County Schools Notes: Coaches association honors Windsor’s LaVerne Huston for famed volleyball coaching career
April 5, 2017
Around the county
» Gudka staying on the gridiron: Weld Central senior BJ Gudka will extend his football career for several more years.
Gudka, who played quarterback and cornerback for the Rebels, recently committed to Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis.
Concordia Wisconsin plays in the Division III Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
Gudka, 6 feet, 180 pounds, completed 73 of 159 passes for 945 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions this past season for Weld Central. He ran for 325 yards and five touchdowns on 71 carries.
He recorded 31 tackles, 19 solo, picked off one pass and recovered two fumbles.
He helped the Rebels (8-2) get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
» Driscoll staying in state: Windsor senior swimmer Rilea Driscoll has committed to swim for Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference member Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
This past February at the Class 4A Girls Swimming and Diving Championships, she capped a strong senior season by placing 19th in the 200-yard freestyle (2:00.58) and 22nd in the 500 freestyle (5:35.40).
She also contributed to the Wizards’ seventh-place 400 freestyle relay team (3:40.27) and their 17th-place 200 freestyle relay team (1:46.26).
» Trujillo soaring on: Valley senior Aaron Trujillo has committed to wrestle next school year for Chadron (Neb.) State College.
The Eagles wrestle at the Division II level in the RMAC.
In February, Trujillo helped the Vikings win their fourth consecutive 3A team title. In the process, he won his second consecutive individual title, capping a 39-3 season at 145 pounds.
» Riders ride on: A pair of Roosevelt volleyball players have committed to play in college this coming fall.
Addison Hays, a 5-foot-3 libero/defensive specialist, has committed to play in the RMAC for Fort Lewis in Durango.
Rowan Garcia, a 5-foot-8 setter, will play for Valley City (N.D.) State University. The Vikings are a member of the NAIA North Star Conference.
Hays had 584 digs and 47 aces this past fall for the Rough Riders (14-11).
Garcia had team-highs of 746 assists and 51 aces.
» Earning his stripes: Former Eaton track and field coach and longtime basketball official Kevin Jelden recently earned quite the distinction.
On March 11 at the Denver Coliseum, he was one of three referees selected to officiate the 4A boys state title game between Valor Christian and Lewis-Palmer.
Jelden headed the Reds track program with his wife Konnie before they retired from coaching in 2014.
» Beginning of a Nightmare: With a roster full of former local high school football standouts, the Northern Colorado Nightmare minor league football team will take the field for the first time for a preseason game against the Englewood Eagles at 7 p.m. Saturday at District 6 Stadium.
Admission is $5. Children 5-and-under are admitted for free.
The team, which is in its first year, features numerous former county schools standouts — from Platte Valley, Roosevelt, Eaton, and the like.
» All-Tri-Valley: Numerous Windsor and Roosevelt basketball players earned all-conference honors in the Tri-Valley after this past season.
Windsor had two selections on the boys team: senior Jake Hammond and junior Kirk Relford. Junior Deaunte Hunt was Roosevelt’s sole boys representative.
Mead’s Michael Ward earned Player of the Year honors, and Holy Family’s Pete Villecco was named Coach of the Year.
The Wizards’ girls team had a trio of selections: junior Michaela Moran, sophomore Hollie Hoffman and junior Madi Denzel.
Mead’s Vern Rathbun was named Coach of the Year.
When LaVerne Huston moved on from Valley High School, her alma mater, to take the Windsor head volleyball coaching job back in 1991, she couldn't have fathomed she would still be coaching the Wizards more than 25 years later.
However, as impressive as Huston's tenure in Windsor has been, the number of years she has coached may not even be the most impressive number she has accumulated.
It's what she has done in those 25-plus years that has truly garnered the acclaim of her peers, her pupils and just about anyone who follows volleyball locally and throughout the state.
She passed the rarefied air of 400 career victories two seasons ago. And after another season in which the Wizards racked up double-digit wins and advanced to the Class 4A state tournament this past fall, Huston has run her career total to an outright gaudy 419.
“It was very nice to be in a room with legends, basically.
— LaVerne Huston, Windsor volleyball coach
Those numbers and all the other immeasurable contributions Huston has allowed her to ascend to "Step 4" of the Colorado High School Coaches Association's Achievement and Longevity Recognition — a system the association uses to reward coaches who have taken their careers and their programs to superlative levels.
During the CHSCA's Hall of Fame banquet March 25 in Denver, Huston was recognized while receiving a flashy piece of jewelry.
"I got a very nice, big ring," Huston said with a laugh in a phone interview Wednesday. "It was very nice to be in a room with legends, basically."
It's a good thing the CHSCA took the time to point out Huston's vast coaching accomplishments. Odds are, she wasn't going to point them out herself.
Even with all the success she has had during a coaching career that started with a year as the head coach at University in 1985, two years as an assistant at Valley and three more as the Vikings' head coach; Huston is not one to toot her own horn.
In fact, even after receiving one of the CHSCA's highest honors, Huston was far more willing to talk about her program's accomplishments, rather than her own.
"It's not about me," she said.
"I don't want it to be about me. It's about the athletes that I've had the privilege of coaching and building relationships with."
Not one to ballyhoo over her invitation to CHSCA's banquet, Huston was accompanied by her husband, Don, and her daughter, Brittany Euresti, who played for LaVerne at Windsor more than a decade ago.
Although Huston already has fit a complete career's worth of accomplishments into her quarter decade with Windsor, she has no intentions of completing her career any time soon.
With no end in sight, Huston said she plans to continue coaching for as long as she maintains that same bright-eyed enthusiasm she's had since she took over the Wizards' program three decades ago.
"As long as things stay positive and I can continue to keep moving and I enjoy what I'm doing — I love working with the student-athletes," Huston said. "I've been so blessed to be surrounded by kids that are committed, kids that are respectful. I just feel very blessed being at Windsor, knowing that's where I really started my career and that's where I'll end my career."
Bobby Fernandez covers county schools sports for The Tribune. Reach him at (970) 392-4478, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez. Listen to him at 11:35 a.m. each Tuesday and 6:35 p.m. each Wednesday on 1310 KFKA.