Cardinals hope to bounce back this fall across four sports

Grand Valley senior Wyatt Kruper (15) and Roaring Fork junior Liam Laird (11) fight for possession of the ball during Thursday night's game.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

The Cardinals return three of four head coaches this fall in athletics, highlighted by 11-year volleyball head coach and athletic director Dave Walck, giving Grand Valley experienced coaches to help lead the Cardinals into a rebirth this fall in Parachute.

Volleyball struggled last season with a young group, but the Cardinals found their footing late in the season and should be able to carry over that strong stretch of play to end the year into the beginning of this season as a large number of key contributors return under Walck.

In boys soccer, Grand Valley loses standout scorers Angel Garcia, but Van Vleet has reestablished a culture in Parachute with the young Cardinals, and they should be able to compete match-to-match in a tough 3A Western Slope League.

Where times could be tough is in cross country and boy’s golf, where the Cardinals are very young across the board.

Despite being young in each sport, the Cardinals hope to turn things around this fall on the far end of Garfield County, making for a tough matchup nightly.

Girl’s Volleyball

Head Coach: Dave Walck, 11th year

Last Season: 6-16 (3-6 3A Western Slope League) finished seventh in league standings

Key Returners: Loghan Teter, Jr., OH; Kurra Hitt, Sr., MH; Shaya Chenoweth, Sr.; Jordyn Pittman, Jr., S;

Players to Watch: Ryley Sackett, Jr.; Allison Chartier, Jr., Kirstin Medina, Jr.

Season Outlook: Despite winning six games last fall, the Cardinals have high hopes for this year with seven key players returning from last year’s squad sporting an additional year of experience at the varsity level.

“We are going to be competitive this year after rebuilding last year,” Walck said. “We’re looking for more consistency with what we put out on the floor on a given night. The girls played a lot of ball this summer, and they look ready. We’re very excited about what the season holds. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut team in the league, but Coal Ridge and Aspen should be tough. We’re excited and optimistic about the year ahead.”

Boy’s Soccer

Head Coach: Rick Van Vleet, second year

Last Season: 4-10-1 (1-7 3A Western Slope League)

Key Returners: Marco Rojas, Sr., GK; Luis Magallanes, Jr., CM; Christian Barragan, So., CM

Players to Watch: Emilio Garcia, Fr., MF/F; Enrique Garcia, So., D; Hector Arzate, Sr., MF;

Season Outlook: Top scorer Angel Garcia is out this season, but the Cardinals have a number of starters from last season return under second-year head coach Rick Van Vleet.

“Our goal is to make the first round of the state playoffs,” Van Vleet said. “I do expect to win more games this year. We had a lot of freshmen playing varsity last year. They understand my coaching style now and what our expectations are. We have a talented freshman class coming in, too, so expectations are high. The boys seem to be retaining a lot of what we learned last year, so my goal is to always have them understand the game better, understand that we have a plan on how to attack opposing teams.”

Cross Country

Head Coach: Mark Jansen, second year

Last Season: no runner qualified for the state meet

Key Returners: Cheryl Wilkie, Jr.

Runners to Watch: Michael Satterfield, So.; Bailey Hoyt, So.; Kellen Jansen, Sr.

Season Outlook: The Cardinals were hit hard by graduation, losing top runner Laytham Magana from last season, as well as Elizabeth Satterfield. This fall, the Cardinals turn to junior Cheryl Wilkie to carry the young Cardinals under second-year head coach Mark Jansen. The Cardinals have just one senior coming out this season in Kellen Jansen, so this will be a big year for the Cardinals to rebuild in Parachute.

Boy’s Golf

Head Coach: Bob Davis, first year

Last Season: No golfers qualified for state

Key Returners: Zach Bradley, Sr.; Austin White, Sr.

Golfers to Watch: Dylan Hurst, Fr.

Season Outlook: Grand Valley has just one player back this fall that has varsity experience as a golfer, which makes for a tough task under first-year head coach Bob Davis.

“We have to stay as positive as possible this year,” Davis said. “We just want to improve throughout the year and hope to compete this fall for the Cardinals.”

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