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Roaring Fork Select girls 16U soccer team wins the Utah Surf Invitational

Competing at the Utah Surf Invitational in Salt Lake City June 27-29, the Roaring Fork Summer Select 16U Silver girls soccer team won the tournament, going 5-0 in the three-day event.

The Roaring Fork girls select team outscored its opponents 15-7, including a 3-1 decision over Wasatch in the championship game on June 29.

The Roaring Fork girls select team was coached by Erik Johnson, Dereck Cox and Jenna Bontempo.

Team members include: Morgan Rightmire, Avery Smith, Sydney Schriock, Sophia Connerton-Nevin, Paige Rightmire, Elise Cox, Delaney McPherson, Taia Nykerk, Alika Bassi, Clare Irvin, Rileigh Zalinski, Tynan McPherson, Addie Cox, Sarah Levy, Jacey Read, Brinlee Allen, Avery Johnson and Ella Johnson.

The team is made up of players from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.

Along with the RVS girls 16U Silver team, the RVS boys 11U Silver team also won its tournament, beating Rangers White 5-1 in the tournament championship.


Morgan says tea-sipping celebration was nod to Sophie Turner

LYON, France — Alex Morgan said her tea-sipping celebration at the Women’s World Cup was a nod to actress Sophie Turner’s amusing Instagram posts.

No, it wasn’t a dig at England or a random reference to the Boston Tea Party, or any number of other theories out there.

“My celebration was actually more ‘that’s the tea,’ which is telling a story, spreading news,” the U.S. forward said.

Morgan has been criticized for the celebration. Her former teammate on the Orlando Pride, Lianne Sanderson, a broadcast commentator during the World Cup for beIN Sports, called the celebration “distasteful.”

“She can celebrate however she wants and I’m a big believer in the Americans and how they celebrate but this was disrespectful,” said Sanderson, a former striker for England’s national team.

Morgan pretended to sip tea after scoring the go-ahead goal in Tuesday night’s semifinal victory over England. Goalkeeper Alysaa Naeher preserved the 2-1 victory by stopping Steph Houghton’s penalty kick late in the game.

The victory sent the Americans into their third consecutive World Cup final. They’ll face the Netherlands for the championship on Sunday at Stade de Lyon.

Morgan spoke to reporters Friday, clarifying the source of the goal celebration and referencing the “Game of Thrones” actress. Turner’s Instagram is filled with her saying audacious or gossipy things, adding “That’s the tea” and taking a sip.

“I feel that there is some sort of double standard for females in sports to feel like we have to be humble in our successes and have to celebrate but not too much, or do something but always in a limited fashion,” Morgan said.

She said it’s hard to understand the outrage when men have celebrated goals by grabbing their crotches.

The U.S. national team has drawn some criticism for its goal celebrations in France. First it was the repeated celebrations after every goal in a 13-0 rout of Thailand, which some said were unsportsmanlike. Carli Lloyd responded in the next game with a golf clap after her goal.

Megan Rapinoe struck an “Are you not entertained?” pose in the quarterfinals against France before Morgan’s tea sipping in the semis.

“I think everybody’s just kind of having fun with the celebrations and embracing the moment,” Lloyd said.

Yorkshire Tea company made light of Morgan’s celebration, tweeting a photo of a bag of team readied for shipping.

“Dear (at)USWNT, Sorry you had to drink pretend tea. If you’d run out of the proper stuff, you only had to ask! PS No hard feelings – good luck on Sunday.”

Glenwood Springers compete at Colorado state meet

Seven athletes from the Glenwood Springers track club competed at the USA Track and Field Colorado State Association Meet last weekend in Aurora at Cherry Creek High School’s Legacy Stadium.

Athletes from all over the state competed in multiple track and field events for a chance to qualify for the regional championships at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, later this summer.

Saturday started off with two stellar performances in the 3000 meters as Carbondale’s Isabella Moon placed fifth in the girls 13-14 age group with a time of 13 minutes, 32 and 69/100s of a second. Glenwood Springs’ Benny Swanson placed second in the boys race with a time of 10:05 and qualified for the regional meet. Eliana Fulk had a busy Saturday competing in her first ever championship meet and coming away with two first place finishes for the 8-and-under age group.

Fulk placed first in the 400 meter run with a time of 1:24 and first in the 800-meter with a time of 3:02.88. Both victories qualified her for the regional championship each event.

Aside from Fulk in the 800-meter run, Moon placed 11th in the event for the 13-14 year old girls, while Daxton Almeida placed seventh for the 11-12 year old girls. Aidan Riciputi placed seventh for the 11-12 year old boys as well.

Glenwood Springs’ Calvin Swanson placed second in the 9-10 boys division in the 800 meters with a time of 2:53.81. This effort also qualified him for the regional meet in Arizona later this summer. Swanson’s effort in the 800 meters came shortly after a win in the javelin for the 9-10 boys with a throw of 18.3 meters.

Competition continued Sunday morning as many Springers athletes competed in the 1500-meter run on the final day of competition.

Calvin Swanson picked up where he left off in Saturday’s performances, placing second in the 9-10 division in the 1500 meters with a time of 6:01.59. Benny Swanson placed fifth in the boys 13-14 age group with a time of 4:54.33. Riciputi placed 12th in the 11-12 division , while Almeida placed seventh in the 11-12 girls division with a time of 5:49.49.

Moon rounded out the 1500-meter competitors for the Glenwood Springers by placing 12th with a time of 6:24.09.

Competition for the Glenwood Springers finished up with Emma Barsness competing in the 2000-meter Steeplechase. A USA Track and Field Junior Olympic National Qualifier in the Steeplechase last year, Barsness used her experience to be patient during a fast start.

After running five laps of barriers, Barsness placed second in the 15-16 girls age group with a time of 8:29.49, good enough to qualify for the regional meet in Arizona later this summer.

The Glenwood Springers will be in action again on Saturday, June 29 at Glenwood Springs High School as the Springers’ track club hosts its home meet. The meet is open to all ages and anyone in the community, and is free this year as there is no charge for competing in any events. The meet will offer events ranging from the 100-meter dash to the 3200-meter run.

Field events will feature the long jump, shot put and high jump. The meet will also offer two Special Olympic races in the 100- and 200-meter dash.


Rifle Tough

Rifle’s Tanner Vines (9) fights through the tackle attempt of Bennett’s Mason Wakeham (20) during the 2019 Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games’ football feature, played in Alamosa at Adams State University’s Rex Field June 7. With the RHS standout one of its primary ball-carriers offensively, the South Team separated during the fourth quarter to down North 31-17, giving the South its first win since a 28-27 triumph in 2011, when the Games came to Alamosa from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

RFLC wins 4 titles at Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Jamboree

The game of lacrosse continues to grow here in the Roaring Fork Valley, and last weekend in Denver the Roaring Fork Lacrosse Club’s boys U11, U12, U13 and U15 teams continued to put the valley’s athletics on the map, winning a total of four championships at the two-day tournament.

The four championships marked the best showing at the season-ending tournament for the Roaring Fork Lacrosse Club in its eight-year history as the U11 (fifth grade), U12 (sixth grade), U13 (seventh grade) and U15 (eighth grade) won their divisions in Denver. The U11 team, lead by midfielder and team MVP Jesse Shiflet, beat an undefeated Steamboat team 7-2 to win the U11 championship. The U12 Roaring Fork Lacrosse Club Swarm defeated a strong Green Turtle team from the Denver Lacrosse Club, 5-4, with goalie Nico Savi earning team MVP honors for the U12 club.

At the U13 level, the Swarm defeated the MSC Lacrosse Club 5-3, as midfielder Canyon Cherney won the team MVP award. Wrapping things up at the U15 level, the Swarm — led by first-year goalie JJ Segal — defeated the Mad Mountain Elk Team from Evergreen to claim the championship. Segal earned team MVP honors.

The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Jamboree was founded in 1995 by Nancy and Ted Baruch, and the Lacrosse Outreach Foundation. During its 23 years, the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Jamboree has become a staple of the Colorado lacrosse community, serving youth, middle school and high school boys and girls. The “Jambo” is one of the largest and most festive celebrations of the game in Colorado.

A portion of the RMLJ proceeds have and will continue to benefit the Ted Sullivan Memorial Fund (TSMF), which promotes the growth of lacrosse and provides scholarships to lacrosse players in financial need.


Hoping to give kids an opportunity close to home, former Coal Ridge hooper Hunter Gerber hosts youth basketball camp

Wanting to give back to a community that did so much for him throughout a storied high school basketball career, former Coal Ridge Titan Hunter Gerber gave back in the best way he knows how: through a youth basketball camp.

One summer after hosting roughly 30 kids on Mondays and Wednesdays in June, the former Titan great and current Lancaster Bible College forward went all in on a week-long youth basketball camp this summer, hosting nearly 70 boys and girls from third grade to eighth grade for an educational basketball camp at Coal Ridge High School, where the campers learn the basics of basketball from dribbling to rebounding, while also getting a lesson on teamwork and character from the former All-State guard who holds a number of school records.

“Between my time here in New Castle and in college, I’ve had the privilege of going to several different basketball camps both locally and in Denver,” Gerber said. “Growing up around the game of basketball, those were some of my best memories. Knowing that, I wanted to give the kids in this community a chance to go to a basketball camp close to home, and provide that opportunity in the summer for kids to come into the gym and get some work in and improve as basketball players and people.”

Thanks to the help of his father, Jeff, and mother, Aimee, as well as current Coal Ridge Titans basketball players Leyanna Nevarez, Taylor Wiescamp, Payten Garrison, Andrew Herrera and younger brother Austin, as well as former teammates Brandon Herrera and Aaron Arreola, Gerber has had a ton of help running a large camp that often breaks up into two full courts within the confines of Coal Ridge High School.

“It’s exhausting for sure, but it’s all worth it,” Gerber said. “Just seeing the kids have fun, meeting all sorts of kids, that’s what makes it all worth it. The camp has been pretty smooth so far; we’re having a lot of fun.”

At the camp, players are going through individual drills such as dribbling, shooting, rebounding and playing defense, while also learning how to play transition basketball, utilizing the full length of the floor, which Gerber said is something that doesn’t really happen often at bigger camps due to the limited space and the number of players in attendance.

Aside from the standard drills at a basketball camp, Gerber also set aside time to teach the young players about being a good teammate and playing the game the right way, which was a calling card for the former Titan standout, who won the 3A WSL Sportsmanship Award his senior season, as voted on by the area’s officials. Focusing on the word TEAM, Gerber works through a key word that starts with each letter in TEAM, educating the young players on an important, yet often overlooked part of sports.

“I just want them to be the best teammate possible,” Gerber said. “Its not about being the most talented player or the flashiest, it’s about being a good teammate and doing the little things to help your team and teammates succeed. That has much more of an impact than being a talented player.”

As of Tuesday morning’s session, 68 kids registered for the camp and showed up to learn under the watchful eyes of Gerber and staff members. Being back in the same gymnasium where he put together a number of highlights and made so many memories has been a humbling experience for the soon-to-be junior with the Chargers’ basketball program. It’s an experience that he’s taking in and continuing to grow his love for the game of basketball, a game that has given him so much.

“It’s surreal,” Gerber said. “I miss playing here for sure, but I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t play here. It’s been an amazing experience, especially seeing the growth in the camp. To nearly double that number from last summer to this summer has been surreal.

I’m very thankful for the time that I’ve had here and the community around me, and for the opportunity,” Gerber added. It’s something I’m looking forward to continuing to grow, both with the camp and my love of coaching basketball.”


Fulk-Gray, Rollins win Basalt Half Marathon that benefits BHS cross country team

The kids probably enjoyed Saturday’s Basalt Half Marathon more than Amy Rollins. An assistant coach for the Basalt High School cross country team and daughter of head coach Ron Lund, Rollins won the women’s portion of the race all while the BHS athletes looked on from aid stations along Frying Pan Road.

“It’s a fun kind of role reversal for them to see me suffering and cheering for me, instead of the other way around,” Rollins said. “It’s just exciting to see them out there and to maybe give them some inspiration. They inspire me so much, so it’s a fun role reversal for them to see a different side of me and hopefully inspire them to start their summer training.”

In its 43rd year, the Basalt Half Marathon is a fundraiser for the BHS cross country team and helps get athletes to Arizona each year for a large postseason regional event put on by Nike. The 13.1-mile race begins at Ruedi Reservoir and descends roughly 1,000 feet to the finish at Lions Park in downtown Basalt.

Usually held later in the summer, Lund, the race organizer, decided to move the race to earlier in the season this year to avoid conflicts with other similar races that typically occur in July and August. It’s a change he plans to make permanent going forward.

Lund said they had just over 40 racers on Saturday, a significant decline from years past. He believes a lot of that simply had to do with the earlier start date.

Also new this year was the addition of a two-person relay option, although only a couple of teams took part.

“In the long run it’s going to be good for us because of the saturation of events. Everyone was vying for the same runner,” Lund said. “We just need to get the word out there and stick with this date for a while and I think it will come back. I know a lot of people are training for the Aspen Valley half, which is five weeks away. This is certainly a great fitness indicator of where you are at.”

Taking the win Saturday was Watkins Fulk-Gray, who works for the Town of Basalt. He finished in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 55 seconds, while Aspen’s Guillermo Ceja was second in 1:27:40.

“It’s very much a local race, which is fun. I wanted to show Ron support. I know him a little bit and to support the cross country team is always good,” Fulk-Gray said. “I don’t usually like running early-season races like this, because I don’t feel like I’m in very good shape, but racing yourself into shape is also a thing.”

Fulk-Gray said the win was significant for him as it was his first in a couple of years; a span that included many runner-up finishes. He said most of his main races will not be until the fall, and he currently has his eyes set on the 2020 Boston Marathon.

Rollins was third overall in 1:28:26, which she said was a new personal record time, while Aspen’s Ashley Connolly was fourth overall in 1:31:35. Mary Cote was third among women, finishing seventh overall in 1:34:02.

“Usually the women’s field is very competitive at this race,” Rollins said. “It was about a minute PR, which I was thrilled with. Super happy.”

Kevin O’Brien finished third among men and fifth overall in 1:32:17, while Thomas Simmons was sixth overall in 1:32:46.

Lund hopes to build the race back up to where it has around 100 runners. He believes it could become a solid early-season option for athletes in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Plus, it’s good for the BHS runners to build camaraderie ahead of the cross country season. This upcoming fall should be a strong one for the Longhorns, who are set to host a regional meet for the first time in more than a decade.

“All the kids on the team are aid station workers. That’s how they contribute and they like doing it. It’s a good day to hang out with their friends or meet new kids on the team,” Lund said. “It’s a good team bonding thing, and it’s a lot of fun. Even though it’s not the numbers I was hoping for, I think it’s going to be a success.”


Garfield County schools land 8 players on 3A Western Slope League all-conference teams

While none of the three 3A Western Slope League schools within Garfield County sent baseball teams to the 3A regional playoffs, the schools represented the county well when it came to the league’s postseason honors as eight players earned All-Conference honors, as voted on by the league’s coaches.

Roaring Fork, under veteran head coach Marty Madsen, saw five players earn honors as senior Dawson Kuhl was named first-team all-conference infielder, while senior centerfielder Layne Crisp and junior left fielder Frankie Harrington earned first-team outfield honors for the Rams. Junior third baseman Eli Nickamin and sophomore pitcher Graham Pietsch earned honorable mention accolades for the Rams, who finished the season 9-14 (5-4 in the 3A WSL).

The Coal Ridge Titans landed two on the all-conference team as junior third baseman Ryan Kotz earned first-team honors under veteran head coach Dan Larsen, while junior pitcher Lane Stecklien earned honorable mention accolades as the Titans finished 9-14 on the year, including a 3-6 mark in the 3A WSL. Grand Valley junior Austin White earned honorable mention accolades as an infielder for the 4-17 (1-8 in 3A WSL) Cardinals under head coach Doyle Radel.

Kuhl hit .438 in his final season with the Rams, driving in 29 runs on 10 doubles, one triple, and four home runs — one of which was a Grand Slam. The senior stood out at second base, shortstop, and catcher for Roaring Fork, adding a perfect 12-for-12 in steals on the season. Kuhl also worked on the mound for the Rams, going 3-6 with an 8.37 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 12 starts covering 51 total innings. The senior captain earned a 3A First Team All-State selection as well for his strong senior captain, wrapping up a great career in Carbondale.

Crisp hit right in front of Kuhl in the lineup and played centerfield, hitting .369 on the year. The senior drove in 14 runs while adding three doubles and two triples, scoring a team-high 28 runs on the year. Crisp also went 10-for-11 in steals on the season.

Harrington hit in the middle of the lineup for Roaring Fork and posted a .317 batting average with 11 runs batted in, adding a perfect 6-for-6 mark in steals. Nickamin played a solid third base for Madsen, hitting .319 with 14 RBIs, adding three doubles and one triple for the balanced Rams lineup.

Pietsch came on strong on the mound for the Rams, going 3-5 with a 5.61 ERA in seven starts. The sophomore worked 38.2 innings striking out 28 while walking 19 on the year.

For Coal Ridge, Kotz hit a county-high .448 on the year, driving in 21 runs for the Titans while adding five doubles, one triple, and three home runs on the season. The junior also added a team-high 15 steals and went 3-4 on the mound with a 6.50 ERA, working 37.2 innings, striking out 54. Stecklien worked a team-high 57.2 innings, going 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA for the Titans. The junior struck out 63 hitters and walked just 36, adding a 13 RBIs and one double at the plate.

For Grand Valley, White hit .315 under Radel, driving in 10 runs while recording four doubles and one triple on the year. The junior also stole 10 bases and struck out 29 hitters in just 16.1 innings of work on the mound.

Delta head coach Steve Reiher was named the league’s Coach of the Year after the Panthers went 22-6, including a league-best mark of 9-0 in league play. The Panthers lost to Eaton in the second round of the state playoffs. Delta junior Gauge Lockhart earned the league’s Player of the Year award after .500 on the year, driving in 19 runs with 12 doubles and three triples, scoring a team-high 30 runs. Lockhart also went 9-for-11 in steals and finished 4-1 on the mound with a 3.40 ERA, striking out 47 in 22.2 innings of work.


Kickball tournament teaches sportsmanship, teamwork to Roaring Fork District 4th graders

The familiar sounds of children pierced the air Tuesday morning at Sopris Elementary School in Glenwood Springs, as did the sweet sound of foot meeting kickball.

It wasn’t a recess session, though. It was an organized kickball tournament for fourth-graders.

Nine- and 10-year-olds from Glenwood Springs, Sopris, Riverview, Crystal River and Basalt elementary schools competed against each other in a competitive, yet teachable, setting.

More than 80 schoolchildren descended on Sopris Elementary for Tuesday’s tournament, allowing them to get out of school for the day.

While the weather — temperatures in the low 40s and a light drizzle of rain — wasn’t as cooperative as many had hoped, the tournament went on as planned, leading to a fun-filled environment.

“We’ve been planning this for a long time, probably since December,” said Marty Madsen, physical education teacher at Crystal River Elementary in Carbondale. “All of us [teachers] had other crazy responsibilities, but we were able to put it together. The kids are having a blast.”

The tournament, which started at 9:30 a.m. and ran until 12:30 p.m. on the two baseball fields at Sopris Elementary, was as competitive as possible. It also gave the teachers a chance to indoctrinate the students in sportsmanship, leadership and a sense of community.

For some within the group who are already into sports, sportsmanship and leadership are qualities they’ve already been introduced to. But for those who don’t participate in sports, coming into the one-day kickball tournament was a chance to learn those important lessons that sports can impart on competitors.

“That’s the teachable moment right there,” Madsen said. “You’re here to represent your school and represent your class and yourself. This is their exposure to see that.

“Playing kickball at recess against kids you know is one thing, but to play against kids from other local elementary schools that you might not necessarily know is another thing. It’s good to expose the kids to this type of environment early, where it’s a teachable moment while having some great fun.”

Aside from teaching the students important life qualities through kickball, it was also a chance for the five elementary school teachers to establish an early sense of community. While the schools are only separated by less than 25 miles, there’s not a lot of interaction between the five schools that come under the Roaring Fork District umbrella.

Madsen, Sopris Elementary’s Fred Heisel and the rest of the physical education teachers set out to change that through sports.

“That community aspect had a big impact on how we put this together,” Madsen said. “It’s all about community. We might be three different towns, but we’re one school district. To expose the kids to this type of environment early on and to get them to realize that we’re all one community was really important to us. We’re a small community, but we’re one.”

The tournament wasn’t a typical field trip for the fourth-graders, but it was one that its organizers hope will leave a lasting impact.


Glenwood, Rifle baseball land three each on 4A WSL team

Following regular seasons that saw the Glenwood Springs and Rifle baseball teams reach the state playoffs, the two rival schools landed three players each on the 4A Western Slope League all-conference first-team, as voted on by the league’s coaches.

Glenwood Springs seniors Dylan Lee, Tyler Dollahan, and Chano Gonzalez earned first-team accolades for the Demons, while Rifle seniors Eddie Medina and Randy Starks, and junior Derek Wagler landed on the first team for the Bears.

The three Glenwood Springs seniors led the Demons to a 14-10 record on the year, including a 9-3 mark in the 4A Western Slope League. Glenwood reached the regional playoffs for the second straight year, but the Demons were bounced by the Golden Demons, 5-2, in the first round.

On the year, Lee hit .329 for Glenwood, driving in 21 runs on six doubles, one triple, and two home runs, one of which was a walk-off against Eagle Valley to close the season at home. The senior right-hander also worked 28.2 innings on the mound for Glenwood, going 4-1 with a 4.88 ERA, adding 21 strikeouts and 22 walks. Dollahan hit .371 on the year with a team-high five home runs. The senior also drove in 20 runs, adding five doubles and two triples. Gonzalez, a two-way standout for Glenwood, hit .265 on the year, driving in 21 runs on 10 doubles. On the mound, Gonzalez worked a team-high 44.2 innings, striking out 65 and walking 45. The senior right-hander finished with a 1-3 record and a 4.07 ERA.

Rifle’s trio helped the Bears finish the year 14-9 overall, including a 6-6 mark in the 4A Western Slope League. The Bears reached the regional playoffs as well, where they fell to Skyview, 7-3, in the first round.

In 23 games, Wagler led the Bears with a .545 average, driving in 36 runs with 10 doubles, a school-record 10 triples, and two home runs. On the mound in nine appearances, Wagler went 2-3 with a 6.68 ERA in 14.2 innings, striking out 16 while walking 11.

Medina hit .403 in his final season with the Bears, driving in 33 runs on five doubles, one triple, and one home run — a Grand Slam. The senior right-hander was a workhorse on the mound for the Bears, working 45 innings, striking out 35 and walking just 23, finishing with a 5-1 record and a 5.13 ERA on the year in 15 appearances.

Starks formed a strong duo with Medina, working a team-high 51.2 innings, striking out a team-high 46 on the year. Starks finished with a 5-5 record and a 3.93 ERA in 12 appearances for Rifle. At the plate, Starks hit .300 with 13 runs batted in and two doubles on the year.

Aside from the first team, Glenwood Springs saw four players earn honorable mention accolades in the league, while Rifle saw two players earn honorable mention.

Juniors Ash Stolley and Cole Houston and sophomores Garrett Dollahan and Wheatley Nieslanik earned honorable mention accolades for the Demons.

Stolley hit .315 on the year for Glenwood, driving in nine runs, while Houston hit .291 with 14 RBIs, adding three doubles, one triple and one home run on the year.

Dollahan hit .353 with 12 RBIs for Glenwood, while Nieslanik hit .367 with 15 RBIs. The sophomore right-hander also worked 29 innings on the mound for Glenwood, going 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA, striking out 36 and walking just 13.

For Rifle, senior Wyatt Warfel and junior Levi Warfel earned honorable mention accolades. Wyatt Warfel drove in 13 runs while leading the Bears in fielding percentage with a .959 mark, while Levi Warfel hit .243 with nine RBIs, adding a perfect 23-for-23 mark in steals.

Palisade swept the individual accolades as Nate Porter was named Coach of the Year, while Stevenson Reynolds was named Player of the Year and Cavan Powlowski was named Pitcher of the Year.