Weld County high school recruiting roundup: Greeley West’s Darren Delacroix, Layton Shipp bring the blue and gold to the blue and gold
February 1, 2017
Until Sunday, Darren Delacroix and Layton Shipp thought their days as teammates were over. The Greeley West running back and defensive end had spent the last two years alternately admiring each other's work and teaming up as two-way players, but with Delacroix committed to the University of Northern Colorado and Shipp considering an offer from Hastings College in Nebraska, those days seemed over.
Until Sunday, when the school that would have been Shipp's first choice all along finally got it together and got in touch.
"UNC came and talked to me, and it just went from there," Shipp said at West's signing day ceremony Wednesday morning. "It was pretty relieving, just knowing that another school wanted me and that they were a lot closer (to home) than Nebraska."
Shipp committed to UNC as a preferred walk-on in a heartbeat.
Delacroix had been committed to the Bears since August, so his signing was more a culmination.
"This is a place that I've wanted to be for a long time, so to finally finalize it and know that's gonna be my home is a really awesome feeling," he said.
Recommended Stories For You
Delacroix didn't know Shipp would be joining him until the defensive end texted him and asked what to wear to the signing ceremony — he sported a navy sweater and gold tie.
"Are you gonna take that up at Hastings?" Delacroix asked.
Then Shipp told him, actually, he'd be wearing blue and gold, not Hastings' crimson.
"It was pretty exciting," Delacriox said.
Shipp, meanwhile, had 73 tackles, 11.5 for a loss and five sacks in his two-year varsity career. His reasons for attending UNC are at least as personal as they are athletic.
"For me, it's their physical therapy with cancer patients," he said. "My mom's going through cancer right now, so she's going through physical therapy. UNC has that program, so I think it's a perfect fit."
As for Delacroix, he'll move to wide receiver; he played that position for West as a sophomore and junior before switching to running back as a senior. He made a great back, rushing for 1,581 yards and 20 touchdowns on 6.7 yards per carry.
Delacroix caught 36 passes for 644 yards — 17.9 per catch — and eight touchdowns in his high school career.
The attributes that made Delacroix a great runner last year should translate to the next level, and his new old position, because there just aren't many 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenders who can match Delacroix's strength and agility — especially after he spends some time in a college weight program.
"This year, I had a chance to play running back, and I took it," Delacroix said. "And it was a lot of fun, but (receiver) was kind of what I had always wanted to be playing.
"Being close to home was really big for me. For people around Greeley, they can really tell that stuff's changing over there. The program is on the rise. Just getting close with coach Collins and all the coaches, it made it a really easy choice for me."
Roosevelt senior safety/quarterback Cameron Hurtado will head to Gunnison — a popular destination for local football standouts — and will play for Western State Colorado University.
Hurtado, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound three-year starter at QB, led the Rough Riders in rushing (805 yards) and passing (492), scoring eight total touchdowns in 10 games this past fall.
In 2015, during Roosevelt's run to the 3A state finals, Hurtado had 837 passing yards and 1,211 rushing yards for 31 total touchdowns.
CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN
Hurtado isn't the only Weld football player who's taking his talents to Gunnison. He'll be joined by Dayspring Christian Academy's Swiss-Army knife, Caleb Urwiller.
As a senior, Urwiller rushed for 813 yards and 11 touchdowns on 20.8 yards a pop, caught 27 passes for 433 yards and seven touchdowns and intercepted three passes — all in just six games before a broken collarbone ended his season. It was enough to earn him first-team all-state honors.
In the Eagles' 55-53 win over Haxtun last September, Urwiller scored all eight of his team's touchdowns — six rushing, one receiving and one kickoff return.
Making it official
Although Windsor senior linebacker Corte Tapia verbally committed long ago — back in July — to play football at Colorado State University, he official signed Wednesday in the Fireside Room at Windsor High School.
This past fall, Tapia, 6-foot-2, 222 pounds, tied for the team-high in tackles with 93, with team-highs of 49 solo tackles and 18.5 tackles for a loss. He also had a team-high seven sacks in 12 games as the Wizards (9-4) again made a deep run in the playoffs, advancing to the 4A semifinals.
Tapia tops CHSAA's statewide record book in career sacks, with 46.
He also lined up at fullback on occasion this past fall, carrying the ball 47 times for 257 yards and six touchdowns.
Greeley West has another pair of athletes who'll be teammates in college — volleyball hitters Ryan Maddera and Hannah Emerson. The two will continue their careers at McCook Community College in Nebraska.
Maddera, who plays in the middle and outside, finished last season with 179 kills, 132 digs, 28 blocks and 21 aces.
Middle hitter Emerson had 92 kills, 33 blocks, 31 digs and 10 aces.
Still seeking championships
Fort Lupton senior Jody Sandoval already has won two individual wrestling titles and will compete for his third later this month in the 3A state tournament.
However, even after that, he will be far from finished pursuing championships.
Sandoval signed last week to wrestle for Northeastern Junior College in Sterling.
He is ranked first in 3A at 126 pounds by On the Mat and has a 34-1 record.
The OLD COLLEGE TRY
Greeley West 182-pound wrestler Xavier Vasquez will walk on at UNC. The senior is 24-2 and just won the 5A Front Range League title at his weight class. As of the most recent On the Mat rankings, Vasquez is third in the state in his weight class.
Although he's a walk-on, his 4.0 high school grade-point average will give him the chance to earn an academic scholarship.
Valley senior outside hitter Brooke Schilling will head to the southern part of the state to play volleyball for Colorado State-Pueblo.
Schilling, 5-foot-9, was a key contributor since her freshman season with the Vikings.
This past fall, she led the team in kills (363) and digs (337), was second in blocks (56) and serve receives (243) and third in aces (41). She was instrumental in helping Valley (23-6) advance to the state finals for the third year in a row.
MINING FOR GOLD
University linebacker Caleb Measner will continue his football career at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D.
The 5-foot-11, 225-pound senior had 55 tackles and five sacks last year as he helped anchor a stingy Bulldogs defense and earn his team their first playoff berth in 31 years.
Weld Central had a pair of athletes signing National Letters of Intent.
Senior setter Lauren White signed to play volleyball for Northeastern Junior College. This past fall, she led the team in assists (437) and aces (72) and was second in kills (141) and digs (265) for the Rebels (20-5).
Senior guard Jonathan Lindstrom signed to play football at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn. Lindstrom, 5-foot-11, 255 pounds, helped lead 2A Weld Central (8-2) back to the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Keep on swingin'
Platte Valley senior pitcher/shortstop Lindsay Niederkorn has signed to play softball for Northeastern Junior College.
She hit .508 with 25 RBI, six doubles and three home runs this past fall for the Broncos (8-14). She had 12 stolen bases.
Defensively, she fielded .896. In the circle, she had a 3.18 earned-run average, striking out 116 and 46 strikeouts.