Feb. 28, 2012
Quarterback Cole Gautsche still is earning accolades, three months removed from the Class 5A New Mexico high school football championship he helped Cleveland High School capture.
The Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame will recognize Gautsche, a University of New Mexico freshman football player, as one of its High School Male Athletes of the Year tonight during its annual banquet at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid.
Gautsche, also the 2011 New Mexico Gatorade Player of the Year, led the Storm to a 13-0 season and the 5A title this past season. Gautsche passed for 3,087 yards and 39 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He also rushed for 1,218 yards and 23 TDs as Cleveland scored 641 points for an average of 49.3 points per game.
"I'm honored to receive this award; it means the world to me," said Gautsche, who graduated from Cleveland in December and enrolled at UNM in January so he can participate in spring practice next month. "I've always loved playing football; it's a passion to me, and I'm grateful that I was able to be part of a team that was so successful."
Gautsche will continue to focus on his offseason conditioning and academics as he gets ready to compete for playing time for UNM during spring ball. He hopes his high school award will symbolize the work he does for coach Bob Davie and the Lobos.
"Coach Davie always talks about representing the school in a positive light," Gautsche said. "I try to do that every day."
Gautsche is one of several Lobos who will share that light tonight.
Lobo senior Carmen Messina also will be honored as the Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year. The UNM men's soccer team will be honored as the Collegiate Team of the Year, and its coach, Jeremy Fishbein, will earn the Collegiate Coach of the Year award.
Lobo women's soccer players Kelli Cornell, a junior, and Jennifer Williams, a senior, will share Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year honors, and former UNM baseball player Jordan Pacheco is set to receive the Professional Athlete of the Year for his performance with the Colorado Rockies and Colorado Sky Sox.