Best Athletic Performance -- High School

Kyle Sand

It's pretty difficult to improve on perfection, so Arvada West senior wrestler Kyle Sand earns this year's designation as best high school jock. All the shaggy-headed Sand did is finish his wrestling career without once losing a match: 125-0, with four state titles, the last one at 189 pounds. Anyone who knows anything about wrestling -- where a momentary lapse in concentration or effort can land you on your back -- will attest to what an astonishing feat Sand has accomplished. In fact, when Sand bested his final opponent at the state championships last month, he became the first Colorado schoolboy ever -- and the 35th in the country -- to finish undefeated with four titles.

Best Athletic Performance -- High School

Kyle Sand

It's pretty difficult to improve on perfection, so Arvada West senior wrestler Kyle Sand earns this year's designation as best high school jock. All the shaggy-headed Sand did is finish his wrestling career without once losing a match: 125-0, with four state titles, the last one at 189 pounds. Anyone who knows anything about wrestling -- where a momentary lapse in concentration or effort can land you on your back -- will attest to what an astonishing feat Sand has accomplished. In fact, when Sand bested his final opponent at the state championships last month, he became the first Colorado schoolboy ever -- and the 35th in the country -- to finish undefeated with four titles.


Now that Ed McCaffrey has retired and Shannon Sharpe could well spend next season with his mouth in front of a microphone, the Broncos' receiving corps will be anchored by tireless team leader Rod Smith, the ten-year veteran out of Missouri Southern who holds Broncos franchise records for career receiving yards and touchdown catches. Come to think of it, he's always the anchor. A master of the downfield double move, this winner of two Super Bowl rings in the John Elway glory years remains one of the NFL's craftiest receivers. Woe unto the cornerback who loses track of Smith on third and seven, and woe unto any teammate who gives less than his best on Sunday afternoon. The ultimate professional, Smith was voted the Broncos' offensive captain last season, and quarterback Jake Plummer, still trying to get his bearings in Shanny Land, will be delighted to see Number 80 in the huddle again this year.
Now that Ed McCaffrey has retired and Shannon Sharpe could well spend next season with his mouth in front of a microphone, the Broncos' receiving corps will be anchored by tireless team leader Rod Smith, the ten-year veteran out of Missouri Southern who holds Broncos franchise records for career receiving yards and touchdown catches. Come to think of it, he's always the anchor. A master of the downfield double move, this winner of two Super Bowl rings in the John Elway glory years remains one of the NFL's craftiest receivers. Woe unto the cornerback who loses track of Smith on third and seven, and woe unto any teammate who gives less than his best on Sunday afternoon. The ultimate professional, Smith was voted the Broncos' offensive captain last season, and quarterback Jake Plummer, still trying to get his bearings in Shanny Land, will be delighted to see Number 80 in the huddle again this year.


After a year in which Daryl Gardener went from presumptive defensive superstar with a seven-year, $39 million deal to an offensive-name caller who played in a total of five games, the only question was how the Broncs would disappear his 300 pounds of petulance. After a final spat over the pancake-house-brawling lug's $3 million signing bonus, Coach Mike Shanahan suddenly shook hands with his former antagonist on March 11. The team agreed to release the end on June 2, allowing him to start shopping for a new team in the meantime. In return, the Donks get back a portion of Gardener's bonus. Maybe they can use it to buy some egg-remover for their faces.
After a year in which Daryl Gardener went from presumptive defensive superstar with a seven-year, $39 million deal to an offensive-name caller who played in a total of five games, the only question was how the Broncs would disappear his 300 pounds of petulance. After a final spat over the pancake-house-brawling lug's $3 million signing bonus, Coach Mike Shanahan suddenly shook hands with his former antagonist on March 11. The team agreed to release the end on June 2, allowing him to start shopping for a new team in the meantime. In return, the Donks get back a portion of Gardener's bonus. Maybe they can use it to buy some egg-remover for their faces.


See it in this light: Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is so good at developing running backs (good morning, Terrell, how's the leg?) and working them into the West Coast offense that he could probably pluck a 160-pounder out of junior college and turn him into an all-pro. By contrast, Shanny's had bad luck with cornerbacks (Dale Carter, Willie Middlebrooks, et al.). So when the Washington Redskins said they'd part with the best CB in the biz, Champ Bailey, Shanahan was willing to sacrifice his 1,500-yard-per-season ball carrier, Clinton Portis. If all goes well, Bailey will greatly relieve the pressure on Denver's harried secondary and make a few grabs at the depleted wide-receiver spot, too. Meanwhile, ex-Marine Mike Anderson will be trying so hard to get out of the coach's doghouse that he'll re-emerge from his cloud of pot smoke as a solid backup. That's our theory, anyway.
See it in this light: Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is so good at developing running backs (good morning, Terrell, how's the leg?) and working them into the West Coast offense that he could probably pluck a 160-pounder out of junior college and turn him into an all-pro. By contrast, Shanny's had bad luck with cornerbacks (Dale Carter, Willie Middlebrooks, et al.). So when the Washington Redskins said they'd part with the best CB in the biz, Champ Bailey, Shanahan was willing to sacrifice his 1,500-yard-per-season ball carrier, Clinton Portis. If all goes well, Bailey will greatly relieve the pressure on Denver's harried secondary and make a few grabs at the depleted wide-receiver spot, too. Meanwhile, ex-Marine Mike Anderson will be trying so hard to get out of the coach's doghouse that he'll re-emerge from his cloud of pot smoke as a solid backup. That's our theory, anyway.
He'll turn 37 on April 5, but Colorado Mammoth lacrosse star Gary Gait is still the league standard, the Michael Jordan of his sport. Last year, the 6' 2", 210-pound forward out of Syracuse broke his own National Lacrosse League single-season scoring record with 58 goals and once more became a first-team NLL All-Pro -- something he's done every year since he began playing pro lacrosse back in 1991. Tough, smart and relentless, Gait led three Syracuse teams to NCAA championships, and he's a five-time most valuable player in two pro lacrosse leagues -- not least because he holds the league records for goals, assists, points and shots. Amid the raucous theater that is a Mammoth game, Gait is the rock star who commands the most attention.
He'll turn 37 on April 5, but Colorado Mammoth lacrosse star Gary Gait is still the league standard, the Michael Jordan of his sport. Last year, the 6' 2", 210-pound forward out of Syracuse broke his own National Lacrosse League single-season scoring record with 58 goals and once more became a first-team NLL All-Pro -- something he's done every year since he began playing pro lacrosse back in 1991. Tough, smart and relentless, Gait led three Syracuse teams to NCAA championships, and he's a five-time most valuable player in two pro lacrosse leagues -- not least because he holds the league records for goals, assists, points and shots. Amid the raucous theater that is a Mammoth game, Gait is the rock star who commands the most attention.

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