Drumm, Ghent win Senior Awards | VailDaily.com

Drumm, Ghent win Senior Awards

BMBB Drumm, Connor PU 1-15

BEAVER CREEK – Capping a glittering athletic year, two of Battle Mountain’s brightest lights brought home the 2005-06 Senior Athletic Awards Tuesday night at the Vilar Center.In a year during which the school won a record six league/regional titles as well as a state crown in girls’ cross county, Connor Drumm (soccer, basketball and track) and Erika Ghent (cross country, skiing and soccer) exemplified the multi-sport success Huskies’ teams displayed during the last nine months.”Both Connor and Erika are the best athletes in the school,” said Rob Parish, who coached both athletes in track and cross country, respectively. “And they’ve ushered in an era of Battle Mountain doing so well athletically, not only with their teams, but within the school. They raised the bar of expectations. By diversifying their high school careers, Erika and Connor are a model for many younger athletes to follow.”Drumm and Ghent received their trophies in front of an appreciative crowd during the school’s Senior Awards Evening. Coaches David Cope (soccer) and Parish (cross country/ track) presented Ghent, while boys’ basketball coach Philip Tronsrue joined the aforementioned duo to do the honors for Drumm.”It’s cool,” Drumm said. “It shows the hard work for both of us, not just individually, but with our teammates. Having such a great year when all of the teams were successful helps.”

Ghent was equally appreciative of the honor.”There’s such a strong group of senior athletes in this school,” she said. “All of those girls deserved to be Senior Athlete. I’m honored to be nominated with them.”State championGhent capped a storied cross-country career, finishing eighth at the 4A state meet in October. Her performance, along with that of Jen Bowles, helped propel Battle Mountain to its first non-skiing state title since track and field did it in 1992.

Making this title all the more special was the depths from which Battle Mountain cross country emerged. The Huskies did have a a great team in 1999 at the 3A level. That year, the Huskies finished fourth in the state.But after moving up to 4A, the program had some lean times. And Ghent, along with Parish, started lead the Huskies out of the wilderness.”She like started this thing,” Erika’s sister Christa said in October. “She was pretty much the first person to go out for the girls’ team and really make it and build on it and have her friends come out. She got me to come out. She helps with everything. I like having her at the races because we have such a great bond. We’re like best friends.”Parish recognized that he not only had a talented athlete in Erika Ghent, but a leader as well.”Erika is just a tremendous athlete, and an even better leader,” he said. “She took the cross-country team from last in our region to first in state. She did so by example at times, and at other times, she led vocally, firing the kids up and asking the best out of them. She was our spark plug. I’m sure Cope would say the same.”

Yes, he would. On the first day of girls’ soccer practice in February, Cope asked Ghent to speak to the team about her state experience, the type of work and dedication required to achieve such a level.Come spring, Ghent had a rather unique situation, one that spoke well of her work ethic and dedication. A superb alpiner, Ghent still had to juggle the end of skiing season with soccer.”Erika’s a kid all others can look up to,” Cope said. “She would come from the mountain to soccer in February. She’d be changing in the car right on her way to practice.”When she was with the soccer team, she was part of a potent midfield. On the slopes, she began to show her credentials as a skier. In March at the tender age of 17, she finished 26th in both the super-G and the giant slalom at nationals, skiing against the country’s best like Lindsey Kildow and Julia Mancuso.”It just proves to you how much farther you have to work to get where you want to be,” Ghent said. “It’s awesome to compete against the best of your country. Any athlete would love it.”Ghent will be attending Denver University, but deferring next year to compete on the slopes.

Can you hear the Drumm?Drumm will be attending Division II University of Tampa this fall to play basketball. At a school where basketball is a distant third – usually – to skiing and hockey come winter, Drumm helped lead Battle Mountain to its first league title this winter.Drumm averaged 20 points and seven rebounds per game on his way to 4A Western Slope Player of the Year honors. Along with a league title, Drumm and company went to the Sweet 16 of the state playoffs for the first time in school history.”There are schools that are blessed to have certain individuals, and we were blessed to have Connor for four years,” Tronsrue said. “He brings so much to soccer, track and basketball. We as coaches are blessed to have him. He would be just as successful in football, skiing or baseball.”

While Drumm started his tenure in Eagle-Vail best known for his basketball skills, he turned himself into an excellent three-sport athlete. He started with soccer as a defender as a “stop-gap” measure, according to Cope.”We stuck him in there as a sophomore because we had a tiny senior class,” the coach said. “We were going to leave him in there as a stop gap until we found someone else. But he stayed out there.”In the process, Drumm became all-league at his position for last two years and was a key part of boys’ soccer’s back-to-back league titles.And if anyone had doubts as to Drumm’s athletic abilities, they’ve only needed to look at the oval this spring. Drumm, who had spent time between soccer and basketball honing his skills on the latter down on the Front Range, decided to go out for track. “Connor is a true competitor,” Parish said. “When he comes to a team, he means business. You’re going to get 100 percent from him.”

Safe to say, Parish was pretty happy with that decision. Drumm is part of the 3,200-meter relay team, which broke the school record, won a regional title and is state-bound. Drumm also qualified for the state meet this weekend in the open 800.”I’m definitely excited,” Drumm said. “I’ve heard people talking about it. It sounds like a cool event in front of a lot of people. I’m looking forward to the chance to do well with my teammates who have worked so hard.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934, or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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