All-state games await 7 Garfield County athletes
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Zack Peterson and Madi Spence may have been a little late making their college basketball commitments, but they’ll be among the first athletes in the state this year who’ll get to see college-level competition.
The recent Glenwood Springs High School graduates, each of whom decided in recent months where they’re going to play college basketball next year, will each take part in the Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games. The event runs today through Saturday at Adams State University in Alamosa.
Peterson and Spence are two of the seven former Garfield County athletes who get to cap their high school careers by competing with some of the best athletes in Colorado. Among them is Grand Valley’s Sam Parker (basketball), who’ll play basketball at Western State in Gunnison next year, Rifle’s Austin Shepard (football), who will attend Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction and play football this coming fall, Glenwood’s Natasha Jordan and Korrie Jean Hurt (spirit squad), and Grand Valley’s Kyra Chenoweth (volleyball).
Peterson made his college commitment earlier this week when he signed with Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, California. The Vaqueros play in the Western State Conference, which has teams primarily in the Los Angeles area and is the oldest community college conference in California.
The Vaqueros also finished 4-20 overall last season, but Peterson admitted that can change in a hurry since community college athletic teams typically replace half of their roster every season. He also felt that the games in Alamosa this weekend will be a good proverbial measuring stick for where he’s at skill wise since nearly everyone there has already committed to play college basketball.
“I’ve definitely thought about that,” Peterson said. “Most of the people there are already committed to playing at a [NCAA Division I or II] school, so the level of play alone will be a really good challenge for me.”
The 6-foot-6 Peterson averaged 9.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Demons, who finished the season 19-5 on their way to winning the 4A Western Slope League title.
Spence committed to a Division II school not long before the end of the school year, signing with Humboldt State University in Arcata, California.
She’ll be a walk-on player for a team that went 23-6 and reached the Division II NCAA tournament a season ago.
“It’s not a huge school, but it’s a good program,” said Spence, who played in the up-tempo system of Glenwood coach Jacky Gaddis. “Their program runs a lot, so that’s something I’m already used to.”
Spence, a 6-1 third-team Class 4A all-state player her senior season, scored 15.9 points and averaged 13.4 rebounds. She was second in class 4A in rebounding to Mesa Ridge senior-to-be Kylie Shook, a 6-4 center who averaged 14.9 boards per game last season.
She said there were seven schools that had shown interest in her before she decided on Humboldt, where she plans to study kinesiology. She credits the coaching staff she played under for helping give her this opportunity.
“They all made an impact on my life,” she said. “I’m very fortunate to have coaches who truly cared about me.”
Parker, prior to committing to play basketball at Western, was the Class 3A Western Slope League Player of the Year in helping the Cardinals reach the Class 3A Sweet 16. Shepard was a three-year starter at linebacker for Rifle and a two-time 3A all-state player for the Bears in helping them reach the Class 3A state title game twice in three years. Chenoweth was the 3A WSL Player of the Year in both volleyball and basketball for Grand Valley.
Jordan was a member of a Glenwood cheerleading team that won the Class 4A state championship this past school year.
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Senior quarterback/safety/punt returner Trey Caldwell used his legs to make up for some mistakes Rifle football made on Friday night and momentarily kept their hopes for a 2A state title alive.