Saturday, January 21, 2012

Colorado Collection: I Went to Prom with a Hall of Famer

As everyone's probably noticed, it's awards season.  It seems like every other night of the week there are red carpets, acceptance speeches, and people being mocked by Ricky Gervais.  There are People's Choice, Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammys, and tickets to Cooperstown being handed out left and right.

One awards ceremony you may have missed this week was one that is very important to me: the 2011 Colorado High School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame ceremony

Don't worry, I usually forget about this one in all the commotion.  But not this year.  No, this year's event was noteworthy to me because two of the seven entrants this year are my high school classmates, one of which was my senior prom date.  That's right, I went to the prom with a Hall of Famer. 

This year's class included a couple of former Denver Broncos, a handful of highly successful coaches, and my classmates Kris Jensen McKay and Cari Jensen Smith.  

Here is a run down of the Jensen Twins' (as they were known before they married and started families) accomplishments.

Kristen and Cari Jensen will be forever linked, not only as twins but in their athletic accomplishments at Fowler High School. Both were three sport athletes – volleyball, basketball and track – for Fowler. Both were FHS co-valedictorians and earned volleyball scholarships to Kansas State.

Cari Jensen Smith (Fowler High School): A 2000 graduate of Fowler, Cari was a three-sport athlete who also participated in student council, band, drama, National Honor Society, FBLA, FCCLA and a number of church activities. In volleyball, her teams were four-time district and regional champions, three-time state champions and a state runner-up. She was a four-time first team all-state selection. In basketball, Cari set 10 school records and helped her team to four state appearances, one state title and earned numerous awards, including first team all-state and 2A Player of the Year twice. In track, she set three school marks, won the state championship in the 100 meter hurdles (three times), triple jump (sophomore), 300 meter hurdles (sophomore) and placed in several other events throughout her career. Her track team also won a state title. Cari was named the Colorado Prep Sportswomen of the Year (2000), Fred Steinmark Award recipient (2000) and The Denver Post/Denver Athletic Club Student-Athlete of the Year (2000). She and Kristen were honored by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame as Prep Athletes of the Year in 2001.

Kristen Jensen McKay (Fowler High School) – A 2000 graduate of Fowler, Kristen was a three-sport athlete who also participated in student council, band, National Honor Society, FBLA, and a number of church activities. In volleyball, she helped her team to three state championships, finishing second once as well. Kris was named to a number of all-tournament and all-state teams in the sport. In basketball, she propelled her teams to four state appearances, including a state title and earned numerous playing honors at the district, regional and state level, including all-state as a junior. In track, Kris set four school marks and earned a trip to the state meet four times. She won the high jump as a freshman. As a sophomore, she and Cari combined to earn FHS the first place trophy by combining for 48 points. She earned 10 medals at the state track meet over her four years. She and Cari were honored by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame as Prep Athletes of the Year in 2001.
In my mind, their best year was our junior year when they followed up winning a state basketball title by winning a state track title by themselves.  Both events will forever be highlights of my sports spectating memories. 

As for how they fit into my Colorado Collection, while I'll probably never own a certified card autograph of theirs, I will forever have their autographs in a couple of my yearbooks.  So into the Colorado Collection they will go.