Dylan Heinrich

Sophomore Colton Pawlak attempting to pass by Fort Collins defenders at the Canvas Classic earlier this season.

Dylan’s Dozen: 12 Fossil Sophomore Athletes to Watch

April 19, 2023

Welcome to my new column, Dylan’s Dozen, where I highlight twelve people or events that deserve more praise. The first edition will be looking towards the future of Fossil sports, with the best athletes from the class of 2025.


Sarah Less

Trevor Baldwin approaches the net to take a set from teammate Alex Van Thuyne.

Trevor Baldwin

While still a new sport, the PSD Boys Volleyball team has already produced several standouts. Baldwin adds a youthful splash to the team, with 83 kills and 18 total blocks to add some serious length to the roster. The middle blocker has helped lead the Stars to a 12-5 record in their second season as they hope to make a splash at regionals this season. In addition Baldwin was a member of the basketball team, using that length to add depth to the junior varsity roster.


Dylan Heinrich

Sophomore Abby Ballek attempting to push past several Poudre defenders.

Abby Ballek

Ballek popped onto the scene last year with 21 goals for 53 points to help the girls soccer team reach the second round of the postseason. During the offseason, the attacker scored 7 goals for the U.S. Youth National under-15 girls soccer team to win the CONCACAF Cup. Ballek amounted five goals through six games this season before suffering a lower body injury. But don’t get it twisted, this minor setback will be no match for one of the top girls soccer players in the state.


Dylan Heinrich

Barry during the conference championship during the 2022 season.

Austin Barry

Barry led the boys golf team to their second state title in program history, shooting a team best 138, including an impressive 64 through the first day. Not only will Barry be searching to repeat as state champion, but he will continue to chase the individual title after finishing tied for second.


Dylan Heinrich

Brek Benedict after making a diving catch in center field against Erie.

Brek Benedict

Benedict stands out as one of the top two-way players for the baseball team, making an impact both with the bat and his arm. As a hitter Benedict has made the right plays so far with seven runs, three RBIs and one monstrous home run through his nine appearances. On the bump, Benedict has a 2-0 record with 24 strikeouts while only pitching 13.2 innings in four appearances. Benedict and the rest of Sabercats baseball currently boast an 8-3, as they work towards hosting their second regional in a row.


Dylan Heinrich

Berg during the conference championship last season during cross country.

Tatum Berg

Berg is Fossil’s top long distance runner, leading the cross country team to back-to-back cross country conference championships in her two years. This year, Berg finished 14th at the state championships to help lead Fossil to an eighth place finish. However, her season is nowhere near over, as she anchors the girls track and field team in the one and two mile races. Berg and the Sabercats will hope to continue to be one of the best in the state with serious state title hopes.



Dylan Heinrich

Sophomore Brooklyn Cardenas celebrating after a crucial RBI double.

Brooklyn Cardenas

Cardenas has spent both of her high school years on the varsity softball team, including taking the big responsibility of the primary pitcher this season. During this season, she allowed only a 1.68 ERA with over 160 innings pitched. Cardenas added contributions with the bat as well with a .417 batting average and 11 RBIs for the Sabercats. She will be one of the leading members of Sabercat softball next season as they look to make a deep postseason run.


Dylan Heinrich

Herrmann blocking a spike attempt in Fossil’s match against Windsor.

Erin Herrmann

While some view 5’ 9” as too short for a middle blocker in volleyball, Herrmann is a shining example of how raw athleticism can be more powerful than size. Despite being several inches shorter than several of her teammates, she leads the team with 59 total blocks, along with racking up 190 kills. This is due to her insane vertical jump and timing, which allows Herrmann to dominate the game above the net. She helped lead the Sabercats back to their first trip to the state tournament since 2018. In addition, Herrmann is a two sport athlete, with impressive finishes in both the shot put and the discus during this year’s track and field season.



Dylan Heinrich

Forward Gianna Leone swarmed in the paint by two defenders.

Gianna Leone

The Fossil girls basketball team underwent a youth movement this season, with four of their five playoff starters returning next season. One of those starters was Leone, who averaged 6.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in her increased role this year. Leone has a unique skill set to help in the perimeter or make an impact in the post near the rim. She also remains busy during the spring with track and field, with impressive finishes specifically in the 400 meter dash.


Dylan Heinrich

Martinez ball handling in their 2022 season opener against Grandview.

Adrian Morjon Martinez

Fossil Ridge soccer entered this season with a stacked offense, with plenty of talents who were able to score almost at will. Which made the rise of Martinez, the sophomore midfielder, all the more impressive. He was able to rack up five goals along with three assists to help contribute to the offensive output. Martinez got plenty of experience this season playing in 18 games, including three playoff games, as the team reached the quarterfinals for the second straight season.



Dylan Heinrich

Receiver Marcus Mozer hauling in a touchdown pass against Regis Jesuit.

Marcus Mozer

Mozer is a unique member of this list, as the only athlete to juggle three separate sports. During the fall, Mozer broke out as another talented wide receiver for the football team. In his first varsity season the wideout totalled 300 yards and three touchdowns, with the spot as a deep ball threat on virtually every throw. While receiving limited varsity time on the stacked basketball team, Mozer showed plenty of potential while learning behind one of the most talented teams in program history. He looks to step up as a full-time member of the varsity team next season. But his most noteworthy accomplishments have come as a member of the track team, highlighted by setting the school record in the 400 meter dash at 49.52. While his career is still young, Mozer has the potential to be one of Fossil’s most well-rounded athletes in school history.


Dylan Heinrich

Brennan O’Neil competing at the CHSAA State Swimming competition.

Brennen O’Neil

The O’Neil name means plenty in the Fort Collins swimming community, as Brennen’s two older siblings, Rylee and Sydnee, both swam for Fossil Ridge. He hopes to continue their legacy, as he has been the early standout from the boys’ season this spring. O’Neil shines in long distance events, as competing in events closer to 400 and 500 meters benefit his outstanding stamina. He hopes to lead Fossil to one of the top spots at the state tournament later this season.

Note: This article has been edited to reflect the correct sibling names.


Dylan Heinrich

Pawlak was virtually unguardable, working through double teams to get off his deadly shot.

Colton Pawlak

Pawlak jumped onto the scene with a breakout football season, working as both a quarterback and running back due to injuries. Pawlak made this combined role look easy, with over 1,900 all purpose yards and 24 touchdowns as the x-factor during the Sabercats’ most successful season in program history. But while Pawlak is an outstanding football player, his true love is lacrosse. During this season on the PSD Stars District team, the midfielder has made his mark early with 25 goals through only eight games. This goes alongside the 53 goals he scored as a freshman, showing why he is one the top prospects on the team.


While these twelve sit in a league of their own, there are so many talented athletes from various sports who will keep Fossil Ridge sports at an elite level for many years to come.

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    Brennen O'NeilMay 8, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    I don’t have an older sibling named Owen.