Reader’s reaction: A taste of your favorite sports memories from past decade

Just for a little perspective, the top story 10 years ago today in The Daily Sentinel was University of Colorado running back Cortlen Johnson leading the Buffaloes’ rushing attack past Boston College in the Insight.com Bowl.

My, how things have changed.

The Buffs aren’t doing many powerful things lately on the football field, and the Insight.com Bowl has gone the way of the Ourhouse.com Florida Citrus Bowl and the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl.

Locally, the past decade has seen plenty of change from a new soccer stadium at Mesa State College to the addition of artificial FieldTurf at Stocker Stadium.

But the one thing that hasn’t changed much in 10 years is the effort on those athletic fields. On Christmas Day, the Daily Sentinel sports staff rehashed some of the decade’s most memorable moments. This week we decided to ask readers to identify some of their favorite moments.

Four Grand Valley prep stars make the top of professional sports

Former Grand Junction High School football players Andrew Walter and Marques Harris both got their first NFL start in the past 10 years. Walter played three seasons for the Oakland Raiders, and led the team to its first win of the 2006 season. Harris was undrafted out of Southern Utah University, but caught on with the San Diego Chargers. Harris signed with the San Francisco 49ers this past offseason, but was released. He has since re-signed with San Diego. Palisade High School and Mesa State graduate Ben Steele also had his big break come in the past decade. Steele bounced around the league in the early part of the decade before seeing regular season playing time with the Green Bay Packers in 2004. The fourth Grand Valley prep star to make the majors was former Central High School pitcher Jimmy Serrano. The right-hander pitched 10 games for the Kansas City Royals in 2004, including five starts.

Palisade boys basketball makes final eight in 2000

This Bulldogs’ team possibly had the shot of the decade. In its regional playoff game against Lincoln, Palisade trailed by three with two seconds left in overtime. Looking for a prayer, the Bulldogs inbounded the ball to Ryan Hayden, who nailed an 85-foot miracle to send the game into double overtime. In the extra session, Palisade won 72-67 to advance to the final eight at the Pepsi Center. That shot combined with a last-second putback by Mike Scott in Palisade’s district championship game, made the 2000 Bulldogs squad one of the most exciting teams to watch.

Paonia wins wrestling state titles in 2006 and 2009

Led by coach Andy Pipher, the Eagles have established themselves as Class 2A powerhouse this decade. Individual state champions from those years were Justin Iacovetto at 119 pounds and Lukas Wiggins at 152 pounds in 2009. In 2006, it was Chris Kennedy at 275 pounds.

Emmie Madison and Alex Proietti win state tennis championship at No. 3 doubles in 2009

The win over Cherry Creek’s Caroline and Alexa Warly helped the Grand Junction girls tennis team earn a fourth-place finish, only the seventh time since 2000 the Tigers landed in the top five. In 2009, the Tigers were propelled by not only Madison and Proietti’s win, but also having three other spots place. In addition to the team and individual performances, Grand Junction was given the sportsmanship award in 2009.

“All of those accomplishments say a lot about girls tennis in Grand Junction,” Robin Madison, Emmie’s mother, said. “Just for our girls to be competitive against teams who have a lot more resources is exciting for the entire Grand Valley.”

Ashley Hunt’s tennis career at Grand Junction

Hunt was as decorated a doubles player as has come through the Grand Junction tennis program. In four years, Hunt placed in the state tournament every season and was selected All-State each time. Hunt began her career alongside Hilary Garretson and finished first at No. 4 doubles in 2000. The next season, Hunt was paired with Maddie Burford and finished first at No. 1 doubles. Hunt rounded out her career with a third-place finish at No. 1 doubles with Liz Brady, and a second-place finish at No. 1 doubles in 2003 with Amiee Dominguez.


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