Fall sports preview: Returning players a big plus for Grand Valley High School coaches | PostIndependent.com

Fall sports preview: Returning players a big plus for Grand Valley High School coaches

Jon Mitchell
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor

3GRAND VALLEY FALL SPORTS PREVIEW

VOLLEYBALL

Head coach: David Walck (Sixth season).

Last season: 9-16 overall, 3-6 3A Western Slope League (seventh place), went 1-1 in Class 3A Region 4 Tournament.

Key returners: Kyra Chenoweth, Jr., OH; Jordan Scott, Jr., MH; Megan Smith, Jr., OH; Jori Shaver, Sr., L; Kayla Federich, Sr., OH; Jori Dovey, Jr., MH.

Others to watch: Kylyn Rigsby, Fr., S; Erika Anderson, Jr., MH; Korrie Hurt, Jr., OH/MH; Chloe Reidle, Jr., S; Allie Dovey, Soph., OH.

Outlook: Chenoweth, an all-league honorable mention a year ago, will be one of the go-to players on the Cardinals’ front line. Grand Valley comes into the season with six players with lots of starting experience, but doesn’t have a core setter in place yet. Walck feels confident that the team can build on last year’s regional-tournament berth, with its first test coming today at the 16-team Glenwood Springs Invitational.

SOFTBALL

Head coach: Brooke Whitman (Fifth season).

Last season: 2-13 overall, 2-6 Class 3A District 5, no postseason.

Key returners: Ashley Radel, Sr., SS/OF; Haley Johnson, Sr., 3B/P; Sierra Berger, Sr., 2B; Vanessa Greene, Sr., OF; Samera Call, Soph., C/OF.

Others to watch: Destiny Bulger, Fr., P/C; Natasha Fognani, Soph., OF; Guilia Hall, Jr., 1B/OF; Maria Gonzalez, Fr., P/OF; Macayla Nolan, Soph., OF; Denie Noble, Sr., 3B/SS.

Outlook: Whitman is excited about Gonzalez, who pitched for an ASA softball team in the summertime. That, along with Bulger and Johnson, gives Grand Valley stability on the pitching rubber that they didn’t have last season. Along with that, Whitman is excited about the diversity of her team, saying the players’ ability to play multiple positions should help the Cardinals improve on last season’s overall mark.

BOYS SOCCER

Head coaches: Chris Walker and Rick Van Vleet (First season).

Last season: 2-13-0 overall, 0-7-0 Class 3A Region 3, no postseason.

Key returners: Luis Pena, Sr., MF; Paco Vicencio, Sr., D; Ben Coleman, Jr., MF; Luis Ruiz, Jr., C; Jon Monteil, Jr., MF/F/Sweeper; Jesus Raygosa, Soph., MF; Russell Fladeland, Soph., D.

Others to watch: Christian Vicencio, Fr., F; Lorenzo Hernandez, Fr., MF/F.

Outlook: Walker and Van Vleet recognize that the Cardinals are young again, but they’re thrilled knowing that the squad is “eager and positive” about the upcoming season. The seniors who are on the team were freshmen when the program began, leaving players like Pena and Vicencio as the core leaders of the squad. And with that kind of seniority along with the team’s eagerness to play, both coaches feel a .500 season is a totally attainable goal.

PARACHUTE — There’s an overall sense of optimism concerning the fall sports programs at Grand Valley High School. And there’s a good reason for that.

Each of Grand Valley’s squads feel they have the ingredients on their roster to improve on their performances from last season. Many of those rosters have a slew of returning players, who coaches feel will make a definite impact.

One of those ingredients are sheer numbers. Grand Valley’s volleyball program drew 28 players for their varsity and junior varsity programs during preseason workouts. That, along with some overall cohesiveness between teammates, already has sixth-year coach Dave Walck very optimistic about the 2013 season.

“I’m excited this year because the girls are not only working hard, but there’s no attitude there, either,” the Grand Valley coach said. “That’s not normal. The Xs and Os problems are always fixable, but attitudes tend to stay with you for a while. It’s nice not to have that.”

Softball

Grand Valley’s softball team has a little more experience than last year thanks to players who were part of some competitive summer softball teams, which is something the Cardinals haven’t had before. But there’s more of a trickle-down effect this season as well.

“There’s definitely a lot of leadership on the team, especially from the people who have been playing for several years,” softball coach Brooke Whitman said. “They’ve pulled everyone together to a point where people are doing extra things after practice. That’s great to see.”

boys soccer

Grand Valley’s boys soccer team has a new head coach — or coaches — as Chris Walker and Rick Van Vleet take over for Eric Sarno. The two are trying to build on a program which, last season, saw some non-league success but had trouble in a tough Class 3A Western Slope League.

Also back coaching is Kim Whalen, who took a year off from coaching the cross country team last season. Whalen was not available for an interview in time for this article.


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