Honored Again

Kupcho named Pro Athlete of the Year by Sportswomen of Colorado; Schalk, CU’s Hodgkins also earn awards

By Gary Baines – 01/23/2020

Jennifer Kupcho, the Colorado-born-and-bred golfer who posted three top-five finishes in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour in 2019, was named the Professional Athlete of the Year by the Sportswomen of Colorado, which announced its 2020 award winners and Hall of Fame inductees on Thursday.

Also among the SOC honorees in the golf realm were Hailey Schalk of Holy Family High School (high school golf) and Kirsty Hodgkins of the University of Colorado (college golf).

Kupcho, Schalk, Hodgkins and all the other award winners — based on their performances in 2019 — will be honored on March 15 at the Sportswomen’s 46th annual awards celebration, held at the Hyatt Recency Tech Center. In all, 55 awards will be presented, plus the yet-to-be-announced Sportswoman of the Year honor.

Kupcho, who in 2017 was inducted into the Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame by virtue of winning three awards in the same sport over the years from the SOC, had a stellar first season on the LPGA Tour in 2019, though she didn’t turn pro until late May, when she concluded her college career.

After just 19 tournaments, Kupcho finished 39th on the 2019 LPGA money list, earning more than $525,000. Among her three top-five finishes was a runner-up at the Evian Championship, one of the LPGA’s majors. 

Though the Sportswomen’s award given to Kupcho is for her professional achievements, by far her most headline-grabbing performance of 2019 came in winning the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which was nationally televised. Also in 2019, Kupcho won the last two of the nine individual college titles of her Wake Forest career, and she helped the Demon Deacons finish second nationally as a team in the NCAA Division I Championship Finals.

Schalk, meanwhile, captured her third straight girls state high school title in 2019. In the process, she became just the third three-time individual high school champion in Colorado history — of either gender — joining Lynn Ann Moretto of Cherry Creek (1995, ’96 and ’97) and Ashley Tait of Mullen (2002, ’04 and ’05). In May, the CU-bound Schalk will have the chance to become Colorado’s first four-time individual state high school champ.

As for Hodgkins, she finished second twice individually for CU in the fall portion of her final college season, which resumes next month. Outside of college action, the Australian claimed low-amateur honors in last year’s CoBank Colorado Women’s Open, finishing seventh overall.

Here is the complete list of the Sportswomen of Colorado award winners, based on 2019 achievements:

Honorees by Sport

Jana Van Gytenbeek – Basketball – High School (Cherry Creek High School) 

Jaelynn Smith – Basketball – College (Metropolitan State University of Denver) 

Brooke Raboutou – Climbing – (Boulder)

Sierra Bower – Cross Country – High School (Basalt High School) 

Stephanie Cotter – Cross Country – College (Adams State University) 

Frances Cable – Diving – High School (Arapahoe High School)

Brittney Dixon – Diving – College (Colorado Mesa University)

Katharine Merrifield – Field Hockey (Colorado Academy)

Hailey Schalk – Golf – High School (Holy Family High School)

Kirsty Hodgkins – Golf – College (University of Colorado) 

Kaylie Berens – Gymnastics – High School (Pomona High School)

Lynzee Brown – Gymnastics – College (University of Denver)

Anna Hall – Heptathlon – High School (Valor Christian High School)

Cindy Johnson – Highland Games (Englewood)

MeiLan Haberl – Ice Hockey (Air Academy High School) 

Sydney Kennett – Indoor Skydiving (Parke)

Katie Fankhouser – Kayaking (Lyons High School)

Sloane Murphy – Lacrosse – High School (Colorado Academy)

Miranda Stinson – Lacrosse – College (University of Colorado)

Sage Hurta – Running – College (University of Colorado) 

Dani Jones – Running – College (University of Colorado)

Morgan Kreb – Shooting Sports – (Academy Online High School) 

Mikaela Tommy – Skiing – (University of Colorado) 

Lisa Long – Soccer – High School (Cheyenne Mountain High School)

Taylor Kornieck – Soccer – College (University of Colorado)

Katherine Sackett – Softball – High School (Erie High School) 

AnnMarie Torres – Softball – College (Colorado Mesa University)

Coleen Gillilan – Swimming – High School (Fossil Ridge High School) 

Maddie Ward – Swimming – College (Colorado State University)

Sarah Thomas – Swimming – Open Water (Conifer)

Sophia Herzog – Swimming – Paralympian (Poncha Springs)

Valerie Negin – Tennis – High School (Smoky Hill High School)  

Rebecca Weissmann – Tennis – College – (University of Southern California)

Taylor James – Track – High School (Niwot High School) 

Christel Donley – Track & Field – Masters (Colorado Springs)  

Judith Laney – Triathlon (Denver) 

Maggie Guteri – Ultra-Running (Durango)

Laura Knoblach – Ultra-Triathlon (Boulder) 

Gianna Bartalo – Volleyball – High School (Lewis-Palmer High School) 

Katie Oleksak – Volleyball – College (Colorado State University)

Emily Stockman – Beach Volleyball – (Colorado Springs)

Jaslynn Gallagos – Wrestling – High School (Skyview High School)

Angel Rios – Wrestling – High School (Valley High School)

Special Awards

Remington Ross – All-Around (Highland High School and Eaton High School)

Sara Crawford – Coach of the Year – High School (Kit Carson Junior/Senior High School)

Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart – Coach of the Year – College (University of Denver)

Gail Klock – Coach of the Year – Masters (Colorado Peaches Softball Club)

Jennifer Schubert-Akin – Inspiration (Steamboat Springs)

Lisa Johnson – Joan Birkland Leadership Award (Greenwood Village) 

Karen Johnson – Dorothy Mauk Pioneer Award (Denver)

Jennifer Kupcho – Professional Athlete of the Year (Westminster)

Mountain Vista High School Poms Team – Swede Johnson Spirit Award

Colorado Academy – Team – High School  

University of Denver Gymnastics Team – Team – College

Francesca Belibi – Trailblazer (Regis High School/Stanford)

Will Be Inducted into Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame in 2020

Dani Jones – Running

Sydney Kennett – Indoor Skydiving

Sarah Thomas – Swimming – Open Water