By Chris Abdelmalek
Pueblo Chieftain USA TODAY NETWORK
Nov. 16, 2023
Athletes and coaches, along with other distinguished members of the Pueblo sporting world gathered together Wednesday night at CSU-Pueblo’s Occhiato Center Ballroom to welcome the newest members to the Pueblos Sports Hall of Fame.
The Greater Pueblo Sports Association hosted its annual Hall of Fame night inducting six new members into its organization — John Loia, Dale Cresswell, Casey King, Dan Sanchez, Todd Kelly and Kory Sperry.
Along with the new inductees, the GPSA also awarded its annual Brian Macartney Award which is given to the top male and female high school athletes in Pueblo. This year’s recipients were Weston Dalton and Grace Helzer, both of whom graduated this past year from Pueblo East High School.
Dalton is currently attending the University of Nebraska for wrestling while Helzer, who was in attendance to receive her award, is attending Western Colorado and is playing volleyball and basketball.
“I’m very proud of myself for this one. It means a lot that they would choose me out of everyone in the city,” Helzer said. “I just wanted to be the best. I wanted to be better than all my teammates, better than all the city schools, and at East, we aren’t always the best, so I wanted to be the one that would push us, so that’s kind of what drove me.”
Helzer spoke about how she is not only proud that she won but also proud that Dalton won, saying that East was able to really represent this past year and show that they have a lot of talent at the school. She also touched on what it means to win this award and what future generations can do to try and achieve the same accolades.
“It’s kind of basic, but always just keep working no matter what,” Helzer said. “I know it’s hard, but you got to practice you got to do all that and just try to get better every day and always be competitive, always want to win.”
To round up the individual awards, CSU Pueblo Outstanding Athletes awards went to JaNaiya Davis and Jazzy Espinoza on the women’s side, and Reggie Williams on the men’s side.
The GPSA also honored two high schools this year for the Sollie Raso Award which honors the top area high school whose athletic teams excelled the best in their season. This year’s award winners were Pueblo Central for their unified bowling team and Pueblo West.
After the high school and team awards were handed out, the newest inductees were called up to give their speeches; many recipients recalled stories of their past lives that led them to get into the Hall of Fame.
Each year, the GPSA puts on the Hall of Fame dinner to honor those people who have made a significant contribution and impact in the world of sports either in Pueblo or outside but still representing the city as a whole.
The association will be accepting applications for 2024, which can be found on the GPSA website. The deadline for applications is Aug. 1, 2024. There is also information on the website about becoming a sponsored donor. For more information about the GPSA or how you can be involved in helping the association, please visit their website at pueblogshof.com.