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Field hockey Peak Performer of the Year: Casey Deeds, Palmer Ridge
Bears' captain led team to first finals
Jessica Berg, Palmer Ridge, Jr.; Brynn Churchfield, Cherry Creek Sr.; Haley Chytka, Palmer Ridge Sr.; Ali Clarke, Colorado Academy, Sr.; Casey Deeds, Palmer Ridge Sr.; Catherine Ellis, Kent Denver Sr.; Dahlia Gutierrez, St. Mary's Academy, Sr.; Clare Kavanagh, Cherry Creek, Jr.; Haley Kroll,Mountain Vista, Sr.; Afrah Mohammed, Kent Denver, Sr.; Julia Murphy, Colorado Academy So.; Sterre Van Ede, Colorado Academy So.; Mandy Weeks, Colorado Academy Jr.; Emily Hazard, Mountain Vista Sr.
Paige Carson, Denver East, Jr.; Raina Cazier, Regis Jesuit, Sr.; Tilly Hallett, St. Mary's Academy, Jr.; Faye Hubregson, Regis Jesuit, Sr.; Serena Johnson, Grandview, Sr.; Allie Konkol, Denver East, Jr.; Kate Powell, Cheyenne Mountain, Sr.; Jenell Murphy, Mountain Vista, Sr.; Kayla Wayne, Grandview, Jr.
Casey Deeds doesn’t lie awake at night thinking about the ways she’s succeeded.
She doesn’t think about the 12 goals and 21 assists she had this season, leading the Bears to their first state championship appearance. She doesn’t bask in the knowledge that she’s been the backbone of Palmer Ridge's field hockey program for the past two years. And no, she isn’t thinking about how her field hockey skills and No. 1 academic rank at Palmer Ridge have schools like Stanford and University of California-Davis groveling over her.
Instead, in her mind, she’s playing the shot she missed at state over and over.
Headed into a shootout in the state championship, Palmer Ridge and The Colorado Academy were scoreless. So five players from each team took their turn.
Deeds, the team’s captain, went first and missed. The Bears went on to lose the title game 3-2 in strokes.
“I practice those shots every day after practice,” she said, “I had nightmares about that.”
It was a tough way to end the program’s best and most surprising season.
After losing 15 varsity players, most people thought Palmer Ridge would be lucky to win half its games.
“Nobody thought we were going to be too good,” coach Paul Lewis said. “But I think we came out and surprised everyone. These girls even surprised me.”
The Bears (15-3) cruised early and often in 2012. They beat powerhouses Kent Denver, Regis and Cherry Creek, and did it in style.
Junior Jessica Berg came over from Air Academy to play with her best friend, Casey, and led the team with 21 goals.
“I think 80 percent of my goals were because of Casey,” Berg said. “She is always in the right spot and is just phenomenal.”
In the postseason, Palmer Ridge dominated up to the final game, outscoring Denver East and St. Mary’s Academy by a combined score of 6-0.
“We were so excited to be there,” Deeds said. “We were ready to win.”
But, like in life, sometimes things don’t bounce your way. In the state final, other factors could be blamed: officiating, weather, bad luck. Regardless, the Bears lost.
For some, like Lewis, they don’t want to hear about it.
“It doesn’t matter what happened in that game,” Lewis said. “She is a winner in so many ways. She is … I don’t even know how else to say it - a winner in every sense of the word.”
Weeks after the game, Deeds walked up to her coach and told him she wished they would have won the title for him.
“He was the reason we were there,” Deeds said. “He is the reason I fell in love with (field hockey). He is the reason we wanted to win state so bad. I just wish we did. He deserves it so much.”
Lewis smiled at the notion.
“That’s the kind of girl she is,” he said.