Kain Medrano, Pueblo East HS, recipient of the 2019 CHSCA Freddie Steinmark Award
By Tom Southall
It seems appropriate that Kain Medrano was working out in a weight room when first called with news he was being recognized as the boys' recipient of the 2019 Freddie Steinmark Award. Agility and strength drills have been a staple of Kain's daily routine since about the 4th grade. Kain has tried to make the most of every opportunity that has been presented to him and knows that hard work and proper technique can take a performance to the next level. The next level will be a jump from Pueblo's Dutch Clark Stadium to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, as Kain will play football for the UCLA Bruins this fall.
"I am very appreciative and honored to receive the Steinmark Award and it is exciting to represent the city of Pueblo and Pueblo East High School," said Kain Medrano. "Sometimes college recruiters forget about towns like Pueblo." A sign of the times was Kain posting recruiting videos on his Twitter account and catching the eye of college coaches. Attending local summer camps also helped him rise through the ranks of potential recruits.
Backing up all the social media hype and camp drills with outstanding on-the-field performance is still the best way to impress coaches, and Kain's performance for the Pueblo East Eagles was what made him stand out. Three appearances in the 3A state football title game and a basketball final four appearance showcased Kain's athletic ability. As a track and field performer, Kain was at the top of the podium multiple times as part of a hungry Pueblo East squad that was a close 2nd-place finisher at the 2019 state track meet.
In his nomination letter, Kain Medrano wrote that he was thankful for the guidance and support of his coaches, teachers, and family. His teammates "have become like brothers, they celebrate victories with me and help me through the losses. They push me to be the best version of myself every day."
Kain's hard work helped him rise to the top as an All-State wide receiver and an All-State defensive stopper in basketball. In track and field, Kain displayed a unique combination of speed and power by being a two-time state champion in the discus, state champion in the shot put, and the leadoff leg for the Eagles' state championship 4x100m and 4x200m relays in 2019. Kain's emphasis on discus technique led him to the top discus throw in the state of Colorado (199' 9") and a new class 4A state record in 2019. This throw was the 6th farthest in the country this year and ranks in the top 10 all-time in Colorado prep history.
Kain Medrano is the 50th winner of the Steinmark Award since it was established in 1972 (there were two winners in 1976 and 1979) and he is certainly deserving. He becomes the first boys' recipient of the Steinmark Award from the city of Pueblo, and joins legendary Pueblo Centennial athlete, Anne Vento, as outstanding representatives of the Steel City. Anne Vento was the first girls' Steinmark Award recipient in 1974.
The Steinmark Award was established in 1972 and honors Freddie Steinmark, who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball while attending Wheat Ridge High School in the 1960s. He was also an outstanding student and active in several school and community-oriented endeavors before attending the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns to the national football title in 1969. Freddie died from cancer in 1971 at the age of 22. Students athletes nominated for the award must be seniors who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 and participated in at least two varsity sports, having earned at least All-Conference in one sport and All-State in another.
Kain is very cognizant of the role he can play in his community and how important positive role models can be for the next generation of student athletes. "I remember looking up to the older (Pueblo) East Eagles when I was small, thinking I want to be just like them when I get to high school. In our community there are many kids who don't have a positive male influence in their life, and I know that it is my responsibility to pay it forward." Paying it forward by looking at his past has led Kain to volunteer with the La Gente Youth Sports organization in Pueblo. Growing through the ranks as a participant in this organization and now as a coach and official gives Kain the perspective to share with Pueblo's youth how important it is to "keep your nose down, work hard, and be respectful to those you come in contact with."
Zachary Valdez, Executive Director of La Gente Youth Sports, Inc., wrote that "Kain is known for his commitment and contribution to the community...and exhibits exceptional leadership qualities to underserved, at-risk kids in need of opportunity" in the Pueblo area. Kain sets the example in the classroom as well, as he graduated with a 4.0 GPA and plans to major in Exercise and Sports Science with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
The CHSCA Freddie Steinmark Award trophies will be presented to the Steinmark winners, June 7, 2019 as part of the CHSCA All-State Games hosted by Adams State University in Alamosa. Kain will be joined by Kit Carson's Tess Hornung, who will receive the girls' Steinmark Award.
Dave Logan of Wheat Ridge High School, and now the extremely well-known sports announcer for the Denver Broncos and other sports endeavors, was the first winner of the award in 1972.
Last year, Ryan Marquez of Pomona received the boys' Steinmark and Soleil Gaylord of Telluride was the recipient for the girls.
Finalists for the 2019 Steinmark Award: Jakob Chrisman, Yuma; Jon Nuschy, La Junta; and Austin Vancil, Dakota Ridge.
Other nominees: Bennie Chacon, Centauri HS; Juan Doyle, Salida HS; Ty Garnhart, Eaton; Isaac Harris, Sterling HS; Barrett Miller, Eaglecrest HS; Braden Witzel, Burlington HS; and Cobi Wood, Grandview HS.
Tess Hornung, Kit Carson HS, recipient of 2019 CHSCA Freddie Steinmark Award
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, the community of Kit Carson sure has done great work raising its youth and Tess Hornung is an amazing example of that. This tiny town on the eastern plains of Colorado did so well raising a group of sportswomen, that they were recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Team for high school volleyball and basketball by the Sportswomen of Colorado. At the center of this outstanding group is a young lady who has demonstrated academic and athletic abilities to match those from any of the bigger schools in Colorado. That would be almost all the other schools in Colorado, as Kit Carson's senior class had only 8 students this year.
Tess Hornung's SAT score approaches 1400 and she has already completed enough online classes to enter the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs as a 2nd-year student this fall. Her athletic accomplishments are very impressive for an athlete at any level. In her three sports-volleyball, basketball, and track & field-Tess has been on five state championship teams, All-State eight times, player of the year four times, and a podium placer 6 times.
If anyone needed to find Tess Hornung as she grew up, they could find her in the school gymnasium or classroom. Heck, they could have found Tess on the baseball diamond as early as the age of 3 when she had her first sports experience playing on the town's t-ball team. From that early age, Tess knew that sports would be her "thing" and it has always been her dream to play every sport available.
With all these accolades to her credit, Tess remains very grounded and humble. Natalie Fremel, Kit Carson track coach, writes that Tess is a "great role model for every individual she has crossed paths with...not wanting recognition for herself, but for the team and community that she is a part of." Tess has definitely given back to her community as she turned an English class assignment on writing grants into a Good Sports grant that enabled the Kit Carson School District to purchase $7,000 of sporting equipment and uniforms for only $700. This new sporting equipment allowed Tess to introduce her favorite sports to the next generation of Kit Carson athletes.
Tess commented that she cannot put into words how much she has enjoyed growing up in Kit Carson. "Small towns aren't all the same, they each have their own culture. Everyone in Kit Carson treats each other as family-and no, we aren't all related! But we look out for each other and take care of each other." Upon moving to Kit Carson in her freshmen year, Tess let the older players be motivational leaders on the team. But by her junior year, Tess was ready to be the leader on her teams and relished being the emotional leader by letting her free-spirit and humor add to the team dynamic.
The team dynamic at Kit Carson High School has been dynamite in recent years. Check out this TNT:
- Volleyball: Tess had a career record of 105-5 and helped the Wildcats win state championships in 2017 & 2018, and finish 2nd in 2016; Player of the Year in 2017 & 2018; All-State 1st Team all 4 years. The Wildcats are on a winning streak of 82 consecutive sets. Selected to play in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Game and the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Game.
- Basketball: Tess had a career record of 99-1 during which the Wildcats were Consolation Champions in 2016 and State Champions in 2017, 2018, and 2019; Player of the Year in 2017 and 2019; All-State 1st Team all 4 years. The Wildcats are on a winning streak of 77 consecutive games. Selected to play in the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All-State Game and the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Game. Also, selected to play in The Show All-Star Game 3 times.
During the spring season, Tess was a standout for the Kit Carson track & field team in the shot put and discus. State podium spots were earned in the shot put with 3rd place finishes in 2017, 2018, and 2019; and in discus with finishes of 5th in 2018 and 4th in 2019. Impressively, her 2019 season bests in each throw would have qualified her for the state track meet in all five track classifications. Tess also ran as part of the state-placing 4x800m relay. Not bad for her third best sport!
Tess was surprised and very appreciative upon learning of her selection as the recipient of the 2019 Freddie Steinmark Award. She is honored to be recognized for her constant dedication on the court, classroom, and in her community. She thanks her parents and coaches and views this award as thanks to everyone who supported her and taught her since her days on the t-ball diamond. Most importantly, she is proud to have been chosen to follow in the footsteps of Freddie Steinmark and hopes to follow his example of standing tall in the face of life's ultimate challenge.
The Steinmark Award was established in 1972 and honors Freddie Steinmark, who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball while attending Wheat Ridge High School in the 1960s. He was also an outstanding student and was active in several school and community-oriented endeavors before attending the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns to the national football title in 1969. Freddie died from cancer in 1971 at the age of 22. Students athletes nominated for the award must be seniors who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 and participated in at least two varsity sports, having earned at least All-Conference in one sport and All-State in another.
Tess is the 47th winner of the girls Steinmark Award since it was first presented to girls in 1974. The first girl to win the Steinmark Award was Anne Vento of Pueblo Centennial in 1974. There were two winners of the award in 1984. Hornung will be honored as part of the CHSCA All-State Games on June 7, 2019, at Adams State University in Alamosa, CO, along with Pueblo East's Kain Medrano, who will receive the boys 2019 Steinmark Award.
Last year, Soleil Gaylord of Telluride was the recipient of the girls' Steinmark and Ryan Marquez of Pomona the boys' Steinmark recipient.
Finalists for the 2019 Steinmark Award: Logan DeRock, Roosevelt HS; Claudia Dillon, Evergreen HS; and Cody Robinson, Yuma HS.
Other nominees: Allyson Bartholomew, Cheraw HS; Francesca Belibi, Regis Jesuit HS; Ella Benkendorf, Elizabeth HS; Tiya Chamberlain, Wheat Ridge HS; Kaylee Corsentino, La Veta HS; Brianna Denton, Swink HS; Kaiya Firor, Hotchkiss HS; Lauren Frink, Highland HS; Michaela Hill, Eaton HS; Dawson Knode, Haxtun HS; Jessica Slane, Sangre de Cristo HS; and Kirsten Wood, Weldon Valley HS.