Cards say they can play with the best
GRAND VALLEY FALL SPORTS PREVIEWS
Head coach: Dave Walck (Seventh season)
Last season: 10-15 overall, 5-4 Class 3A Western Slope League (fourth place), lost in regional round of Class 3A state tournament.
Key returners: Kyra Chenoweth, Sr., OH; Megan Smith, Sr., OH; Jordan Scott, Sr., MH; Jori Dovey, Sr., MH; Kylyn Rigsby, Soph., S.
Others to watch: Ali Dovey, Jr., L; Erica Anderson, Sr., RH; Korrie Jean Hurt, Sr., RH; Bailey Rowe, Soph., OH/MH; Litah Campbell, Jr., OH/MH; Taylor Mills, Soph., DS.
Outlook: Five starters return from a Grand Valley team that, in 2013, got off to a great start during its league schedule before falling into the middle of the pack by the time the league tournament came. Chenoweth is a two-time, all-league award winner, and Smith and Rigsby were named honorable mention. That experience is something the Cardinals hope will give them an edge in the race to the league championship.
Head coach: Chris Walker (Second season)
Last season: 1-13-1 overall, 0-7-0 Class 3A Western Slope League, no postseason.
Key returners: Juan Barragan, Sr.; Matthew Cornelius, Soph.; Jonathan Downing, Soph.; Russell Fadeland, Jr.; Lionel Pena, Soph.; Alex Schuckers, Soph.
Others to watch: Israel Cornejo, Soph.; Marcos Flores, Fr.; Jesus Maldanado, Sr.; Osbaldo Maldanado, Jr.; Jesus Raygosa, Jr.; Cristian Reyes, Fr.; Luis Ruiz-Rodriguez, Sr.; Damon Snyder, Fr.; Cristian Vicencio, Soph.
Outlook: The Cardinals were young and inexperienced last season, which is part of the reason their 2013 season turned out the way it did. This year, six players who saw plenty of field time will be back. They’ll face a league that, with Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork and newcomer Rifle, will be as tough as ever.
Head coach: Kim Whelan (Seventh season)
Last season: Sent one individual to Class 3A State Championships in Colorado Springs.
Key returners: Boys — Joel Carrasco, Sr.; Jonathan Smith, Jr.
Others to watch: Boys — Trevor Andrews, Jr. Girls — Diana Arizaga, Fr.; Gabrielle Coleman, Jr.; Alia Poell, Soph.; Logan Waterman, Jr.
Outlook: Carrasco managed an 11th-place finish in the Western Slope regional meet and was 55th at state, and his appearance in Colorado Springs gave the Cardinals a state qualifier after a one-year hiatus. Smith also competed in the regional meet last season, and Grand Valley hopes its newcomers will show steady improvements over the course of the fall.
Head coach: Drew Thompson (Third season)
Last season: No individual state qualifiers.
Key players: Tyler Dove, Soph.; Ben Coleman, Sr.; Josh Carpenter, Jr.; Kade Hurst, Fr.; J.T. Kellebrew, Sr.
Outlook: Thompson, thus far, likes what he’s seen from the sophomore Dove, whose scores have lived up to the front-nine 39 he shot during team tryouts at Battlement Mesa Golf Course in early August. He was the Cardinals’ top finisher at the Rifle Invitational on Aug. 20. Thompson expects that Dove, along with the rest of the team, will get better by the time the regional meet in Durango happens on Sept. 15.
PARACHUTE — Dave Walck’s Grand Valley High School volleyball team began to show a lot of improvements as the 2013 season came to a close. He wouldn’t be surprised if that success carried over into the coming season.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Walck, who is in his seventh season of coaching the Cardinals and 22nd season overall of coaching high school volleyball. “I think that Olathe and Coal Ridge are going to be the teams to beat in our league. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re right up there with them.”
Grand Valley’s come-from-behind victory against perennial state-tournament contender Pagosa Springs in last year’s 3A Region 3 tournament not only closed out the season on a high note, but it provided a lot of momentum for the work the Cardinals did during the summertime. That included tons of summer tournaments, open gyms and hours upon hours the girls spent in the weight room.
That, along with a little bit of summer reading, helped enhance the Cardinals’ positive outlook on the coming season.
“We had them read the book ‘Feed the Positive Dog,’” said Walck, referring to the book by Jon Gordon. “From that, we’re trying to starve the negativity out of us.”
There’s plenty of optimism for all of Grand Valley’s teams headed into the season.
The boys soccer team is looking to improve on a 1-13-1 campaign from a season ago. The Cardinals were young and inexperienced during that season, but six players who saw significant playing time last season are back for Grand Valley’s 2014 campaign.
The Grand Valley cross country team is low on numbers this season, but the Cardinals have a returning state qualifier in senior Joel Carrasco. The senior finished 11th in last year’s regional meet and 55th overall at the 3A state meet.
Grand Valley’s boys golf team is already making steady improvements, which has shown during the first three weeks of the season.
“Our goal last season was to break [a score of] 300 as a team, and we shot a 286 in our first tournament of the season,” said Grand Valley coach Drew Thompson, whose team also shot a 282 during the Eagle Valley Invitational at Gypsum Creek Golf Course less than a week later. “Now our goal is to keep improving on that.”
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Thanksgiving seems to be ever-present here in the Roaring Fork Valley. I’m not talking turkey and gravy, I’m speaking to the gifts we receive constantly, throughout the seasons.