only imagine the impact that this had, your sacrifice and grace during this time serve as models for what sport teaches us all.”

Before taking a moment to highlight each future college student athlete, DeWolfe began the call by welcoming Doug Tuminello as a guest speaker. Tuminello is an extreme adventurer, having rowed from Antarctica to Africa and summited Mount Everest. He spoke to the seniors about things they can take from this experience of missing out, into their college athletics careers and beyond.

“Resilience is key to being an athlete,” he said. “It’s key to success in life. We know that sport is really just a big metaphor for life. I think that’s why we love it so much. It’s in the context of our sporting endeavors that we learn the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It’s where we can experience every emotion in the context of a single competition.”

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Two seniors were unable to participate in the call, but eight others were applauded by a virtual grid of onlookers as they pretended to sign their letters of intent. 

Maxim Fullerton – Northeast Community College – baseball

Fullerton will be playing baseball for Northeast Community College in Nebraska at the National Junior College Athletics Association, or NJCAA, level. 

“I just really like the coaches that were there,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in their ability to make me a better baseball player. I really connected with the assistant coach and head coach and thought they were going in the right direction.”

Ethen Johnson – Western Nebraska Community College – baseball

Johnson is Nebraska bound where he will play for the Cougars in the NJCAA. Before signing, Johnson thanked his coaches for helping him get this far. 

Cooper Jones – Colby College – Nordic skiing

Jones, who skied for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, is headed to NCAA Div. III Colby College in Maine. 

“I would just like to thank my parents for supporting me, my coaches for putting in the hours with me always, and then, definitely my friends in all the sports that I do for pushing me through everything,” Jones said.

Ava Thiel – Salem College – lacrosse

Thiel, the goaltender for the Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse team, will play for Salem College next year, a Div. III school in North Carolina. The senior thanked her family and her coaches for helping her to earn the opportunity to keep playing.

Steamboat Springs High School junior Ava Thiel looks on from the goal as defenseman junior Lili Hutchinson charges toward the ball in the game against Battle Mountain on Saturday, May 3, 2019, at Gardner Field.
Leah Vann

Marat Schepper Washburn – Bates College – Alpine skiing

Schepper Washburn will be an Alpine skier at Bates College, a Div. III school in Maine. Taking 13th at the Colorado Ski Cup slalom race at Howelsen Hill this winter was just one of many accomplishments the downhill skier earned this year. 

Kyle Kagan – Bates College – Alpine skiing

Kagan will join former SSWSC teammate Schepper Washburn at Bates College. Kagan had an excellent last season, finishing fifth in a Colorado Ski Cup slalom race at home.

“I’d like to thank my coaches, teammates, friends, and everybody else who supported me along the way,” Kagan said. 

Maggie Congdon – University of Northern Arizona – cross country/track

Congdon will attend Northern Arizona University and run cross country and track at the Div. I level. 

“The team and the coaches, that’s what drew me in the most,” Congdon said. “(They) have such a holistic approach to the whole thing. They know that you’re human. They kind of have the same philosophy that (Steamboat Springs High School track and cross country coach Lisa Renee Tuminello) does. It’s just such a family. The team is so close and so welcoming.”

Riley Schott – St. Bonaventure University – lacrosse

Schott made her decision to play Div. I lacrosse in the fall when she inked with St. Bonaventure University in New York. 

“I went where I knew I would play all four years and where I was needed,” Schott said in November. “The decision came down to what would benefit me in the future.”

Mae Thorp – California Lutheran University – tennis

Thorp wasn’t able to participate in the call, but she will be playing tennis at California Lutheran University, a Div. III school. She took second at the Colorado High School Girls State Championships in No. 1 singles in 2019. 

Steamboat Springs junior Mae Thorp swings at the ball in the Class 3A state final on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at Centennial Park in Greeley.
Leah Vann

Oliver Capparelli – i2i International Soccer Academy, Northumbria University – soccer

Capparelli was not on the call, but DeWolfe said the senior will be attending the i2i International Soccer Academy at Northumbria University in England. Riley Moore, a 2019 Steamboat grad, is part of the same program.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.


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