Rifle High preview: Bears hope slow and steady win the race this winter
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Head coach: Roger Walters (10th season).
Last season: 18-5 overall, 12-2 Class 4A Western Slope League (first place), lost to Mead in second round of Class 4A state playoffs.
Returning starters: None.
Others to watch: Luis Carreon, Jr., PG; Morgan Robinson, Jr., F; Austin Boone Sr., F; Cody Rice, Sr., G/F; Blaine Vance, Soph., G; Avery Lujan, Jr., G; Jacob Boone, Soph., G.
Outlook: Rifle lost both of the leagues co-players of the year, Tanner Quick and Trenton Brown, to graduation. That leaves even bigger shoes to fill for a team that didn’t even have its first practice with its full roster until Monday. Walters feels, however, that this group of players can gel quickly. Without the size they had underneath the rim last season, however, Walters admits that the Bears will play a more up-tempo style and score a lot more points from the perimeter instead of inside the paint.
Head coach: Kristy Wallner (Second season).
Last season: 11-12 overall, 9-5 Class 4A Western Slope League (third place), lost to Broomfield in second round of Class 4A state playoffs.
Returning starters: Emily Neuroth, Jr., F; Tori Pressler, Jr., SG.
Others to watch: Reece Hoffmeister, Jr., F; Ellie Walters, Fr., PG; Payton Caldwell, Fr., F; Whitney Vance, Sr., F/G; Jessie Pressler, Fr., F/G; Toni Booth, Sr., PG.
Outlook: Wallner doesn’t hesitate to admit how young her roster is, especially with three freshman who will likely see lots of playing time. Still, she’s confident that her team ill develop as the year goes on and compete for a postseason berth. “There are going to be moments when we look great and there are going to be moments when we look, well, youthful,” Wallner said.
Head coach: John Wisniewski (13th season).
Last season: Sent two individuals to Class 4A State Championships, with Dallas Rohrig (fourth) and Jose Prado (fifth) placing in their weight classes.
Key returners: Jose Prado, Sr., 285; Alex Rivas, Sr., 170; Zack Wisniewski, Sr., 160; David Fugita, Sr., 138; Alex Cordova, Soph., 126; Colton Bumgardner, Jr., 182.
Others to watch: Isaiah Garcia, Soph., 106/113; Jordan Wright, Soph., 113; Colt Rohrig, Fr., 120; Drake Montgomery, Soph. ,132; Lucas May, Jr., 132; Gabe Gonzalez, Sr., 220; Ethan Strouse, Jr., 152; Miguel Guardado, Jr., 152.
Outlook: Rifle had a lot of success when it was wrestling at the 3A level two years ago, and the Bears were just starting to establish themselves at the 4A level before CHSAA’s reclassification this past spring. What’s more, though, is that many of Rifle’s past district opponents have dropped down with Rifle, meaning the level of competition this season could be the same or even better. “Now, every team you face is good,” Rifle coach John Wisniewski said. The coach added that Prado, a returning state placer, still has a legitimate shot at placing again this season.
RIFLE — A slow start for the Rifle High School boys basketball team might be something people expect by now.
Many of the players on this year’s boys basketball roster will be spending the first couple of weeks mending the bumps and bruises they endured during Rifle’s run to the state football title game. And because of that this week is the first week that coach Roger Walter has had a full squad of basketball players to work with.
“That’s just the nature of the beast in high school basketball,” longtime Rifle coach Roger Walters said. “But a lot of these guys already are familiar with our system and know what they’re supposed to do. It might just take a little while for them to get going.”
Rifle has gotten off to slow starts for the past two seasons but, each year, the Bears have finished strong. They finished strong enough last year to post a 12-2 record in the 4A Western Slope League, which earned the Bears their first league championship since 2003. Still, Rifle will have to try to repeat that feat with no returning starters headed into the season.
Rifle’s girls basketball team is also optimistic under second-year head coach Kristy Wallner, whose team advanced to the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs. The Bears are young this season, but the Wallner feels confident that her squad will again compete for a spot in the postseason.
The school’s wrestling team, however, has a new look to its season in a different way. With the Colorado High School Activities Association reorganizing classification numbers this season, Rifle will drop down a classification to 3A. That doesn’t mean things are going to be any easier for the Bears, who’ll also have previous district opponents Steamboat Springs, Moffat County, and Delta to contend with in the new classification.
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The Rifle Bears swept Montrose in a doubleheader Saturday as they attempt to return to the playoffs after missing them in the spring season.