Grand Valley preview: Optimism a common theme for Cardinals
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
GRAND VALLEY CARDINALS
Head coach: Scott Parker (Third season).
Last season: 15-9 overall, 11-5 in Class 3A Western Slope League play (third place), lost to Colorado Academy in second round of Class 3A state playoffs.
Returning starters: Sam Parker, Sr., G; John Parker, Jr., G; Tanner Mcgee, Jr., F.
Others to watch: Gunner Rigsby, Soph., SG; Leon Hernandez, Sr., G; Leo Ray Hernandez, Jr., G; Tyler Matthews, Sr., F; Garrett Mcgee, Fr., C; Caleb Starr, Soph., F.
Outlook: Coach Parker came away with some positive evaluations of his team following the Cardinals’ season-opening, second-place finish at the Black and Gold Classic at Jefferson Academy this past weekend. The only team the Cardinals lost to was Jefferson Academy, which came into the tournament ranked No. 5 in the Class 3A preseason polls. After that, coach Parker felt happy with his team’s abilities on defense, which added to the confidence he already had in his team’s ability to score.
Head coach: Jake Higuera (First season).
Last season: 18-6 overall, 14-2 Class 3A Western Slope League (first place), lost to Manitou Springs in second round of Class 3A state playoffs.
Returning starters: Kyra Chenoweth, Sr. F/G; Jordan Scott, Sr., C.
Others to watch: Kylyn Rigsby, Soph., PG; Allie Dovey, Jr., F; Bailey Rowe, Soph., G/F; Giulia Hock, Sr., G/F.
Outlook: Higuera’s primary concern this season is hi team’s overall stamina. With only 12 players on the Cardinals’ program — which includes junior varsity players — Grand Valley is limited in the amount of minutes and quarters its players are available for. That said, the first-year coach, who takes over for veteran coach Mike Johnson, feels that the Cardinals have an opportunity to make another run at a league championship, and maybe further, if everything falls into place this season.
Head coach: Ryan Frink (First season).
Last season: Sent three individuals to Class 3A State Championships, finishing with two state placers.
Key returners: Jacob Hegwood, Sr., 135/145; Jed Stagg, Jr., 170; Evan Hoff, Soph., 182.
Others to watch: JT Laytham, Fr., 106; Alia Poell, Soph., 113; Jonathan Downing, Soph., 195.
Outlook: Laytham and Downing had the best overall outings for the Cardinals during the dual tournament they participated in at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction this past weekend, but first-year head coach Frink was pleased with the team’s overall effort. He stated on Saturday that with some more mat time this season, Grand Valley has enough individual talent to make some noise by the time the 3A regional tournament take place in early February.
PARACHUTE — The overall consensus for each of Grand Valley High School’s winter sports teams for their respective 2014-15 campaigns could be summed up with optimism.
Both the boys and girls basketball teams, along with Grand Valley’s wrestling team, are coming off of very successful seasons last year. Both basketball teams came just a win away from reaching the field of eight for the Class 3A State Championships, and the wrestling squad placed two of its three wrestlers during the state tournament this past February.
And with those kind of finishes, along with a lot of key returners who are back for this season, everyone has expectations to either meet or exceed the performances of last year.
“We have some talent, and we have the ability to score,” third-year Grand Valley boys basketball coach Scott Parker said. “We play in a touch league, but I think a realistic goal for us is to finish in the upper half of the standings.”
The Cardinals were able to do that last year, finishing third behind a tough Aspen and Moffat County squads. And Grand Valley will return three starters from last season. One of them, senior Sam Parker (21.5 points per game last season), finished last season as Class 3A’s leading scorer.
Grand Valley’s girls, who come into the season as the defending Class 3A WSL champions, made it to the second round if the 3A state playoffs just like the boys did. Two starters from last season — seniors Kyra Chenoweth and Jordan Scott — return to a team that could be battling the effects of a short roster this season. Only 12 girls are in the school’s girls basketball program.
Still, the Cardinals started the season this past weekend by winning the Black and Gold Classic tournament title at Jefferson Academy in Broomfield. Chenoweth was named the tournament’s MVP.
“If we can keep our legs all season,” first-year coach Jake Higuera said. “We have a chance to accomplish an awful lot.”
The Grand Valley wrestling team also has a first-year coach in former assistant Ryan Frink, who also serves as the school’s principal. His goals are more modest than the ones the basketball teams have set for themselves, but the efforts he saw this past weekend at a dual tournament in Grand Junction were encouraging.
“For me, it’s never about wins and losses,” Frink said. “I just want them to put out their full effort every time they go out there. With as hard as we work, good things are bound to happen.”
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