Jan 12, 2011 3:59 AM
DENVER - The MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids, whose team members will be named Athletes of the Year by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, will be recognized at the 2010 CSHOF banquet along with five other notable athletes from the state on April 12.
The Rapids, who won their first MLS title in their 15th year of existence, earned a 2-1 extra-time win over FC Dallas in the MLS Cup, with Colorado product and game MVP Conor Casey scoring the game-tying goal.
Also being honored by the CSHOF are Nate Solder (University of Colorado), Danielle Minch (Colorado State), Marco Gonzales (Rocky Mountain High School), Missy Franklin (Regis Jesuit High School) and Alana Nichols (NSCD ski team).
Solder, a senior offensive tackle for the Buffaloes, was selected at the Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year. Hailing from Buena Vista, Solder was a consensus All-American selection this year and is projected to be a first-round draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Minch was the choice for Female Collegiate Athlete of the Year. The senior, who hails from Sterling, was the Mountain West Conference volleyball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. The outside hitter as also named to the all-West region team for the second straight season in helping guide the Rams to their 16th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Gonzales capped a remarkable baseball career for Rocky Mountain High School as the winning pitcher in the Class 5A state championship game for the fourth consecutive year to earn Male Prep Athlete of the Year honors. Not only did he strike out 11 batters in his final prep game, he also hit a game-breaking, three-run home run in the contest to be selected as the state's top male prep athlete.
In just her sophomore season, Franklin earned Female Prep Athlete of the Year honors by shattering two Colorado state swimming records (50-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke) and placing in six events at the 2010 National Short Course Championships and two events at the 2010 FINA World Championships.
The Disabled Athlete Recognition Award Winner is Nichols, a member of the National Sports Center for the Disabled ski team. After a distinguished career as a wheelchair basketball player, Nichols moved on to skiing, where she won four medals - two gold and two silver - at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver for Team USA.
The six members of the 2011 CSHOF class who will be inducted at the banquet include longtime Denver Broncos placekicker Jason Elam, former Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker, former CU and Broncos defensive lineman Alfred Williams, former President of the Colorado Rockies and All-American tight end at Colorado State Keli McGregor, race car legend Bobby Unser and Art Berglund for his contributions to the USA Hockey program.
Citations for 2010 will also be awarded to 12 athletes around the state, ranging from high school to professional accomplishments.
The CSHOF banquet will be held at the Denver Marriott City Center on April 12, beginning with a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $150 per person, with table sponsorships available. For more information: www.coloradosports.org.