WOODLAND PARK – Jacob Censner, Joe Callahan and Hannah Sauer took in the moment as they sat at the main table in the Woodland Park High School library.
The three seniors were celebrating the fact they received preferred walk-on offers, where they’ll have guaranteed spots on their college athletic teams. Joining them for the party were family, friends, fellow students, as well as faculty and staff.
“I’m very excited,” said Sauer.
“This brings it to a whole new level.” Sauer was joined by her parents, Greg Sauer and Amy Stokka, as she inked her name to a deal with Western State in Gunnison. The volleyball star was a middle blocker for the Panthers and is expected to compete for playing time as a freshman.
“If things go well, after my freshman year I could earn a guaranteed spot,” Sauer said. “That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Sauer was a three-year letterman for Woodland Park.
She was given high praise by Panthers coach Stacy Roshek.
“Hannah will definitely be missed,” Roshek said. She was a setter when she first came to us and we moved her to the middle where she excelled.”
Sauer’s older sister, Kjirsten, is a senior at Western State, but did not play athletics for the school. Sauer’s younger sister, Linnea, is a junior at Woodland Park and plays volleyball for the Panthers.
Censner and Callahan both signed deals for Fort Lewis College in Durango. Their journey to the Division II school was marked by injuries their senior seasons which limited their effectiveness.
Both players broke their legs in Week 5 against Pueblo Central.
Censner was the team’s starting quarterback, while Callahan was a wide receiver and punter/kicker.
“It’s through his hard work and dedication that Joe earned this,” said Woodland Park football coach Joe Roskam about Callahan. “He earned this spot through work ethic and desire. He’s a role model for guys to overcome adversity.”
Callahan was joined at the table by Rob and Jennifer Royer – both coaches and teachers at the school.
“I’m pretty fortunate to get this since I broke my leg,” Callahan said.
“I’m really looking forward to making the most of this opportunity.” Roskam said that Callahan will compete for the starting punting job right away.
“He can place it and put it where he wants to,” Roskam said of Callahan’s punting ability.
Censner was joined by his parents Gregory Censner and Bernie
“Jake will also battle for a spot right away,” Roskam said. Censner had a frustrating senior season.
He threw for just 616 yards and five touchdowns. That was a sharp contrast from his junior year when he set school records for yards (2,006) and touchdowns (22).
“I just want to get out there and prove what I can do,” Censner said. “I have a lot to make up for.”