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Good enough, anyway, that it didn’t come as much of a surprise back in Boulder. The Paganos knew sorrow years ago, when their daughter died accidentally. They learned that by honoring something or someone with your effort, some good is guaranteed to come of it.

“Like I said, he was a coach’s kid. Always asking, `What do you want me to do? What’s my next move?’ He always put a lot of thought into things, but he didn’t really come out of his shell until college,” Sam said. He paused and added, “Isn’t he something now?”

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Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.