Kenny, Kelly named Aspen High senior athletes of year at Wednesday banquet
Both Kylie Kenny and Christian Kelly put together quite the resume in terms of individual accomplishments during their time at Aspen High School. But as both prepare to graduate, it will be just about everything else they take with them from their athletic careers.
“Really, I’m just so grateful for my coaches and teammates and teachers,” Kenny said. “When I look back over the course of the past four years, I don’t think of any sort of individualistic athletic success. I think back on a lot of great times with great teammates and coaches.”
Kenny and Kelly were named the AHS senior female and male athletes of the year, respectively, during Wednesday’s senior athletic banquet on Upper Moore Field near the high school. The awards, given out annually, were a joint decision between The Aspen Times and the AHS athletic department.
Often awarded to athletes who excel across multiple sports, Kenny and Kelly certainly embodied just that, with athletic success across the seasons.
“It feels good, just because I worked pretty hard this year — and all four years, but especially this year with COVID,” Kelly said. “So it feels good that it paid off.”
Kelly was a rare four-sport athlete for the Skiers this year, competing in tennis, cross country and both Nordic and Alpine skiing. Most years he also competed in mountain biking, but that season was canceled this past fall because of the pandemic.
On top of holding down the No. 1 singles spot in tennis in the fall, Kelly played a major role in helping the AHS boys ski team to another state title — finishing top 20 in all four events — and also won the state’s skimeister championship, a separate competition that combines both skiing disciplines. His younger brother, freshman Chase Kelly, won both of the Alpine races at the state meet.
Kelly plans to attend Colorado College next winter after taking a gap semester. He is undecided on a major, but did say he may try and continue his tennis career after high school.
“Just the team and the sportsmanship that we all built and the family each team built,” Kelly said of what he’ll remember the most from his time as a Skier. “Especially on the tennis team, because I’ve been with these six other seniors for the past four years, so we’ve really built a family and sort of created a legacy for the next generation of players.”
Unlike Kelly, Kenny’s AHS playing days aren’t over. Less than an hour before the start of Wednesday’s banquet, Kenny led the girls lacrosse team to a 19-9 win over Eagle Valley on the AHS turf. The Skiers, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A this week, remain unbeaten on the season and should be a difficult out come the postseason.
Kenny signed to play lacrosse for the University of Denver, where she plans to study history and possibly pursue law school down the line.
“I’m really excited,” she said of the rest of the AHS lacrosse season. “I feel like with lacrosse we are just getting started. We are getting to know how each other plays; we have a lot of energy and excitement. We just want to take our momentum and keep rolling for the rest of the season.”
Kenny also competed in cross country back in the fall, where she finished 12th at state and led the AHS girls to a fourth-place team finish. She also was a strong Nordic skier, finishing seventh in skate and ninth in classic at the state meet, which the Aspen girls won.
Most importantly, Kenny was just happy to have the opportunity to compete as a senior, especially after she lost her junior season of lacrosse because of the pandemic.
“It definitely was more memorable,” Kenny said of this year’s unique sports seasons. “Being in COVID times, every day coming to practice for every sport I was part of was a blessing and such a joy, considering everything else that was going on.”
Among the other awards handed out Wednesday were the booster club’s “Character Counts” awards, given to two students who exhibited high moral character during the season. This year’s winners were Jake Doyle and Macy Hopkinson.
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Former Aspen Skiing Co. executive and Aspen city councilman Derek Johnson has been released from state prison and is currently residing at a halfway house.