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Community profile: Vanderhoof a lifelong Barracuda, champion for youth swimming in Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs High School swim coach and longtime Team Sopris club coach Steve Vanderhoof coaches high school swimmers during a practice at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

For a town with a culture revolving in large part around water — from its world-famous hot springs to the confluence of two popular recreational rivers — it should come as no surprise that Glenwood Springs is home to one of the premier swimming programs in Colorado.

Going back to the very beginnings of the Team Sopris Barracudas swim club, there’s been a mainstay who has helped keep it going for 50 years.

Glenwood Springs native Steve Vanderhoof swam on the very first Barracuda Swim Team in 1970 at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, and remembers his mother, Eddi Vanderhoof, teaching him how to swim in the uniquely warm water.

Today, now 63, Vanderhoof serves as the head coach for the Team Sopris youth program as well as the GSHS girls and boys swim teams.

He fondly recalls those humble beginnings.

“They had the Learn to Swim program at the Hot Springs back then, and they’d do sessions for 9-, 10-, 11-year-olds where we’d spread out into different groups in the shallow end,” he said.

By 1970, when he was entering junior high, the Glenwood Barracudas formed as a summer-only youth swim club team. Vanderhoof was among the founding members.

A few years later, “We tried to get the high school to do a team, but they wouldn’t let us,” he said.

So, during the school year when high school swim season rolled around, Vanderhoof and a handful of other coachless swimmers would take the bus on their own to Golden to compete in a big swim meet.

The success of the local club program through the years, especially after the Glenwood Springs Community Center pool was built in the early 2000s, eventually spawned Glenwood Springs High School girls and boys swim teams. The Demons have since had a fair amount of success at the individual and team level, producing several collegiate swimmers in the process.

Among them was one of Steve and wife Wendy Vanderhoof’s daughters, Kendall, who was an All-American swimmer for Kenyon College in Ohio from 2017-20, a stretch that included a third-place finish in the mile swim at the NCAA 2018 Championships and fourth in that event the following year.

Hometown kid

Glenwood Springs High School swim coach Steve Vanderhoof walks down the length of the lap lane pool during swim practice at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Vanderhoof was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, attending GSHS from 1973-76, then studying at Mesa State (now Colorado Mesa University) in Grand Junction and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

“I played basketball in high school. That was my passion, along with swimming,” he said, adding his older brother, David, also swam with the Barracudas.

It was at UNC that he took a swim coaching class and read the works of renowned swimming coach James “Doc” Counsilman, considered the father of competitive swimming in the United States.

“I took that class, and then I coached the Barracudas for three summers,” Vanderhoof said of his early coaching days.

He swam competitively for one semester at UNC, but said that without the benefit of a year-round program he quickly found he wasn’t as fast or in the same condition as the athletes who had devoted more time to the sport.

He kept swimming to stay in shape, adding running and cycling to his regimen and eventually taking up triathlons.

He met his wife, Wendy, while growing up in Glenwood Springs. After college, Steve went into the banking business with his father, the late Don Vanderhoof, whose family had founded the Glenwood Industrial Bank. Don, who died in 2017, later served on Glenwood Springs City Council, including two years as mayor.

After about 40 years in banking, including stints with what eventually became Glenwood Independent Bank and its successors, then retiring from US Bank a few years ago, Steve focused his attention on swim coaching.

Program growth

Vanderhoof recalls the transformation of the Barracudas from a summertime program to a year-round program, which coincided with the construction of the aquatics facility at the Glenwood Community Center.

Prior to that, the program had bounced between the Hot Springs Pool, Carbondale’s John Fleet municipal pool and even the indoor pool at the former Sunlight Racquet Club.

“The Barracudas are the ones that really pushed to get this thing open, raising dollars through the ‘lap campaign,’” he said.

That campaign eventually raised over $1 million, and the swim club was on its way to having a legitimate year-round training facility.

He vividly remembers introducing his own daughters, Kendall and her younger sister, Kaitlyn, to competitive swimming, perhaps a little too early after they’d been used to swimming at the Hot Springs.

“They loved swimming, but we brought them over here (to the Community Center pool) with coach Howard Jay, and he had everybody get in the pool all at once and swim to the other side,” Vanderhoof said. “They made it about halfway and got out crying, the water was so cold.”

They waited another year, and by then Kendall and Kaitlyn were all in, he said. Kaitlyn attends Colorado State University but didn’t take her swimming to the intercollegiate level.

Vanderhoof didn’t coach in the club program in those early days at the Community Center but took on the high school teams at different times.

He’s now coached the GSHS girls for eight years and the boys for seven, and six years ago took the helm as head coach of the Barracudas Team Sopris age groups.

After dropping to around 30 swimmers prior to him taking over, the club program has grown in recent years to about 90 youth swimmers, ages 7 to 18, and a smaller contingent of adult “Masters” swimmers.

That growth occurred even during the pandemic, when swimming was one of the few youth activities that was deemed safe to do with certain safety protocols in place.

“Through COVID, we managed to stay open after a break from the pool (in the spring of 2020) and came back in June-July. We’ve been in here ever since and able to stay safe and stay connected at the same time,” Vanderhoof said.

Even during the break, the club members would have dryland training via Zoom, including yoga and conditioning sessions, and even fun games to keep the kids engaged, he said.

“I think more than anything else they just liked to get on there and see all their friends, so that was kind of fun,” he said.

Meanwhile, the high school teams have excelled, with the Lady Demons having won back-to-back conference titles in 2020 and 2021, and placing several individual swimmers and divers at state while placing third as a team. Vanderhoof was named conference coach of the year.

The Demons boys team also won the Southwest Conference championship this past spring and sent several swimmers to state after having the 2020 season called off due to the pandemic.

Swim team parent Tiffany Lindenberg acknowledged Vanderhoof for keeping the programs together, even with the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“Steve’s commitment to getting the kids back in the pool when everything was shut down is a testament to his dedication to this team,” she said. “The time commitment it took to make all of this happen was absurd, but his ultimate goal was to figure out how to get the kids back to swimming.”

As a result, the Barracudas were able to hold a swim meet in September 2020, but with a long list of safety measures.

“In the end, it was a huge success,” Lindenberg said. “What stands out most to me about Steve is the positive relationships he is able to build almost immediately with kids.”

Lindenberg’s son Hazen is in the sixth grade and is a club swimmer, and their daughter Ella is a senior on the GSHS team.

“Steve is kind and encouraging to all families and swimmers, and his interactions are intentional,” Ella Lindenberg offered. “He is mindful of each swimmer and helps them find the best version of themself both in and out of the pool.”

Coaching philosophy

Glenwood Springs High School swim coach Steve Vanderhoof coaches swimmers during a practice at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Beyond teaching conditioning and swim stroke technique, Vanderhoof says much of his approach to coaching revolves around role modeling.

That seems to resonate especially with the high school girls program, he said.

“I’ve taught some of these girls how to swim as freshmen, who’ve gone on to be state qualifiers as a senior,” he said. “We’re giving them a lifelong skill and some self-confidence, so that’s pretty special. And a lot of it is just making kids into good adults.”

That’s also evident in the programs’ recent success at having Glenwood swimmers continue and even excel at the collegiate level.

“It’s always fun to see those really good swimmers, and we have a few of them right now, where they have really good support and they work their butts off, and they can probably pick almost any college they want,” he said.

That’s something he talks about with the younger swimmers during their routine goals sessions. Some take it to heart, eyeing the junior nationals or even the Olympic trials, Vanderhoof said.

Last year’s GSHS girls broke eight individual event school records at the 3A state meet.

A contingent of divers, coached by Lara Claassen, rounded out the Lady Demons swim team in recent years, helping them go undefeated through last season and turning heads at the state meet.

As seniors last year, Libby Claassen was named Class 3A Diver of the Year, and Abby Scruton signed to both dive and play soccer for the Division I program at St. Francis College in New York City.

Several swimmers have also crossed over to do well in other sports, including cross country and track. That, in turn, has produced a few triathlete prospects heading into college, he said.

As for continuing on with coaching even after his own daughters have graduated, “It gives me something to do, and it’s fun. I love to see the kids succeed and become good adults.”

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Junior Gents to begin prep for 2022 rugby season, looking for a new set of recruits

The Junior Gents rugby team practices on Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Willits.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Before winter fully sets in, the Aspen Junior Gents rugby team hopes to get a head start on its upcoming season and is looking to recruit some fresh talent to the pitch.

The high school-level program is planning a training session this coming Sunday at 1 p.m. on the field in Willits, which is home base for the side during the season, and will train until Mother Nature forces them indoors.

“We’ll get serious in February again to get ready for the season,” coach Cameron McIntyre said. “Due to the COVID thing, we’ve lost quite a lot of guys who were there. But the guys who were with us when we had our state playoff run as freshmen, they will be back in the fray as seniors.”

The Jr. Gents are an offshoot of the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Club, which earlier in the fall won its latest Aspen Ruggerfest championship at Wagner Park in downtown Aspen. The younger side competes statewide through Rugby Colorado, which is not affiliated with the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Playing for the Jr. Gents is open to anyone in high school in the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding communities. The bulk of the roster in recent years has come from Basalt and Glenwood Springs, although McIntyre would love to recruit players from as far as Rifle if they are interested. The season begins in late February and runs into May.

Many former football players have made the transition to rugby through the Jr. Gents over the years. No prior rugby experience is required. McIntyre is selling it as a fun, contact sport to discover now that the fall football season is concluded for area teams.

The team already has a couple of strong players to build around ahead of 2022 in Glenwood’s Sawyer McKenney and Cadin Howe. Howe spent the past year back in South Africa at a rugby school and is set to soon return to the valley.

To reach out about joining the team, contact McIntyre via email at camaroonmci11@live.com or by phone at 970-379-4740.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Rams roar to 3A boys soccer state championship

The Roaring Fork Rams celebrate with the 3A state championship trophy at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Nov. 12.
Rich Allen/Post Independent
The Roaring Fork Rams pose with the 3A state soccer championship trophy and banner after topping Jefferson Academy 2-1 at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Nov. 12.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

The 10 seniors of Roaring Fork High School’s boys soccer team did not forget Nov. 16, 2019.

The Rams were routed in the state championships 5-0 by Kent Denver, leaving a bitter taste that only soured more in the one-off spring 2021 COVID-19 campaign that saw them miss the playoffs.

Two years later, those seniors washed the bitterness away, replacing it with pure euphoria. The Rams defeated previously unbeaten Jefferson Academy 2-1 at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Friday to win the program’s first state championship.

Roaring Fork’s Josh Hernandez chips the ball past Jefferson Academy’s Andrew Bauer for the game winning goal in the 3A state championship at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Nov. 12.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

“For us to come back two years later and finish the job this time is so unreal,” senior captain Ross Barlow said. “I wanted nothing more than to get back to where we are today.”

Roaring Fork was forced to prove it through the entire playoffs. The Rams entered as the No. 11 seed, not even the highest out of the Western Slope League, which they won.

The Rams had to defeat the No. 3 seed Faith Lutheran in the quarterfinal. Then they had to down No. 2 Atlas Preparatory in the semis. Then, in the finals, top-seeded Jefferson Academy entered with a 0 in their season loss column.

All season, all through playoffs, in each of their comeback victories, the Rams never lost sight of the end goal and never saw themselves as the underdogs everyone else did.

“We knew we were ranked 11th, but we never saw it that way,” senior goalkeeper Jacob Martin said. “We played like No. 1.”

Roaring Fork went down just 13 minutes into the championship game. The Jaguars seemed destined for a lead entering the half before a broken play led to Carlos Perez Rios with the ball in the penalty box and a wide open net.

He bounced it off the post, but Ivy Ortiz cleaned up the rebound with just 46 seconds left on the clock.

Roaring Fork soccer’s Ross Barlow takes a leaping shot in the 3A soccer state championships at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Nov. 12.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

They survived an offensive attack in the first 16 minutes of the second half before Barlow found sophomore Josh Hernandez behind the defense. A simple tap past the Jaguars keeper inside the far post, and Roaring Fork had the lead.

The Rams survived the final push, clearing away a corner kick as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

It gives Roaring Fork its first state championship since girls basketball three-peated from 1989-1991.

“From the get-go, this team has been so motivated and so focused,” Roaring Fork head coach Nick Forbes said. “Since that first game of the season, I had a feeling that this team was going to make it all the way.”

For a Roaring Fork athletics program that is seeing a revitalization, it gives the school a true flagship to hang its hat on.

“Programs are starting to come back, and to be part of that community and that momentum is special,” Forbes said.

Roaring Fork soccer’s Max Brooke celebrates with fans after winning the 3A state championship at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Nov. 12.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

The Rams finish their season with a 17-3 record, but all that matters is the final notch in the win column.

“We’re the best,” Ortiz said. “We all worked together to make it happen.”

The Rams were welcomed home Saturday afternoon with a surprise celebration on Main Street in Carbondale, where fans gathered decked out in blue and gold with signs, cowbells and even a vuvuzela. Team members got off the bus and showed off the championship trophy and banner, before running through a big paper banner reading “State Champs.”

Roaring Fork High School fans gathered at Fourth and Main in Carbondale Saturday afternoon to welcome home the state 3A boys soccer champion Roaring Fork Rams.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Roaring Fork Athletic Director Crista Barlow said a championship parade through Carbondale is planned for 4 p.m. Monday on Main Street.

The Rams graduate 10 seniors as champions, according to their MaxPreps roster: goalkeeper Jacob Martin, Braiden Stainton, Forrest Rosenbloom, Salvatore Lepe, Cole Pargiter-Walker, Carlos Perez Rios, Ross Barlow, Jose Mercado, Aaron Varela and Ivy Ortiz.

Roaring Fork High School fans gathered at Fourth and Main in Carbondale Saturday afternoon to welcome home the state 3A boys soccer champion Roaring Fork Rams.
John Stroud/Post Independent
Members of the Roaring Fork soccer team hoist the 3A championship banner during a town welcome home Saturday afternoon in downtown Carbondale.
John Stroud/Post Independent
Roaring Fork head soccer coach Nick Forbes has his chance to show off the hardware from Friday’s 3A state soccer championship.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Basalt, Carbondale climbers hit the wall for new season

Junior Ella Lahey works on her bouldering during Basalt High School climbing team practice on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, inside the BHS auxiliary gymnasium.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

There was an indoor climbing league season last winter despite the difficulties surrounding the pandemic, but it lacked the energy of past years. Each team was given a time to climb, and the athletes never saw any of their competition in person.

“You go in, you climb, you submit your scorecard, and then you wait a week, and you’ll see how you are doing,” Basalt High School coach Tanner Jones explained. “It was different in that we had to go as individual teams, and we had a week to go and do our three hours of climbing, as opposed to all the climbers coming together in certain heats or in certain waves and then building that camaraderie with other teams and having that competition and cooperation, which the league is good for.”

This season should feel closer to normal — well, the new pandemic normal — for the climbers. The season got underway on Saturday with the first regional competition, held at the Monkey House in Carbondale. It’s the initial step toward making the state competition in February.

West Slope Regional Meet Results

HS Boys

1. Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 38,769

2. Basalt/Roaring Fork, 32,990

3. Montrose, 26,915

4. Battle Mountain, 25,561

5. Gunnison, 23,997

6. Ridgway, 21,736

Top 10 individuals: Jackson Turner (CRMS), Devin Bush (CRMS), Cameron Hermes (Roaring Fork), Keller Friesen (CRMS), Michael Price (Telluride), Hank Cerrone (Roaring Fork), Salomon Cohen (CRMS), Chente Anderson (Ridgeway), Ash Brown (Montrose), Coleman Streater (Roaring Fork)

HS Girls

1. Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 23,265

2. Montrose, 21,187

3. Basalt/Roaring Fork, 18,051

4. Gunnison, 13,250

Top 10 individuals: Aiden Manning (Battle Mountain), Reese Manley (Eagle Valley), Audrey Righter (Montrose), Kassie Yeager (Montrose), Willa Schendler (CRMS), Scarlett Kerr (CRMS), Lilly Jones (CRMS), Olivia Lindsay (Delta), Makay Mackie (CRMS) Angelika Minoli (CRMS)

Source: American Scholastic Climbing League results web page

“All the people are really fun. It’s really fun to meet everybody and climb with new people, because there are always new people every year,” BHS junior Ella Lahey said of why she likes to climb. “It’s so much more fun with everybody, because you can see how they do the problems and the routes. It’s much more alive.”

The Basalt High School climbing team practices on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Basalt.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Jones started the BHS climbing team in 2018, with the 2019-20 winter season being the club’s first in terms of actual state competition. In January 2019, a climbing wall was built inside the high school’s auxiliary gymnasium and has led to a boom in numbers, from barely a handful in 2018 to around 20 the past few seasons.

The Longhorns compete out of the Colorado-based American Scholastic Climbing League, which was established in May 2018 and replaced the 10-year-old Colorado High School Climbing League. The nonprofit organization operates separately from the Colorado High School Activities Association.

The private Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale has had its own climbing program for several years.

At least for this season, Basalt has effectively become the valley’s public school team, with students from both Aspen and Roaring Fork high schools coming aboard.

“I’ve kind of adopted one Aspen climber and then a few from Roaring Fork. So really, it’s like the Roaring Fork Valley conglomerate,” Jones said. “The leadership certainly comes from these experienced climbers who have been doing this for a while and are training at the Monkey House and are really enjoying the competitive piece. So they are able to kind of mentor a bit. And with that, we have all abilities.”

Jones seeks to create a stress-free environment within the club, saying his “coaching philosophy around climbing is to make it as enjoyable as possible.” While some athletes certainly take the competitions seriously, many are out there simply to challenge themselves and have fun surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Competing out of the Western Slope — one of four regions statewide — athletes need to compete in at least three regional competitions out of a likely six total to qualify for the state championship. A few climbers took part in a USA Climbing event held in Eagle on Nov. 6, although those results don’t count toward the local high school league.

“You just watch yourself grow. It’s fun. When you finally get a problem, you feel accomplished,” BHS junior Grace Harrington said of why she climbs with the team. “If you are really determined to get a placement then you can take it seriously, but it’s just fun overall. You go there and you support your teammates. It’s super fun. It’s going to be fun watching other climbers and being all in the same gym.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Aspen, Coal Ridge lead local representation on Western Slope 3A All-Conference team

Aspen High School volleyball’s Reese Leonard bumps the ball against Glenwood Springs on Aug. 19 inside the AHS gymnasium. The Skiers won 3-2.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Second-place Aspen placed three players and fourth-place Coal Ridge placed two on the 3A Western Slope League All-Conference volleyball roster released on Tuesday.

Basalt, which finished sixth in league, landed one player on the 14-player All-Conference squad. Seventeen players were named honorable mentions, including two additional Skiers and Titans, two Rifle Bears, two Grand Valley Cardinals and one Roaring Fork Ram.

Roaring Fork received the Sportsmanship Award.

Delta swept through league play, winning all 10 matches. As such, Panther senior Erika Kuta was named Player of the Year, and Beth Nelson was named Coach of the Year.

Aspen went 9-1, and Coal Ridge went 6-4. No Western Slope League team advanced out of the regional round of the playoffs.

With Palisade still competing in the state bracket, the 4A All-League teams have yet to be released.

The full 3A Western Slope League All-Conference rosters are listed below, with name spellings as listed in MaxPreps.

Coal Ridge volleyball’s Peyton Garrison fields a serve against North Fork on Sept. 30.
Rich Allen/Post Independent

All-Conference

Delta — Erika Kuta, Ellie Ames, Raelee McCurdy; Aspen — Riley Rushing, Maddie Lee, Reese Leonard; North Fork — Indigo Miller-Barnes, Izzy Houseweart; Coal Ridge — Emma Morgan, Peyton Garrison; Moffat County — Abbe Adams, Jacie Evenson; Basalt — Macy Scherer; Cedaredge — Paige McGovern.

Honorable Mentions

Delta — Jillian Carlson, Melana McCormick, Kaelynn Porter; Aspen — Avery Leonard, Sadie Bayko; North Fork — Payton Fister, Kacie McCollum; Coal Ridge — Brenna Hinkly, Lydia Dye; Moffat County — Olivia Profumo; Basalt — Karsyn Dombrowski; Cedaredge — Megan Jenkins; Rifle — Kimber Lang and Mady Berglund; Roaring Fork — Bella Brown; Grand Valley — AbbeyRose Parker, Katie Ray.

Rifle volleyball’s Kimber Lang
Theresa Hamilton/Garfield Re-2 School District

On to the title game for Roaring Fork Rams after 3-1 state soccer semifinal win over Atlas Prep

For the second time in three years, the Roaring Fork High School boys soccer team will have a chance at the school’s first-ever state soccer championship.

The Rams came back from a goal down in the second half of Wednesday’s 3A semifinal against Atlas Preparatory School, played at Frederick High north of Denver, to win 3-1.

Senior goalkeeper Jacob Martin had the biggest moment of the game when, up 2-1 headed into the final 12 minutes of play, the Rams were called for a tripping penalty in the box.

“With penalties, there’s nothing you can really do except pick a side before they line up and go with it,” Martin said in a phone interview after the win.

He made the right guess, knocking the ball away to his left, as the Rams held onto the lead then added an insurance goal two minutes later when junior Emi Magana found net for the second time on the night following an Atlas turnover.

“Our team held up super well even after getting scored on first,” Martin said. Come Friday, “We just need to do the same thing, come out hard and play the way we need to, and get a win for our first state championship.”

Roaring Fork will play No. 1 Jefferson Academy, 3-0 winners over No. 4 Liberty Common in the other Wednesday semifinal, at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Switchbacks Weidner Field in Colorado Springs.

Roaring Fork entered its semifinal as the 11th seed versus the No. 2 Atlas Prep Gryphons. The Rams were looking for a return trip to the state championship game after a disappointing COVID-shortened spring season in which they went 6-3 and missed the playoffs.

In 2019, the Rams went 15-3-1 and made it to the 3A state title game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, but fell to the mighty Kent Denver Sun Devils 5-0.

On a cold night at the Frederick Stadium Wednesday, it was the 16-3 Rams against the 17-2 Gryphons, who struck first five minutes into the game to make it 1-0.

Atlas held the lead through the remaining 35 minutes of the half, most of which was played in the middle third of the field. The Gryphons nearly went up two in the opening minutes of the second half, when they weaved the ball inside the 18 only to see the shot ring off the left post.

From then on, it was all Roaring Fork.

The equalizer came with 31 minutes left to play when the Atlas keeper made a nice stop on senior Ross Barlow’s shot, which rebounded perfectly to junior Daniel Vega, who booted it into the back of the net.

A little over four minutes later, sophomore Josh Hernandez fed Magana for the go-ahead goal, as the Carbondale faithful who made the trip over exploded in appreciation.

“We have a pattern of going down a goal, but then turning it around and playing heads up,” longtime Roaring Fork head coach Nick Forbes said. “When we can do that and play smart, disciplined soccer, we can match up with anyone.”

The Rams also benefit from the experience of several players who were part of the 2019 run. Roaring Fork carries a roster of 10 seniors, so there’s extra motivation to take it that next step on Friday, Forbes said.

“We have the mentality to take it all the way, and that experience serves as motivation to practice hard, be coachable and be students of the game,” he said. “The pressure doesn’t get to them too much.”

Forbes also tipped his hat to Atlas Prep.

“They’re a good team, really classy, and with a complementary style of play that made it a fun game to watch,” he said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Sports briefs: GSMS Fenceline Run results; Rams playoff soccer on tap Wednesday

The biannual All-Star Fenceline Run took place at Glenwood Springs Middle School on Nov. 4, challenging students to run a lap around the school athletic fields.

This has been a fall and spring tradition within the school’s physical education program since 1999, but it was suspended last year due to the pandemic.

All-time records for the 600-yard run are held by Sergio Flores (2013) for the boys, with a time 1:36.1, and for the girls, Melissa Buchanan (2005) and Sophia Vigil (2016), who both ran it in 1:52.7.

This fall’s top-10 finishers were:

Girls — Kylee Bair, 2:22; Audrey Allen, 2:27.7; Jordyn Miller, 2:28.1; Susie Irving, 2:30.5; Jazmin Lopez, 2:31.2; Lola Schmidt, 2:31.8; Mareli Hernandez, 2:32.9; Ashley Roggie, 2:33.9; Divia Martinez, 2:34.8; Becca Fuentes, 2:35.8.

Boys — Oswaldo Corona, 1:55.9; Ossie Hilgeford, 2:08.1; Eder Magallenes, 2:09.8; Payson Vyhidal, 2:10.6; Cash Hilgeford, 2:11.2; Sebastian Romo, 2:14.5; Cris Calvillo, 2:15.7; Ali Huerta, 2:16.2; Jonah Wells, 2:16.6; Jose Lopez, 2:16.9.

Roaring Fork plays at 5:30 Wednesday

Game time is set for the Roaring Fork High School boys 3A state soccer semifinal game Wednesday.

The No. 11 Rams take on No. 2 Atlas Preparatory School at 5:30 p.m. at the Frederick High School stadium.

The game can be live-streamed via the subscription-based NFHS Network [https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/sports/soccer/colorado].

The winner advances to Friday’s state championship game versus the winner of Wednesday’s other semifinal, No. 1 Jefferson Academy against No. 4 Liberty Common.

Demons football misses cut for 3A state playoffs

The brackets are in, and Glenwood Springs High School football is out as far as the Class 3A state football playoffs are concerned.

The 5-5 Demons had hoped that their 48-14 win over Battle Mountain Friday night might be enough to propel them into the field of 16 teams to make the playoffs.

Instead, the 16th and final spot went to 7-3 Thomas Jefferson, whose RPI ranking of No. 18 was one better than Glenwood’s No. 19. The two swapped positions in the final MaxPreps poll Sunday, but when the final numbers were crunched to set the brackets, it was TJ that made it in.

Central West League champion Palisade was the only 3A Western Slope team to make the playoffs. The 8-2 Bulldogs are seeded No. 7.

Undefeated Roosevelt and Lutheran earned the top two seed in the 3A playoffs. Also representing in order of seeding will be Fort Morgan, Durango, Mead, Frederick, Holy Family, Pueblo South, Pueblo East, Pueblo County, Northridge, Evergreen, Green Mountain and Discovery Canyon.

Glenwood Springs finished at 5-5 and 1-2 in league. The Demons graduate seniors Evan Heyl, Ranier Foreback, Ethan Fergen, Blake Nieslanik, Sawyer Mckenney, Ray Rosenmerkel, William Marshall, Stefan Wroblewski, Axel Contreras, Teddy Huttenhower, Bennett Walter, Cameron Small and William Roark, according to the team roster posted to MaxPreps.

Preps: Basalt football can’t overcome Brush in first round of playoffs; AHS volleyball out

The Basalt High School football team practices on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, on the BHS field.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Basalt High School football team’s stay in the postseason was short and far from sweet. The No. 10 seed Longhorns fell behind early and could never get back into it in a 43-23 loss at No. 7 Brush in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs on Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve been better, but the kids battled,” BHS coach Carl Frerichs said. “It doesn’t really matter if it’s playoffs or the normal season, the high school momentum is huge when it starts to go down the wrong way and it went down the wrong way pretty fast. We got ourselves into a hole.”

A coin flip on paper, Brush looked superior from the start. After forcing an early BHS punt, the Beetdiggers quickly took a 7-0 lead not even three minutes in when running back Ty Griffith caught a short pass from quarterback Alejandro Maltos-Garcia. The hole got deeper barely two minutes later when a bad snap on a BHS punt resulted in a safety and Brush led 9-0 after a quarter.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Brush’s lead grew to 16-0 on an easy 10-yard run by Griffith.

Among the first-half highlights for Basalt was an interception by star senior Sam Sherry, which helped set up a 24-yard field goal by senior Carlos Palomares to make it 16-3 with less than three minutes to play until the break.

Before the Longhorns could get to halftime, however, a busted coverage left Ivan Cardenas wide open, the end result a 44-yard touchdown catch that made it 23-3 at halftime.

“We feel like we could have done some better things, but we need to give some credit to Brush. They did a lot of things great and they deserve to win,” Frerichs said. “I was proud of our effort for four quarters. Just too many mistakes with coaching and with playing. You are not going to win a playoff game without each phase.”

Both teams started the third quarter somewhat sluggish before Basalt scored via a 2-yard run from junior tailback Cooper Crawford to give BHS some hope down 23-10 heading into the final quarter.

The wheels fully came off in the fourth, however. Griffith scored on another short run — the extra point was blocked — to make it 29-10 with less than eight minutes to play.

Basalt junior quarterback Kade Schneider answered by finding Sherry on a 68-yard TD connection, the highlight of the BHS offense on Saturday, to cut it to 29-16 after also having an extra point blocked.

Brush closed with an 18-yard touchdown run by Cesar Hinojos with less than four minutes remaining that made it 36-16. Counter to the situation, the Beetdiggers then surprised Basalt with an onside kick and recovered it, and then tossed a 36-yard TD pass to Hinojos to shut the door on any BHS rally.

Basalt did get one final score, an 8-yard TD run by senior tailback Gavin Webb with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

Brush (8-2) moves on to face No. 2 seed Resurrection Christian in the second round; the Cougars (8-1) won 56-15 over No. 15 La Junta on Saturday.

Basalt finishes the season 7-3 overall. It was the sixth straight trip to the postseason for the program.

“It’s so hard anytime you see another senior class graduating that I’m so proud of. They do so much,” Frerichs said. “They put so much into this. We truly are a family, so it’s tough to see these guys move on. It’s kind of the coaching cliché, but it’s 100% true: there is only one team happy at the end. I wish we would have got a few more weeks together, but there is only one team happy at the end.”

The only team remaining from the 2A Western Slope League is No. 4 seed Delta, a 45-14 winner over No. 13 Alamosa in the first round. The Panthers will play No. 12 University in the second round, which knocked off No. 5 Moffat County on Saturday, 28-14.

Aspen volleyball season comes to an end

The Aspen High School volleyball season also ended on Saturday with a loss to Lamar in regional play. The Skiers were competing in the postseason for the first time since 2018, drawing the No. 23 seed in the 36-team regional field.

Aspen opened its three-team region by beating No. 35 Stargate School, 3-0, by set scores of 25-12, 25-9 and 25-21.

But facing No. 2 seed and region host Lamar in the winner-take-all final, Lamar rolled to an easy 3-0 win. Set scores were 25-12, 25-7 and 25-14. Lamar also beat Stargate School 3-0 with set scores of 25-6, 25-20 and 25-9.

The Savages, who are a perfect 25-0, will be one of the 12 teams competing in the Class 3A state tournament this coming week.

Aspen finishes the season 17-6 overall, the team’s best mark since going 18-7 in 2018. The Skiers finished second in the 3A Western Slope League behind only champion Delta.

Note: The Aspen High School boys soccer team’s season came to an end last week with a 1-0 overtime loss to DSST: Green Valley Ranch on the Evie Dennis Campus in the first round of the 3A state tournament in Denver. It was Aspen’s first playoff appearance since 2018. The No. 19-seeded Skiers finished the season 9-6-1 overall, their best record since going 11-6 in 2014.

Calendar turns toward winter

Saturday’s losses by Basalt football and Aspen volleyball mean the fall prep season is over between the two schools and the winter season is effectively here.

Winter sports practices officially get underway on Monday, Nov. 15, with the first contests for most sports allowed as early as Nov. 29.

Area winter sports include boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, girls swimming, wrestling and skiing for both alpine and nordic.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Semis bound! No. 11 Roaring Fork upsets No. 3 Faith Christian 3-2 in 3A soccer playoffs; Titans volleyball out

The Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale controlled the ball for most of the high school boys 3A state soccer quarterfinal game against Faith Christian in Arvada on Saturday afternoon, emerging with a 3-2 win to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals.

The Rams entered the quarterfinal matchup as the lower seed, No. 11 versus the No. 3 Eagles, but were dominant despite an equalizer for Faith at the end of the first half that knotted it 1-1 going into the break.

“I told them to keep pushing and keep taking chances, and that we were in control,” Roaring Fork head coach Nick Forbes said. “When you do that, good things happen, and they did.”

Next up: No. 2 Atlas Preparatory School, 2-1 winners over No. 10 Lutheran on Saturday, in the semifinal round Wednesday afternoon at Frederick High School.

In Saturday’s quarterfinal, Roaring Fork got on the scoreboard first in the 16th minute when senior captain Ross Barlow found the net off an assist from senior striker Carlos Perez.

Faith got the equalizer in the 39th on a ball that appeared to careen off the adjacent football goal post before finding the foot of an Eagles player. In any case, the score was counted.

The Rams again dominated to start the second half before Perez again found Barlow for the go-ahead in the 51st minute of play to make it 2-1.

Senior Jose Mercado provided some insurance with an unassisted goal 13 minutes later — good thing, because Faith found the net with just 30 seconds to play when the ball rebounded off Rams goalie Jacob Martin.

Too little, too late, for the higher seed at that point, though, as the Rams held on for the victory.

“A lot of these players have been here before, and every time feels great,” Forbes said of Roaring Fork’s march to the 3A state title game in 2019, where they lost to Kent Denver.

“As good as it feels, we’re not done yet, and they know we still have work to do,” he said.

Titans volleyball bows out in 3A regionals

In other state playoff action this weekend, the Coal Ridge High School girls volleyball team ended its season in the regional round of the 3A state playoffs in Loveland Friday.

The Titans, seeded 36th in the 36-team regionals, fell 3-0 to top seed Resurrection Christian (25-8, 25-11, 25-10) in the opener.

A competitive five-set match with No. 24 Lake County followed, but the Titans lost 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 25-15, 20-25, 15-4).

Individual stats were not immediately available. Coal Ridge graduates four senior players: Peyton Garrison, Brenna Hinkley, Lydia Dye and Bayley Jacobson.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.