Windsor athletes take home awards at Best Preps banquet | MyWindsorNow.com

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Windsor athletes take home awards at Best Preps banquet

The following Windsor student-athletes won awards at Tribune's fourth annual Best Preps banquet, which took place May 24 at the Grand Ballroom on the Campus of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Nominees for the awards were submitted by athletic directors from 18 high schools across Weld County, and the winners were selected by The Tribune sports department.

Fall

» Football player of the year: Mitch Watson, senior

The Wizards ran to the 4A semifinals in 2016 on the back of their bruising running game and stout defense, and Watson was at the heart of both.

As an offensive tackle, he helped pave the way for 3,130 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns.

As a defensive tackle, he had eight tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks.

» Boys cross country runner of the year: Cale Englert, senior

Englert returned to the 4A state meet in 2016 and improved his time by more than 19 seconds from his junior year, finishing in just over 16 minutes, 40 seconds, good enough for 18th overall.

» Boys golfer of the year: Cole Krantz, senior

Krantz capped his stellar career with a 3rd-place finish at the 4A state tournament, where his -3 score was just one stroke off the lead.

Krantz will continue his golf career at the University of Colorado in the fall.

Winter

» Girls basketball player of the year: Michaela Moran, junior

The Wizards weren't on anyone's radar to make the 4A final four, but Moran had something to say about that.

She led Windsor in scoring and helped it win 13 of its last 15 games as it advanced further in the playoffs than it had in more than two decades and played big in big moments — she scored a career-high 22 points in the Wizards' Elite 8 win over Rifle.

» Boys athlete of the winter: Chris Sandoval, senior, wrestling

When Sandoval transferred to Windsor from Pueblo County before last season, he found a home. The Wizards found a champion.

Sandoval had nothing left to prove — he already had a state title to his name — but he wrestled like he did.

He capped his career with a 45-0 season and a championship at 138 pounds — a title that came against his former school. Sandoval will wrestle at the University of Northern Colorado.

» Girls athlete of the winter: Morgan Friesen, senior, swimming

For four years, Weld County swimming was Morgan Friesen's. This winter, she ended an already stellar career with 4A state titles in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200 individual medley.

The 200 IM championship was her second straight in that event, but she owned the 100 breaststroke — she set the state record twice and won the state championship every year of her career.

Friesen is taking her talents to the University of Louisville, leaving a legacy as one of Colorado's best swimmers.

Spring

» Girls soccer player of the year: Margaret Zimmerman

The Wizards (17-2) were once again one of the best teams in 4A and made a deep playoff run to the semifinals behind Zimmerman's leg and leadership.

Zimmerman scored 26 goals and added seven assists and added tough pressure to a unit that only allowed 10 goals all season.

With Zimmerman and many of her talented teammates returning next year, Windsor is poised for another run.

» Girls golfer of the year: Jessica Zapf, sophomore

Zapf shined on the course when the Wizards needed her most. She won an individual 4A regional championship by six strokes, and her efforts helped Windsor capture the team regional title, sending its entire team to state.

At state, she shot a 10-over-par, two-round total of 154, placing fourth individually.

She was just two strokes back from the individual medalist, Lauren Lehigh of Loveland.

She led the Wizards to their first runner-up finish in the team standings, behind Loveland.

» Boys lacrosse player of the year: Jacob Hardy, senior

Windsor has been a pioneer as the lone Weld County school with a lacrosse program. The Wizards made another playoff appearance this year thanks in large part to Hardy's hard-nosed defense.

Hardy won 53 ground balls and led Windsor in penalties taken, the type of tough play that every team needs.