Three Coal Ridge seniors sign letters of intent last week
Coal Ridge High School has officially turned into a college-signing factory.
Last week, three seniors signed their letters of intent to participate in college athletics next year. That means at least six Titans seniors have now inked the pen throughout the 2020-21 school year.
Taylor Wiescamp, Martin Simons and Phoebe Young have all signed to compete at the collegiate level next year. Now joining the ranks are Hartleigh Porter, Jack Price and Christian Vasquez.
On May 18, Porter signed on to cheer for Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
On May 20, Price signed on to play soccer for Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, while Vasquez signed on to cheer for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
The Rifle Citizen Telegram recently sat down and spoke with the college-bound athletes.
CT: So why did you land on Grand Canyon?
Vasquez: So I decided this because, first of all, it’s more affordable. It’s a private Christian school, so it’s kind of higher-end and less students. Also, the team accepted me. They’re a Division I team. … They’re a really good team, good program, so I decided to go there instead.
CT: How’s it feel landing on a D-I program?
Vasquez: It’s pretty cool. I’m excited to be one of the first people from the Coal Ridge cheer team to be a D-I athlete. I think it takes a lot more competitiveness to be on a team like this.
CT: How did you get into cheering first? Tell me a little bit about your background.
Vasquez: So my sister Angelina Vasquez — she did Coal Ridge cheer; she did cheer all four years as well. And, so, when she was a freshman, I decided to go to cheer as well down in Glenwood on an all-star team down there.
CT: How old were you?
Vasquez: I was in seventh grade. So that’s when I started — six years ago. And Coach Alyssa (Thurmon), I would do some clinics with her and decided to come to the team.
CT: Now, throughout your high school career you guys have been exceptionally successful. I believe it was three, four state championships? What can you say to that?
Vasquez: It has for sure. It’s taken, like, so much hard work and dedication to this team. It’s not just a regular sport that you have one season, but it’s a year-long sport. So a whole year of training and practices pays off completely.
CT: What were your favorite moments in high school?
Vasquez: I think my favorite moment for the whole year was going to Florida for nationals. It was something we’d never done before. And it was a completely different environment. It was a lot more competitive. And then we still came out and succeeded.
CT: What do you look forward to most moving forward?
Vasquez: I’m looking forward to moving out, living by myself, being away from Colorado for a while. Yeah, I’ve been here for 17 years, so I’m ready for change and weather in just a whole different environment.
CT: All right, first and foremost, how are you feeling right now?
Price: I’m super excited.
CT: How long were scouts after you?
Price: It really didn’t start until my senior year. I’ve been looking at it since my freshman year. Like, I thought of that as a possibility, and it never really fully came into effect until my senior season.
CT: Tell me about your life with soccer.
Price: So I started whenever I was, I think, 5. … All my friends were doing it at first. And I was just a little kid and just wanted to go and have fun. And whenever I was little, I started to do really good at it. And this just became a passion since then, and I decided to go into the further levels of it. Because, normally, kids stop at about 8 or after they turn 9 and go to middle school. But I stayed with it and never really tried any of the other sports like football during those same seasons.
CT: What are some of your greatest accomplishments and fondest moments playing in high school for Coal Ridge?
Price: That’s a tough one… I’d probably say just my senior year, getting Player of the Year for the league, and having 12 goals. That was big and exciting.
CT: Who are your inspirations?
Price: My dad (Lee Price) is a big inspiration to me. Whenever I was growing up, he always told me stories of his childhood. And I kind of just, like, dreamed that I could do that someday.
CT: How’d you land on Wayland?
Price: I have family down there. And, so, I’ll have family within an hour of where I’ll be. And they can come and visit me, come and watch games. And, yeah, that’s really the main reason. … I was gonna go to Black Hills State University, but I changed my mind because of the soccer offer that I got.
CT: What are you looking forward to most?
Price: I’m looking forward to spending time with my sister (Jaelyn Price) down there and meeting the different people on the team, because I think there’s 15 different countries represented on the team. So I’m excited to meet new cultures and experience that.
CT: Are you intimidated at all to compete at the next level?
CT: So, you’re going to live in Florida. … How’s that feel?
Porter: I’m super excited. It’ll be warm, and my parents travel down there all the time. So it’s not like I’ll be alone all the time.
CT: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into cheerleading.
Porter: I was a gymnast since I was a year old, and Alyssa (Thurmon) came to the middle school when I was in eighth grade. And I just signed up for cheerleading. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to do it because I was a gymnast and gymnasts and cheerleaders don’t normally, like, mix very well. And, so, when I came to tryouts my freshman year, I was super intimidated, not ready to, like, be a cheerleader, I guess. Then, in my first year, I gained a lot of confidence with the team, and they’re super welcoming. And then it just kind of bloomed from there.
CT: What’s your favorite part of being a part of cheerleading and spirit?
Porter: Probably creating another family or helping others learn and get better.
CT: You guys have had such a wonderful run throughout your entire high school career from freshman to senior season. What can you say about those experiences and some of your fondest moments?
Porter: It was definitely a tough ride. We had to work super hard. We had to be able to push through everything that we’ve gone through with being quarantined this year. And with, obviously, injuries that had happened, and one of my greatest accomplishments would probably have been getting silver Titan this year. And just being on the team.
CT: What are you looking forward to most?
Porter: Meeting new people, getting the college life experience, even though it’s a small school. I also get the experience of being a college athlete. And, mainly, the beach. I’m excited to be near the beach. Most of that’s what I’m most excited for.
CT: Are you going to miss Colorado?
Porter: No, I hate the cold.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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