Demons, Bears start anew at full strength
Post Independent Staff
After some early tinkering to fill slots due to injuries and absences, both Glenwood Springs and Rifle are scheduled to be at full strength when the 2004 prep track season resumes Saturday at the Hotchkiss Invitational meet.
Both team’s head coaches ” Blake Risner of Glenwood and Matt Petersen of Rifle ” said their lack of full rosters was their biggest concern at the season-opening Mickey Dunn meet in Grand Junction two weeks ago.
The Demons had just 25 of their 45 athletes on hand for the March 13 meet at Stocker Stadium. While the Bears’ shortfall wasn’t as dramatic, they were missing key veterans in sprinters Troy Weiss (recruiting trip) and Brian Hileman (injury).
Still, both teams, competing against a field of Class 5A schools did well their first time out of the box.
The Rifle girls finished sixth in the 19-team meet. The boys earned ninth place.
Glenwood, earned three relay ribbons and had one individual placer in high jumper Chris Benson, whose 5-foot, 10-inch jump earned him eighth place in the event.
Risner said that all three relay teams that placed at the Mickey Dunn, “should challenge for a state qualifying position.”
The Demon boys 4×100- and 4×400-meter relay teams got off to good starts toward that goal two weeks ago.
The 4×100 team of Joe Schiavone, Benson, Adam Vincent and Matt Wilson turned in a fourth-place 45.73-second time at the Dunn Invite. In the 4×400, the front three along with Dustin Braeger finished third with a 3 minute, 39:53 mark.
On the girls side, Glenwood’s 4×400 relay team opened the season with a 4:25.28 time. Anchor Leah Hinkey finished her leg in a 62.20 to give the Demons sixth place.
Individually, the Demon girls will be led by state medalist Amber Sutherland in the shot put and discus. Senior Angela Gabriel and Sutherland’s younger sister, Courtney, pace the hurdle corps. Returning veterans Abbey Walters and Amanda Alberico should also “make an impact”, said Risner.
Among the boys, Ryan Erickson and Wilson are Glenwood’s top throwers. Braeger and Vincent are slotted for the 400 meters with Schiavone penciled in at the sprint events.
Rifle also has an abundance of talent at its disposal.
“Overall I was pleased,” Petersen said of the Bears’ boys and girls effort in Grand Junction.
Petersen added the strength of the Bears’ girls team comes from its seniors.
Ali Little will see action in the 400 and sprints. Savannah Beecraft handles the 800 along with seeing time in the relays. Other veteran running-event performers include Jessica Warwick and Heather Anderson.
In the field events, the Bears have a good field of jumpers in Christina Reynolds and Montanah Matthies, who will be fortified by the return of Afton Neal, who sat out the first meet of the season with a hip flexor.
Rifle’s boys also showed some early flash in the field events. Shot-putter Andrew Stone qualified for the state meet with a 48-0 toss in Grand Junction. In the triple jump John Alderson zoomed to a third-place leap of 42-2.
Jordan Robinson will be counted on to score points for the Bears in both the 400 and 800 meters. Likewise, Peterson is counting on good seasons from Hileman, Weiss and J.R. Childress in the shorter races, along with the relays.
“It will be a tight regional this year,” Petersen said. “But as we develop, we’ll be in the hunt.”
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