BOULDER — River Addison figured his 2013 senior football season probably wasn’t going to be overly memorable in terms of wins and losses. At the same time, with Addison still in search of a college home, he obviously wanted to make as big of an impression as he could, regardless of the situation.
It was the sort of conflict of interest that might have undermined a team-first approach, but that shortcoming never affected Addison. His perseverance was rewarded on Wednesday, as Addison signed a letter of intent to join the roundly successful Division II program at CSU-Pueblo.
Addison was joined by seven classmates during a ceremony in the Boulder library, including cross country star Erin McLaughlin (Cornell).
“For me, it wasn’t hard to focus, because football is my passion. I love it,” Addison said. “For me to be good, I needed to get my team to play good. And to be a good player, you have to lead by example. You have to talk to your team and show them how to be great, how to play at a high level.”
Best known as a receiver for the Panthers, Addison recorded 22 receptions for 420 yards and four touchdowns last fall for a Boulder team that struggled with depth even before enduring a rash of injuries. Yet Addison filled a number of roles for the Panthers during coach Bob Simmons’ first year at the helm, and he is expected to play safety for CSU-Pueblo.
Simmons has deep, longstanding ties with ThunderWolves coach John Wristen who, like Simmons, was formerly an assistant at CU. When he feared Boulder’s struggles might lead to Addison slipping through the recruiting cracks, Simmons reached out to Wristen, among others.
“He’s a great athlete and he helped the program in all phases,” Simmons said. “I got (Wristen) on the phone and said he had to take a long look at this kid. I called a lot of people about him. John called me back and I’m happy it worked out. I think River will do a good job and it will give me a chance to go down and watch one of my kids play.”
McLaughlin placed second in a loaded field at the Class 5A state cross country finals last fall, capping a cross country career that also included a fourth-place finish as a junior.
The Boulder High and FC Boulder soccer programs enjoyed three signings at the Boulder ceremony, including two Division I girls players in Keile Kropf (Vermont) and Chantal DeRoos (Northern Arizona). Wyeth Leemon, also a part of the FC Boulder program and a member of the Panthers’ 2012 5A state title team, signed with Eckerd College in Florida.
Rounding out the Boulder contingent were boys lacrosse player Zach Brode (Wheaton College, Mass.) and two Boulder students who compete for the state runner-up Centaurus lacrosse program, Kayli Weiss (Bowdoin) and Olivia Holmes (Rhodes College).
“I was initially interested in Cornell because of the quality of its academics, and then the athletics too,” McLaughlin said. “I made my official visit and I could really see myself there. The team was great — you could tell they were passionate and had great pride in their school.”
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