Douglas County's Jordan Acosta wins girls Steinmark Award

Douglas County Fossil Ridge softball

(Lance Wendt/LanceWendt.com)

As one of the top students in Douglas County High School’s graduating class of 2017, Jordan Acosta has made plenty of speeches and presentations in her impressive list of classes.

Yet the news that she was the recipient of the 2017 Steinmark Award literally left her speechless.

After collecting herself and gathering her thoughts, she still didn’t know what to say.

“Oh my goodness, I don’t know what to say! This means so much to me,” said Jordan. “You have no idea. I just don’t know what to else to say. This award is like a cherry on top of the cake.”

That cake represents a wonderful athletic career that could have been sidetracked after she suffered a tibial plateau fracture during basketball season her junior year. Surgeries and procedures to introduce bone grafts would require rehabilitation for 8 months. Jordan told her doctors that wasn’t going to happen because she had to get ready for her senior softball season in half that time.

Jordan’s rehabilitation was limited to non-weight bearing activities and she was relegated to taking batting practice off a batter’s tee while sitting in a chair. She knew she had to keep her skills sharp and she was willing to think outside the box to accomplish her goals.

Pomona Douglas County Softball

(Renee Bourcier/CHSAANow.com)

After hearing about Freddie Steinmark’s story and researching more about his life, Jordan made it a goal to be nominated for this award. She knew that if she persevered and came back from her injury it would signify that she gave it her all to pursue her love of sports.

Jordan wrote in her Steinmark Award nomination letter that “My commitment would be to uphold the standards set by Mr. Steinmark in his efforts to bring passion and integrity to the games he loved. It would entail an undying, relentless strength in every aspect of my life and would recognize the hard work I have exerted all throughout my years as a student-athlete. ... I want to be a role model for other athletes and students to hopefully propel them towards success and allow them to dream big while believing in themselves.”

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. He died from cancer in 1971 at the age of 22.

Jordan Acosta is the 45th winner 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. Jordan will be presented with the award and honored as part of the CHSCA All-State Games on June 9, 2017, at Adams State University in Alamosa, CO. Jordan will be joined by Pomona’s Brandon Micale, who will receive the boys 2017 Steinmark Award.

An unweighted GPA of 4.00 ranked Jordan first with a group of students in a very talented class at Douglas County High School. Jordan is very proud of the fact that she becomes the first Steinmark Award winner in the long and illustrious history of Douglas County High School, which opened in 1897.

Jordan commented that “this is the perfect way to end my high school sports career. I am floored and mesmerized to know that I am included in the list of award winners. The past winners are incredible.”

Jordan’s athletic career kept her busy, as she earned 10 varsity letters in softball, basketball, and track. She was a 3-time captain on teams at Douglas County and also a captain on her club softball team.

Jordan’s determination to come back from her knee injury resulted in a sterling senior softball season where she posted a batting average of .522 her senior season, a slugging percentage of .644, a fielding percentage of .944, and 13 stolen bases.

(Dennis Pleuss)

These statistics bore proof that Jordan did not take all of her rehabilitation sitting down and enabled her to be named first team All-Continental League for the third time. Jordan was also named first team All-State by the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports, the Colorado High School Activities Association, and the Denver Post.

Jordan was selected to play in the CCGS All-State Softball Game and will play in the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Softball Game next week.

Off the softball diamond, Jordan was an instrumental part of a Douglas County basketball team that, in the 2015-16 season, had the most wins since the school moved into the 5A ranks.

Basketball coach Todd Dickson said, “She showed me what it really means to be a true teammate, always putting the team before herself and doing all of the extra things. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached and Jordan is always striving to do her best.”

Striving to do her best and wanting to help her teammates made it a difficult decision to not play basketball her senior season. After committing to play softball at Colorado State University, Jordan decided it would be best for her not to play basketball and continue to rehabilitate her knee.

(Dennis Pleuss)

Jordan was able to enjoy another track season this year for the Huskies and helped to qualify the school’s 400-meter relay team to the 2017 state meet.

In the classroom, Jordan’s ability to work with her classmates caught the attention of Language Arts teacher Rachel Benskey, who noted, “Jordan possesses many of the characteristics that make for a remarkable student: intelligence, insight, diligence, and motivation. However, impressive as they may be, it is not those traits that best define her, it is something much more. It is her desire for knowledge and self-improvement; her intellectual curiosity and her ability to elevate the ideas and work of her classmates; her willingness to not only accept, but embrace, any challenge I threw her way. ... She was not afraid to put her ideas out there, and she refused to turn into a passive observer of her own education.”

This active interest in her education made Jordan a Merit Scholar, a Boettcher Scholar applicant, and a member of the National Society of High School Scholars. Her weighted GPA of 4.17 was bolstered by taking seven AP or Honors classes during her term at Douglas County High School.

Jordan also played an active role at school as she was in the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Link Crew, Project Unify, and DCHS Leadership Group.

As noted, the Steinmark Award is presented for both boys and girls, and applicants must be seniors who have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0, participated in at least two varsity sports, and earned at least All-Conference in one sport and All-State in another.

Last year Tara Traphagan of Yuma was the winner for the girls and Chance Canty of Sanford won the boys Steinmark.  

The following are the girls who were also nominated for the 2017 Steinmark Award: Ashlea Carothers, Kiowa; Kylie Chavez, Sterling; Haley Frischolz, Battle Mountain; Kristina Kemm, Skyview (Mapleton Early College); Ashley Madden, Pomona; Sydney Prey, Golden; and Sloan Stewartson, Rock Canyon.