Garfield County high school athletes receive Western Slope All-Conference honors

Roaring Fork senior Foster Hayes (No. 2) and junior Fernando Rodriguez (No. 3) look to set up a shot against the Rams' first-round 3A soccer playoff opponent, Timnath, Oct. 25.
John Stroud/Post Independent

The Western Slope All-Conference boys soccer and girls volleyball teams have been released. Headlining this year’s All-Conference teams, Rifle’s Jonathan Espinoza captured coach of the year accolades, while Roaring Fork High’s own Foster Hayes can now add WSL player of the year to his impressive athletic resume.

Soccer – 4A Division

Glenwood Springs boasted an impressive presence. Luis Venegas Martinez and Jose Chavez earned First Team All-Conference honors, showcasing their prowess on the field. Anothony Mellin and Kevin Alvarenga received Honorable Mention accolades, solidifying their contributions to the team.

Coach Juan Quintero of Glenwood Springs expressed his pride in his players.

“These four boys played a big part in helping us get to where we wanted to go,” Quintero said. “We came up short of our goals, but I couldn’t be more proud of these boys. Excellent student-athletes.”

Despite their efforts, the Demons came up short after falling to the No.7 Steamboat Springs Sailors in the second round of this year’s state tournament.

Soccer – 3A/2A division

In the 3A/2A division, Rifle’s Johnathan Espinoza was named Coach of the Year, a testament to his leadership. Foster Hayes of Roaring Fork secured Player of the Year honors, and Jeff Torres, also from Rifle, was celebrated as Goalkeeper of the Year.

Hayes shared his gratitude for his coaches and teammates, acknowledging their collective hard work.

“I actually had no idea until just now,” Hayes said. “It’s an honor to know the amount of hard work and personal hours are paying off. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and teammates.”

Rifle junior and fellow all-conference honoree Eduardo Espino praised his goalkeeper Torres after taking home goalkeeper of the year accolades.

“He kept us in a lot of games this year,” Espino said. “I don’t think we would have had as good of a season if it weren’t for Jeff.”

The First Team All-Conference comprised Hayes and fellow teammate Bennett Jardine from Roaring Fork, along with Espino, Torres and Yahir Marquez from Rifle, Zion Williams and Alexis Serna from Coal Ridge and Erik Vasquez from Basalt.

The playoffs saw No.15 Coal Ridge Titans and No. 6 Rifle Bears shine, with Coal Ridge’s surprising victory over No.2 Kent Denver and No.7 Frontier Academy, advancing them to the state semifinal match, where they edged the Bears to advance to the state championship.  Basalt and Roaring Fork also made playoff appearances, with the Rams earning the No. 8 seed in the state tournament.

Honorable Mention honors were awarded to Jake Barlow, Eli Cohen and Yusbani Duarte from Roaring Fork, Luis Mendoza and Adrian Valencia from Rifle, Daniel Arqueta and Calum Ingles from Basalt, and Derick Centeno from Coal Ridge.

Volleyball – 4A division

Glenwood Springs’ Rilyn Goluba led the way with her remarkable performance, securing a First Team All-Conference spot after leading the Demons on the season with 35 serving aces while also averaging 2.3 kills per set. Zoey Hyatt Worley and Amanda Madden from Glenwood Springs received Honorable Mention honors.

Volleyball – 3A division

The 3A division witnessed the high-powered Rifle Bears in action, with Madeline Berglund, Kristyn Mentink, and Crystal Santana earning spots on the All-Conference Team. Lauren Custado of Basalt, Erica Crownhart of Roaring Fork and Riley Cheney of Coal Ridge also secured well-deserved honors.

High-powered and led by their seniors Santana, Mentink, and Berglund, Rifle finished the season with a stellar 17-8 record, securing a third-place finish in the Western Slope League.

Receiving Honorable Mention recognition were Josie McKinley and Grace Garcia from Basalt, Ruby Denning and Carley Crownhart from Roaring Fork, Brooke Allen from Rifle, and Danika Bagett from Coal Ridge.

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