A time to reflect and say thank you, seniors
Saturday marks the official conclusion of the school year for me here in Garfield County as Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork hold their graduations. For those students and families, it’s a joyous time, where as with me it allows me to breathe and reflect on the year that was just covering high school sports.
Graduation at Glenwood and Roaring Fork marks the completion of my second full year covering various high school sports from Carbondale to Parachute and everything else in between. Around this time last year, I was excited for everything to slow down because it had been a whirlwind year, from moving across the country to jumping into a new job covering people that I didn’t know at all. But this year … this year is much different.
Over the last two years, I’ve had the chance to cover some great young men and women with good heads on their shoulders and great drive in school and athletics.
I’ll start in Carbondale and work my way west, highlighting some athletes and parents that I’d like to say thank you to for making the last two years enjoyable.
First off, a special thanks to Aldo Pinela, who won the first-ever Male Athlete of the Month award from the Post Independent last September. Aldo won’t play sports in college, but I’m grateful for the time I had covering him. I know he’ll make a big impact in whatever he chooses to do with his life down the road.
Same goes for the Bernot family, especially Stacey — the mother of graduating senior, Hayden, and junior, Kendall. Stacey was very helpful in sending me scores for volleyball, football and basketball games while on the road, keeping this lone wolf updated and helping him do his job to the best of his abilities.
In girl’s basketball, Katie Weimer, Lily Ramos and Lyndsay Hansen made every game entertaining, from Weimer’s picture-perfect jump shot, to Ramos’ impressive speed and Hansen’s no-holds-barred physical style of play. Let’s not forget about captain Ashley Hall (the director of that offense as the point guard), as well as the slick, speedy Jasmin Lopez and the powerful Cindy Salinas, who got just about every rebound imaginable, or so it seemed.
In Glenwood, guys like Jake Townsley, Stephen Romero, Carlos Nolasco-Montes, Miguel “Papas” Peralta, Myles Wilson, Riley Prough and Ben Liotta really provided entertainment on a nightly basis throughout their respective seasons, from football, basketball, wrestling and soccer, to lacrosse and baseball.
Senior girls such as Nina Scruton, Bailey Cox and Lauren Fetzko were gracious with interviews, never complaining, even with plenty on their own plates at the time.
Most will go on to play sports at the next level, highlighted by Wilson wrestling for Iowa and Fetzko swimming for Hawaii, so that alone makes me feel privileged to get a chance to cover them in their prep careers, but that’s not what matters at this point. What matters is that they all have bright futures ahead of them. I’m just glad I got to play a small part in their final two years of high school.
Parents such as Colleen McAllister (Townsley’s mom), Mark Scruton and Matt Cox all made it enjoyable to cover their children, even if they did give me some flak at times (all in good fun, though).
At Coal Ridge, I got the chance to develop good relationships with guys like Hunter Gerber, Jacob Morgan, Cameron Chacon and Jackson Sargent, including the Gerber and Morgan families, as well as the Friday night talks on the sidelines in New Castle with Charles Sargent (Jackson’s dad) who kept stats for the Titans while watching his son play out his final season.
For the Titan girls, Nicole Mooney, Dana Kotz, Kaitlyn Harlow and Faith Wood will be girls that I’ll miss covering, simply because of the dominance and sportsmanship they displayed over the last two seasons.
Before I move on from Coal Ridge, I want to give a special thanks to some wonderful people: Jeff and Aimee Gerber, Dave and Patty Kotz, and Frank and Erin Mooney, all of whom were very supportive and welcoming when I first moved to this wonderful valley just under two years ago. Fortunately for me, they have others kids coming up through the school system, so they’ll still be around, but I didn’t want to let that go by with a special thank-you.
At Rifle, athletes such as Blaine Vance, Jacob Boone, Takoda Chaney, Drake Montgomery, Jessica Bracamontes and Samantha Hinkle made covering the Bears so much fun, whether that was football, basketball, baseball or soccer.
Although I don’t have a ton of relationships with parents in Rifle, I do have to give a special thanks to Lori Hinkle, who helped pass on information to me at times, helping me out immensely.
Finally, at Grand Valley, athletes such as Austin Walck, Austin Fox, Evan Hoff, Kylyn Rigsby and Bailey Rowe really made the Cardinals a must-watch, especially in basketball with Rigsby and Rowe taking turns lighting up opponents.
Dave Walck, Austin’s father and the athletic director at Grand Valley, has been a huge help over the last two years, working with me on whatever I’ve needed at any given time, while Brennan and Melissa Rigsby made it a point to come to me with information about Kylyn’s college decision, as well as her 1,000-point achievement.
While I’m sure emotions are high for those families with graduates, as well as the graduates themselves, I hope all will look back on their time here competing in various sports and remember it fondly.
Just know that these last two years covering you and interacting with your families has been an absolute pleasure as this city boy from Pittsburgh gets to live out his childhood dream of covering sports for a living. For that, I thank you.