Spring preview: Glenwood teams figure to be competitive again | PostIndependent.com

Spring preview: Glenwood teams figure to be competitive again

Mike Vidakovich
sports@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs High School pitcher Chase Nieslanik delivers a pitch during one of the Demons' games at the Glenwood Springs Middle School baseball field last spring. Nieslanik will be one of the Demons' key players this season.
Jon Mitchell / Post Independent |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS DEMONS

Track and Field

Head coach: Blake Risner (19th season).

Returning State Qualifiers: Boys: Garrett Goodstein, Sr., Zane Lundin, Sr., Evrett Marr, Sr., and Kaden Weller, Jr. Girls-Jaime Crowley, Sr., Carly Setterberg, Sr., Lexi Montoya, Sr., and Makena Warren, Jr.

Key Returners: Boys-Goodstein, Sr. Lundin, Sr. Marr, Sr. Weller, Sr. Larry Flores, Soph. Sergio Flores, Soph. Girls: Crowley, Sr. Setterberg, Sr. Montoya, Sr. Warren, Jr. Kristen Bates, Soph. Saylor Warren, Fr.

Others to Watch: Boys: Tim Batchelder, Jr. Dante Sparaco, Soph., Jacob Barsness, Fr., A.J. Crowley, Fr.; Girls: Vanessa Davila, Jr. Megan Uren, Jr. Karalee McGown, Soph. Claudia Hirons, Fr. Ellie Moser, Fr.

Outlook: Coach Risner will return several state qualifiers from 2014. Leading the group will be Kaden Weller, who finished second in last year’s state meet in the 300-meter hurdles. Coming up with consistent scoring in the distance and throwing events will be a challenge for Glenwood, but Risner feels he may have some young Demons who can help in those areas once they gain some meet experience.

Baseball

Head coach: Eric Nieslanik (10th season).

Last year: 10-9 overall, 7-7 Western Slope League.

Key Returners: Chase Nieslanik, Sr., P; Luke Ray, Sr., P/OF; Kiefer Broker, Sr., OF; Ian Scruton, Sr. 2B; Stephen Romero, Soph., SS.

Others to Watch: Bryce Gonzales, Sr. UT; Carlos Leal, Sr. UT; Quinn Kimminau, Sr., UT.

Outlook: The Demon baseball team is excited about the 2015 campaign. Coach Nieslanik has a good senior group and some solid pitching. Delta, Palisade, and Eagle Valley look to be strong contenders in the league, with Glenwood, Steamboat, and Rifle in the mix also. Glenwood opens the season with a doubleheader March 14 at home against Battle Mountain.

Girls Soccer

Head coach: Steve White, (13th season overall, 4th consecutive).

Last year: 8-7-0 overall, 8-3-0 Class 4A WSL.

Key Returners: Grace McSwain, Sr., D; Skyler Sherman, Sr., F; Hailey Armstrong, Sr., F.

Others to Watch: Ellie Austin, Sr., F; Erin Bucchin, Fr., G; MacKenzi Johnson, Jr., OD.

Outlook: Coach White has a fairly new mix of players this season. But with that, there are seven solid seniors who have varsity experience. A tough schedule which features games against 5A Grand Junction and Class 5A state runner-up Ralston Valley will have the Demons battle tested once the WSL portion of the spring rolls around.

Boys Swimming

Head coach: Steve Vanderhoof (First season).

Last year: Four state qualifiers in Zeb Thorsen, Zach Baker, Luke Herron, Jon Virzon.

Key Returners: Zeb Thorsen, Jr.; Luke Herron, Sr.; Zach Baker, Sr.; Jon Virzon, Sr.

Others to Watch: Phillip Hecksel, Soph.

Outlook: Coach Vanderhoof is a little short on numbers with just eight boys on the roster, but the coach is quick to point out that they are all solid kids and good swimmers. Due to his small team, Vanderhoof believes the Demons may actually score better at the state meet than they will at regionals. There are no divers at this time on the Glenwood depth chart. The opening meet for the Demon swimmers was March 7 at the Grand Junction Relays.

Girls Tennis

Head coach: Jon Zalinski (first season).

Last year: No state qualifiers.

Key Returners: Sophia Nelson, Soph.; Kenna Zilm, Soph.; Ivy Wight, Sr.

Others to Watch: Kelly Tran, Soph.; Hannah Young, Soph.; Rebeckah Eggleston, Jr.

Outlook: Being in his first year as coach and taking over for longtime girls tennis coach Phyllis Zilm, Zalinski is still getting to know his young team. Even in the early stages of the season, though, the coach is seeing steady progression in his team’s skill level. The Glenwood netters opened the year with a March 7 match against Delta at the Glenwood Community Center.

Girls Golf

Head coach: Clem Michel (Fifth season).

Last year: No state qualifiers.

Key Returners: Melissa Thrun, Sr.; Audrey Jones, Jr.; Lauren Murphy, Fr.

Others to Watch: Hanica LaGiglia, Jr.; Callie Jones, Fr.

Outlook: Coach Michel has high hopes that his team can establish some consistency during the season and possibly qualify some individuals for the state tournament. A top newcomer in freshman Lauren Murphy, who is capable of scoring in the 70’s, could be one of many bright spots for the Demon golfers.

Boys Lacrosse

Head coach: Rick Stevens (Fifth season).

Last year: 0-14 overall, 0-10 Mountain League.

Key Returners: Max Slack, Jr., MF; Sam Liotta, Soph., MF; Ben Liotta, Soph., Joe Liotta, Soph., GK; Colin O’Gorman, Jr., D.

Others to Watch: Zach Nicolli, Soph., D.

Outlook: Coach Stevens is optimistic and looking for better things in 2015 as his team enters the new two-division, 12-team Mountain League. “We’ll be playing teams this year that are more at our skill level,” he said. “It’s the third season that our feeder program has been in existence, so the outlook is becoming brighter.” Glenwood opened the season March 7 against Telluride at Stubler Memorial Field.

Coaches and players of spring sports in Colorado often have as much trouble with the ever-changing weather conditions as they do with the opponents on the opposite end of the field.

During the course of a two-hour athletic contest or a day-long track meet, teams can expect to encounter shivering temperatures and blizzard conditions one minute, followed by blue-sky sunshine the next. Mother Nature just tosses a coin, and then decides what she will throw at you next.

If the spring weather patterns in the Roaring Fork Valley turn out to be as optimistic as the coaches of the seven spring sports are at Glenwood Springs High School, there will plenty of sunshine to go around for everyone.

Starting with the track oval, veteran coach Blake Risner always seems to field a competitive team. This season should be no exception. With an expected 95 athletes out for the squad — including 12 four-year competitors — the Demons will once again have to be reckoned with.

“With the numbers we have out for the team, we should be able to score some points and compete well during the season.”GSHS track and field coach Blake Risner

“We have a strong group of seniors,” noted Risner. “With the numbers we have out for the team, we should be able to score some points and compete well during the season.”

Baseball coach Eric Nieslanik also boasts a quality senior class, led by a couple of seasoned pitchers in Luke Ray and Chase Nieslanik, who will share lots of time on the mound for the Demons. Glenwood looks solid at several positions on the diamond, and will have to be, especially in a very competitive Class 4A Western Slope League.

Coach Steve White will usher his team into the 25th-anniversary season of soccer at Glenwood Springs High. Led by seniors Grace McSwain, Skyler Sherman and Hailey Armstrong, White’s crew will look to get back into the state playoffs after just missing out the past two years.

“We have scheduled some 5A teams this season in order to earn some points in the state’s playoff-scoring system,” White said. “Our league will be tough also with Battle Mountain, Steamboat [Springs], and Eagle Valley all with solid teams.”

The girls golf and tennis teams, as well as boys lacrosse and swimming, will also look for positive results as their seasons unfold on the path toward the league and district playoffs.

Hopefully, the spring weather will keep that path dry for all of the teams at Glenwood High School.


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