A look back at the top Garfield County prep sports and outdoors stories of 2019
Editor’s note: We at the Post Independent conclude the year 2019 with some reflection on the big sports and outdoors stories that occurred within our coverage area.
Here’s a look at the top athletic accomplishments on the high school preps and adventure sports fronts from Garfield County, in no particular order.
Glenwood’s Selah Schneiter youngest to climb nose of El Capitan
A grueling five-day push in June concluded with 10-year-old Glenwood Springs native Selah Schneiter becoming the youngest-ever to scale the 3,000-foot nose of the iconic El Capitan at Yosemite National Park.
Schneiter completed the historic climb around 6 p.m. June 12 after five days of climbing with her father, Mike Schneiter, and his friend Mark Reiger.
The feat earned international press and accolades from the climbing community. According to Outside Magazine, Scott Cory, at age 11, climbed the Nose twice in 2001, while Tori Allen climbed it when she was 13, also in 2001.
Selah scaled Independence Monument at age 7. Her dad owns Glenwood Climbing Guides, where he teaches sport climbing, vertical self-rescue and ice climbing.
Selah’s mother, Joy, is a registered nurse at Glenwood Medical Associates, and said she fell in love with Mike while climbing El Capitan in 2001.
Area preps do well at state level
The 2019 winter, spring and fall high school sports seasons saw several area teams and individuals perform well in their classifications when it came time for the state competitions.
In late February, Glenwood Springs wrestler Amos Wilson came up just short of a state championship, finishing as runner-up in the 3A 182-pound division when he dropped a 6-1 decision to Classical Academy senior Nathan Johns in the 3A 182-pound state championship match. Wilson reached the 3A state final with win by fall over Eagle Valley’s Davis Ward.
The Coal Ridge girls track team placed third among 3A teams at the Colorado Track and Field Championships in mid-May, powered by several strong individual and relay team performances. Glenwood Springs’ boys also had a strong showing, placing fifth in the 4A team competition.
The state track meet saw a whopping 54 athletes qualifying from five Garfield County high schools.
Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High School boys soccer team make its deepest run in the state playoffs ever this fall, finishing as the 3A runner-up after a 5-0 loss in the championship game to Kent Denver Nov. 16.
Glenwood Springs sophomore harrier Ella Johnson turned some heads when she qualified for and placed fifth overall at the 4A state cross country meet in October.
And, the Rifle High School Bears football team went undefeated through the first round of the 2A state playoffs, winning the Western Slope League title and dismantling Englewood 48-15 to open the playoffs. The season came to a screeching halt in the second round, though, when league rival Basalt pulled off the 21-14 upset over Rifle in overtime.
Grand Valley’s Chenowith cracks 1,500 points
Grand Valley High School’s Shaya Chenoweth eclipsed the 1,500-point career mark for the Cardinals girls basketball program in a 3A District Tournament game at Moffat County in late February. Chenoweth became the program’s all-time leading scorer, passing former teammate Kylyn Rigsby
Williams retires as RFHS coach
Two years after retiring from teaching, Larry “Shorty” Williams called it a career as a high school basketball coach at his alma mater, Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale.
A staple on the boys’ sideline for the 11 consecutive seasons, Williams epitomized everything that was RFHS basketball through 27 years total coaching both the Rams boys and girls programs.
Van Horn nearly topples world vertical record
Carbondale resident Sean Van Horn fell a mere 800 feet shy of breaking the North American record for most feet skied uphill in a 24-hour period in mid-March
The record stands at 61,200 feet, which equates to between 39 and 40 laps up Aspen’s Buttermilk ski area. Van Horn uphilled 60,400 feet during the allotted time period
His performance earned him the record for the best ascent numbers at 9,900 feet above sea level, the elevation at the top of Buttermilk, and the second-place overall title.
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New hiking and biking trail at Sutey Ranch could ease pressure at main Red Hill trailhead later this summer.