Glenwood hopes to push for titles in spring sports

Josh Carney
Post Independent

Last spring saw the Glenwood Springs Demons girls soccer team make a magical run to the semifinals of the 4A state playoffs. Graduation saw some key players from last season’s team move on to the collegiate level, but a majority of the team returns from last season, leaving the Demons’ sights set on another deep playoff run.

Track and field also sees a number of key athletes return for another strong spring under veteran head coach Blake Risner, while baseball appears to be as deep as it has been in a few years under head coach Eric Nieslanik.

Girls golf sees former LPGA Tour pro Lori West take over a program that placed second in the state in 4A last season and sees junior Lisa Kelley return, while boys swimming sees six of eight state swimmers from last spring return for another season under head coach Steve Vanderhoof.

While a handful of Glenwood spring sports programs are pushing for state appearances, the Glenwood boys lacrosse program is on its fourth head coach in four seasons and is looking for some stability for a veteran roster. First-year head coach Joe Lang looks to provide that stability while hoping to unlock the immense talent on the Demon roster.

With quite a few teams having high aspirations this spring, it should be an exciting spring to follow Glenwood athletics.


Head Coach: Joe Calabrese, fourth season

Last Season: 16-3 (12-2 in 4A WSL), reached semifinals of 4A state playoffs

Key Returners: Celia Scruton, Jr.; Julia Mulhall, Sr.; Leigh Anne Johnson, Sr.; Summer McSwain, Jr.; Sarah Helm, Sr.; Abby Scruton, So.; Reece Goluba, So.; Levyn Thomas, Sr.; Ashley Weir, Sr.;

Players to Watch: Tatum Lilly, So.; Ella Johnson, Fr.;

Season Outlook: After making a deep run in the state playoffs last season, Glenwood Springs head coach Joe Calabrese expects the Demons to pick up right where they left off last season.

“There’s no reason why this group can’t continue playing until the end of May,” Calabrese said. “That’s the expectation and the mindset with this group. We have the belief, so that’s what we’re pushing for.”


Head Coach: Jon Zalinski, fifth season

Last Season: 2-8 (2-5), doubles team of Sawer Ross and Cheyenne McLelland headed to state tournament

Key Returners: Rosalie Potvin, Sr.; Emily Nilsson, Sr.; Emma Helm, So.; Eliana Suarez, Jr.;

Players to Watch: Taylor Gelpi, Fr.; Miah Suarez, Fr.; Kenzie Winder, Fr.;

Season Outlook: Most of last season’s players graduated for Glenwood tennis, so head coach Jon Zalinski has a young team to work with this season. With that, the veteran tennis coach is heading into the 2019 season with the same expectations that he has every season.

“I go into every season hoping that the girls start the season starting at a certain level and finish at a higher level,” Zalinski said. “We’re still trying to learn how to pair people together. We couldn’t even go outside with so much snow our first week of practices; now we’re on spring break. We’ve only practiced outside for about 3 days, so we’re excited to get them back from break and hit some balls on an outdoor court.

“It’s a brand new team, but if we can send one player to state that would be great.”


Head Coach: Steve Vanderhoof, fifth season

Last Season: Glenwood sent eight swimmers to the state meet last season.

Key Returners: Shea Card, So.; Everett Olson, Sr.;

Swimmers to Watch: Aeson Akins, So.; Maverick Gorla, Fr.; Quinn MacPherson, Fr.; Max Bradbury, Fr.;

Season Outlook: Despite seeing six state swimmers return, it will be a relatively young team for Glenwood in the pool under veteran head coach Steve Vanderhoof. However, that won’t change expectations for the Demon boys.

“We should place well at the state meet in all three of our relays, as the majority of the 14 boys on the team are pretty quick,” Vanderhoof said. “Individually, I expect four to five of the boys to swim well enough to qualify to swim for the finals at the state meet.”


Head Coach: Joe Lang, first season

Last Season: 4-11 (1-9 in 4A WSL)

Key Returners: Max Lemkau, Sr.; Devlin Powell, Sr.; Ian Lohman, Sr.; Foster Lemkau, Sr.; Dawson Hodgson, Sr.; Cody Thompson, So.; Jackson Kruse, Sr.; Liam Mazzotta, Sr.; Lander McNamee, Jr.; Ben Like, Sr.; Matty Gillis, Jr.;

Players to Watch: Travis Niccoli, Jr.; Kelton McPherson, Jr.; Nolan McPherson, So.; Teegan Card, So.; JP Simpson, Jr.; Peter Zimmer, So.;

Season Outlook: For the fourth time in four seasons, the Glenwood Springs Demons boys lacrosse program has a new head coach. Fortunately for the 2019 Demons, many of the players on the roster have experience playing under new head coach Joe Lang at the Roaring Fork Lacrosse Club. That should help the Demons try and right the ship this spring.

“What’s really exciting is I’ve known a lot of these seniors with the Roaring Fork Lacrosse club youth program,” Lang said. “The reality of having a new coach each year for last four years has been quite challenging for the kids, but the majority of the kids have lacrosse experience. We have an experienced coaching staff too. In the past, that’s really been a challenge for 1-2 coaches to not only organize practice, but move it forward. I’m very respectful of where the program has come from, we’re just very excited about the future with this program. We’ve come a long way in four years and we hope to put a good product on the field this spring.”


Head Coach: Blake Risner, 23rd season as head coach, 25th overall

Last Season: Glenwood boys won 4A Western Slope League championship for second consecutive season

Key Returners: Boys: Bryce Risner, Sr.; Wyatt Ewer, Sr.; Gavin Harden, Sr.; Henry Barth, Sr.; Gavin Olson, Sr.; Jacob Wolf, Sr.; Kuba Bartnik, Jr.; AJ Adams, Jr.; Will Berkheimer, So.; Girls: Sequoia Kellogg, Sr.; Emily Worline, Sr.; Payten Spencer, Sr.; Qwynn Massie, Jr.; Hadley Yellico, Jr.; Sophia Vigil, So.

Athletes to Watch: Boys: Patrick Young, Jr.; Reid Swanson, Fr.; Rustyn Randolph, Fr.; Girls: Emma Barsness, Fr.; Ella Johnson, Fr.; Daniela Barajas-Lee, Fr.;

Season Outlook: Once again, the Glenwood Springs track and field team should be a formidable force under Risner’s guidance this spring. The boys are very deep and talented, while the girls’ team appears top heavy, at least on paper.

“The boys team will rely heavily on it’s seniors for a big season,” Risner said. “The first goal is to win a third consecutive Western Slope League championship. Then the boys will set their sights on a top-5 finish at the state meet. [Wyatt] Ewer and [Bryce] Risner are the top two returning hurdlers in the 4A classification, while [Gavin] Harden has a shot in the distance events and [Gavin] Olson can sprint with the best in Colorado.

“What the girls team lacks in depth, they hope to make up for with big individual point scorers,” added Risner. “[Sequoia] Kellogg, [Hadley] Yellico and [Ella] Johnson already find themselves among the state leaders in several events.

The Demons get a chance to showcase their talents at home on April 13 in the 39th annual Demon Invitational.


Head Coach: Lori West, first season

Last Season: placed second in the 4A state tournament

Key Returners: Lisa Kelley, Sr.;

Golfers to Watch: Baylee Johnson, Sr.; Maggie Freimel, Sr.; Maddie Riley, Jr.;

Season Outlook: Bringing in professional experience to keep the program playing at a high level, the Glenwood Springs Demons girls golf program turned to former LPA Tour pro Lori West to run the show. Her experience at the professional level should help keep the Demons near the top of the scoreboard in the build-up to the state meet in May.

“I don’t think the area is overly competitive, but I think we’re all the same boat,” West said. “It seems like a building season for the whole valley. We have some good players coming back, but have some new players to try and build up. It’s certainly exciting for me in my first year.”


Head Coach: Eric Nieslanik, 14th season

Last Season: 13-7 (10-2 in 4A WSL), reached regional tournament in 4A state playoffs

Key Returners: Chano Gonzalez, Sr.; Cole Houston, Jr.; Dylan Lee, Sr; Tyler Dollahan, Sr.; Sam Fitzwilliams, Jr.; Kai Kanzer, Sr.;

Players to Watch: Ashlan Stolley, Jr.; Garrett Dollahan, So.; Wheatley Nieslanik, So.; Leo Anchondo, Sr.;

Season Outlook: After reaching the 4A regional tournament of the state playoffs last spring, Glenwood sees a handful of key players return this season under veteran head coach Eric Nieslanik. With a deep pitching rotation and some high-end bats sprinkled throughout the lineup, the Demons should be a force once again in the 4A Western Slope League under Nieslanik.

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