Need for speed: Coal Ridge hoops, wrestling teams picking up the pace
COAL RIDGE HIGH WINTER SPORTS
Head coach: Paul Harvey (sixth season).
Last season: 4-16 overall, 4-12 Class 3A Western Slope League (eighth place), no postseason.
Key returners: Andy Bowles, Sr., 6-5, F; Alec Herrera, Sr., 5-9, G; Richie Winkler, Sr., 6-3, F.
Others to watch: Ruben Ruiz, Jr., 5-5, G; Ely Arreola, Sr., 5-9, G; Greyson Keener. Soph., 6-2, F; Jake Solinger, Soph., 5-5, G.
Outlook: Harvey said his players got a wake-up call during a recent scrimmage against The Classical Academy, which spurred the players on the roster to pick their intensity level up a notch during practice. That will be key in a league that the sixth-year coach said will be tough as nails again this year. “Between Roaring Fork, Aspen and Grand Valley, our side of the league will be very tough,” he said. “If we can shoot better than last season, we can shoot for the top half of our league.” ... Bowles and Herrera earned accolades on the all-league team after last season. Bowles averaged 10 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, shooting 51 percent from the field. ... Coal Ridge opens the season with upper-classifications teams, playing Class 4A Battle Mountain next Tuesday and Class 4A Glenwood Springs on Dec. 6.
Head coach: Damon Martinez (second season).
Last season: 10-11 overall, 9-7 Class 3A Western Slope League (fifth place), lost to Denver School of Science and Technology in first round of Class 3A state tournament.
Key returners: Paige Ryan, Sr., 5-5, G; Alicia Hampton, Sr., 5-7, F; Amanda Wenzel, Jr., 5-4, G; Mariella Martinez, Jr., 5-4, G; Britini Allen, Jr., 5-11, C.
Others to watch: Brittany Young, Sr., 5-5, G; Courtney Reece, Sr., 5-6, G; Kaitlyn Detlessen, soph., 6-0, F; Jenny Call, Soph., 5-4, G.
Outlook: Martinez knows that there’s plenty of speedy, athletic players he can utilize this season. He plans to, especially with players like Ryan and Hampton teaming up to help win a state title in the 4x400-meter relay this past May. ... Ryan was the team’s leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, with Wenzel (8.7 points) also serving as a scoring threat. Martinez is also expected to be a solid contributor. ... Coal Ridge opens the season against Battle Mountain this coming Tuesday.
Head coach: Kalvin Deere (first season).
Last season: Qualified four wrestlers for the Class 3A State Championships in Denver.
Key returners: Nelson Bell, Sr., 182; Jerry Juarardo, Sr., 152; Cristian Keith, Jr., 170; Lane Nelson, Soph., 120; Tristin Sharbino, Sr., 126.
Others to watch: Nick Carbone, Jr., 160.
Outlook: Deere, a Rifle native, has been an assistant coach before but is in his firs season as a head coach. “Right now, I’m really excited about the promise the guys are showing,” the coach said. ... Keith and Jurarado each reached the state championships a year ago and will return this year, but both will flip weights. Keith, who went to the tournament at 152, will wrestle at 170, while Jurardo, who qualified a 170, will drop to 152. ... Deere said the 18 wrestlers who are out this season is a typical number for the program, be he’d like to attract more kids in the future.
PEACH VALLEY — Hermes might be an appropriate mascot for the winter sports teams at Coal Ridge High School winter sports teams this coming season.
Hermes, after all, was the fastest of all Greek gods. That doesn’t make him a Titan to parallel the school’s official mascot, but it might just signify the kind of teams the school will produce for the 2013-14 season.
“The teams that play us can expect a fast-paced offense, because we’re going to move the ball up and down the floor,” sixth-year Coal Ridge boys basketball coach Paul Harvey said.
Speed seems to be a consistent theme for all three teams at Coal Ridge for the upcoming winter season. That’s especially true for the Titans boys basketball team, who are looking to improve on a four-win campaign from a year ago with a racehorse-basketball approach. Harvey feels he has the horses to do it, too, as most of the roster that was inexperienced last season won’t be able to use that as an excuse this year.
“Our boys grew up a lot last year,” said Harvey, whose team went from consistent double-digit losses at the beginning of the season to a down-to-the-wire loss to league champion Roaring Fork in the first round of the Class 3A Western Slope League tournament. “They became a lot more experienced as a team. Even with the (4-16 overall) record, it was probably one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had.”
Quickness will also be a theme for the Coal Ridge girls, who slipped into the Class 3A state tournament last year before losing to Denver School of Science and Technology in the first round.
There’s not a whole lot of height on the Titans’ roster, which means Coal Ridge will rely on an up-tempo attack on offense to accompany a roster of players who have seen plenty of success in other sports.
“These girls are very self motivated to improve,” said second-year coach Damon Martinez, whose team finished this past season with a 10-11 overall mark. “They’ve all seen a lot of success in [soccer, volleyball and track and field], so they’re driven and already know what it takes to be successful.”
The speed theme will be prevalent for the Coal Ridge wrestling team as well, but only in the sense of how quickly the Titans are adjusting new way of doing things courtesy of Kalvin Deere. So far, the first-year head coach likes what he sees from a squad that sent four wrestlers to the Class 3A State Championships in Denver this past February.
“It’s going surprizingly well,” Deere said of the receptiveness of his wrestlers to him as a coach. “I was worried there would be a challenge of where we would be physically, and we’re already way past the point where I thought we’d be.”
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