Garfield County athletes rack up all-state accolades following end of spring sports season

Coal Ridge senior Brandon Short tosses a pitch during an April 20 matchup against Rifle.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

Following the end of the 2023 Colorado High School Activities Association spring sports season, a number of athletes throughout Garfield County have been recognized on the all-state rosters for their respective sports.

As schools throughout the county saw athletic success throughout the duration of the 2023 season, below are the athletes who were awarded for their individual contributions:

Boys baseball

After a 26-2 finish that marked a historic season for the Coal Ridge High baseball team, three players found their names on the list of this year’s all-state honors.

Ben Simons, whose contributions on the diamond earned him the title of Western Slope League Player of the Year, and fellow teammate and graduating senior Brandon Short were both announced as representatives on this year’s 2nd team all-state roster. 

Short, who will continue his baseball career at Otero Junior College in La Junta, said it felt good to be recognized for his contributions throughout the season.

“I have never been on the all-state team so it truly was an honor to see my name on the list this year,” Short said. “I couldn’t have accomplished this without my coaches and team, but seeing my name among some of the best players in the state is a real confidence booster for me heading into my freshman year.”

Joining Simons and Short is incoming senior Alexis Serna, who was awarded honorable mention accolades for his contributions to this year’s Coal Ridge team.

Among others earning honorable mention honors are: Rifle junior Logan Gross  (Class 4A); Roaring Fork sophomore Cole Fenton; Basalt senior Chaney Morris.

Girls soccer

Already off to the United States Military Academy West Point to continue her track and field career, Mikayla Cheney earned 2nd team all-state honors for her contributions on the soccer pitch this season for Coal Ridge. 

Posting 17 points in 10 games played, Cheney helped lead the Titans to 4-3 league record and a third place finish in the Western Slope League. 

Earning honorable mention honors for their contributions on the field during the 2023 season are: Coal Ridge seniors Gwynn Apostolik and Mari Stevens; Basalt senior Emma Jefferies and junior Jacey Reed.

Girls track and field

Dominating track and field meets throughout the course of the season, Coal Ridge saw five athletes awarded all-state recognition following the conclusion of the season.

The girls 800 meter sprint medley, which was composed of seniors Jackie Camunez and Aceleigh Porter, along with juniors Nicole Herrera and Rilyn Krueger, placed first at this year’s track and field state championships. Now, the four athletes not only call themselves state champions, but all-state athletes as well.

Camunez, who also earned all-state recognition for her part in bringing home two 4×400 relay state titles her sophomore and junior years, said it’s great to be recognized along with her teammates.

“It feels great to be able to share this success with these girls,” Camunez said. “We have been together for a couple years and to see the progression from each of us is really special.”

Also earning all-state accolades this year is sophomore Brille Jensen. Jensen, who took first place in shot put at this year’s state championships, said she looks forward to growing off the success she saw this season.

“I still have a lot of small goals for myself that I want to accomplish,” Jensen said. “It feels great to be recognized and I hope I can continue to get my name on the all-state list these next couple years.”

Girls lacrosse

Roaring Fork senior Sophie Hodgson has long awaited to find her name among some of the best girls lacrosse players in Colorado. After earning honorable mention accolades both her sophomore and junior seasons, that wait has finally come to an end.

Racking up 113 goals during the course of her career despite having her freshman year cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hodgson played a key part in leading the Roaring Fork girls lacrosse team to the 4A state quarterfinals in this year’s playoffs. Knocking off Aspen High School to get there, Hodgson is among those listed on this year’s second team all-state roster

“The team always pushed each other to get better and it really showed in our playoff run,” Hodgson said. “To finally have my name mentioned on the all-state team showed me that my hard work paid off which was really cool for me.”

Hodgson will now look toward kick-starting her freshman year at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is still considering trying out for the school’s girls club lacrosse team.

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