Familiar faces look to keep Coal Ridge on top
With Kevin DiMarco, Payton White, and Jan Hernandez all returning from one of Coal Ridge’s best boys basketball team’s in program history, expectations are exceptionally high for the Titans under the leadership of veteran head coach Paul Harvey. Fresh off of a third straight 3A Western Slope League championship and a second straight district tournament title, the Titans are setting their sights on a deep 3A state playoff run after coming up just short against Manual last season in the second round due to missed free throws.
Thanks to three returning senior starters and a deep bench with varsity experience, the Titans will once again push for a league championship against the likes of Roaring Fork, Grand Valley, Delta and Basalt.
The Coal Ridge girls appear poised to take next step in the league standings in the fourth season under the guidance of Clyde Morgan. The Titans see five key players return, but Coal Ridge will be short on the bench, which could hurt the Titans at times this season. A strong starting unit built on size and speed will be tough for opponents to deal with throughout the season though, which could push the Titans into the upper echelon of the lead standings.
Wrestling sees Ty Hartman take over the program, but the Titans will be without All-State wrestler Jacx Power and fellow standout Couy Harrington, leaving the Titans a bit short top to bottom in Hartman’s first year. It’s a small team built mostly of juniors, so it could be a transition year for the Titans’ wrestling program.
Head Coach: Paul Harvey, 11th season
Last Season: 21-3 (9-0 3A Western Slope League champions), lost to Manual 80-77 in second round of 3A state playoffs
Key Returners: Kevin DiMarco, Sr.; Payton White, Sr.; Jan Hernandez, Sr.;
Players to Watch: Aaron Arreola, Sr.; Austin Gerber, Jr.; Jesus Camunez, Sr.; Kevyn Flores, Sr.;
Season Outlook: Top to bottom, Coal Ridge might be one of the best team’s in the state, considering they’re opening the season No. 6 in 3A. DiMarco, White, and Hernandez bring a ton of experience. “The sky’s the limit for this group, but it just depends on if they’re willing to put in the work,” Harvey said. “They need to do the little things and play together, and if they do they can do great things. We know teams are coming for us, so we’re going to get everyone’s best every night. We want to go further in the state playoffs than we have before. Ultimately, you want to do better than you did the year before. Expectations are very high and that can be hard on a new team, but we feel good about this group of kids.”
Head Coach: Clyde Morgan, fourth season
Last Season: 10-11, 4-5 (3A Western Slope League)
Key Returners: Adriana Vargas, Sr.; Alyssa Wenzel, Sr.; Kashley Morgan, Sr.; Lyanna Nevarez, Jr.; Taylor Wiescamp, So.;
Players to Watch: Taylor Roberts, Jr.; Libby Tharp, So;
Season Outlook: With five key players returning from a team that finished one game under .500 in league play, the Titans are primed to take the next step under Morgan. “We’ll be pretty strong,” Morgan said. “We’re going to have to get used to a different style of basketball this year compared to what we’ve done in the past. We don’t have the bench that we’ve had in the past. We’ll have to slow it down some, but I hope to be one of the top three teams in the league this year. There’s not a lot of teams in our league that lost much, so it’s going to be tough. Our league is really strong this year.”
Head Coach: Ty Hartman, first season
Last Season: Jacx Power and Couy Harrington competed at the state tournament
Key Returners: Kyler Jones, Sr.; Jared Rickel, Jr.; Colby Bilson, Jr.
Wrestlers to Watch: None
Season Outlook: “We’re a small team this year, and we’re pretty heavy on juniors,” said Hartman. “This might be more of a rebuilding year, but we’ll be pretty competitive with the kids that we have.”
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.