Choosing this year’s Evergreen High School Female Athlete of the Year likely wasn’t a difficult decision for the selection committee.
Tricia Oakes not only dominated on the hardwood, where she helped guide the Cougars to a berth in the Sweet 16 of the Class 4A state tournament, but she excelled on the softball diamond as well.
The Colgate-bound Oakes was humbled by the honor.
“I definitely worked really hard, and the recognition and the fact that people noticed that in and of itself is a great thing,” said Oakes, who will be attending the Patriot League school to play basketball. “The sacrifices made were all worth it in the end.”
The sacrifices Oakes made were numerous, especially considering that she played two varsity sports. Both seasons were littered with practices and games, leaving Oakes little time to enjoy the social aspect of high school.
“You feel like you’re on the run all the time,” she said. “You’re either going to practice or playing in a game. But, it was so much fun. All of the girls, both in softball and basketball, we became like sisters.”
Speaking of sisters, Oakes was especially pleased to have been able to end her senior year at Evergreen playing alongside younger sister, Kate, on the basketball team.
The elder Oakes was an unstoppable force in the paint for the Cougars. She averaged 18.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game. Evergreen finished second in the competitive Jefferson County League and were seconds away from advancing to the state quarterfinals before being knocked off by Sierra.
“It was really heartbreaking,” Oakes said of the season-ending loss. “We were winning the whole game and to lose it in the end was tough. We could’ve definitely won that game. After the game was over, Kate and I were sitting there crying with my mom and dad.
“It was almost surreal to have it slip away like it did.”
The softball season was also bittersweet for Oakes and company, as they came up short in their efforts to return to the state tournament, losing to Greeley West in districts.
Still, Evergreen did finish with a 16-4 record (6-2 Jeffco) and Oakes batted .408 with 2 home runs, 22 RBIs, 20 hits and 16 runs scored.
“Softball was so much fun,” Oakes said. “I wish I didn’t have to give it up. I loved playing the game and all my teammates were great.”
With her time at Evergreen now completed, Oakes is ready to move onto the next phase of her life, but will always look back at her time spent in high school as being special.
“It went by so fast,” Oakes said. “I’m not going to remember the scores of games or all the wins and losses. I’ll remember my coaches and what they taught me. I’ll remember all the good friends I’ve made; I’ll have them for the rest of my life.
“What a ride. I’m going to miss it.”