Spring preview: Titans look to take next step on track
COAL RIDGE TITANS
Head Coach: Dan Larsen (second season).
Last season: 10-10 overall, 9-7 3A Western Slope League (fourth place)
Key returners: Greyson Keener, Jr., 3B/P; Nathan Nelson, Jr., P/OF; Kevin Grivy, Sr., P/OF; Zack Zordel, Srr., 1B/OF; Tyler Slone, Soph., C.
Others to watch: Jackson Seargent, Soph., P/3B; Jake Solinger, Jr., SS/P; Caleb Maynard, Jr., 2B/P.
Outlook: Coal Ridge has a sense of confidence headed into the season despite its loss on Tuesday afternoon to Rifle. Larsen feels that once his team’s players are able to get a few practices in after completing a run in the state basketball playoffs, Coal Ridge will be one of the teams to beat in the 3A WSL. “We showed a lot of improvement last season, and I think that we can build on that,” the coach said.
Head coach: Micah Herron (Third season).
Last season: 16-2-0 overall, 9-0-0 3A Western Slope League (First place), lost to St. Mary’s in Class 3A quarterfinals.
Key returners: Nicole Mooney, Soph., MF; Dana Kotz, Soph., D; Molly Mello, Sr., MF; Mariela Martinez, Sr., MF; Kyrie’ Foreman, Sr., D; Jenny Call, Jr., MF; Brooke Esgar, Jr., GK.
Others to watch: Courtnay Young, Jr., D; Kaitlyn Harlow, MF, Soph.
Outlook: Like a lot of spring sports teams, Coal Ridge has many of its players still adjusting to spring sports after their appearance in the 3A basketball playoffs. There is, however, a lot of experience returning from last year’s state quarterfinalists, including first-team all-leaguers Mooney, Call and Martinez. Brooke Esgar, who was an honorable-mention player as a goalkeeper, is also back.
TRACK AND FIELD
Head coach: Ben Kirk (ninth season).
Last season: Qualified 23 athletes for Class 3A State Championships, with boys team finishing second in team standings.
Key returners: Boys: Noah Crisler, Sr., distance; Roman Plano, Jr. jumps; Enrique Bucio, Sr., middle distance; Stosh Kutnicki, Sr., relays; Jared Duran, Sr., relays. Girls: Amber Bowles, Jr., jumps/sprints; Dana Kotz, Soph., sprints; Faith Wood, Soph., sprints; Jenny Call, Jr., middle distance; Mariela Martinez, Sr., relays/sprints; Britni Allen, Sr., throws; Kaitlyn Detlefsen, Jr., jumps.
Others to watch: Girls: Emily Wright, Fr., sprints; Courtney Gasaway, Jr., hurdles/pole vault; Paige Harlow, Fr., distance; Kaitlyn Harlow, Soph., sprints. Boys: Sergio Valentin, Jr., sprints; Cameron Chacon, Soph., hurdles; Jacob Morgan, Soph., hurdles.
Outlook: This offseason, Coal Ridge invested in a $20,000 pole-vault pit at the school and have 20 athletes trying the event in an effort to get those extra points to win the state meet. And they were close last year. “We scored the fourth-most points that the 3A state meet has ever seen, and we finished second,” Kirk said. The coach also added that he likes the depth that the girls team is showing this year, but noted that Friday’s first meet of the season — the Rifle Invitational in Rifle — will be a true indicator of where the Titans stand.
Head coach: Ken Dunham (First season).
Last season: Sent one golfer to Class 3A State Championships.
Key returners: Melissa Steinbach, Sr.
Others to watch: Cheyenne Williams, Fr.; Brittany Rhodes, Soph.; Macy Elmer, Soph.
Outlook: Steinbach is by far the most experienced player for the Titans and will try this season to qualify for the state meet for a fourth time, which is something not many golfers have accomplished in Colorado. Williams, Dunham said, enters the program with some junior golf playing experience, and Rhodes and Elmer are still learning. Still, the foursome played well enough to tie Aspen for the team title in the Class 3A Chepita Championship Kickoff tournament this past Monday, leaving optimism for the remainder of the season.
PEACH VALLEY — Just because the roster for the Coal Ridge High School track and field team has changed doesn’t mean the Titans’ goals have changed this year.
“Our goals every year are to win our home meet, to win our league meet and to win the state meet,” ninth-year Coal Ridge coach Ben Kirk said. “We’re keeping those the same this year.”
That seems like a realistic goal for the Titans. After all, Coal Ridge’s boys track and field team was the runner-up finisher at the Class 3A State Championships for the past two years. The Titans, however, finished second both years to The Classical Academy out of Colorado Springs, which this season moved up to Class 4A.
That, in and of itself, makes the Titans a prohibitive favorite to win it all this year. And Coal Ridge’s track team is one of the four spring sports teams at the school — including girls soccer, girls golf and baseball — that have set their sights high this season.
Kirk said he’s excited about the team that will be following last year’s boys and girls team, which qualified nearly two-dozen athletes between them for the state meet. Depth could also prove a huge factor for Coal Ridge — approximately 100 kids have come out for this year’s team.
Coal Ridge High’s girls soccer team appears to have just as much depth, with some of that coming from the track team.
Coach Micah Herron said he has 11 girls who run track and play soccer, and each one is expected to be a factor for the Titans as they come off their second consecutive appearance in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
The school’s baseball team, second-year coach Dan Larsen said, feels like its primed to make another run at the 3A state playoffs and, possibly, challenge for the Class 3A Western Slope League championship.
The Titans made their first appearance in the state playoffs last season.
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