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March 13, 2013
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Bears look to continue sports success in spring

Success seems to breed success at Rifle High School. That, at least, is the consensus thought of some of the coaches at the school this spring."We've had a really good year," said first-year track coach John Scraebeck, noting the accomplishments of the football and basketball teams earlier in the school year. "It's nice to be a Rifle Bear right now."There was plenty of success for the spring sports teams a year ago to motivate the Bears as they head into the 2013 season. Rifle's boys track and field team was the runner-up at the Class 3A state meet, Rifle's girls golf team won a regional title and finished seventh at state, and Rifle's baseball teams had one of its best seasons on record.This year, each one of the teams playing in the spring is shooting for an even better performance.Following are looks at the spring sports teams at Rifle High School. All information included was provided by the team's coaches.BASEBALLCoach: Troy Phillips (17th season).Last Year: 17-3 overall, first place Class 3A Western Slope League (Lost to Weld Central, 6-0, in first round of Class 3A state playoffs).Key returnees: Danny Bartels, Sr., P/IF; Triston Quigley, Sr., IF/P; Baily Hoffmeister, Jr., UT; Tanner Quick, Jr., OF; Teig Hauer, Jr., 2B; Wyatt Robinson, Jr., C; Mitch Ray, Jr., OF.Others to watch: Mitch Ray, Jr., OF; Dalton Bornholdt, Jr., 1B; Layton Stutsman, Soph, OF; Angel Diaz, Soph., IF/P.Look ahead: The jump to Class 4A won't be a monumental one for Rifle. The Bears won the 3A WSL title a year ago and have a winning record against each 4A WSL team in Phillips' 17 years at the helm. ... Bartels returns as an all-state pitcher from a year ago, setting school records in innings pitched (71), strikeouts (100) and wins (10) with a team-best .386 batting average at the plate. ... Quigley was the league's defensive player of the year in 2012 and tied Bartels for the team lead in batting average. Rifle opened the season on March 8 and 9, losing a 4-2 decision to Thomas Jefferson on the road.TRACK AND FIELDCoach: John Scrabeck (First season)Last year: Boys team won Class 3A Western Slope League regional, second place in 3A state meet; girls team placed third at 3A state meet.Key Athletes: Ryan Moeller, Sr., relays and sprints; Aaron Wagler, Sr., middle distance and relays; Braden Smith, Jr., throws; Kellin Leigh, Jr., pole vault and relays; Cody Rice, Jr., middle distance and relays; Joey Kuheim, Sr., throws; Carsyn Copeland, Sr., high jump and sprints; Brittany Neuroth, Jr., throws; Tori Pressler, Soph., middle distance and distance; Abby Orgill, Sr., throws.Look ahead: Scrabeck has been a part of the coaching staff at Rifle for the past four years, but he took on the head coaching duties when Josh Keppler left after last season. ... The Bears will move up to 4A this season after the boys managed a second-place finish in the 3A meet a year ago, but that doesn't worry them. Rifle has numbers this year, as 82 athletes have signed up for track and 70 are practicing with the team on a full-time basis. The others are also competing in other sports.GIRLS SOCCERCoach: Richard Carter (third season)Last year: 3-11-1 overall, 2-7-0 in 3A Western Slope League play (eighth place).Key Returnees: Julia Navarro, Sr., MF; Katie Harmon, Jr., MF; Selina Renova, Sr., Def.; Sarah McCutchen, Jr., MF/F; Karen Garcia, Jr., Def.; Madison Carter, Jr., F; Isa Rios, Sr., MF; Darliene Otero, Sr., F; Liz Vasquez, Sr., Def.Others to watch: Sophia Bustillos, Fr., GK; Michelle Ruiz, Fr., GK; Cidney Gardner, Fr., GK; Katelyn Shanahan, Jr., Def.; Melissa Rodriguez, Jr., MF.Look ahead: Carter likes the way his team looks, touting its aggressiveness and its overall defensive tenacity, but admits that the Bears have a lot to improve on. "We're definitely looking to improve on last season's record," he said. ... Depth has been a problem for Rifle in the past, but not this year. All total, 42 girls have come out, almost giving Rifle enough to field two junior varsity programs. ... Navarro and Harmon are slated to anchor the Bears' defense at midfield, which will help a squad with three freshmen vying for the starting goalkeeper position.GIRLS GOLFCoach: Britt Choate (Fourth season).Last year: Regional champions at the 3A level, placed seventh in 3A state meet.Key Returnees: Taylor Walters, Sr., Alyx Carter, Jr.Others to watch: Manisa Balasundaram, Jr., Monika Spaulding, Fr., Emily Neuroth, Fr.Look ahead: Rifle did more than just meet its goals for the season last year. The Bears exceeded them, especially with their regional title and finish at the 3A state meet. Choate feels confident that both Walters and Carter will build on their success from last season, but also feels some of that success will trickle down to the team's new players. "It should be a lot of fun to watch these young ladies play golf this year," Choate said.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 13, 2013 06:17PM Published Mar 13, 2013 06:16PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.