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Glenwood Turkey Trot canceled due to ongoing coronavirus concerns

Glenwood Springs’ traditional Thanksgiving Day foot race, the Turkey Trot 5K, will take a hiatus this fall due to ongoing concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19, especially involving large gatherings.

“With an expectation of over 500 people at the golf course, the COVID restrictions in place and the current upswing in cases, we feel this is the safest and, really, the only course of action,” race director Steve Vanderhoof said in a Wednesday statement.    

“We will continue our tradition next year, and have already secured the golf course for 2021,” he said.

The Turkey Trot will continue to support the Glenwood Springs High School boys and girls swim and cross country teams, and the Sopris Barracudas club swim team through the acceptance of donations in lieu of the race fee this year, Vanderhoof said.

Basalt’s Maley wins 3A state championship, as BHS and Aspen finish in top four

Between her dad and sister, Katelyn Maley had plenty of people in her ear during Saturday’s state championship cross country race in Colorado Springs. Still, she didn’t dare look behind her as she paced the field, so the Basalt High School sophomore had no idea the stage was all hers.

“I heard my dad say, ‘You have them by a little bit, but keep pushing,’ so I just kind of listened to the spectators and tried to not look behind. So I really didn’t know until the end,” Maley said of her sizable lead. “I really didn’t. I thought they were closer.”

Maley was the first across the finish line on Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center, winning the Class 3A girls state championship in 18 minutes, 39 seconds. She came in more than 34 seconds ahead of runner-up Kennedy McDonald (19:13.4), a junior from The Classical Academy, while Peak to Peak senior Allison Beasley was another seven seconds back in third place (19:20.3). Faith Christian senior Audrey Orstead was fourth in 19:23.8.

For Basalt, it’s the second individual state champion in two years, after then-junior Sierra Bower won it all in 2019. Bower, a Furman commit, set a 3A course record in 18 minutes flat last fall (winning by 44 seconds), but settled for fifth Saturday as a senior in 19:24.4.

“It’s still amazing. I still feel like I’m in a dream. I was really happy with how everyone did, so it’s pretty cool,” Maley said. “My goal for a while has been to win a state championship, whether that was this year or in the next years. So I was kind of hoping. I knew I might be in the front pack, so I wasn’t really sure where I’d fall. But when I got the opportunity to take the lead, I just took it.”

Even without sophomore Sarah Levy, the team’s usual fourth runner, who was out with injury, the Longhorns managed to finish third as a team for the second consecutive year. BHS finished with 121 points, only eight points back of runner-up Holy Family. The Classical Academy again dominated the meet, winning its state record 13th championship with 65 points.

“We are pretty happy about it. We are blessed with some really good talent on this team,” BHS coach Ron Lund said of back-to-back third-place finishes after years of not even being able to record a team score at state. “It looked a lot like regionals, actually, at the beginning with her and Sierra taking it out. Katelyn looked pretty comfortable and no one really threatened her pretty much after halfway.”

Maley finished 12th at state as a freshman last year with a time of 20:00.8. But she really elevated her game this season, highlighted by her win at regionals in Durango, where Bower finished second and fellow sophomore teammate Ava Lane was third.

That trio again paved the way at state, with Lane finishing 11th on Saturday in 19:44.2. That was a big improvement from her freshman year, when she finished 34th at state in 20:51.5. Levy had been 23rd as a freshman last year in 20:31.7.

Stepping up on the back end for the Longhorns on Saturday were freshman Avery Smith (43rd, 21:36.8), senior Kaitlin Boothe (81st, 23:48.7) and sophomore Lacey Lindberg (86th, 24:14.1). Without Levy, Lund had vague hopes of a top-five finish, so he was certainly ecstatic with another third-place finish.

“I thought going in we had a look at top five, but to be eight points out of second, that really surprised me,” Lund said. “I was really impressed with the way the three girls that had never ran state handled being at a state meet. … The kids really stepped up and obviously it showed. And our top three, we couldn’t ask more from them.”

Among Maley’s biggest cheerleaders on Saturday was her sister, 2019 BHS graduate Megan Maley, who holds the school’s track record in the 800-meter run. Megan, who runs for NCAA Division III Scripps College in Claremont, California, has spent a lot of extra time at home training with her younger sister because of the coronavirus pandemic closing down in-person learning.

Add in Lane, who Katelyn Maley said is “one of the main people that is always there by my side and motivating me,” and Basalt’s newest state champion had plenty of support this offseason to help get her to the top. She entered the fall ready to make moves, and she did so in dominant fashion.

“It was super rewarding and just knowing that the team had worked so hard for that exact moment,” Katelyn Maley said of the feeling she had when crossing the finish line. “It’s just so amazing. The fact that we got third today and third last year, it was our fourth, fifth and sixth runners that really pulled through today. I’m just so proud of everyone.”

ASPEN FINISHES FOURTH FOR BEST FINISH SINCE 2011

The Aspen High School girls cross country team continued its year-by-year improvement, sending its four competing seniors out with a fourth-place team finish on Saturday in the 3A championship. The Skiers finished with 123 points, only two points behind third-place Basalt and only 10 back of runner-up Holy Family.

“They ran well all season long, and this was a good way to end the season,” AHS coach Chris Keleher said. “So a really good showing. I’ll take that. They were super nervous last night and they put it all on the line. Everybody dug deep and kudos to Basalt — man, did they run well.”

The fourth-place finish is the best for the Aspen girls since back-to-back fourth-place finishes in 2010 and 2011. After that 2011 season, AHS wouldn’t crack the top 10 until finishing seventh in 2018, when the current seniors were sophomores. The Skiers were fifth in 2019.

Aspen’s best program finish came in 2002, when it won its lone state championship.

“It’s definitely bittersweet. Four years and a lot of miles with these girls,” Keleher said of the final race with a strong senior class. “You can’t replace that. It’s good though. They are a fun group of kids and they run really well together and they support each other.”

AHS senior Kylie Kenny, who has been the team’s top state finisher all four years as a Skier, was 12th on Saturday in 19:57.1. Her younger sister, sophomore Michaela Kenny, was next across the finish line coming in 25th in 20:51.8. Aspen sophomore Elsie Weiss was 32nd in 21:10.2 and senior Kendall Clark was 34th in 21:14.2. Rounding out Aspen’s runners were seniors Edie Sherlock (53rd, 21:58.2) and Eva McDonough (69th, 22:55.3).

Keleher did like to point out how Aspen, which won the regional championship this year, is mostly comprised of athletes who don’t specialize in cross country. Kylie Kenny, for example, is a standout lacrosse player and will likely continue playing the sport in college.

“They are Nordic skiers and they are soccer players and they are lacrosse players. One girl is track. This is their second sport. It’s like a hobby for them. It’s awesome,” Keleher said. “This group especially was just so much fun to coach. They just respond and they dig deep.”

Of note, Gunnison senior Alex Baca won the 3A boys state championship in 16:07.8. Neither Aspen nor Basalt had any boys qualify for the smaller-than-usual state meet.

In the 4A girls race, Glenwood Springs finished eighth overall. Glenwood junior Ella Johnson led the way, finishing fourth in 18:24, while her sophomore teammate, Sophia Connerton-Nevin, was eighth in 19:07.2.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Johnson, Connerton-Nevin score top-10 finishes at 4A state cross country meet; Glenwood places 8th as a team

The chase was on for Glenwood Springs runner Sophia Connerton-Nevin, starting in the second wave of the 4A girls state high school cross country championships Saturday, 45 seconds behind junior teammate and partner-in-strategy Ella Johnson.

The sophomore runner was up to the challenge, though, picking her way one-by-one into the front wave to score an eighth-place overall finish in 19 minutes, 7.19 seconds.

Johnson kept pace up front, placing fourth overall in 18:24 —25 seconds off the winning pace set by Air Academy’s Bethany Michalak, and one position and 17 seconds better than her inaugural state appearance last year.

Not having Connerton-Nevin at her side was a bit foreign for Johnson, but the lead pack made for some pretty good company. Niwot’s Mia Prok was second in 18:02.37, followed by Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair in third, at 18:14.04.

“I didn’t really have a strategy going in, but the hills on this course definitely help me out,” Johnson said in a phone interview after the race. The state meet was held at the Norris-Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs.

“Usually, we (she and Connerton-Nevin) team up and try to go on either side of someone to push the pace, but we couldn’t do that this race,” she said of this season’s COVID restrictions that require runners to start in waves every 45 seconds, rather than all at once.

Johnson’s fallback strategy was to keep Eagle Valley’s Blair in view, in hopes she might reel her in at the end. That didn’t quite happen, but it was one way to keep her from slowing down, she said.

Connerton-Nevin said she was just happy to have a chance to compete at state for a second straight year, which almost didn’t happen were it not for her teammates rallying at last week’s regionals to claim the third team-qualifying spot.

Glenwood sophomore Sophia Connerton-Nevin competes in the 4A girls’ state cross country championships at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado., on Saturday Oct. 17, 2020. Connerton-Nevin finished in 7th place. (Chancey Bush/ The Gazette)

“I had a couple of rough races coming into regionals, so it was nice to end the season this way,” Connerton-Nevin also said in a phone interview Saturday after the state meet.

“Starting in the second wave helped me be able to work from behind and pick off people as I went, so it was a different race strategy,” she said. “I was just happy to be here and share this with my team, and having them here for support helped me run a little bit stronger this year.”

Connerton-Nevin placed 16th at state as a freshman, and improved her time on the challenging state course by 12 seconds.

Finishing behind Johnson and Connerton-Nevin for the Demons squad, in order, were: junior Alexa Helms, 71st, 21:48.01; senior Maya Elia, 81st, 22:17; freshman Taia Nykerk, 86th, 22:29.65; and sophomore Ruby Patch, 88th, 22:38.36.

The Glenwood Springs girls finished eighth as a team with 223 points, behind state champion Niwot (55), followed by Battle Mountain (93), Air Academy (111), Durango (126), Denver South (167), Palmer Ridge (171), and Silver Creek (220).

“It was a great end-of-the-season performance, and we exceeded expectations every meet in the post season,” Glenwood Springs head coach Justin Baum said.

The Demons had been ranked 16th among 4A teams before regionals, and came into state as the 10th-ranked team.

Johnson said she and Connerton-Nevin hope to improve and both place in the top five at state next season.

“It was an interesting season, but I think they handled it well,” Johnson said of meet protocols which, in addition to the wave starts, also included mask requirements, limits on overall individual and team entries at meets, and limits on spectators.

“With what we had to work around, it was a good season,” Johnson said, adding she looks forward to basketball season in January, which also will be played under strict rules to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Cardinals runners finish strong

Competing in the 2A championship during the all-class state cross country meet, Grand Valley senior Alex Mendoza placed 13th overall among the girls, finishing in 21:40.20.

In the 2A boys race, the Grand Valley boys competed as a full team. The Cardinals’ top runner was senior Keaton Jansen in 41st (19:15.30), senior Nikolai Stammer was 63rd (19:51.70), senior Keenan Strauss was 65th (19:56.90), sophomore Kade Sackett was 80th (20:34.10), and sophomore Dominic Mendoza was 86th (21:11.60).

Running in the 3A girls championship, but unable to finish, was Coal Ridge sophomore Mikayla Cheney.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Rifle High softball lands 7 players among All-Conference selections

Rifle High School had a strong contingent of players named to the 4A Western Slope League All-Conference team for softball this fall. 

First team honors, including notable season statistics as reported to MaxPreps, went to:

• Sophomore first baseman Haiely Worton (.545 batting average, 14 runs, 10 RBIs, a home run and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage)

• Senior infielder Abigail Bonuales (.417 BA, 20 hits, 19 runs and 17 RBIs)

• Junior third baseman/pitcher Emma Poole (.583 BA, 28 hits, 23 runs and 26 RBIs)

• Freshman second baseman/pitcher Emma Speakman (.565 BA, 26 hits, 26 runs, eight doubles, 11 stolen bases on 11 tries, and six pitching appearances)

Honorable mention went to:

• Sophomore utility player Myia Valencia (.434 BA, 23 hits, 20 runs, 14 RBIs and a .943 fielding percentage)

• Junior outfielder Kaylie Stark (.270 BA, 10 hits, 13 runs and 12 RBIs)

• Freshman pitcher/infielder Blayke Hostettler (5.23 ERA, 7 wins, 37 strikeouts, .333 BA, nine runs and seven RBIs)

League champion Palisade swept the individual honors, including Player of the Year Melissa Carroll, Pitcher of the Year Mikayla Talbott, and Coach of the Year Jeff DeCrow.

The Rifle Lady Bears, coached by Troy Phillips, finished the season at 9-7 overall and 2-2 in 4A WSL play.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Coal Ridge runner Mikayla Cheney qualifies from regionals for 3A state meet

Coal Ridge High School sophomore Mikayla Cheney notched a trip to the 3A state cross country meet later this month, by virtue of a fourth-place finish at Friday’s Colorado 3A Region 1 meet in Durango.

Also Friday, competing in the 2A Region 4 qualifier at Delta, the Colorado Rocky Mountain School girls from Carbondale and the Grand Valley High School boys are headed to state, after taking second and fourth places in their respective team competitions.

Grand Valley senior Alex Mendoza earned an individual qualifying spot among the girls, as did CRMS senior Bryn Peterson for the boys.

Cheney was the only Garfield County state qualifier at the 3A meet to advance from a girls’ field dominated by Aspen and Basalt runners

Basalt swept the top three spots, with sophomore Katelyn Maley earning top honors with a 5K (3.1 miles) time of 18:58 at the Hillcrest Golf Course in Durango.

Defending 3A state champion and Basalt senior Sierra Bower was second in 19:12, and Longhorns sophomore Ava Lane was third in 19:13, pacing Basalt to second in the team competition.

Aspen, led by senior Kylie Kenney in fifth (19:17), took the team title with 51 points to Basalt’s 59. Moffat County was third with 99 points.

Right there in the mix was Cheney, who claimed one of just two individual state qualifying spots by taking fourth in 19:16. The other spot went to Alamosa freshman Sarah DeLaCerda (sixth, 19:20).

Just off the state-qualifying pace was Coal Ridge junior Aracelli Ayala in eighth, at 20:20.

Coal Ridge runner Araceli Ayala was eighth overall at Friday’s 3A Region 1 meet in Durango.
Joel Priest/Durango Herald

Cheney was gracious about the opportunity to compete at the state meet, slated for Oct 17 in Colorado Springs.

“I’m thankful for all the support I get from family, friends and coaches,” she said in a text message on the bus ride home Friday afternoon. “I’m also grateful for the amazing girls I get to run against.”

The next two Garfield County finishers at regionals in the girls race were Coal Ridge sophomore Gwynn Apostolik (38th, 22:53), and Rifle senior Karisa Coombs (39th, 22:59).

In the boys race, it was Alamosa taking the team title with 47 points, to Gunnison’s 61 and Moffat County’s 116.

Coal Ridge sophomore Tyler Parker led Garfield County runners, placing 16th in 18:04. Roaring Fork junior Ross Barlow, running for Basalt, was seventh in 17:18; Basalt senior Noah Allen was 17th in 18:06; and Roaring Fork senior Talon Carballiera (also running for Basalt) was 20th in 18:16.

Rifle had a pair of top-25 finishers in junior Jace Coller (23rd, 18:26) and senior Jonny Hernandez (24th, 18:26).

CRMS girls, Grand Valley boys state bound

Led by junior Morgan Karow in second place overall with a time of 20:39.09 over the 5K course at Delta’s Confluence Park, CRMS managed second as a team with 69 points.

Regional champion Ignacio had 51 points, West Grand was third with 71 and Hotchkiss claimed the final team qualifying spot with 87 points.

Other top finishers for CRMS were senior Wren Kelly in 17th (22:49.54), junior Mandy Lei in 23rd (23:07.93), and junior Zea Anderson (34th, 23:57.07).

Grand Valley’s Mendoza claimed one of the five individual qualifying spots, placing fifth overall with a time of 21:03.78.

The Grand Valley boys claimed the fourth and final team qualifying spot (2A qualifying standards are different from the upper classifications), with 98 points, finishing behind regional champion Ouray with 57, Rangely with 92 and Caprock Academy with 94.

CRMS’ Peterson was sixth overall in 18:07.15 to claim an individual spot in the all-classification Colorado Cross Country Championships Oct. 17 in Colorado Springs.

Other Grand Valley finishers at regionals included, for the boys, senior Keaton Jansen (11th, 18:34.04), senior Keenan Strauss (19th, 19:08.76), and senior Nikolai Stammer (29th, 19:40.98); and, for the girls, freshman Kaylae Medina (36th, 24:10.21), and senior Bailey Hoyt (47th, 25:16.22).

jstroud@postindependent.com

Glenwood girls qualify for 4A state cross country meet with strong regional run Thursday

Glenwood Springs High’s top girls cross country runners will have some friendly company at the Class 4A state championships Oct. 17 in Colorado Springs.

In addition to junior Ella Johnson and sophomore Sophia Connerton-Nevin’s respective third- and seventh-place individual performances in the 4A regionals at Gypsum Creek Golf Course Thursday, it was all about team after that.

The Demons snuck in to the third and final qualifying spot with some solid running behind the lead pack to punch a team ticket to state.

Battle Mountain ran away with the regional title, notching five of the top-10 places for 34 points to runner-up Green Mountain High’s 115 points. Glenwood, with runners in 33rd, 35th and 44th places, came in third at 122 points, ahead of Golden with 127.

“Usually, what I’ve talked to the girls about is that under 100 points gets you out, and if you’re over that it’s a no go,” Glenwood head coach Justin Baum said. “The girls raced hard, but when we looked at that 122 we thought there’s no way.”

As it turned out, some of the other top teams struggled on the tough, rolling grass course, which played out well for Glenwood, and especially Connerton-Nevin.

Johnson was third overall, completing the 5K race in 18:50.30. As expected, Eagle Valley junior Samantha Blair won the individual title with a time of 18:02, followed by Battle Mountain senior Elliott Pribramsky in 18:23.

Connerton-Nevin crossed in 19:32.80 to take seventh, which would have left her just outside the cut for a return trip to state were it not for her Demon teammates.

Under the Covid-altered rules, only the top two individuals not on a qualifying team get to go to state. But Glenwood’s third-sixth runners placed high enough to secure the team entry.

Junior Alexa Helms took 33rd with a time of 21:38.60, followed by sophomore Ruby Patch close on her heels in 35th at 21:41. Senior Maya Elias was 44th, crossing in 22:01.40, and freshman Taia Nykerk filled the displacer role for the team, taking 55th with a time of 22:58.80.

None of Glenwood’s boys were able to qualify among some of the top 4A runners in the state. Green Mountain’s Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos set a blistering pace, winning in 15:59.20. Six more runners finished behind him in under 17 minutes.

Junior Quinn MacPherson was the Demons’ top runner in 38th place, finishing in 18:06.50. Senior Dalton Deter was 54th in 18:52.10, and junior Reid Swanson was 61st in 19:17.20.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Rifle High sends two to 4A state golf tournament, softball wraps up season; cross country gears up for regionals

The Rifle High School boys golf team sent two players to the 4A state golf tournament at Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs Monday and Tuesday.

Broc Caldwell and Cannon Wall both competed based on their season results and performance in the regional tournament the prior week.

Caldwall finished the state tournament in 64th place overall, shooting an 18-hole round of 92 on Monday and rebounding with an 85 on Tuesday for a total round of 177.

Wall shot 97-91 – 187 to place 78th out of 83 finishers. The Bears team was coached this season by Tod Smith.

It was the first sport in the coronavirus-altered fall high school sports season to conclude, as state softball tournaments are under way this week and boys and girls cross country runners are competing at regionals for a chance to qualify for the state meet Oct. 17 in Colorado Springs.

Rifle High’s softball team missed a return trip to the 4A state tournament this year, concluding its season at 9-7 overall and 2-2 in the 4A Western Slope League.

The Lady Bears ended with a 12-2 non-conference loss at 5A Fruita-Monument on Oct. 2.

Freshman Emma Speakman recorded a single, a double, a stolen base and scored a run, and on defense turned a double play. Junior Emma Poole had two singles and a run; sophomore Myia Valencia had a single and an RBI; and senior Abigail Bonuales reached on an error and had an RBI to close out her Rifle softball career. Senior Logan Cox also played her final game in a Bears uniform. The team was under the direction this season of six-year head coach Troy Phillips.

XC regionals Friday

Boys and girls cross country running teams from Rifle and Coal Ridge are slated to compete in the 3A Region 1 meet at Durango on Friday, while the Grand Valley Cardinals will take part in the 2A Region 4 meet that same day in Delta.

Leading contenders for Rifle to qualify for the Oct. 17 3A state meet include senior Jonny Hernandez, who enters with a season-best 5K time of 18:46.90. Also coming in with sub-20 times are junior Jace Coller (18:48, by virtue of an eighth place finish at the Oct. 2 Whistle Pig Invite at Craig) and sophomore Saul Ramirez (19:55.10)

For the Rifle girls, senior Karisa Coombs is the top runner for the Bears with a season-best time of 21:40.40.

Top runners for Coal Ridge boys are sophomore Tyler Parker, who enters the regional meet with the 11th fastest time at 18:07.41. Other Titans at sub-20 on the season are sophomore Ezra Williams (18:59.11), junior William Parra (19:25.75), freshman Dallin Karen (19:30.49), junior Ethan Polland (19:34.71) and senior Jack Price (19:38).

For the Titans girls, sophomore Mikayla Cheney comes in with the best shot to qualify for state, with a season-best 18:58.84. Junior Araceli Ayala also has a shot if she can improve her season best of 20:45.70.

Grand Valley’s prospects in the 2A Regionals ride on senior Keaton Jansen, who enters with the 10th fastest time at 18:35.94. Others with a shot at qualifying for state include senior Keenan Strauss (19:19.07), senior Nikolai Stammer (19:19.10), and sophomore Kade Sackett (19:31).

For the Cardinals girls, senior Alex Mendoza comes in with a season-best of 21:19.34.

Glenwood harriers toe the line Thursday for shot at 4A state XC qualifying

Glenwood Springs High School takes its top cross country runners to the Class 4A Region 1 cross country meet at Gypsum Creek Golf Course Thursday, with a chance to send runners to the state championships Oct. 17 in Colorado Springs.

On the team front, the Demons boys and girls will have their work cut out for them to qualify among some of the top 4A teams in the state.

Individually, a few Glenwood runners should be in the mix, for sure.

For the girls, junior Ella Johnson and sophomore Sophia Connerton-Nevin took last weekend off to gear up for the big race. They enter as the No. 2 and No. 3 runners in the field, with season-best 5K times of 17:48.20 and 18:03, respectively.

Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair comes in as the top runner at 17:20.90 for her season best.

“It’ll be a tight race to get out, since they are only taking the top three teams (to state),” Glenwood head coach Justin Baum said.

The Demons will need to have strong performances from their Nos. 3-6 runners to be in the mix for that final spot, Baum said.

Only the top two individual runners not on a qualifying team make it to state under the COVID-altered format this season, so top-five finishes for Johnson and Connerton-Nevin will be crucial to ensure a return trip to state.

“The boys race will be tough,” Baum said. “There are some stellar individuals and teams in our region, which is one of the toughest in the state.”

Entering as the top runner for the Demons is junior Reid Swanson, coming in with a season-best time of 17:04.50. More than 20 runners in the boys’ field have cracked the 17-minute barrier this season.

Glenwood’s Reid Swanson finished third in the Longhorn Invitational cross country meet on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. (Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
BHSXC

Glenwood junior Quinn MacPherson is also in the sub-18 class, with a season best of 17:35.60.

2A, 3A regionals Friday

Meanwhile, Rifle, Coal Ridge and Basalt are slated to compete in the 3A Region 1 cross country meet at Durango on Friday, while Grand Valley and Colorado Rocky Mountain School of Carbondale take part in the 2A Region 4 meet that same day in Delta.

Longhorns senior Noah Allen enters with one of the top times in the boys’ field at 17:26.30, followed by a pair of Roaring Fork High School students who run for Basalt; junior Ross Barlow (18:07) and senior Talon Carballiera (18:08).

For the girls, Basalt sophomore Katelyn Maley (17:21.03) and senior Sierra Bower (17:54.55) are the favorites, as Bower looks to move on and defend her 3A state title.

Leading contenders for Rifle to qualify for the Oct. 17 3A state meet include senior Jonny Hernandez, who enters with a season-best 18:46.90. Close on his heels has been junior Jace Coller (18:48).

For the Rifle girls, senior Karisa Coombs is the top runner for the Bears with a season-best time of 21:40.40. 

Top runners for Coal Ridge boys are sophomore Tyler Parker (18:07.40) for the boys and sophomore Mikayla Cheney (18:58.84) for the girls.

In the 2A regionals, Grand Valley’s prospects ride on senior Keaton Jansen, who enters with the 10th fastest time at 18:35.94 and, for the girls, senior Alex Mendoza (21:19.34).

CRMS has a couple of prospects in senior Bryn Peterson (17:57.84) for the boys and junior Zea Anderson (21:58.98) for the girls.

jstroud@postindependent.com

Rifle softball moves to 9-6 on season and 2-2 in West Slope League

Playing on the road Tuesday, the Rifle High School softball team jumped on Delta early, taking a 5-1 lead after the first inning before the home team piled on the runs to win the non-league slugfest 16-10.

Last week, the Bears downed Eagle Valley in a key league game to hang tough at 2-2 in 4A Western Slope League play. The Tuesday loss put the season tally at 9-6.

Against Delta, it was all Rifle early, but the Panthers answered with six runs in the third inning and another two in the fourth, before outscoring the visitors 7-5 in a decisive fifth inning.

Delta had 20 hits on the night to Rifle’s 15. The Bears had a strong offensive performance across the board, with three hits coming from freshman Emma Speakman and two hits, two runs and two RBIs from junior Emma Poole.

Freshman Blayke Hostetler also added two hits, a run and two RBIs; senior Abigail Bonuales had two hits, two runs and an RBI; and sophomore Jacqueline Bustillos put up two runs and one hit with two RBIs.

Rifle 13, Eagle Valley 2

Playing at home on Sept. 22, Rifle had steady scoring with three runs in the first, one in the second and six in the fourth to best league foe Eagle Valley.

Hostetler pitched a complete game, holding the Devils to two earned runs over five innings, while allowing three hits and three walks, and recording three strikeouts. On the offensive side, she also had a single, two walks, three runs scored, and 2 RBIs.

Speakman contributed to the cause with a single, walk, 3 RBIs and a run scored; Poole had a single, a double and two runs; sophomore Myia Valencia had a single, a double, a walk, one run and an RBI; junior Kaylie Stark had two singles, a walk, a run and an RBI; freshman Zoe Hisel had a single, a walk, one run and an RBI; junior Jade Croy had a double, a walk, a sacrifice, one run and an RBI; and senior Logan Cox had a single, a walk and two runs scored.

Titans XC team winners at Delta

Racing at the Delta-Sweitzer Lake Invitational on Sept. 25, Coal Ridge High School sophomore Tyler Parker placed second overall and paced the Titans to the team win, covering the 5-kilometer course in 18:07.41, behind winner Alyster Birk from Paonia (17:32).

Grand Valley senior Keaton Williams was sixth in 18:40.85, followed by Titans sophomore Ezra Williams in seventh (18:59.11).

Coal Ridge claimed the meet win with 46 points, followed by Ouray with 50 and Grand Valley with 66.

Rounding out the top 20 among area runners, for Coal Ridge: junior William Parra was 10th in 19:25.75, followed by freshman Dallin Karen (13th, 19:30.49), junior Ethan Poland (14th, 19:34.71) and senior Jack Price (19th, 19:57.35); and, for Grand Valley, senior Nikolai Stammer was ninth (19:19.10) and Kade Sackett was 18th (19:56).

In the girls race, Coal Ridge sophomore Mikayla Cheney won the race in 18:58.84, followed by teammate Ayala Araceli in second (21:02.55), as the Lady Titans also won team honors with 36 points to host Delta’s 37.

Other top Coal Ridge runners were sophomore Gwynn Apostolik in eighth (23:02.94), sophomore Marilyn Stephens in 12th (23:35.32), and junior Haven Prodzinski in 18th (24:23.67). Grand Valley freshman Kaylae Medina was 15th in 23:57.53.

Rifle’s hernandez 6th at Moffat

Racing at the Moffat County Invitational on Sept. 26, Rifle senior Jonathan Hernandez placed sixth with a time of 19:05.36, and teammate Patrick Whitt, a junior, was eighth in 19:23.95.

Another 1-2 finish for Glenwood’s Johnson, Connerton-Nevin at Warrior Classic cross country meet

Glenwood Springs High School’s dynamic cross country running duo of junior Ella Johnson and sophomore Sophia Connerton-Nevin strided to another 1-2 finish on Saturday.

Competing at Saturday’s Warrior Classic in Grand Junction, Johnson claimed the win with a time of 18 minutes, 22 seconds. Connerton-Nevin edged Battle Mountain’s Elliott Pribramsky for second, crossing in 19:06 to Pribramsky’s time of 19:10.

From there, it was a long line of Battle Mountain Huskies, who took third through 11th place to easily win the girls’ team title.

Glenwood was second as a team, with top-20 finishes from Maya Elias (12th, 21:32), Lexi Helms (13th, 21:40), Tai Nykerk (15th, 22:12) and Matilda Barth (18th, 23:02).

The Glenwood Springs boys placed third in the six-team meet, paced by junior Reid Swanson in eighth place with a time of 17:26. Not far behind was junior teammate Quinn MacPherson in 12th at 17:38. The Demons’ Dalton Deter was 16th in 18:30, and William Berkheimer was 20th in 19:26.

Titans take team titles at Delta

Racing at the Delta-Sweitzer Lake Invitational on Friday, Coal Ridge sophomore Tyler Parker placed second overall and paced the Titans to a team win, finishing in 18:07.41 behind winner Alyster Birk from Paonia (17:32).

Grand Valley senior Keaton Williams was sixth in 18:40.85, followed by Titans sophomore Ezra Williams in seventh (18:59.11).

Coal Ridge claimed the meet win with 46 points, followed by Ouray with 50 and Grand Valley with 66.

Rounding out the top 20 among area runners, for Coal Ridge: junior William Parra was 10th in 19:25.75, followed by freshman Dallin Karen (13th, 19:30.49), junior Ethan Poland (14th, 19:34.71) and senior Jack Price (19th, 19:57.35);

And, for Grand Valley, senior Nikolai Stammer was ninth (19:19.10) and Kade Sackett was 18th (19:56).

For the girls, Coal Ridge sophomore Mikayla Cheney won the race in 18:58.84, followed by teammate Ayala Araceli in second (21:02.55), as the Lady Titans also won team honors with 36 points to host Delta’s 37.

Other top Coal Ridge runners were sophomore Gwynn Apostolik in eighth (23:02.94), sophomore Marilyn Stephens in 12th (23:35.32), and junior Haven Prodzinski in 18th (24:23.67). Grand Valley freshman Kaylae Medina was 15th in 23:57.53.

Racing at the Moffat County Invitational on Saturday, Rifle senior Jonathan Hernandez placed sixth with a time of 19:05.36, and teammate Patrick Whitt, a junior, was eighth in 19:23.95.

jstroud@postindependent.com