Kodiak Athletics announced three awards on Friday night that were representative of the program’s focal points of high standards and character in both the classroom and on the athletic field. The Kodiak Scholar Award was shared between sisters Kyle C. ’20 and Autumn C. ’20 who were not only superstars in cross country and soccer, but in the classroom as well with above-4.0 grade point averages. These two have steadily performed as warriors, leaving their legacies at CSS as two of the hardest working student-athletes ever to don a Kodiak uniform.
Kate G. ’20 earned Female Athlete of the Year for a consecutive time, a clear indication of the body of work that she accumulated over her stellar career. “Kate the Great’s” walls are adorned with All-State medals and MVP bears, and her CSS letter jacket barely has space for her latest All-BFL patch for basketball. But what’s even more impressive is her humility and leadership. As she departs CSS as one of the most-decorated athletes of all time, this legend and 5-sport athlete is focused on how she can give back to our community in the future and continues to mentor younger athletes who want to follow in her footsteps that will be difficult to fill.
Kyle J. ’20 followed in his brother Connor’s ’18 footsteps with earning Male Athlete of the Year for his consistency in dedication, teamwork, and leadership in four sports — cross country, soccer, basketball, and volleyball. Kyle’s selflessness was evident in how he presented himself on campus, always putting others first. Like the Crow girls, Kyle suited up this year for the cross country team, running competitive races for the first time in his life, simply to help the boys score as a team. He will be remembered as a natural athlete and leader who made hard work his trademark.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and these student-athletes who went above and beyond to contribute to Kodiak Athletics. We are very proud of you!
(Please read more below in the presentation speeches.)
Kodiak Scholar Athlete Award
This year has presented a unique scenario with two honorees of the Kodiak Scholar Athlete Award. It is my honor to recognize senior athletes, Autumn and Kylie Crow, as this year’s co-recipients.
To be considered for this prestigious award, an athlete must participate in two varsity sports for CSS while demonstrating high marks in the classroom. As with past recipients, Autumn and Kylie successfully balanced their overall commitment to our Kodiak Athletic programs while also earning impressive grade point averages well above the 4.0 mark.
Since Kindergarten, Autumn and her twin sister Kylie have been playing soccer together, sometimes even coached by their father Jason. Both girls have been instrumental in the success of our soccer program earning All-Conference and MVP status on several occasions.
Also, both girls have served as managers for the boys’ soccer team, holding their own during co-ed workouts. Together, these two sisters can put on a show with their mad soccer skills and are often an effective 1-2 punch for opponents.
This year, both girls wiggled out of their comfort zone of soccer and ran with our cross country team. Their contributions as the consistent #2 and #3 runners for the squad helped the girls’ to a repeat Black Forest League title and berth in the State meet. For their impressive performances, both girls earned All-Conference in their first-ever cross country season.
When asked about the legacy she would like to leave at CSS, Autumn replied: “I hope that people remember me as a positive role model. I work hard, and I try my best to always do the right thing, and I hope that inspires other people to do the same whether in the classroom, on the soccer field, or anywhere in between.”
When Kylie was asked what makes her proud to be a Kodiak, her response was, “I’m proud of CSS and who we are as a supportive community. We strive to help every student to find success, like in academics, athletics, or other extracurriculars.”
Ladies, thank you for your commitment, hard work, perseverance, passion, sportsmanship, and leadership. Your hard work has paid off as you are true representatives of what it means to be a Kodiak Scholar. This award will hang in our gym lobby, forever reminding those who follow of your legacies as Kodiaks. Kylie, good luck at Middlebury College in Vermont, and Autumn, best of luck playing soccer at Knox College in Illinois. You both make us very proud!
Female Athlete of the Year Award
Athletes of the Year are awarded to a junior or senior who has represented Kodiak Athletics, making an impact both on and off the court. In my 18 years at CSS, we have recognized many outstanding athletes for their accomplishments and hard work. This recipient of the Female Athlete of the Year, however, leaves CSS with a legacy as one of the premier athletes of all time to wear a Kodiak uniform, proven by the fact that she also earned this award last year. It is my honor to announce senior Kate Griffin as this year’s recipient.
This Triple Threat Athlete earned All-State recognition in 3 sports and All-Conference in four, including cross country, tennis, basketball, and golf, a sport she played for 4A Coronado High School. Somehow, before our freeze on Spring sports, Kate was planning to play 3 Spring sports — tennis, golf, and soccer. You see, Kate is a pro, with the help of her mother Lisa, at finding the means to balance her absolutely crazy sports schedule with her academic load, squeezing out every possible minute of each day.
On the tennis court, Kate played #2 singles throughout her high school career, earning Regional titles and State berths. She, along with her talented team, had her sight set on a state title this year before the season came to a sudden halt.
In cross country, Kate repeated as the Black Forest League Champion for the third time, leading her team to another BFL title, and she finished 12th at the State XC meet among a pack of quality runners. Again, she was named the Most Valuable Runner for the Kodiaks.
For her contributions in basketball, she earned Most Valuable Defensive Player Award and was considered one of the top defensive guards in the state. For the first time in her career, she was named to the BFL All-Conference Basketball Team, an honor that Kate will remember as a pinnacle award to her illustrious high school career.
Kate has passionately served as a team captain for all of these teams and mentors those in her presence with a genuine and collaborative nature–she leads with her heart. Her teammates admire her and follow her–they reference her as Kate the Great, and they do so with adoration. Kate is great, but not only for her natural gifts in athletics and her collection of accolades. Kate is great because of who she is as a person and how these attributes make others around her better people, including myself. She lives her life wrapped in humility while always serving the best interest of others. She simply makes the world a better, more compassionate place, simply by being a part of it.
Although Kate leaves CSS as one of the most celebrated athletes in the school’s history, she still questions her recognition. So, Kate, trust me when I tell you that you are leaving a momentous legacy as a great teammate, leader, mentor, and student-athlete. Your void as a Kodiak will be a challenge to fill. This plaque will hang in the gym to remind us of your short time here, but the ambitious impact that you made. Congratulations Kate, our 2020 Female Athlete of the Year. Colorado State University is so fortunate to be the next benefactor of our Kate–the Great.
Male Athlete of the Year Award
The Male Athlete of the Year coincides with the Female Athlete of the Year, recognizing a junior or senior who made a difference in Kodiak Athletics. It is my honor to present senior Kyle Jarolimek with this year’s Male Athlete of the Year Award.
Kyle is an exceptional athlete and young man, a senior who competed in four sports this year for the Kodiaks, serving as a captain for three of his teams. In soccer, he earned MVP for offense as well as All-Conference in the Black Forest League. Kyle’s attack game was relentless as he never backed down and attacked the goal with the fervor of a lion. His passion resulted in a yellow card this year, maybe his first, but definitely his last after our chat about sportsmanship. Kyle is a respectable young man who owns his mistakes and learns from them, making him a coach’s dream.
While playing an integral role in soccer, his favorite sport, Kyle learned that our cross country team was in need of another runner. So he laced up his running shoes and fully exerted himself for the 3-mile races with little mileage under his belt, simply because the team needed him. This is an exemplary model of Kodiak Award winners–making sacrifices for the betterment of the programs–and Kyle is an exceptional representative who consistently places others before himself.
In basketball Kyle was chosen as the Best Defensive Player at the end of the season as he often was assigned to guard the best in the lineup. His coaches noted his selflessness, work ethic, teamwork, leadership, and hustle as worthy attributes for this team captain. Kyle was consistent in his summer workouts, and he understood the importance of self-discipline and commitment.
In volleyball, Kyle was instrumental in establishing the boys’ program and would have served as a team captain this year before the abrupt halt to the season. Kyle’s natural agility and vertical jump were assets on the volleyball court, making him one of the more versatile hitters on the team.
This Triple Threat athlete is respected among his peers as a leader by example, a hard worker who gets the job done, a good sport, and a loyal teammate. His joy of movement is a testament to his natural abilities in any athletic arena. But more impressive are Kyle’s traits as a good human being. He is both a big and little brother, both roles that he embraces in his family of five. Following rules is important to him, and his integrity is intact as well as his empathy for others. And no matter the score, this young man played with the same intensity from start to finish, absolutely leaving it all on the playing field.
When asked about the legacy he wishes to leave at CSS, Kyle commented, “Hopefully I will leave a legacy of hard work and determination, for both sports and academics. I know my time at CSS hasn’t coincided with state championships or anything, but I played my heart out during sports, while still concentrating on my school work.”
Kyle, your legacy is intact, engraved in this plaque that will hang in the gym. Interestingly, your name appears just two years apart from your brother Connor’s name, who was also a recipient of this award. Best of luck, Kyle, and the Denver University will be a better community next year with you walking their campus.