Female Athlete of the Year: Fearless Bandel was a big hit with the Gators

Brian Miller
Posted 6/22/12

Standley Lake may not have receive the most accolades when it comes to athletic competition in the Class 5A Jeffco League, but the Gators boasted …

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Female Athlete of the Year: Fearless Bandel was a big hit with the Gators

Standley Lake may not have receive the most accolades when it comes to athletic competition in the Class 5A Jeffco League, but the Gators boasted some of the state’s best basketball talent last winter.
On the boys side, Brandon Applehans received much of the attention after helping lead the Gators to a 5A playoff victory while using a driving, slashing style in the perimeter to constantly needle opponents.
The girls program had its own mirror image in Woo Bandel.
The point guard was just as effective as Applehans, and their style of play was remarkably similar. Then again, given that they lived down the street from each other, maybe that’s not so surprising.
“We’ve been best friends since first grade,” Bandel said. “He honestly is one of the main reasons I play basketball. We go down to his house and shoot and he’d work on dribbling skills. I’d want to try and do what he can do.”
Basketball may have been Bandel’s first love, but it wasn’t her only one. The 2012 MetroNorth Newspapers Female Athlete of the Year was a standout shortstop for Standley Lake’s softball team and also ran track and field in the spring.
Her personality off the field endeared herself to teammates, coaches, officials and opponents alike. Always quick with a smile and a laugh - even when trying to be serious - Bandel was a big hit at Standley Lake.
“She’s one of the best kids ever,” said Ron Burgin, who coached the Gators last winter. “She’s just the sweetest girl in the world.”
Bandel, whose first name is actually Alyssa, earned her moniker as a little girl when neighbors referred to her as “Lissie Woo Woo.” The nickname was shortened to Woo, and while her parents didn’t exactly think it would stick, Bandel found herself preferring it.
During the 2011 softball season, Standley Lake struggled at times after losing three of its top starters from a year ago to graduation.
Bandel was still a first-team selection to the all-5A Jeffco squad after hitting .373, scoring 22 runs and stealing 11 bases. She also posted a .958 fielding percentage and was always quick with the leather in the infield.
“They were a huge part. It was a different role that I had to be a part of because they had been our leaders since I was a freshman,” Bandel said of the departed seniors. “I’d never had to be the leader, but it was a good transition.”
With Burgin taking over the Gators’ girls basketball program, Bandel found her role on the team changing a little bit there as well.
Rather than the pass-first point guard she’d been in the past, Burgin wanted to see Bandel drive inside more and create more scoring chances.
“We needed her to become a scorer for us to be successful,” said Burgin, who added that Bandel’s leadership helped the team progress throughout the season. “She stepped up and filled that role. She often became the focal point of our offense and the defensive focal point for other teams to try to stop.”
Bandel averaged 14.5 points a game, also leading the team in assists and steals while finishing an impressive second in rebounds from her guard position.
She was 140-of-190 from the free-throw line, proving her propensity for driving inside.
“I had more assists than points most of the time,” Bandel said of past seasons. “For Ron, he just said `score and shoot more.’ It was hard for me at first because I didn’t want to be a ball hog, but it was a fun year.”
Standley Lake reached the postseason, defeating Cherokee Trail in the first round before falling to defending champion Highlands Ranch.
Bandel was selected the 5A Jeffco girls MVP, with Applehans taking the 5A boys honor.
While she didn’t qualify for state in track and field, Bandel did a bit of everything for the Gators’ program.
At the end of the year she was honored again, this time as the 5A Jeffco Female Athlete of the Year.
“I didn’t think I would even be in the running for that,” Bandel said. “It was a big honor.”
Bandel is headed to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. in the fall, where she’ll play basketball for the Oles. Her presence will certainly be missed at the school where she starred for so long.
“I’ve had the best coaches over the years, the best teammates,” Bandel said. “I have a best friend on every team … coming together and learning different stuff about the team and yourself, it just really helped me grow. I’ll take that with me.”


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