Aspen football says goodbye to unique senior class
There aren’t many football teams that can claim to have a senior class with half the players being female, but the Aspen High School football team would be an exception.
Today’s 7 p.m. home game against Steamboat Springs is senior day for the Skiers, a chance to say goodbye to both their seniors: James Kistner and Talyn Stapleton.
Kistner stands out for his size — he’s easily the biggest person on the team — while Stapleton stands out for being the only girl on the team.
“I tried volleyball. I couldn’t get into it like everybody else,” Stapleton said. “It was definitely playing for the love of the sport; to have fun. At the same time, it’s a lifetime experience that not everyone can earn.”
Stapleton first played football as a sophomore before having to give it up as a junior because of some off-the-field issues. That season sitting out made her realize how much she had enjoyed it, leading to her return as a senior.
A cornerback and wide receiver, Stapleton plays on the junior varsity team but shares the same love for the sport each of the guys have.
“They do find it a little strange, but at the same time I have a little brother that does figure skating, so in a way it works well,” Stapleton said of her family’s thoughts on her playing football. “In the end, you are one of them. It doesn’t matter if you are a girl or not.”
Kistner is a force for the Skiers on both lines, and as the only varsity senior understands the isolation Stapleton may have being the only girl. He’s often had to step up and lead a young team while trying to make the most of his senior season.
“It’s definitely hard to carry them, but also I feel they will be a very good team when they are older and if they stay together,” Kistner said. “We won our first home game, so hopefully we win our last one. That would be a good last omen, being a senior.”
Kistner has hopes of playing college football after graduation. Stapleton is leaning toward the military, with staying in state to attend Colorado or Colorado State University another plan.
Aspen (1-6 overall) and Steamboat Springs (0-7 overall) are trying to stay out of the Class 2A Western Slope League cellar, as they are the final two teams without a league win.
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