South Routt athletes recognized for accomplishments off the field of competition |

South Routt athletes recognized for accomplishments off the field of competition

— Sixteen athletes and three teams from Soroco High School earned all-state academic honors for the 2016-17 fall season.

“My school work always comes first. My grades are my biggest priority and then it’s sports,” Soroco volleyball player Kendra Halder said. “I think it’s pretty cool that the state recognizes our academic accomplishments. It stressed that the most important thing is to keep your grades up.”

The Soroco boys and girls cross country teams, and the girls volleyball team were recognized as academic all-state selections for the 2016 fall season. The girls cross country team had an average grade point average of 3.9 and the boys cross country team had an average team GPA of 3.64.

“It was just as inspiring to see these kids excel in academics as it was to see them excel in athletics,” cross country coach Callie Anderson said.

The team scores were based on the squad’s average GPA, but Anderson had several athletes make the cut as individuals as well.

“It makes me really proud about our whole team,” junior runner Ben Kelley sad. “It means that we are all good students and good athletes. It’s a lot of work.

“Athletics take a lot of time and most student-athletes spend a lot of time outside of class studying and working to keep up with their classmates,” Kelley explained. “Sometimes, you have to fit school work in between training sessions, meets or on the bus headed to a meet.””

In all, Soroco had 11 athletes named to the academic all-state first team during the fall season. Those athletes met a long list of requirements needed to make the team including maintaining a GPA between 3.6 and 4.0. The players also had to be a junior or senior and have excelled in the sport that they were nominated for.

Ram athletes making the first-team all-state team included Cassie Constine, Michaela Villa, Caylee Hood, Charlee Veilleux, Mattie Rossi, Taylor Sanchez, Danielle Villa, Schuyler Carlson, Kendall Hood, Halder and Kelley. Five more athletes, including Morgan Palyo, Bosch Erickson, Jonah Jonas, Isaac Jonas and Sarvis Anarella, were named all-state honorable mention.

“My runners are not doing this because it’s easy,” Anderson said. “Every kid on my team wanted to have success in athletics and success in the classroom, and they made it a priority.”

The goals were similar for the players on the Soroco volleyball and football teams last fall, and each program was represented in the academic all-state team recognition.

Halder was part of the Rams volleyball team that earned all-state honors as a group with a 3.5 GPA.

She said she never really let the pressures of balancing school with sports get to her. She said she made her first priority education and has discovered that if she takes care of business in the classroom, things almost always work out on the court.

Halder is also a nationally-ranked shooter and will compete at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships, which will take place next year in Grand Island, Nebraska, June 25 to 30.

“The great thing is that these athletes embrace everything there is to embrace in South Routt,” Anderson said. “They are good students, good athletes and great community members.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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