Over the course of the 2013-14 prep sports season, Dolores High School junior Kellen Gatzke solidified his status as one of the area's finest athletes.
Simultaneously, Gatzke starred in the classroom, earning a 4.2 grade point average while showcasing outstanding intellectual abilities.
Through it all, the soon to be senior remained humble and true to his roots, proving that athletic ability, intellectual prowess and classy behavior can coexist in today's day and age.
A star on the diamond
One of the area's finest baseball players, Gatzke enjoyed an excellent 2014 campaign, doubling as a pitcher and shortstop for Dolores.
On the mound, Gatzke was the Bears unquestioned ace, keeping hitters off balance with a strong fastball and a deceptive curveball.
At the plate, Gatzke was equally impressive, leading the Bears in nearly every offensive category while delivering several clutch hits over the course of the year.
Always looking to improve, Gatzke plans to dedicate himself to baseball in the upcoming months in preparation for next season.
"Baseball is my favorite sport," said Gatzke. "I want to well in it and continue to play after high school."
As impressive as Gatzke was on the baseball diamond, the junior was nearly as good on the football field.
Suiting up for the Bears football team for the first time last season, Gatzke was solid as a defensive end and kicker, finishing fourth on the team in total tackles with 43.
Thanks to his outstanding play, Gatzke was named to the San Juan Basin League all-conference team.
"I love playing defense and I love kicking," said Gatzke. "Football got me in some pretty good shape. I can't wait to play next year."
A stellar student
While some athletes struggle in the classroom, Gatzke has experienced no such difficulties, earning mostly A's and a few B's during his first three years of high school.
Solid in multiple subjects, Gatzke explained that he especially enjoys math, English and biology.
"I used to be really into math," said Gatzke. "I'm kind of losing that interest as it gets harder. I'm a big fan of English class and biology is cool too."
As for his future plans, Gatzke hopes to attend the Colorado School of Mines. If that does not work out, Gatzke would like to pursue a career as a corporate lawyer.
In the meantime however, Gatzke plans to spend the summer before his senior year improving his baseball skills, working and spending time with friends.
Thankful to have grown up in the Four Corners area, Gatzke explained that the opportunity to experience small-town life has helped prepare him for big things in the future.
"I love the small school and I like having my close-knit group of friends," said Gatzke. "I wouldn't want to go anywhere big until I'm older."