Hall of fame honorees left their marks


Maurice “Stringy” Ervin, who never cut a swimmer during his more than 30 years as coach at Littleton High School, told a poignant story during his recent induction into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame.

Ervin divulged to the guests in his speech about a junior high teacher warning him not to let a boy come out for the team because he would ruin the program. That individual did come out, and when he was a senior, he participated in the state meet.

“After the state meet, we were at Shakey’s Pizza and he was crying by himself back at a table, and I walked back to ask him what the problem was,” Ervin said. “He said, ‘Coach, it’s all over.’ I told him it wasn’t all over — it was just beginning. I gave him the state championship trophy to take home and show his mom. His mom had never come to a swim meet.”

Ervin would not disclose the name of the swimmer or any other details.

Jess Gerardi, the Englewood High School band director for 20 years, was another of the eight people in the 2015 Hall of Fame class.

Gerardi, in his first year at Englewood High School in 1967, had his band perform at a Denver Broncos game. He wanted to do something that no other band had done at a Broncos game. The Pirates played the “1812 Overture” with canons, bells and about blew Mile High Stadium fans off their seats. Two weeks later, he was offered the job as director of entertainment for the Denver Broncos and director of Denver Broncos band. He did that for 30 years, continuing with his duties at Englewood for 20 of those years.

The other inductees are Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, swimmer, Cherry Creek; Judy Beardsley, volleyball coach, Merino and Sterling high schools; Natalie Hughes, cross-country/track runner, Palisade; Irv Moss, sports writer; Chuck Williams, basketball player, Denver East; and Art Wollenweber, baseball coach/athletic director, Sheridan.

Hockey is her sport of choice

Melissa DiPonio played soccer, field hockey, softball and tried figure skating as a youngster. But when it came time to specialize in a sport, she chose hockey.

After all her dad built a rink in the backyard and Melissa has been on the Heritage hockey team for the past few seasons.

“I had a rink in the backyard when I was growing up and nothing seemed to click as well as hockey did for me,” said DiPonio, a senior at Heritage.

DiPonio has three assists this year and is looking for her first goal.

“I can’t wait for that,” she said. “My teammates are really trying for me. I’ve been working with coaches and I’m doing my best to get my name out there. Academic wise I’ve been accepted at CU and it would be nice to play there (on Buffs club team). I’ve been in contact with the coach, and my goal is to get to the next level.”

DiPonio understands hockey is a physical sport.

“I’ll take a hit to set up things that need to happen,” she said. “If I have my head up, I can get out of the way or figure out a way to get around a player. If I put myself in a position where I am getting hit, that just comes with the sport.”

Highlands Ranch atop poll

The CHSAANow.com Class 5A girls basketball poll that was released Feb. 1 was loaded with six area schools among the top 10.

Highlands Ranch was ranked No. 1 and ThunderRidge third. Lakewood was fourth, Ralston Valley sixth, Horizon seventh and Cherry Creek eighth.


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