Rifle sets its sights on improvement
Special to the Citizen Telegram
RIFLE HIGH SCHOOL FALL SPORTS PREVIEW
Head coach: Erin Reider (Fifth season).
Last Season: 11-14 overall
Key returners: Annie Schmidt, Sr., MH; Cheyanne Miller, Sr., MH.
Others to watch: Erika Salazar, Sr., S; Tara Ruggles, Soph., OH.
Outlook: The Bears will move up to the 4A Western Slope League this year after spending the two previous seasons in the 3A ranks. Coach Reider is excited about the leadership abilities of seniors Annie Schmidt, who is one of Rifle’s best all-around players, and middle hitter Cheyanne Miller. The schedule of bigger foes will be tough, with Battle Mountain’s Huskies looming as the favorite in a balanced league race. The Bears faced Battle Mountain at a summer team camp and Reider feels her ladies match up well with them.
Head coach: Richard Carter (Fourth season).
Last season: 1-14 overall, 0-13 league.
Key returners: Alexis Ramos, Soph., MF; Alex Rivas, Sr., D; Eddie Sandoval, Sr., MF.
Others to watch: Rodrigo Ibarra, Sr., D; Eduardo Ruiz, Jr., MF/D; Juan Gutierrez, Jr., MF.
Outlook: With sophomore Alexis Ramos leading the way on the offensive end, and Alex Rivas, who Carter calls the defensive foundation of the team, helping to hold opponents at bay, Rifle looks to improve on its one win season of a year ago. The Bears will be in the 3A Western Slope League, taking advantage of the state’s play-down rule for teams who have finished below the .250 winning percentage for four consecutive years. The Rifle soccer program is heading in the right direction with 32 players out this fall which is up from past years. Look for the Bears to be in the win column more times than in 2013.
Head coach: Ben Bradley (Third season).
Last season: Sent one boy to state meet in senior Brendan Wagler.
Key returners: Boys-Brendan Wagler, Sr.; Colby Rennie, Sr.; Jack Rubalcave, Soph.;
Girls-Kelly Coombs, Sr.; Brenda DeLuera, Sr.; Ashlyn Taylor, Sr.
Others to watch: Girls-Cameron Repp, Soph.; Sarah Wagler, Fr.; Miriam Wilks, Fr.; Sydney Ferguson, Fr.; Deleny Aguirre, Sr.
Outlook: Wagler will look to be one of the top runners in the region for Rifle on the boys side of things, while three senior ladies (Coombs, DeLuera, and Taylor) will try to stay with the opponent’s front runners. The girls will figure into team standings at meets, but with only 3 boys out right now, the Rifle males will be running primarily for individual accolades. Coach Bradley will rely heavily upon Wagler and Coombs for team leadership this season.
Head coach: Cindy Skinner (Sixteenth season).
Last season: 9-10 overall, 3-4 Western Slope League.
Key returners: Katie Varner, Sr., C/INF; Antonia Booth, Sr., INF/C; Allie Magee, Sr., P/OF; Melissa Steinbach, Sr., OF.
Others to watch: Caitlin Diaz, Sr., INF; Jessyca Gates, Soph., P/INF; Payton Phillips, Jr., Utility.
Outlook: Coach Skinner, who started the Rifle High School softball program in 1995, lost six seniors from last year’s team, but she seems optimistic with the talent she will put on the diamond in 2014. Skinner thinks her Bears will be in a building mode early in the season, but with the help of several seniors to guide this team along, expects good things come tournament and playoff time in October.
Head coach: Matt Rowe (First season)
Last season: Sent two individuals to Class 4A State Championships.
Key players: Wyatt Carter, Jacob Smith, Kohl Keithely, Elliot Krebill.
Outlook: Rowe, the first-year coach of the Bears, has been happy with the progression the Bears have made through the first tournaments of the season. Rifle returns zero state qualifiers from a year ago, but the new coach feels that the team’s player are on track to have at least one state qualifier and finish among the “top three or four” in the Western Slope region.
RIFLE — Fall sports season is underway for Rifle High School, and as is the case at most schools around the state, optimism is at an all-time high.
“I’m really looking forward to working with my girls and teaching them the game of softball. It’s going to be a pleasing year,” veteran Bears softball coach Cindy Skinner said.
Skinner also has some lofty expectations of her charges once they learn their way around the softball diamond.
“We have some good girls out for the team. Our goal is to start the season strong and end it even stronger,” stated Skinner.
Erin Reider’s volleyball Bears will be making the jump up to the Class 4A Western Slope League this year after posting an 11-14 record last season in the 3A WSL. It’s a move up in class that the coach, and her players, are relishing.
“There’s a little bit of nerves right now about playing the bigger schools, but the girls are excited about the move up to 4A,” Reider said. “There will be some shuffling of players since we will be without Amelia [senior starter Amelia Zemlock will be out this season due to illness] but we are keeping the focus on the team. We feel like we can do well this year.”
The Rifle boys soccer team is coming off a season in 2013 in which only one victory was recorded in the scorebook. Coach Richard Carter believes his program may be on the uptick due to more interest at the club level with younger players.
“We will be able to field a full varsity and junior varsity program this year,” Carter said. “The younger kids are showing much more interest in soccer at the club level and are coming to us with better skills. It can only help.”
Cross country running is a sport for a lifetime, and coach Ben Bradley makes this a point of emphasis with his team.
“Our goal is always to make the sport an opportunity for athletes to push themselves and get better,” Bradley said. “Our season is based on the kids we have and how hard they work.”
One of Rifle’s hardest workers will be senior Brendan Wagler, who could develop into one of the top runners in the region before all is said and done this season, Bradley said.
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