New hockey program, boys hoops coach for Glenwood
Excitement for winter sports at Glenwood Springs is at a very high level heading into the start of games, thanks to a new varsity hockey program under the direction of head coach Tim Cota, and new boys basketball head coach Fred Heisel taking over a boys program that has won two straight 4A Western Slope League championship after long-time head coach Cory Hitchcock became the Women’s Head Basketball Coach at the University of Southwest.
Along with a new program and a new head coach of the boys basketball program, veteran head coach Rhonda Moser returns a number of players this winter for a program that is coming off of two straight 4A state playoff appearances and a second-place finish in the 4A Western Slope League last season, while Steve Vanderhoof sees a number of girls swimmers return for a program that placed second in the regional meet after winning back-to-back regional championships in 2016 and 2017.
With change comes excitement, and there’s a palpable buzz around Glenwood winter sports this season. The boys basketball team should be able to push for a third straight league championship under Heisel, who coached Glenwood Middle School basketball before taking over the varsity program, while the girls basketball team looks to make a deep run in the 4A state playoffs after reaching the second round last season.
Swimming is loaded with talent under Vanderhoof, so a number of Glenwood swimmers should be competitive at the state level once again. In hockey, the Demons will be made up mainly of former Glenwood Grizzlies players, who’ve had tons of success at the state level. That experience around the state and the familiarity of playing together for so long should have Glenwood hockey competing at a high level this winter under Cota.
Head Coach: Fred Heisel, first season
Last Season: 19-5 (12-0 4A Western Slope League champions), lost to Mesa Ridge 67-48 in first round of 4A state playoffs
Key Returners: Angel Garcia, Sr.; Holden Kleager, Sr.; Chano Gonzalez, Sr; Kevin Ayon, Sr.; Luke Gair, Sr.; Wyatt Ewer, Sr.
Players to Watch: Mitchell Burt, Jr.; Adam Schrader, Jr.; Will Narvaez, Jr.
Season Outlook: A new head coach takes over a prolific Glenwood program, but a number of key players from last season’s league-championship group returns for first-year head coach Fred Heisel at Glenwood Springs. Despite a new voice in charge of the program, expectations won’t change for the Demons. “I’m expecting the kids to compete in every game, and certainly compete for the league championship,” Heisel said. “But we’re looking beyond that. We’re looking to take this program past the first few rounds of the state tournament. We want that to be the norm for this program moving forward when other schools think of Glenwood Springs.”
Head Coach: Rhonda Moser, fourth season
Last Season: 16-9 (10-2 4A Western Slope League), lost to Windsor 54-41 in the second round of the 4A state playoffs.
Key Returners: Ximena Gutierrez, Sr.; Emily Worline, Sr.; Logan Nieslanik, Sr.; Afton Larsen, Sr.; Ashley Barragan, Sr.; Qwynn Massie, Jr.
Players to Watch: Maddie Moser, So; Gracie Dietrich, So.
Season Outlook: Glenwood will be without five key players from last season due to graduation and a move out of state, but the Demons’ girls basketball team returns plenty of talent this winter under veteran head coach Rhonda Moser, led by All-Conference-caliber guard Ximena Gutierrez and post player Qwynn Massie, as well as sharpshooting senior Emily Worline. “I would love to be contender for the league title again, and I expect what I did last year,” Moser said. “It would be amazing to get where we were last year. But we obviously won’t to go deeper into the playoffs.”
Head Coach: Guy Brickell, 24th year total (14th since program restarted in ’04-’05)
Last Season: Amos Wilson competed at the state tournament.
Key Returners: Amos Wilson, Jr.; Matthew Flores, Sr.; Josh Sanchez, Sr.; Eric Krauth, Sr.; Max Burrell, Jr.
Players to Watch: Ray Rosenmerkel, Fr.; Caden Howe, Fr.; Rustyn Randolph, Fr.
Season Outlook: Three top seniors and two key juniors return on the mat for long-time head coach Guy Brickell and assistant coach Miles Cook this winter for Glenwood Springs. Despite the five key returners, it’s hard to figure out this Glenwood group, according to Cook. “It’s really hard to say what to expect with us changing divisions this year,” Cook said. “We dropped down to 3A, and we’re trying to revamp our schedule to try to face some of these new schools. We’re lacking a little depth across the board, so we’re going to have some trouble filling some weights. I don’t see us being as successful when it comes to duals as a team, but we’re certainly excited about some individuals, and we’ll get some kids into state. If I can get 2-4 into state I’d be really excited.”
Head Coach: Steve Vanderhoof, fifth season as girls head coach
Last Season: Placed second at Regionals by 2 points behind 5A Grand Junction, after winning the Regional Title in 2016 and 2017. Placed 10th in the state meet in 2018 after placing third place the previous year.
Key Returners: Abby Scruton, So.; Kylee Smith, So.; Macy Stinson, Sr.; Kaitlyn Vanderhoof, Sr.; Kendall Mueller, Sr.; Sally McDonnell, Jr.; Molly Hancock, Jr.; Sophie Moon, So.
Swimmers to Watch: Amy Madsen, Fr.; Ellie McPherson, Fr.; Emma Price, Fr. Libby Claassen, So.
Season Outlook: Glenwood will again contend for the Regional title and realistically take 15 girls to the State 3A Championship, according to Vanderhoof, who has a very deep roster to work with. “We have more depth this year with the girls, and we bring in a very talented freshman class with Amy [Madsen] and Ellie [McPherson], who are both expected to make a significant impact at the regional and state level in their individual events and the relay events,” Vanderhoof said.
Head Coach: Tim Cota, first season
Last Season: 2018-19 season is the program’s first
Players to Watch: Devlin Powell, Sr.; Kai Kanzer, Sr.; Dylan Uren, Sr.; Jake Hermard, Sr.; Ryan Kotz, Jr.; Sean Mooney, Jr.; Jacob Fowler, Jr.; Cole Houston, Jr.
Season Outlook: This will be the first season competing at the varsity level for the newly formed Glenwood Springs Demons hockey program, which will play its home games at the Eagle Ice Rink. This group is mostly made up of former Glenwood Grizzlies, who dominated at the state level in recent years under Cota’s guidance.
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Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com