Glenwood’s Ximena Gutierrez signs with LCCC
The reigning 4A Western Slope League Player of the Year award winner in girls basketball will have a new home next fall, ending a terrific four-year run with the Glenwood Springs Demons girls basketball program.
Ximena Gutierrez, who was named the 4A WSL Player of the Year and earned first-team all-conference honors two years in a row, as well as an all-state honorable mention least season, signed her national letter of intent Thursday with Laramie County Community College – a junior college program in Cheyenne, Wyoming – inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in front of family, friends, and coaches.
The senior, who burst onto the scene as a freshman four years ago thanks to her defensive prowess, has been building towards an opportunity to play college basketball. After Thursday’s signing ceremony, that dream of playing at the next level became a reality for Gutierrez.
“Being the first generation in my family, it’s amazing for me to even be going to college,” said Gutierrez. “I’m so grateful for that. I’m so nervous and scared, but I’m excited because this is what I’ve worked so hard for. Just to get a chance to play the game that I love at the next level while getting a chance to get a college education means the world to me.”
Last season for the Demons, Gutierrez , the daughter of Sonia Caraveo, led Glenwood with 9.3 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals, and 3.7 assists per game, setting the tone early and often on the defensive end. The senior guard saw he offensive game steadily improve throughout the year, culminating in a career-high 18-point night on the road at Rifle in a 54-42 win on February 1. For her career, in which she started all four years on the varsity level, Gutierrez scored 375 points, grabbed 243 rebounds, dished out 165 assists, and recorded 164 steals and 25 blocks, leaving her with career averages of 6.7 points, 2.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.9 steals in 59 career games with the Demons.
That production across the board led to a heavy amount of interest from schools in Division III, NAIA, and the JUCO level before Gutierrez chose LCCC.
“I think it will be a smoother transition to play sports in college at the JUCO level,” said Gutierrez. “I didn’t want to go D-III route because of the money, and in my situation that wasn’t what I wanted to do. With the JUCO route, I talked to (former Glenwood Springs standout) Delaney Gaddis about it. My talk with her was great and helped me realize that the JUCO level can help me be the best player I can be with the level of competition and the balance with academics.”
Gutierrez ultimately received similar offers from Rangely Community College and LCCC before letting LCCC head coach Brian Ortmeier that she was bringing her talents to Wyoming to join up with the Golden Eagles.
“He told me that I had to work for my spot, and I really liked that mentality,” said Gutierrez. “That’s who I am. I worked hard every day for four years in high school to make sure I kept my spot on the varsity roster. I didn’t want to be one of those players that entered college with a guaranteed spot. I want to work for everything I earn at the next level.”
The senior goes from being the best player on the Demons to a player looking to crack the lineup filled with players who were the best on their team in high school. She compared it to the all-state games she played in this year where everyone was the best from their high school.
“We had to learn to work with each other to be the best team we could be, and that has to be the mentality in college,” added Gutierrez. “I’m excited to get a chance to play against the level of competition I’ll face at LCCC. I’m really excited to get to learn from other players as well, which will help me become a better player.”
Off the court, Gutierrez hopes to study sociology and get into the social work field, where she can help children in need.
After four years at Glenwood, the senior is grateful for some terrific relationships she made with not only coaches and teammates, but teachers within the school as well.
“I’m just so thankful for individuals that I met that became role models,” said Gutierrez. Being able to confide in someone like coach Linley Miller and (math teacher) Ms. Megan Hartmann (math teacher) as role models and friends, that’s what I’m so thankful for. That’s not to mention Coach Mo (Rhonda Moser), and the other coaches I’ve had in high school like Coach (Deanna) Spracher and Coach (Garrett) Peters; they taught me about high school and things I didn’t know, and pushed me to joined groups. Because of their guidance and influence, I became a member of the National Honor Society, became a link leader, and joined student council because they encouraged me to. I’ve had Coach Mo in my life for four solid years now. I can ask her for help with anything. She’s become a great role model and friend and I can’t thank her, or the others that had such a big part in my life enough.”
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.