By Tom Southall- CHSCA
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, the community of Kit Carson sure has done great work raising its youth and Tess Hornung is an amazing example of that. This tiny town on the eastern plains of Colorado did so well raising a group of sportswomen, that they were recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Team for high school volleyball and basketball by the Sportswomen of Colorado. At the center of this outstanding group is a young lady who has demonstrated academic and athletic abilities to match those from any of the bigger schools in Colorado. That would be almost all the other schools in Colorado, as Kit Carson’s senior class had only 8 students this year.
Tess Hornung’s SAT score approaches 1400 and she has already completed enough online classes to enter the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs as a 2nd-year student this fall. Her athletic accomplishments are very impressive for an athlete at any level. In her three sports—volleyball, basketball, and track & field—Tess has been on five state championship teams, All-State eight times, player of the year four times, and a podium placer 6 times.
If anyone needed to find Tess Hornung as she grew up, they could find her in the school gymnasium or classroom. Heck, they could have found Tess on the baseball diamond as early as the age of 3 when she had her first sports experience playing on the town’s t-ball team. From that early age, Tess knew that sports would be her “thing” and it has always been her dream to play every sport available.
With all these accolades to her credit, Tess remains very grounded and humble. Natalie Fremel, Kit Carson track coach, writes that Tess is a “great role model for every individual she has crossed paths with…not wanting recognition for herself, but for the team and community that she is a part of.” Tess has definitely given back to her community as she turned an English class assignment on writing grants into a Good Sports grant that enabled the Kit Carson School District to purchase $7,000 of sporting equipment and uniforms for only $700. This new sporting equipment allowed Tess to introduce her favorite sports to the next generation of Kit Carson athletes.
Tess commented that she cannot put into words how much she has enjoyed growing up in Kit Carson. “Small towns aren’t all the same, they each have their own culture. Everyone in Kit Carson treats each other as family—and no, we aren’t all related! But we look out for each other and take care of each other.” Upon moving to Kit Carson in her freshmen year, Tess let the older players be motivational leaders on the team. But by her junior year, Tess was ready to be the leader on her teams and relished being the emotional leader by letting her free-spirit and humor add to the team dynamic.
The team dynamic at Kit Carson High School has been dynamite in recent years. Check out this TNT:
During the spring season, Tess was a standout for the Kit Carson track & field team in the shot put and discus. State podium spots were earned in the shot put with 3rdplace finishes in 2017, 2018, and 2019; and in discus with finishes of 5thin 2018 and 4thin 2019. Impressively, her 2019 season bests in each throw would have qualified her for the state track meet in all five track classifications. Tess also ran as part of the state-placing 4x800m relay. Not bad for her third best sport!
Tess was surprised and very appreciative upon learning of her selection as the recipient of the 2019 Freddie Steinmark Award. She is honored to be recognized for her constant dedication on the court, classroom, and in her community. She thanks her parents and coaches and views this award as thanks to everyone who supported her and taught her since her days on the t-ball diamond. Most importantly, she is proud to have been chosen to follow in the footsteps of Freddie Steinmark and hopes to follow his example of standing tall in the face of life’s ultimate challenge.
The Steinmark Award was established in 1972 and honors Freddie Steinmark, who excelled in football, basketball, and baseball while attending Wheat Ridge High School in the 1960s. He was also an outstanding student and was active in several school and community-oriented endeavors before attending the University of Texas, where he helped the Longhorns to the national football title in 1969. Freddie died from cancer in 1971 at the age of 22. Students athletes nominated for the award must be seniors who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 and participated in at least two varsity sports, having earned at least All-Conference in one sport and All-State in another.
Tess is the 47thwinner of the girls Steinmark Award since it was first presented to girls in 1974. The first girl to win the Steinmark Award was Anne Vento of Pueblo Centennial in 1974. There were two winners of the award in 1984. Hornung will be honored as part of the CHSCA All-State Games on June 7, 2019, at Adams State University in Alamosa, CO, along with Pueblo East’s Kain Medrano, who will receive the boys 2019 Steinmark Award.
Last year, Soleil Gaylord of Telluride was the recipient of the girls’ Steinmark and Ryan Marquez of Pomona the boys’ Steinmark recipient.
Finalists for the 2019 Steinmark Award: Logan DeRock, Roosevelt HS; Claudia Dillon, Evergreen HS; and Cody Robinson, Yuma HS.
Other nominees: Allyson Bartholomew, Cheraw HS; Francesca Belibi, Regis Jesuit HS; Ella Benkendorf, Elizabeth HS; Tiya Chamberlain, Wheat Ridge HS; Kaylee Corsentino, La Veta HS; Brianna Denton, Swink HS; Kaiya Firor, Hotchkiss HS; Lauren Frink, Highland HS; Michaela Hill, Eaton HS; Dawson Knode, Haxtun HS; Jessica Slane, Sangre de Cristo HS; and Kirsten Wood, Weldon Valley HS.