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Spring preview: Glenwood making room to improve

Jon Mitchell
jmitchell@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs High School's Evrett Marr runs a leg of the 4x100-meter relay at the Class 4A State Championships in Lakewood this past May. Marr is one of the Demons' many returning athletes who have the experience of competing at the state meet.
Darcy Copeland / DC Photo-snappedya.com |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL

BASEBALL

Head coach — Eric Nieslanik (ninth season).

Last season — 5-14 overall, 3-11 Class 4A Western Slope League play (sixth place), no postseason.

Key Returners — Chase Nieslanik, Jr., 1B/P; Dylan Hagen, Sr., 3B; Ian Scruton, Jr., 2B/P; Chris Sarabia, Sr., C.

Others to watch — Luke Ray, Jr., OF/P; Tristin Harris, Jr., P/IF; Keifer Brocker, Jr., UT; Quinn Kimminau, Jr., OF.

Outlook: Coach Nieslanik said the Demons’ success comes down to two basic principals: pitching and defense. Errors cost the Demons dearly throughout the season, but it showed signs of improvement during Glenwood’s successful summer campaign. On the mound, Chase Nieslanik, Scruton, Ray and Harris are expected to be a solid rotation, which will be a big key early on since coach Nieslanik expects Glenwood’s lineup to come around later in the season.

GIRLS SOCCER

Head coach — Steve White (Fifth season).

Last season — 10-5-0 overall, 8-4-0 Class 4A Western Slope League play (fourth place), no postseason.

Key Returners — Grace McSwain, Jr., MF; Jenna Brown, Sr., MF/S; Bella Diaz, Jr., GK; Tasha Jordan, Jr., MF/F; Sierra Martin, Sr., S/MF; Haley Armstrong, Jr., S/F; Laura McDermott, Sr., D/S.

Others to watch — Quincy Dollahan, Fr., MF/F; Mackenzi Johnson, Soph., D/MF; Carol Stepniewski, Soph., D/F; Ellie Austin F/MF; Samantha Wright, Jr., MF/D.

Outlook: White, who has close to two decades of coaching experience, is in awe of the skill level of some of the players in the WSL. He doesn’t doubt that his players will be able to compete with Steamboat Springs, Battle Mountain, Summit and Palisade atop the league standings, but he also emphasized how important team play is to make a postseason run. “We have a really heavy roster, and everyone who is on that roster will have a role for our team to be successful,” he said.

BOYS LACROSSE

Head coach — Rick Stevens (fourth season).

Last season — 2-13 overall and league play, no postseason

Key Returners — Neeko Medina, Sr., MF; Tylas Hooker, Sr., Att; Derrick Chase, Sr., MF; Marcelino Sanchez, Sr., D; Scott Elmore, Sr., GK; Ryer Tate, Sr., MF; Jesse Ashmore, Sr., MF.

Others to watch — Ross Hooker, Jr., Att.; Mike Wirth, Soph., MF; Cole Hallenbeck, Soph., Att.; Max Slack, Soph., MF.

Outlook: Glenwood began to play much better as a unit at the end of the 2013 campaign after opening its season with some lopsided losses. The Demons opened with a lopsided loss to league power Steamboat Springs this past Saturday, but Stevens feels like a foundation has been set for Glenwood to make some big improvements this season. “I expect that a year from now, there’s going to be a big difference,” Stevens said.

BOYS SWIMMING

Head coach — Danny Gall (First season).

Last season — Sent five individuals to Class 4A State Championships in Thornton.

Key Returners — Zach Baker, 100 backstroke/200 IM; Jack Cassidy, 50/100/200 freestyle; Zeb Thorsen, 100/200 freestyle and 100 backstroke.

Others to watch — Timo Koring, 50/100/200 freestyle, 100 backstroke; Stefan Buxman, 50/100 freestyle, 100 backstroke; Phillip Hecksel, 100 butterfly, 50/100 freestyle; John Birzon, 50/100/200 freestyle; Luke Herron, 50/100 freestyle, 100 backstroke; James McMahon, 200 IM, 100 backstroke.

Outlook: Cassidy, an Eagle Valley High School student, finished eighth in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle at last year’s state meet. This year, the Demons are already off to a good start. They won three events at a relay meet in Grand Junction this past weekend with only six swimmers. Gall said he’s excited to see what his team can do when all 10 members are at a meet.

TRACK & FIELD

Head coach — Blake Risner (20th season).

Last season — Boys and girls team each finished third in Class 4A Western Slope Regional meet; one individual boys state champion.

Key Returners — Evrett Marr, Jr. middle distance; Kaden Weller, Jr., hurdles; Garrett Lowe, Sr., shot put/discus; Lexi Montoya, Jr., 400/ jumping events; Courtney Lippman, Dr., 1,600/3,200; Garrett Goodstein, Jr., 400/800; Henry Hill, Sr., sprints; Cole Adams, Sr., sprints; Carly Setterberg, Sr., sprints, hurdles; Delaney Gaddis, Sr., jumps/hurdles.

Others to watch — Wyatt Till, Sr., 1,600/800; Zane Lundin, Jr., sprints; Ben Neeley, Jr., distance; Madi Spence, Jr., distance.

Outlook: The Demons set a record for biggest turnout this season. The 85 kids who are out for track are a high during Risner’s tenure as head track coach. Many of the athletes who reached the state meet have returned, but the bigger numbers help bring depth to that competitive experience. “The kids are motivated,” Risner said. “They got a big taste of success at the state meet, and now they want more.”

GIRLS TENNIS

Head coach — Phyllis Zilm (20th season).

Last season — Team finished second at Class 4A Regional tournament.

Key Returners — Ivy Wight, Jr., Hannah Nilssen, Jr.,

Others to watch — Elise Metzger, Sr., Tessa Ebert, Sr., Luise Wollesen, Jr., Sophie Nelson, Fr., Kenna Zilm, Fr., Maritza Ruiz, Fr., Sofia Gamba, Jr., Becky Eggleston, Jr., Kira Willis, Sr.

Outlook: The Demons had a banner year last season in finishing second in the Class 4A Western Slope Regional tournament and sending three players to state. Glenwood lost two of those players, however, with Wright serving as the only returner. Zilm is hoping that will trickle down to what will be a young Demons squad, with several of the players on the roster who, this year, are playing tennis for the first time.

GIRLS GOLF

Head coach — Clem Michel (Fourth season).

Last season — No state qualifiers.

Key Returners — Kylie Fleming, Sr.; Melissa Thrun, Jr.; Audrey Jones, Soph.

Others to watch — McKenzie Fuller, Sr.; Ellie Schiesser, Jr.; Emily Page, Soph.

Outlook: Michel is encouraged by the group of players he has despite its inexperience. Fleming and Thrun managed some high finishes last season and, even though they weren’t able to place at the regional tournament at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, Michel is optimistic about their chances of improvement this season. “It’s up to them on how much better they want to get,” the coach said. “We have some hard workers in this group.”

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — There’s a buzz of sorts surrounding Stubler Memorial Field this spring.

Actually, it’ more of a rumble.

That rumble would represent the thundering herd that is the Glenwood Springs High School track and field team, which has produced its biggest turnout in the 20-year coaching tenure of Blake Risner. All total, 85 athletes are out for track this season, which is up from the previous high of 72 during Risner’s time as coach.



What’s more, plenty of athletes are back from performing at last year’s Class 4A State Championships in Lakewood, and their proverbial hunger to do better this year is catching on with the masses.

“Their work ethic,” Risner said, “is turning out to be contagious.”



The track and field team, much like the rest of the spring sports teams at Glenwood Springs High, is optimistic about the upcoming season. Some squads have set their sights a little higher than others, but the emphasis on overall improvement from last season is a common goal for everyone.

It’s definitely a common goal for the Glenwood girls soccer team. The Demons’ 10-5-0 overall record was better then some of the teams that made the Class 4A state tournament bracket. But some plays over the course of the season — big and small — added up, and Glenwood missed the postseason despite playing in a tough 4A Western Slope League.

“What I’ve told the girls is that we essentially missed the playoffs by just one goal,” said Glenwood coach Steve White, whose team was left out of the tournament following a 3-2 loss to Steamboat Springs in the WSL tournament played at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus. “Every goal counts. Every play counts. Every little thing counts when it comes to making the postseason. These girls are motivated.”

Glenwood’s baseball team is also motivated to improve on its 5-14 mark from last season. A strong summer season in 2013 with players who were committed to the program for its duration make that appear possible.

“Our goal this year is to compete,” ninth-year Glenwood coach Eric Nieslanik said. “There’s some tough teams in our league, and … we want to be able to compete.”

Glenwood’s boys swimming team had multiple athletes reach the 4A state meet last year. Also coming off a big season is Glenwood’s girls tennis team. The Demons claimed a second-place finish in the Class 4A Western Slope Regional tournament — the program’s best finish ever — and sent three players to state.


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