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Playoffs and tournaments gearing up

Jon Mitchell
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Jon Mitchell Citizen Telegram
Staff Photo |

Postseason appearances are looming for teams from Rifle and Grand Valley High Schools.

Some, like Rifle’s baseball team, are used to postseason appearances. Others, like Grand Valley’s girls soccer team, are seeing the playoffs for the first time.

And the track and field teams at both high schools are beginning to hit their stride just prior to competing in the Class 3A and 4A Western Slope League Regional meet this coming weekend.

Here’s a look at what’s coming for each team:

Grand Valley heads to soccer playoffs

It’s been a milestone season for the Cardinals girls soccer team. They posted a record of 12-2-1 overall, eclipsing the program’s top mark of nine wins from last season. This season’s mark helped Grand Valley not only finish second in the Class 3A WSL standings (otherwise known as Class 3A Region 3), it helped them earn the No. 11 seed in the Class 3A State Championships this week.

Grand Valley will face No. 22-seeded Denver Science and Technology (9-2-0), the second-place finisher in the 3A Region 8 standings. The Knights come into the match on a five-match winning streak and are paced by junior Aleonya Hunter, whose 21 goals this season are a team high. She does most of the teams scoring, as the Knights have scored 36 goals in their 11 matches this season.

The Cardinals are led by junior Ashlynn Speakman, whose 27 goals are fifth in Class 3A girls soccer. Grand Valley has some diversity in goal scorers, though, as sophomore Kyra Chenoweth (14) and Lauren Paskett (10) have also found the net often.

That output has helped the Cardinals score 74 goals as a team, tops in Class 3A and one of the top scoring outputs in all Colorado classifications.

The match will be held at Kent Denver High School, which will host the four-team bracket of the tournament. The winner of Friday’s Grand Valley/Denver Science and Technology match will play on Saturday against either No. 6-seeded Kent Denver or No. 27 Alamosa for a berth in the state quarterfinals, which are scheduled for May 15 at a site to be determined.

Rifle back in baseball playoffs

Rifle High School’s baseball team didn’t look like it would reach the Class 4A State Championships in the middle of April.

A seven-game winning streak at the end of the season changed all that. The Bears earned the Class 4A WSL’s third and final spot in the state tournament, which starts Saturday.

The Bears earned the No. 29 seed and will play at No. 4 Air Academy (13-6) at 10 a.m. Saturday. That winner will play either Wheat Ridge or Canon City later in the day for a state-tournament berth.

Last season, the Bears hosted a 3A regional, but were upset by Weld Central in a first-round matchup.

The Bears (13-6 overall) had just a 2-5 mark in 4A WSL play as it headed into its makeup rivalry game against Glenwood Springs on April 22. That convincing 11-1 Rifle victory snapped a three-game losing streak and sparked a seven-game winning streak, which included a 3-1 and 4-1 doubleheader sweep at Eagle Valley on April 27. And with Rifle’s hot streak continuing and the Devils eventually losing to first-place Palisade and second-place Delta, the Bears claimed the league’s final state tournament spot.

Leading the way for Rifle is junior Bailey Hoffmeister, who is batting .440 and has stolen 24 bases in 25 attempts this season. Rifle’s primary senior corp of Triston Quigley (.500 batting average, six home runs, 32 hits, 32 RBIs and 16 stolen bases) and Danny Bartels (.444, 31 RBIs, seven triples) have helped the Bears’ lineup come alive in the past few weeks.

Bartels has also pitched complete-game victories in his last three appearances on the mound, bringing his season ERA down to 1.40. He’s also struck out 78 batters with 19 walks in 45 innings pitched.

Grand Valley, Rifle head to Regional track meet

Both the Grand Valley and Rifle High School track and field teams will vie for regional championships and state berths when they compete in the Class 3A and 4A WSL Regional meet at Stoker Stadium in Grand Junctionon Friday and Saturday. The Class 2A WSL meet will also be held at the venue.

Grand Valley’s boys track team had a strong showing at the Battle Mountain Invitational this past weekend. The team finished fourth in the team standings of the 15-team meet, which included Class 4A schools.

Leading the way were first-place performances by the 4×100- and 4×200-meter relay teams. The 4×100 relay clocked in at 46.00 seconds to finish first for the team’s best time of the season in the event, and the 1:36.33 by Grand Valley’s 4×200 relay team was also a season best.

Ben Coleman is one to watch for in the jumping events. The sophomore had a personal-best leap of 42 feet, 5 ½ inches in the triple jump at the Gunnison Invitational on April 20, and he has three other jumps of more than 40 feet this season. He also has the Cardinals’ best mark in the long jump, going 18-9 in Gunnison.

On the girls side, senior Rocio Roman has set the pace for the Cardinals. The senior took first in the 100 hurdles with a personal-best time of 16.46 seconds, and her personal-best time of 2:26.01 in the 800 earned her a second-place finish.

Rifle’s girls track team is led by senior Joey Kuheim, one of the top weight-event competitors in Colorado. She nearly improved on her personal-best marks this past weekend at the Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction, winning the shot put with a mark of 42-11, and the discus with a throw of 131-8.

On the boys side, Aaron Wagler posted a first-place time of 50.08 at the Poudre Invitational on April 5 and a 50.11 at the Montrose Invitational on April 26 for the first-place finish there. He also posted a second-place time of 2:00.16 in last week’s Tiger Invitational, which was a personal best.

Zach Loving looks to be coming on in the triple jump, as his leap of 42-5 ½ in last week’s Tiger Invitational earned the senior a second-place finish.


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