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This week's Peak Performer: Jenn Urbaniak, Palmer basketball
Aaron Cooley, Mitchell
Cooley collected his second straight triple-double in a 47-45 loss to Sierra by scoring 20 points and adding 11 rebounds and 10 blocks. The 6-foot-5 senior had 17 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks on Feb. 7 in a win over Harrison and leads the Marauders in all three statistical categories on the season.
Cam Fraser, Lewis-Palmer
The Rangers won three games last week, including two one-goal wins, and Fraser scored in all three. Behind Fraser’s four goals and one assist during the week, L-P defeated Cheyenne Mountain, Palmer and Rampart to put itself into the playoffs where it will play Monarch in the first round.
The Fountain-Fort Carson Seven
After a midseason coaching change and much adversity, the F-FC team was able to put seven wrestlers into the 5A state meet and took second in the 5A Region 2 tournament. Tracy Hancock (195 pounds), Downey Wood (132), Cody Driver (182), Jacob Schoenberger (220), Nate Lightfield (170), Rashawn Benford (145) and Tevin Jones (285) all qualified for state.
Palmer wasn’t supposed to be this good, this soon. The girls’ basketball team was supposed to struggle the season after losing a talented senior class - but don’t tell the Terrors that.
Palmer has compiled a 19-2 record, including a perfect 8-0 mark so far in the 5A Metro, and one of the main reasons is Jenn Urbaniak.
In Saturday's league-clinching win over Doherty, Urbaniak scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds, had five steals and four assists. In the Terrors' Feb. 12 win over Liberty, she scored 17 points while shooting 57 percent from the field. The 5-foot-10 sophomore is averaging 15.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.4 steals and is one of the leaders on the team.
“It’s a quiet leadership role, she isn’t vocal yet, but we’re going to work on that in the next few years,” Palmer coach Dave Shackleford said. “You don’t know she’s in the building unless she’s on the court, but she brings her ‘A’ game all the time and she’s wise beyond her years.”
If the name Urbaniak sounds familiar, it’s with good reason. Jenn’s big brother Chris was a standout football and basketball player for the Terrors and is playing football for at Northern Colorado.
“He’s a really big inspiration because he taught me to work hard,” said Urbaniak, who also has a twin sister named Kailey, whose main sport is lacrosse.
However, Chris’ younger sister has made a name for herself in just two years. She says people doubting Palmer’s ability to reload and be successful drives the team.
“Everybody thought we wouldn’t be as good this season, but our team knew we all had to step up and play harder as a team and come together,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised because we have a lot of good players that know their part.
“On defense I play as hard as I can, and on offense when the opportunity comes I’ll take it. But I don’t force anything because I know everyone on my team can score, and when we play team basketball we click really well.”
In Palmer’s 19 wins, it has won by an average of 30 points. The Terrors have found little resistance in Colorado Springs, already clinching the 5A Metro title with two games left.
“With the quality kids we have, teams aren’t able to focus on one player,” Shackleford said. “Jenn is at the forefront, but other girls have stepped up every night to help out.
“We are a different type of team now. We aren’t as much of an outside threat, but we still have girls that can shoot it, and we have a different dynamic and they’ve jelled together.”
Urbaniak knows her team will face stronger competition in the playoffs, but isn’t worried about Palmer – which hasn’t lost since Jan. 12 – getting complacent.
“Our captains and coaches push each other to focus in practice and in games, even if it’s a mismatch,” she said. “We always get on each other for not focusing.”