Glenwood spring sports has high hopes | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood spring sports has high hopes

Glenwood's Alex Cutright races down the stretch as his Glenwood teammates cheer him on in the 4x400m relay at the 4A Western Slope League championship meet at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction, May 10, 2017. (JOHN STROUD / POST INDEPENDENT)

With a number of high-level athletes returning this spring for the Glenwood Springs Demons across seven varsity sports, expectations are high for Glenwood athletics this spring.

The Glenwood girls soccer program should once again be one of the top teams in the 4A Western Slope League this spring under head coach Joe Calabrese, while track and field will be right there in the mix again in the 4A Western Slope league under long-time head coach Blake Risner. The girls soccer team reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012, while the Glenwood boys track and field team won the multi-league championship last spring at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction, which was the first championship for Glenwood in track since 2012.

Along with the track and girls soccer programs, Glenwood should be able to compete well in league play in baseball, while also seeing a bounce back season for boys lacrosse under first-year head coach Brody Smith.

Boys swimming should also once again be near the top of its league under the guidance of head coach Steve Vanderhoof, while girls golf has state championship aspirations with a loaded group of golfers returning from last season’s team under Clem Michel.

Should things break the right way for Glenwood, it could be a very lucrative spring for Glenwood athletics.

BOYS SWIMMING

Head Coach: Steve Vanderhoof, fourth season

Last Season: Placed third in conference

Key Returners: Everett Olson, Jr. (state qualifier); Cole Peterson, Jr. (state qualifier); Connor Somers, Sr. (state qualifier)

Swimmers to Watch: Shea Card, Fr.; Charlie Kidd, Fr.; Austin Hawkins, Sr.; Jessie Mattics, Sr.

Season Outlook: Peterson, Somers and Card are three of the faster swimmers in the league and could make some waves on the state level. Glenwood has 14 boys from five area high schools (Aspen, Basalt, Roaring Fork, Glenwood Springs and Battle Mountain) competing for Glenwood this year and are a deeper and more experienced team than Vanderhoof has had in the past at Glenwood.

“I anticipate a tighter conference championship meet than last year, and if we have some good swims we could surprise some other teams,” Vanderhoof said.

TRACK AND FIELD

Head Coach: Blake Risner, 22nd season

Last Season: Boys won the 4A Western Slope League championship

Key Returners: Sequoia Kellogg, Jr. (state qualifier); Saylor Warren, Sr. (state qualifier); Payten Spencer, Jr. (state qualifier); AJ Crowley, Sr. (state qualifier); Bryce Risner, Jr. (state qualifier); Kuba Bartnik, So. (state qualifier); Benny Smith, Sr. (state qualifier); Gavin Olson, Jr. (state qualifier)

Athletes to Watch: Ginny Bergstrom, Sr.; Morgan Hollenback, Sr.; Mary Fuller, Sr.; Emily Worline, Jr.; Qwynn Massie, So.; Sophia Vigil, Fr.; Wyatt Ewer, Jr.; Zach Quint, Sr.; Gavin Harden, Jr.; Henry Barth, Jr.; AJ Adams, So.; Ale Angeles, Fr.; Will Berkheimer, Fr.

Season Outlook: With a number of state qualifiers returning for a strong Glenwood track program on both the boys and girls side under head coach Blake Risner, the Demons are poised to push for another league championship for the boys, and possibly even a league championship for the girls.

“Our moto for the 2018 season is not ‘strength in numbers’, but rather ‘strength in talent and dedication,’” Risner said. “We only have 30 boys and 30 girls out for the team. They’re high-quality kids in practice and hopefully in meets as well.”

BASEBALL

Head Coach: Eric Nieslanik, 13th season

Last Season: 7-12, 4-8 4A Western Slope League

Key Returners: Chano Gonzalez, Jr.; Tyler Boyd, Sr.; Davis Deaton, Sr.; Jake Brown, Sr.

Players to Watch: Sam Fitzwilliams, So.; Dylan Lee, Jr.; Christopher Deaton, Sr.; Brady Steen, Sr.

Season Outlook: Despite having a handful of returning varsity players with experience for the 2018 season, the Glenwood Springs Demons will once again be a young group under veteran head coach Eric Nieslanik. That won’t change the expectations for the Demons though.

“It’s the same every year; we are looking to compete every game,” Nieslanik said. “Every year we’re young, but our goal is always to compete at a high level, especially in our league.”

GIRLS TENNIS

Head Coach: Jon Zalinksi, fourth season

Last Season: No. 4 doubles team of Sawyer Ross and Rosalie Potvin competed in the state championship

Key Returners: Sawyer Ross, Sr.; Rosalie Potvin, Jr.;

Players to Watch: Emily Nilsson, Jr.; Chance Balis, So.; Nina Aley, Sr.; Savannah Kelley, Sr.; Avery Nieslanik, Sr.

Season Outlook: With a number of experienced players returning for the Glenwood Springs Demons’ girls tennis team under the direction of head coach Jon Zalinksi, the Demons have high hopes for the 2018 season.

“This is a really good group of girls,” Zalinski said. “We’re excited to see how we compete and grow this season.”

For the Demons, everything comes down to the regional tournament, but throughout the season, Glenwood will use each match as a building block.

GIRLS GOLF

Head Coach: Clem Michel, eighth season

Last Season: Glenwood finished tied for third in the state in 4A; Lauren Murphy tied for second in the state individually.

Key Returners: Lauren Murphy, Sr.; Callie Jones, Sr.; Lisa Kelley, Jr.; Baylee Johnson, Jr.

Golfers to Watch: Sara Murphy, Fr.; Maggie Friemel, So.

Season Outlook: The Demons are loaded for bear this spring with one of the top golfers in the state in 4A returning this season, in senior Lauren Murphy, as well as standout senior golfer Callie Jones, who will golf at Winona State following her time at Glenwood.

Along with two outstanding seniors, the Demons are exceptionally deep with Lisa Kelley and Baylee Johnson, as well as some promising young golfers in Sara Murphy and Maggie Friemel.

“We’re all in this year,” Glenwood Head Coach Clem Michel said. “There’s a good chance we can win state this year as a team because we have so much depth, and there’s a great chance Callie and Lauren can finish in the top 3. This year is the year.”

BOYS LACROSSE

Head Coach: Brody Smith, first season

Last Season: 4-9, 2-8 4A Western Slope League

Key Returners: Zach Johnson, Sr.; Foster Lemkau, Jr.; Max Lemkau, Jr.; Lance Weidemann, So.

Players to Watch: Devlin Powell, Sr.; Connor Powell, Fr.; Peter Zimmer, Fr.; Kelton McPherson, So.; Travis Niccoli, So.

Season Outlook: Following a rough season last spring, the Demon lacrosse program is back with a vengance this spring under new head coach Brody Smith. With a number of key returners back, and a handful of young players looking to provide some serious playing time for Glenwood, the Demon coaching staff feels good about this group.

GIRLS SOCCER

Head Coach: Joe Calabrese, third season

Last Season: 11-5, 9-3 4A Western Slope League; lost to Pueblo Centennial in first round of 4A state playoffs

Key Returners: Devan McSwain, Sr.; Eryn Peterson, Sr.; Ashley Weir, Jr,; Julia Mulhall, Jr.; Leigh Anne Johnson, Jr.; Celia Scruton, So.

Players to Watch: Zoe Harbor, So.; Tatum Lilly, Fr.; Natalya Taylor, So.; Sarah Helm, Jr.

Season Outlook: After reaching the state playoffs for the first time in five seasons last spring, the Glenwood girls soccer program returns a number of key players from last season’s squad under head coach Joe Calabrese. This spring, the Demons will look to build off of last season’s success and hopefully take another step forward under Calabrese.

“This is a very talented group,” Calabrese said. “We have to put it all together this season because we’re so talented. We want to build on the success of last season, and hopefully play deeper into the playoffs this time around.”


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