Girls Varsity Volleyball, varsity boys soccer · Class of 2021 Honored at Senior Night

Senior athletes were recognized on Wednesday night between the JV and Varsity volleyball games vs. Calhan. CSS lifted mitigation efforts to allow senior parents to participate, a first for the season.

“The atmosphere was fun,” exclaimed senior Whitney R., “and we definitely appreciated having the senior boys and parents in the gym, cheering us on as if it was a normal season.”

The Kodiaks bested Calhan 3-1 in an intense Black Forest League matchup to decide the league championship. Tributes for the athletes were shared while parents were also recognized at center court for a photo. Enjoy the senior tributes below:


Boys’ Soccer

Aidan Drummond: Aidan has taken full advantage of Kodiak Athletics this year, now playing his third sport — soccer. Whether on the court or field, Aidan has been a great teammate who keeps a level head and offers light humor to any situation. Every team needs an Aidan, especially during a year like no other. Coach Perdew was impressed with how quickly Aidan improved this soccer season in such a short time, predominantly playing defense for the Kodiaks. Aidan also played #2 doubles for the Kodiak tennis team and was a recipient of the Kodiak Coaches Award. He made the varsity basketball team this season and will be a key part of the lacrosse team, a sport he has helped to revive at CSS. Aidan will attend Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and study International Studies and French. (Parents: Emily Johnston and Chad Drummond)


Owen Gaul: Owen is also maxing out his senior year’s experiences in a Kodiak uniform. After playing basketball this year for the first time, Owen signed up to play soccer and has been a key component to the CSS defense. Coach Perdew references Owen as the anchor in the backfield who plays with a gritty determination and can be called upon to make any play. This fall while playing tennis, Owen competed at the #1 doubles spot for the Kodiaks, receiving a Kodiak Coaches Award for his dedication and work ethic. Owen has also been instrumental in reigniting our lacrosse program and will play again this fall. His hope is that the hard work and dedication that he has put forth in rebuilding the lacrosse program will continue in future years as he hands it off to his brother Emmit. Owen plans to continue his education at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where he will study Anthropology or Politics. (Parents: Margot Gray and Jeff Gaul)

Ethan Hedden: In his eighth soccer season as a Kodiak, Ethan earned the title of captain this year and quickly discovered how to lead his team through a challenging, unpredictable season. Coach Perdew noted that Ethan was the team leader who exemplified what it means to be a Kodiak, leading by example, poise, and a strong work ethic. With numerous soccer accolades from previous years, including All-Conference and MVP titles, this season might be Ethan’s most memorable as he appreciates the bonds with his teammates that have morphed from adversity. He has especially enjoyed these past two seasons playing alongside his brother Andrew. For all these reasons and more, Ethan was chosen by his soccer coaches for the Kodiak Coaches’ Award this year. Another sport that Ethan has mastered is mountain biking. This year he led the team as a senior, often helping the younger riders with technique and flow. In addition to being a dedicated athlete, Ethan is also a very talented artist and musician. He has been an integral member of the band program for nine years, and his love for music is always projected through his energetic and tasteful trumpet playing. He plays in our Concert Band, Pep Band, Garage Band, and various other small ensembles. His calm leadership style has encouraged many of his peers to take risks and to become better musicians. Ethan plans to attend Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, where he will study technology management and specialize in applied automotive technologies. (Parents: Rob and Jen Hedden) 


Ben McCurdy: Ben can practically step into any athletic arena and quickly find success. Not since middle school has Ben competed in soccer; still, he made an immediate impact this season as a dependable defender with a mighty foot. Coach Perdew noted Ben as a great teammate who is very encouraging to others and displays sportsmanship in all aspects of the game. These attributes carried over from the basketball season when Ben captained the team earning Most Valuable Player, All-Conference, and Honorable Mention All-State. Ben competed at the  #3 singles spot for the boys’ tennis team, and he will play lacrosse and volleyball before rounding out his stellar athletic career as a 5-sport Kodiak. Through athletics, Ben has learned how to become a better leader, discovered self-confidence, and come to appreciate his teammates. He plans to attend Colorado University-Boulder where he will focus on STEM coursework in order to uncover his major. (Parents: Caren and Jay McCurdy)

Alex Safayan:  Another impactful athlete, Alex made an immediate impact on the soccer field in a short amount of time. His speed, physical play, and versatility were critical for the team’s success, and his improvement helped him to earn the Most Improved Player award from his soccer coaches. Alex partnered with Owen Gaul at the #1 doubles spot for the Kodiaks this year in tennis, and he took a stab at playing basketball before an ankle injury cut short his season. He is looking forward to playing his favorite sport, lacrosse, for CSS this spring before rounding out his athletic career. Alex’s next step in his journey is still undecided, but he is considering attending the University of Arizona in Tucson and studying environmental sciences.  (Parents: Amir and Laura Safayan)

William Sobral: Will stepped out of his comfort zone to play soccer this year, a first for him. Coach Perdew noted his ability to catch on quickly and appreciated his positive attitude for learning. Known for his work ethic and desire to do a good job, Will was a key part of the basketball program this year as well. Will’s senior year will remain special to him as he was able to play both basketball and soccer with his younger brother, Nathan, this year. Two years ago, he established his personal company called Grover Robotics that teaches young people how to affordably code robots. Will plans to continue studying aerospace or mechanical engineering at either Denver University or UC-Santa Cruz in California next year. (Parents: Courtenay and Alex Sobral)

Ty Williams: In his fourth year of soccer for CSS, Ty found both comfort and pride in playing goalie for the Kodiaks. In 2019, Ty earned the Most-Improved Player award as he took his position seriously and worked on the little things to get better. This year his performance at goalie was very impressive as this team captain had a number of spectacular stops for the defense. Coach Perdew noted that it was a comfort to have such an intelligent and quality goalkeeper as the last line of defense. Ty joined the tennis team for the first time this year and competed at the #4 doubles spot for the Kodiaks, and he will round out his Kodiak career on the lacrosse field this spring. Ty will be remembered as an athlete who appreciates hard work, good leadership, and teamwork, and he learned about respect of differences while participating in sports. Ty plans to study biochemistry next year at the University of  Washington in Seattle. (Parents: Lee Ann and Paul Williams)

Girls’ Volleyball

Alair Ferguson: On the volleyball court, Alair has played different positions as needed over the years, bringing energy and an extreme work ethic into everything she does. A fierce competitor, she brings much needed vocal leadership to the team and leads by example. Alair is not afraid of hard work or a challenge, and this work ethic has been instrumental to her success on the court and is part of the legacy she leaves behind. Alair has been a key part of the basketball program over the years, earning her the Kodiak Coaches’ Award last year. She will compete for CSS in soccer this spring, closing out her high school career as a 3-sport athlete. Alair plans to continue her education at Grinnell College in Iowa while studying political science and linguistics.  (Parents: Sarah Hautzinger and Tim Ferguson)

Diamond Gill: Diamond has been playing Kodiak volleyball since her arrival to CSS her freshman year. She has been a steady and consistent player, filling in different positions as needed as a calm and positive role model for younger players. Her improvement and poise on the court is to be commended as she finds ways to mentor and lead by example on the JV squad while serving as a team captain. Diamond wishes to leave a legacy of how a positive mindset and attitude can set you up for success. Diamond’s other sport is soccer, and playing goalie for the Kodiaks is a task she takes great pride in. Her tenacity and determination is the perfect blend for any goalie, and Diamond has enough of these traits to go around. Diamond’s favorite fan is her sister Selena who has big shoes to fill as she moves up to middle school next year. Diamond plans to attend the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where she will study nutrition and dietetics. (Parents: Chris and Melinda Gill)


Elise Layton: For six years, Elise has been entertaining us with her volleyball prowess and finesse on the court. Now in her final season, this team captain leaves her mark as one of the premier hitters in the league, or city, for that matter. Elise has been the team’s offensive powerhouse for the last few years, racking up an impressive number of kills and points earned on serve. Her commitment to the game is evident as she has spent many off-seasons traveling the country with club teams. Her accolades include MVP and All-Conference honors since her sophomore year, which are certain to grow in numbers at the end of this season. Elise has learned through sport that giving up is not an answer, and she demonstrated this grit in the Fountain Valley game when she returned to the game to help her team even with a badly bruised knee. Elise will also play soccer for the Kodiaks this year to round out her career. She plans to attend the University of Denver and will focus her studies in the health field. (Parents Chris and Hendrika Layton)


Lydia Morgan: Lydia has been playing Kodiak volleyball since her freshman year when she joined the CSS community. She has worked hard to make contributions in serving and in the back row and continues to improve each day in her understanding of the game and how to best help the team. Lydia’s consistent positive attitude is her trademark, along with her dependability. She can always be counted on in a pinch, no matter the task, and her teammates value her for this. Lydia has persevered through years of playing JV, honing her skills, and mastering the flow of the game for a chance to play varsity this year. When she aces a serve, her teammates celebrate with her and for her, as they recognize the work she has put in over time. Lydia wants to be remembered for taking on tasks, even when they are challenging and new, and for staying true to oneself. Lydia will also play tennis for the Kodiaks this year as a two-sport athlete. She plans to attend either University of Northern Colorado or Colorado State University next year while focusing on child psychology or elementary education. (Parent Gina Boone)

Kaylin Patterson: Kaylin contributes in multiple ways, including filling in as right side and middle hitter as needed. She also maintains a positive demeanor while working hard to help the team be successful. Kaylin’s contributions to the volleyball program sometimes go unnoticed as she often comes off the bench to support her teammates. No matter the task, Kaylin is up for it, and she always does it with a smile and cheerful attitude. Her improvement in volleyball has been noted as she made varsity this year. Kaylin also ran cross country this year after a 3-year hiatus and found joy in being around her teammates again and helping the girls’ team claim another Black Forest League title. Kaylin’s favorite sports quote is “Limits, like fears, are often just illusions.” Kaylin plans to attend Kansas University in Lawrence next year where her work ethic and lack of fear will lay the foundation for a tedious career in medicine. (Parents: Katharine Leppard and Kevin Patterson)


Whitney Richardi: Whitney has been a front row star for the past few years, and this year she has really come into her own as an all-around force, bringing vocal leadership and play making to the court. Whitney will forever be remembered for her witty sense of humor, commitment, and influential leadership. On the volleyball court this year, Whitney has honed her skills and covers all the bases for the team with passing, serving, blocking, and hitting. Her percentages for kills up the middle are impressive as is her jump serve. Whitney leads the team as a captain, finding ways to motivate teammates through adversity. She has been a key member of both the volleyball and basketball programs over the years, earning MVP,  All-Conference, and All-State recognition. Whitney wishes to be remembered for her hard work, school spirit for all sports, mentorship to younger players, and volunteerism for CSS Athletics. In the spring, she will play soccer for CSS completing her stellar athletic career in a Kodiak uniform. Whitney will attend Texas Christian University in Fort Worth next year where she will study business. (Parents: Jill and David Richardi)

Bailey Reid: Bailey transitioned from cross country and only began playing volleyball last season, which is difficult to believe given her all around contributions to this team. She has become a blocking, hitting and serving force on the team and is a calm and steady influence on the court. Bailey earned the Most Improved Player award last season when she surpassed her potential as a newcomer to the sport. Her favorite memory from volleyball was last season when the team won the Crowley County Tournament. This year, Bailey continues to improve with each game and is a dominant force at the net blocking opponents or putting down a few kills of her own. She has enjoyed participating in sports with her sister Cailan, a sophomore, and will remember her time as a Kodiak and what it has taught her — that is, dedication, hard work, and teamwork all build success. Bailey also played basketball and earned other Most-Improved Player awards while terrorizing opponents on the inside with her tenacious defense and rebounding. Bailey plans to study environmental sciences at the University of Oregon in Eugene next year. (Parents: Lisa and Jason Reid)


Aadi Nashikkar: Aadi has been a Tenor Saxophone player from the beginning, nine years ago, in the fourth-grade when he first learned to play the “recorder.” Like all great musicians, he has grown more talented with age. His strong and confident playing brings life to the band and inspires his peers to work harder and play better. He challenges himself to learn new techniques and tackles soloistic parts with great finesse. He has performed in our Concert Band, Pep Band, Garage Band, the pit orchestra for the US Musical, and various other small ensembles. His varsity band letter is a reminder of his hard work and dedication to instrumental music here at CSS. Aadi’s leadership, commitment, and integrity are well known in our Upper School and have been a much appreciated part of our band program. After graduation, Aadi plans to attend Stanford (a first for any CSS student) in California, to pursue a degree in a field related to computer science. (Parents: Pankaj Nashikkar and Kshama Belsare)