Titan athletics geared up for strong spring
When it comes to spring sports, the Coal Ridge Titans are pretty strong across the board in New Castle. With a number of talented athletes returning this spring for the Titans, Coal Ridge should once again be near the top in each sport, led by track and field, and girls soccer.
The Coal Ridge boys are searching for their sixth straight league championship under head coach Ben Kirk, while the girls will go for their fifth straight title later this spring.
Girls golf sees talented senior Cheyenne Williams return to pair with last season’s state qualifier, Jaelyn Price, providing the Titans with a formidable 1-2 punch, while Titan baseball will rely heavily on a loaded sophomore class to pick up where the Titans left off last season.
Head Coach: Damon Martinez, third season
Last Season: 11-6, 8-2 3A Western Slope League), finished second in league, lost to Jefferson Academy in second round of 3A state playoffs
Key Returners: Paige Harlow, Sr.; Emily Wright, Sr.; Santana Martinez, Sr.; Sam Dunn, Sr.; Adriana Vargas, Jr.; Alyssa Wenzel, Jr.;
Players to Watch: Libby Tharp, Fr.; Maren Hough, So.;
Season Outlook: Coming off of a season in which the Coal Ridge Titans placed second in the league and made an appearance in the second round of the 3A state playoffs, the Titans return a number of key players from last season’s team, headlined by Sam Dunn, Paige Harlow, Emily Wright and Santana Martinez. While the Titans return a number of key players, the rest of the 3A Western Slope League continues to get better and better, putting itself in the running as one of the best league’s in the state.
“We’re going to be competitive again, but our league will be incredibly tough,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Damon Martinez said. “There’s a ton of talent in this league. We hope that our veterans can carry us this year and keep us near the top.”
In a loaded league, the Titans could finish anywhere from first to fifth in the league, with another state playoff berth likely in the cards again.
Head Coach: Dan Larson, sixth season
Last Season: 8-11, 5-4 3A Western Slope League
Key Returners: Jake Whitaker, Sr.; Jared Whitaker, So.; Brady Sasko, Jr.; Oscar Salazar, Jr.;
Players to Watch: Sean Mooney, So.; Ryan Kotz, So.; Jared Lund, So.;
Season Outlook: The Titans lost four great seniors from last season’s team, but fortunately for veteran head coach Dan Larsen, the Titans are loaded with really good, young talent, headlined by a great sophomore class of Jared Whitaker, Ryan Kotz, Sean Mooney and Jared Lund. The Titans will have to find pitching and some power hitters to replace what they’ve lost, but the future looks bright for the Titans under Larsen.
“I think we’re a little better this year,” Larsen said. “I think the younger kids have a high baseball IQ, and are a little more competitive. The sophomore class is going to be key for us.”
Head Coach: Greg Gortsema, second season
Last Season: Jaelyn Price competed at the 3A state meet
Key Returners: Jaelyn Price, Sr.; Cheyenne Williams, Sr.;
Golfers to Watch: Isabelle Brintall, Jr.; Grace Gonzalez, Jr.; Jessica Feese, Sr.
Season Outlook: With senior Cheyenne Williams returning after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury, the Coal Ridge Titans now have two top golfers with state tournament experience in Williams, who qualified for state in her sophomore season, as well as Jaelyn Price. Both Price and Williams should be able to keep the Titans in contention throughout the season, but it will be up to a third golfer behind those two to emerge this season to give the Titans a shot at being in the mix at the state meet.
“We hope to have two state qualifiers this year, for sure,” Head Coach Greg Gortsema said. “We want to keep improving every day, and we hope to find that third golfer to pair with Cheyenne and Jaelyn to put us in the mix.”
TRACK AND FIELD
Head Coach: Ben Kirk, 12th season
Last Season: Both boys and girls won 3A district championships; Titans sent 23 athletes to the state championship meet
Key Returners: Jacx Power, Sr.; Ezequiel Contreras, Sr.; Brandon Herrera, Sr.; Billet Porter, Sr.; Connor Detlefsen, Sr.; Dylan Allen, Sr.; Jose Briceno, Sr.; Santana Martinez, Sr.; Paige Harlow, Sr.; Emily Wright, Sr.; Jaycelyn Kreuger, Sr.; Kara Morgan, Jr.;
Athletes to Watch: Maren Hough, So.; Jan Hernandez, Jr.
Season Outlook: The Coal Ridge Titans have turned the 3A Western Slope League into a monopoly as the Titans have controlled the boys and girls team titles for the last four years running. With another loaded group coming back, the Titans will look to make it five straight season sweeps in a row under veteran head coach Ben Kirk. While the Titans have a number of talented upperclassmen returning to the mix, a very strong freshman class has helped the Titans reload under Kirk, not that this will change the season outlook for Coal Ridge.
“Our goals are always pretty similar,” Kirk said. “We want every kid to get more and more athletic each and every week. If we accomplish that, then we want to win our home meet in April, and then go on and win the league titles again. If we do all of that, turn our attention to the state meet and see where we line up.”