Spring preview: Rifle Bears look to put pieces together
Head coach: Troy Phillips (20th season).
Last season: 12-8 overall, 9-5 Class 4A Western Slope League play (third place), lost to Ponderosa in the first round of Class 4A state playoffs.
Key returners: Alex Gould, Sr., RF, Layton Stutsman, Sr., CF, Gabe Marbas, Soph., C, Ty Leyba, Jr., 2B, Morgan Robinson, Jr., P/OF.
Others to watch: Bryer Rew, Soph., 1B/P; Dakota Cheney, Soph., P; Wyatt Carter, Jr., 3B/OF.
Outlook: Veteran coach Phillips is certain that the 4A Western Slope League is going to be tough this year. He feels the Glenwood Springs and Eagle Valley could be in the mix right with last year’s contenders Delta and Palisade, with hopes that the Bears can be right in the mix when the season is coming to a close. “Our goal is to get better each day, and I have no doubt that will happen with the kind of improvements these guys made during this past summer,” the coach said.
TRACK AND FIELD
Head coach: John Scraebeck (third season).
Last season: Sent eight individuals to Class 4A State Championships in Lakewood.
Key returners: Boys: Brenden Wagler, Sr., distance; Eric De La Rosa, Sr., sprints; Tyler Bosshardt, Jr., sprints/long jump; Jose Prado, Sr., throws; Joe Kosht, Jr., throws. Girls: Kelly Coombs, Sr., distance; Ali Magee, Sr., sprints/jumps; Delaney Aguirre, Sr., throws.
Others to watch: Samantha Hinkle, Soph., high jump/throws; Sarah Wagler, Fr., distance.
Outlook: Rifle is expecting a lot this season in the distance races from Brenden Wagler, whose 13th-place finish in the Class 4A state cross country meet this past fall was the best in school history. Scraebec said there are five athletes on Rifle’s roster who he feels have a legitimate chance of reaching the state meet in either the discus or shot put.
Head coach: Roger Walters (First season).
Last season: Sent two individuals to Class 4A State Championships.
Key returners: Rachel Page, Soph.; Toni Booth, Sr.
Others to watch: Elly Walters, Fr.; Jacey Hauer, Fr.; Eve Miller, Fr., Jessie Pressler, Fr.; Caitlin Morgan, Fr.; Savannah Seay, Fr.; Kayla Burwell, Soph., Tori Pressler, Soph.
Outlook: With state qualifier Alyx Carter gone due to graduation and junior Emily Neuroth out thanks to a torn ACL suffered during basketball season, Rifle has no returning state qualifiers on this year’s team. The 10 players on the roster, however, mean there’s competition for the playing spots each week. Plus, four of Rifle’s six freshmen come into the season with experience in junior golf programs.
Head coach: Rich Carter (fourth season).
Last season: 0-14-0 overall, 0-14-0 Class 4A Western Slope League.
Key returners: Brenda DeLoera, Sr., D; Veronica Santoyo, Sr., D; Beau Jamjaroenjit, Sr., D/F; Jessica Bracomentes, Soph., C/MF.
Others to watch: Cyndy Pelaez, Jr., MF; Ada Magaya, Soph., MF; Sadie Suarez, Soph., C/M
Outlook: Rifle is coming off a pair of winless seasons at the Class 4A level, and this season the Bears are playing in the 3A WSL. They definitely showed signs of life during their season opener after a rough first half against Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, tying the Pearls at a goal apiece in the second half of a 6-1 loss. Carter feels efforts like what he saw in that second half will be what gets the Bears some wins this season.
RIFLE — There’s a few big bodies on the Rifle High School track and field team who the Bears have some big hopes for.
There’s close to five athletes, head coach John Scraebeck said, who do throwing events like discus and shot put who he feels have a shot at advancing to the Class 4A State Championships in the middle of May. With that, there’s a lot of hope for many of the other 70 or so athletes who are out for track this season.
“I think that we have all of the pieces,” said the third-year coach of the Bears, who noted that his team had eight state qualifiers a year ago. “Now it’s just a matter of fitting them all together.”
Finding the right fit seems to be the common theme for many of Rifle’s spring sports teams in 2015.
Rifle High’s baseball team has lots of returning talent back from a team that reached the Class 4A state playoffs a year ago, only to suffer a first-round, 2-1 extra-inning loss to Ponderosa in Durango last season.
Rifle’s girls soccer team, according to longtime coach Rich Carter, should be much more competitive this season.
That’s because the Bears have dropped down a classification to Class 3A after two winless seasons at the Class 4A level.
The Rifle girls golf team also has some new faces this year starting with its coach, Roger Walters taking over for longtime coach Britt Choate. Both of Rifle’s state qualifiers from a season ago will not be there this season, but the Bears have a pool of young talent that could make some noise.
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Due to extreme fire danger, Rifle has canceled the annual July 3rd fireworks show, the city announced Tuesday.