Glenwood Springs High School boasts big numbers
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Blake Risner has always had a substantial number of athletes to work with during his tenure as Glenwood Springs’ track and field head coach.
This year, he’ll have more than ever.
Buoyed by a gigantic freshman class, roughly 75 athletes have turned out for track at Glenwood this spring.
“It’s a record number in terms of my tenure here,” said Risner, who’s entering his 14th year as the Demons’ coach. “Two years ago, we had 60. Last year, we had 55. It’s a record freshman class for Glenwood Springs High School, so about 28 of them are freshmen.”
And, as has typically been the case in recent years, Risner’s squad isn’t shy on talent. The Demons have returning state qualifiers in virtually all areas of competition.
On the girls side, athletes like juniors Jolie Dubois and Allison Brown and sophomore Connor Adams will anchor the sprints.
Juniors Kristy Moore and Anna Gauldin and sophomore Madi Goodstein will be big in the hurdles.
Risner sees potential distance help coming from soccer players Sarah Treese, a senior, and Michaela Mansfield, a sophomore. Each will juggle both soccer and track this spring.
Senior Theresa Gabriel will be a big scorer in the jumps. Freshmen Rachel Orosz and McKenzie Nelson-Buehler have shown promise in the throwing events.
Sophomore Lexie Warkentin will contribute in numerous areas.
Risner, recently named the 2009-10 Colorado High School Coaches Association girls track and field coach of the year, anticipates big things from Glenwood’s girls.
“In an average year, when you lose Laura Young, Meg Waibel, Katrina Selsor and Melissa Buchanan, you’d be worried,” he said. “But we have some incredible talent coming back. We have quite a few state qualifiers and school record holders coming back. I’m excited about what’s coming back with the girls. They’re already talking about a four-peat.”
The four-peat talk is in reference to the Demons’ string of three straight regional/league titles. The girls won Western Slope Regional titles in 2007 and 2008 before winning the 4A Western Slope League championship meet last spring.
Risner knows he owes his coach of the year award to the accolades his girls have produced in recent years. On top of last year’s league crown, the Demons took seventh as a team at state.
“With the league championship, the girls finishing seventh at state, our relay teams showing pretty well last year – we had a couple of seconds – the girls’ performances didn’t go unnoticed by the coaches in the state,” Risner said. “It’s a tremendous honor. More than anything, it’s a reflection of the incredible talent the girls program has had the last few years.”
Glenwood’s boys boast plenty of talent as well.
Top returners on the track include senior quarter-milers Wyatt Israel and Travis Whitman, 800 stalwarts Ryan Buchanan, a junior, and Garrett Brown, a senior, and distance phenom Andrew Mansfield, a sophomore who’ll contribute solid times in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Junior Chad Montover should be a force in the shot put and Willy Pelland will be strong in the discus.
The Demons will also have a few football players joining the fray in seniors Tyler Thulson, Trey Fox and Jake McPherson. Soccer player Carlos Ramirez, also a senior, is also giving track a go.
McPherson will likely throw, while Thulson, Fox and Ramirez will likely take on track events.
“We’re excited to see what those guys bring to the program,” Risner said.
A program that, by all indications, will be a statewide force yet again.
“Usually it’s me hyping the kids,” Risner said. “This year, they’re the ones setting the big goals. The kids are taking over with the big expectations. The coaching staff is thrilled with the hard work and intensity the whole group has shown so far.”
RIFLE, Colorado – With strength at all levels, Rifle’s track and field team is poised to make a little noise in 2010.
Rifle’s boys return a number of 2009 state qualifiers, including the entire 4×200 and 4×400 boys relay teams that made it to Lakewood last spring.
Tyler Rust, Joe Burgess, Humberto Guerrero and Ryan Davis made up last year’s 4×400 unit that posted a school-record time of 3 minutes, 23.75 seconds at the 4A WSL championships. All four are seniors.
Elsewhere, the Bears will return senior distance specialists Dustin Ross and Jeo Mendez. Senior hurdler Adolfo Ruiz is back, as are sophomore track contributors Andrew Proebstle (200, 400) and Taylor Webb (hurdles).
Senior James Martinez, a state qualifier in the pole vault last year, is returning as well.
Seniors Nick Mellon and Jake Burgess are newcomers who will try their hands at shot and discus.
“We’ve got a good group of kids,” Rifle coach Jerry Shafer said. “We’ll see how it goes. It’ll be interesting. We’re definitely loaded with more guys. These seniors were all freshmen running when we won regionals with Tyler Thompson, Nick Alderson, those guys. If everyone runs well, we could be tough to beat.”
Rifle’s girls will be led by the likes of senior Natalie Whitmore (200, 400, relays) and juniors Cami Castillo (300 hurdles, 400, relays) and Makayla Wilkins (sprints). Senior Tori Jorgensen is a returning state qualifier in the pole vault.
Others returning include junior Katie Armstrong and seniors Nichole Karr and Kylie Mozingo.
Basketball players Cortney Cordova and Ciara Euler will join the track team this year. Both are juniors.
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