Coal Ridge aims high in fall sports |

Coal Ridge aims high in fall sports

Mike Vidakovich
Post Independent Contributor
Coal Ridge High senior Britni Allen, center, holds up the Class 3A Region 11 Tournament plaque after the Titans defeated Eagle Ridge Academy last year to reach the Class 3A State Championships.
Staff Photo | Post Independent file

Coall Ridge Fall sports preview

Boys Soccer

Head coach: Michael Mikalakis (fourth season)

Last season: 14-4 overall, 6-2 3A Western Slope League (third). Lost in round of eight at state tournament to eventual champion Kent Denver.

Key returners: Ray Bencomo, Sr., MF; Miguel Navarro, Sr., D; Sergio Valentin, Sr., F; Luis Galaviz, Jr., W; Alonso Pacheco, Soph., CM; Roman Plano, Sr., G.

Others to watch: Josh Fulk, Soph., F; Julian Huerta, Sr., OM.

Outlook: Playing in the always-formidable Western Slope League is no cakewalk for any team. Last season, Coal Ridge, Aspen, Roaring Fork and Vail Mountain all advanced out of the league and into the state playoffs. Coach Michael Mikalakis is counting on his senior-laden team to pick up right where they left off last year. “We have a huge senior class that has played together since they were kids. They know how to play the game at a high level,” stated the coach.

Cross Country

Head coach: Craig Parks (fourth season)

Last season: Entire girls team qualified for state (first time in school history). Two boys, Justin Allen, Jr., and Noah Crisler, who will run at CSU-Pueblo this fall, also qualified for the state meet.

Key Returners: Girls — Brittan Bianco, Jr.; Natalie Dougherty, Jr.; Claudia Buchholz, Soph. Boys — Justin Allen, Jr.; Adrian White, Jr.; Dalton Miner, Soph.; Michael Tucker Sr.

Others to watch: Girls — Paige Harlow, Soph. Boys — Kegan Marx, Jr.; Austin Portwood, Jr.; Colton Tooker, Jr.

Outlook: With the girls qualifying for state last season, coach Craig Parks is hoping his veteran boys team can accomplish a similar feat this go around. With heavy graduation losses, the girls team may struggle to repeat their state berth, but sophomore Paige Harlow could be the one to give the Lady Titans a boost as the season progresses. Coal Ridge will open the new season at the Delta Invitational on Friday, Sept. 4.


Head coach: Aimee Gerber (first year)

Last season: 19-8 overall, 7-0 3A Western Slope League (first). Lost in round of 12 at state tournament.

Key returners: Kaitlyn Detlefsen, Sr., MH; Nicole Mooney, Jr., OH; Dana Kotz, Jr., S.

Others to watch: Kaitlyn Harlow, Jr., MH; Karissa Feese, Sr., L; Amber Bowles, Sr., MH.

Outlook: Coal Ridge, which has qualified for the state volleyball tournament under former coach Scott Black the last two years, lost a talented group of seniors from last season, but the cupboard is not bare for the Titan netters. Senior Kaitlyn Detlefsen will be one of the league’s best players, and a potent Coal Ridge offense could spell trouble for opponents. Olathe and Grand Valley should present a stiff challenge in the race for the top spot in the conference according to new Titan coach Aimee Gerber. The goal for the Titans is to get back to state where, “We have some unfinished business,” stated coach Gerber. Early season tests at Battle Mountain, at the Lewis Palmer Tournament, and a visit to Glenwood Springs, will give Gerber an indication of where her team is headed.

Boys Golf

Head coach: Jemiah Fowler (sixth season)

Last season: Qualified one for state — senior Riley Tamburello.

Key returners: Riley Tamburello, Sr.; Danny Wenzel, Sr.

Others to watch: Daylen Tamburello, Soph.

Outlook: The Titan golfers began their season on Aug. 13 in Cedaredge. The early season results have been encouraging so far for coach Jemiah Fowler, as his top two scorers, Riley Tamburello and Danny Wenzel, are each shooting 10 strokes better than their average scores last season. Coach Fowler is encouraged that the remainder of the season will continue to show positive results as the golf schedule approaches the regional and state meets in late September.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post Independent this week is previewing fall sports at Garfield County’s high schools — Glenwood Springs Monday, Rifle on Tuesday, Roaring Fork Wednesday, Coal Ridge today and Grand Valley Friday. Friday also features our annual football preview section.

PEACH VALLEY — The Coal Ridge boys soccer team knocked on the door of the state’s top spot last season, losing in the quarterfinals 2-1 to eventual state champion Kent Denver. Titan coach Michael Mikalakis believes this year’s team may have what it takes to get there again, or maybe take things a bit further.

“We just need to focus on playing our game, our style. We have the ability to have a tremendous season. The seniors on the team this year were freshmen when we made it to the state’s final four. They know what it takes,” Mikalakis said.

If the Titans want to dream big, they will first have to take care of business in their own 3A Western Slope League where Roaring Fork, Aspen and Vail Mountain will present formidable obstacles in the race to wear the league crown.

The Coal Ridge volleyball team will be under the direction of new coach Aimee Gerber, who takes over for the highly successful Scott Black. Gerber is no stranger to the Titan program, having served as the school’s junior varsity coach the past five seasons.

Titan middle hitter and blocker Kaitlyn Detlefsen returns for her senior season to lead a Coal Ridge offense that should be pretty solid.

“Our offense will be the strength of the team,” coach Gerber said. “We are young on our defense, so we’ll have to work hard there.”

Seniors Karissa Feese and Amber Bowles will join Detlefsen as major contributors in the Titans run to another possible state tourney appearance.

Craig Parks is in his fourth season guiding the Coal Ridge cross country program. His girls qualified for state as a team last season, he’s hoping a veteran boys team can accomplish the same honor this season.

“A lot of our kids are new to running and just starting to get into shape,” Parks said. “We have a lot of potential, and I’ll be hopeful that both teams can qualify for state, especially on the boys side. With the girls, we lost our top three from last year, but we’re still optimistic.”

The boys golf team at Coal Ridge has only a seven-man roster, but coach Jemiah Fowler is already encouraged by what has unfolded in the young season.

“I have already seen a lot of improvement from last year. Some of the kids really worked hard on their game this summer,” Fowler said.

The Titans’ top two golfers, seniors Riley Tamburello and Danny Wenzel, have each shaved 10 strokes from their scoring averages from last season, and have placed in the top 10 (Tamburello) and top 15 (Wenzel) in early season meets. Both golfers, along with sophomore Daylen Tamburello, are hoping to peak when the regional golf meet rolls around in mid-September.

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