Roaring Fork rakes in WSL kudos
In three years with Roaring Fork, head coach Roger Walters has led the boys basketball team to three state tournament appearances, three district championships, three Western Slope League Championships and the Rams have yet to lose a league contest during the stretch.This season, Walters coached the Rams to a 23-3 season and to their second consecutive state championship game appearance. His success with the program has landed him the same result this year as he was once again handed Class 3A WSL Coach of the Year honors.”It is just a reflection of the boys,” Walters said of the award. “That is totally a team award you get if you have good players.”It is the third straight year the honor has been given to Walters, who also modestly admitted he won the award “a couple of times” during his tenure as the head coach at Rifle.Walters wasn’t the only Ram to receive all-league honors, as two of his players were named to the all-league team and two more were honorable mention.
In addition to being named to the all league team, senior Christian Tena was also named top WSL senior. Tena averaged 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals each game. “I have never had a boy like him in 14 years of coaching,” Walters said of Tena. “He’s a real special kid.”Fellow Ram senior Derek Parker was also named to the all-league team. Parker scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds, two steals and 1.5 assists per contest for the Rams.Seniors A.J. Joiner and Parker Nieslanik both received honorable mention. Joiner averaged seven points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal per game while Nieslanik scored six, pulled down three rebounds, dished out two assists and recorded one steal per game. According to Walters, the two contributed much more than their stats say, however.”They are what our program is all about. They are just unbelievable role models for our younger kids and the ultimate teammates,” Walters said of the duo. “They just have an unbelievable work ethic. They are great kids and we are going to miss them immensely.”
Cheney named WSL Co-Coach of the YearThe Roaring Fork girls basketball team took in its fair share WSL all league awards as two players made the first team, two more were named honorable mention and head coach Kirk Cheney was dubbed co-coach of the year.”It’s the kids that did it. It’s nice to be honored, but if the kids aren’t busting their butts and doing what you ask, then it doesn’t mean anything,” Cheney said. “It’s nice to be honored by your peers, but it is more of a tribute to the kids.”In his second year as the head coach for the Rams, Cheney guided the Rams to a 17-7 season and a WSL championship before the Rams fell one game short of the state tournament.
Rams: see page 16Cheney, who shares the award with Cedaredge’s Eric Hollembeak, has now posted a two-year record of 38-11.Ram seniors Laura Wright and Sarah Armstrong both landed spots on the all-league roster. Wright averaged nine points, six rebounds and one steal per game, while Sarah Armstrong also averaged nine points, but pulled down four rebounds and recorded one steal and one block each game. Wright was also selected to play in the Colorado Coaches of Girls’ Sports 3A All-State Basketball game on Sunday at Broomfield High School at noon.Seniors Whitney Campbell and Jessie Smeins each received all-league honorable mention accolades. Campbell posted eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals per contest and Smeins scored seven, grabbed three rebounds and recorded one steal and one assist each game.”Jess has got to be the most improved player in the league,” Cheney said of Smeins. “Starting from square one, she became a solid force for us by the end of the season.”
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The brackets are set for the 12-team 4A girls lacrosse state championships, and the Roaring Fork Rams are dancing as the No. 9 seed.