Talent aplenty, Glenwood fall sports hopes to take next step | PostIndependent.com

Talent aplenty, Glenwood fall sports hopes to take next step

Glenwood Springs Demons junior Ashley Emery prepares to serve the ball during Friday night's game against the Rifle Bears.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Heading into last fall’s sports season for the Glenwood Springs Demons, expectation levels were quite high, considering the Demons saw a number of talented athletes return across all sports. Glenwood did its best to reach those expectations, as the Demons saw the girls volleyball team place second in the 4A Western Slope League and earn a berth to the state playoffs, while the cross country team saw the boys reach the state meet once again. Boys soccer also had a great year, but unfortunately just missed out on a state playoff berth by one game.

Now, rosters change over, especially in volleyball, as the Demons see just one starter return this fall from last season’s state playoff team. However, Glenwood has a number of experienced players return, while hitters such as Baylee Johnson and Ashley Emery look to take that next step under second-year head coach Kehau Rust.

Cross country sees its top seven runners return under second-year head coach Justin Baum, highlighted by standouts Henry Barth, Gavin Harden, Sophia Vigil, and Emily Worline. The Demons are exceptionally deep in both the boys and girls rosters, which should help Glenwood see both teams qualify for the state meet. That being said, the girl’s road to the state playoffs is daunting, as a number of state powers reside in the same region as the Demons.

Rounding things out this fall, the boy’s soccer program is as talented a team as there is on the Western Slope, and this year the Demons should take the next step this fall under veteran head coach Wayne Smith. Guys like Leo Mireles, Sebastian Torres, and Alan Videla return to help carry the workload for the Demons.

This fall might not match the highs that last season did for the Demons across the board, but expectations — and excitement — heading into the season hasn’t change.

Girl’s Volleyball

Head Coach: Kehau Rust, second year

Last Season: 19-6 (10-2), placed second in 4A WSL, lost to Cheyenne Mountain and Thomas Jefferson in Region 11 state tournament.

Key Returners: Baylee Johnson, Sr., OH; Ashley Emery, Sr., MH; Sarah Wagner, Sr., OH; Ally Rosenmerkel, Sr., L/DS; Emily Nilsson, Jr., S

Players to Watch: Kaitlyn Johnson, Jr. RH: Shanik Zambrano, Jr., OH; Kenzie Winder, F, OH

Season Outlook: Nine seniors showed up for tryouts this fall for the Demons, eight of which are returning players. However, just one is a returning starter. There is plenty of depth returns from a state playoff team, though.

“The big thing last year was we were so focused on Tye [Wedhorn], but this year things are going to be more spread out,” said Kehau Rust, Glenwood’s head coach. “Baylee [Johnson] is going to be a big outside hitter for us, and two juniors are hungry to play. We’re going to have more depth, which will make us harder to play against.”

With that depth, the Demons will look to stay in contention for the league championship once again this fall.

Boy’s Soccer

Head Coach: Wayne Smith, fifth year

Last Season: 9-6 (8-4 4A Western Slope League)

Key Returners: Leo Mireles, Sr., MF; Sebastian Torres, Sr., MF; Mitchell Burt, Jr., CB; Jackson Kruse, Jr., D; Alan Videla, Jr., MF; Jack Rheinhold, Jr., D

Players to Watch: Carlos Guardado, Jr.; GK; Justin Garces, So., F; Brayan Estrada, Jr., F

Season Outlook: Glenwood returns a large number of talented players from last season’s successful team. With the amount of returning talent in Glenwood, head coach Wayne Smith expects this year’s version of the Demons to take the next step in the league standings.

“I think we’re going to be really competitive,” Smith said. “We’ll be as competitive this year, if not more so as we were last year in the league play. We made some schedule changes too, so if we are successful playing those teams, we could have a boost in RPI for the state playoff hunt. We want to make the playoff field, and we’re always chasing a league title as well. We played really well against some of the league’s top teams, so we hope to take another step forward this year.”

Cross Country

Head Coach: Justin Baum, second year

Last Season: Boys placed 15th in the state, Henry Barth (32nd) and Gavin Harden (49th) placed inside top 50 for Demons

Key Returners: Henry Barth, Sr., Gavin Harden, Sr., William Berkheimer, So., Bryce Risner, Sr., Sophia Vigil, So., Emily Worline, Sr., Matilda Barth, So.

Runners to Watch: Reid Swanson, Fr., Dalton Deter, So., Emily Johnson, Fr., Emma Barsness, Fr.,

Season Outlook: One of the top cross country programs on the Western Slope returns an impressive amount of talent this fall for second-year head coach Justin Baum. With that returning talent, expectations for the 2018 version of the Demons are quite high.

“On the boys side, we want to finish in the top 10 in the state, which is definitely possible due to what we have in terms of frontrunners,” Baum said. “The key is who is going to step up as our fifth or sixth person this fall. We have a lot of raw talent coming in this year.

“On the girls side, our regionals were really tough,” Baum added. “It’s arguably the toughest regional in the state, with Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs, as well as Eagle Valley. A lot of state-ranked teams in our region. We’re a young team, but girls team has a lot of first-year runners that are very strong. Hard to tell how good these girls can be, but I think we can surprise people this fall.”

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