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Manzanares to run for Mesa State

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent File photo/Kara K. Pearson
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Rushing for 1,200 yards, scoring 11 touchdowns and averaging close to 7 yards per carry his senior season for Grand Valley, 5-foot-4, 171 pound running back Danny Manzanares was a force to be reckoned with during the 2006 prep football season.Now, he’ll be testing the grounds at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, once again looking to prove size doesn’t matter when you’ve got talent, speed and determination. “If he works as hard as he did the four years he was here, he can be successful anywhere,” said Grand Valley head coach Mike Johnson, who coached Manzanares all four years of his prep career. Nothing has been set in stone, but Manzanares believes he will be redshirting this year. This will give him a chance to learn the system better and develop as a player. Manzanares has been practicing with the team since the team hit the field on Aug. 1. It’s been hard work with a two-a-day schedule, but so far, Manzanares said he is enjoying it.”It’s a new experience,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn, but it is going well and all of the guys are there to help you out.”

Last winter and spring, Manzanares visited Adams State, Western State and Mesa State and opted for the latter.”I really like the coaching staff and the school and the facility and it is closer to home and I liked the thought of that,” he said. “Then if I ever get to play, my parents can come to the games.”Manzanares was a Class A Western Slope All-League first round selection after his senior season. He helped his team win the Western Slope League and make it to the first-round of the state playoffs. There, in Grand Valley’s 18-7 loss to Wray, he rushed for 92 yards and scored the team’s lone TD. Manzanares didn’t only shine on the gridiron however. He also played for Grand Valley’s baseball team, which went 15-7 and made it to the regional tournament of the playoffs. In the district tournament, Manzanares legged out an inside-the-park home run. On March 19, during the regular season, Manzanares had the kind of day every baseball pitcher dreams about – he threw a no-hitter in a 10-0 victory over Aspen.Manzanares was also part of the fab five for the Grand Valley basketball team, which won the only team state title in the school’s history in March. Manzanares starred as a speedy guard and all-out hustler with 3-point-making potential. He and his teammates Sam McKinley, Luke Braby, Mitch Belden and Richard Gallegos will go down as one of the best classes ever to play for the Cardinals.

Playoff appearances in each of his three sports made Manzanares’ final year at Grand Valley a memorable one.”My whole senior year was amazing,” he said.While his high-caliber athleticism led him to success in all three sports in high school, Manzanares knew he wanted to focus on football in college.”I have played the game since I was in second grade and now I get to play it year round,” he said.Classes start on Monday at Mesa, where Manzanares will begin his pursuit of a degree in business management.



Danny Manzanares 2006 Grand Valley High School graduate Played football, basketball and baseball for the Cardinals all four years. Is now playing football as a running back for Mesa State University in Grand Junction. Plans on studying business management at Mesa. Highlight of high school athletic career: “Pretty much my whole senior year. We won the Western Slope Conference and made it to the state playoffs for the first time since I had been there. Then in basketball we won state, so that was pretty amazing. Then in baseball, we made it all the way to regionals – one round away from state.”


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