Fall Preview: Demons teams feeling early season optimism | PostIndependent.com

Fall Preview: Demons teams feeling early season optimism

Mike Vidakovich
sports@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs High School's cross country team rejoices in an early-season hill workout last week on the trails above the community center.
Colleen O’Neil / Post Independent |

GLENWOOD Springs Demons

Volleyball

Head coach: Sarah Ryan (sixth season)

Last season: 9-14 overall, 4A Western Slope League record unavailable. No postseason.

Key returners: Chally Korn, Sr., OH; Megan Mazzotta, Sr., DS/RS; Megan Uren, Sr., DS/L; Makena Warren, Sr., OH; Kenzi Johnson, Sr., S; Blake Fergen, Sr., MH.

Outlook: Coach Sarah Ryan, in her sixth season at the Demon helm, believes her team’s journey through the Western Slope League schedule will be the usual tough task. Steamboat Springs, Eagle Valley, and a strong senior group at Palisade look to be the front runners going into the season. Ryan sees communication as the key to her team staying with the top squads in the conference. “We have the skills to get us to the top, we just need to do a good job of communicating at all times this year,” Ryan said.

Soccer

Head coach: Wayne Smith (second season)

Last season: 7-8 overall, 5-7 4A Western Slope League (fifth). No postseason.

Key returners: Will Osier, Sr., CM; Cameron Horning, Sr., F; Ryan Nott, Sr., G; Mason Yellico, Sr., D; Miguel Peralta, Jr., F.

Others to watch: Axel Garces, Soph., MF; Riley Prough, Jr., D; Jon Vazquez, Jr., MF.

Outlook: The Demons played many of the top teams in the WSL to close games last season, including a win over Battle Mountain’s Huskies. Coach Wayne Smith feels his Glenwood team is in good shape coming into the season after a solid offseason conditioning program. The Demons will open the new season on the road at Eagle Valley on Aug. 27. Steamboat invades Stubler Memorial Field two days later on the 29th, providing Glenwood with a quick glimpse as to where they fit in with the league’s big boys.

Cross Country

Head coach: Mike Schneiter (10th season)

Last season: One state qualifier, Claudia Hirons, Soph.

Key returners: Girls-Claudia Hirons, Soph.; Shay Helm, Sr.; Josie Spence, Soph.; Payton Bonsack, Soph.; Serena Richardson, Soph. Boys-Zeb Thorsen, Sr.; Garrett Like, Jr.; Phillip Hecksel, Jr.; Mathew Thrun, Soph.

Others to watch: Girls-Emily Worline, Fr.; Emma Rahmeier, Fr.; Kyla Rattin, Sr.; Jessica Garcia, Sr.; Hannah Stinson, Sr. Boys-Henry Barth, Fr.; Gavin Harden, Fr.; Bryce Risner, Fr.; Jacob Barsness, Soph.; Benny Smith, Soph.; Austin Hawkins, Soph.; Ian Richardson, Soph.

Outlook: The Demons of coach Mike Schneiter return state qualifier Claudia Hirons on the girls side, and a host of talented young runners with the boys team. Schneiter is excited about what this group can possibly accomplish this year, but what he is enjoying most is the camaraderie his athletes share. “We have great leadership on this team and it has created a great team culture,” said Schneiter, who is in his tenth season guiding the Glenwood cross country program. “These boys and girls all get along well, support each other, and they are hungry to run.” Glenwood will open the season at the Longhorn Invite in Basalt on Aug. 29. A date to mark on the calendar is the Glenwood Invitational on Friday, Sept. 25.

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

Glenwood Springs High School cross country coach Mike Schneiter has a small problem that would be the envy of coaches in any sport: maybe a bit too much talent.

That’s right. On the boys side of the ledger especially, Schneiter has welcomed a young and talented group of distance men who will push each other from week to week to claim the seven coveted varsity spots on the Demon roster. The competition in practice may be as tough as what Schneiter’s team will encounter at weekend meets.

“It’s going to be hard to get into the top seven spots,” Schneiter said. “There will probably be a lot of moving from meet to meet for the varsity and junior varsity spots. It sure is nice to have that luxury.”

With the girls, Claudia Hirons returns from a state-qualifying freshman campaign. According to her coach, Hirons put in more than 300 summer miles in preparation for cross country season, so she should be ready to make another run at state. Hirons will be joined by a few solid seniors and some young up-and-comers to help with the scoring at meets.

The Glenwood boys soccer team went toe to toe with several of the top teams in the 4A Western Slope League last season. Coach Wayne Smith is hoping his charges can do much of the same this year and improve on their 7-8 overall mark from a year ago.

“We would really like to improve our record against the top teams in the WSL. We played them all close last year, but in order to make strides we will have to play better on the road and just stay with our style of soccer,” Smith said.

Smith firmly believes his team can stay with anyone in the league. They will get a chance to prove it on Saturday, Aug. 29, when the Steamboat Sailors visit Stubler Memorial Field.

Volleyball coach Sarah Ryan also feels the early season optimism and excitement, as her team looks to rebound from a subpar 9-14 year in 2014.

Ryan will lean heavily on a strong senior class to help overcome the likes of Eagle Valley, Steamboat and Palisade in the always-formidable WSL.

“I think we do have a very strong league,” Ryan said. “But I expect us to compete well. We have a good group that are together and have fun playing volleyball. They also like to win.”

The Glenwood netters will get the chance to start winning at their own tournament, the Glenwood Invitational that runs from Sept. 3-5 at the Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.


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