Titans look forward, not back
Post Independent Sports Editor
Head coach: Scott Black (Fifth season).
Last season: 18-7 overall, 7-2 3A Western Slope League (third place), finished season with 1-1 record at Class 3A Region 7 Tournament.
Key returners: Maggie Bell, Jr., S; Leah Kanakraj, Jr., L; Paige Ryan, Sr., MH; Bailey Davis, Jr., OH; Alicia Hampton, Sr., OH; Britni Allen, Jr., MH.
Others to watch: Jacklyn Collins, Sr., OH.
Outlook: The Titans only lost one starter to graduation last season, and Black likes the versatility of this year’s team. “We have some really great athletes,” the coach said. “It’s not like we have just one or two studs on the team. We have six players who are consistently good.” With that extra experience and overall athleticism, Black hopes his team will become more consistent this year with fewer hitting errors and better passing.
Head coach: Michael Mikalakis (Second season).
Last season: 17-2-0 overall, 6-1-0 Class 3A Region 3 play, reached Class 3A semifinals before losing, 3-1, to eventual state champion Colorado Adademy.
Key returners: Edgar Enriquez, Sr., F; Tias Dacuma, Sr., MF; Charles Apostolik, Jr., MF/F; Cristian Serna, Sr., D; Alejandro Gutierrez, Jr., D; Enrique Bucio, Jr., MF; Isidro Contreras, Jr., GK.
Others to watch: Ramundo Benzono, Soph., MF; Julian Huerta, Soph., MF; Misael Sandoval, Soph., MF; Allen Sanchez, Soph., D.
Outlook: The core of a team which went to the 3A semis is back this year, and Mikalakis holds firm that “we don’t want to live in the shadows of last year.” Still, the 32 goals Enriquez scored last season is hard to forget, as is the playoff run the Titans made. Looking ahead, though, Mikalakis feels the traditional league challengers like Roaring Fork and Basalt will push the Titans again this season. They’ll start their season Sept. 3 at Moffat County in Craig.
Head coach: Craig Parks (Second season).
Last season: No individual state qualifiers.
Key returners: Boys — Sam Jorgenson, Sr. Girls — Mariella Martinez, Jr.; Molly Mello, Jr., Aileen Galaviz-Vega, Sr.
Others to watch: Boys — Noah Crisler, Jr.; Nathan Buchanan, Sr.; James Nalley, Fr.; Austin Portwood, Fr.; Adrain White, Fr.; Tyler Hill, Fr.; Matt Gose, Fr. Girls — Brittan Bianco, Fr.; Natalie Dougherty, Fr.; Sam Cordasco, Fr.
Outlook: Martinez and Jorgenson managed the best individual regional meet finishes for the Titans last season, with Martinez taking 28th in the girls race and Jorgenson finishing 39th. Parks likes Martinez’s chances to reach the state meet based on her renewed confidence, he said, adding that Jorgenson also might have a chance by the end of the season. The extra freshman runners coming out this season, Parks said, will help set a foundation for the program in the coming years.
PEACH VALLEY — Last season for the Coal Ridge High School boys soccer team is just that: Last season.
“We have a thing that we do after every game,” second-year Coal Ridge boys soccer coach Mike Mikalakis said. “We get together and say to each other ‘Does this game matter?’
“And really, we can look at last season the same way by saying ‘Did last season matter?’” the coach continued. “The answer to that question is no.”
A lot of what Coal Ridge’s fall sports teams did last season did seem to matter, though. For example:
• The boys soccer team won the Class 3A District 5 title and made it all the way to the Class 3A semifinals.
• The volleyball team finished third in the Class 3A Western Slope League behind Gunnison and Roaring Fork, but the Titans still earned a berth in the 3A Region 7 Tournament.
Both of those teams have a solid group of athletes who will return for the 2013 season, and they’re all putting this past season behind them to focus on the upcoming season.
“There’s one thing that’s already in our favor,” Coal Ridge volleyball coach Scott Black said.
“Last year we had seven home games, and this year the schedule switches around and we have 14. That’s going to be really helpful, but that also doesn’t mean that we’re going to take anyone lightly this season.”
Even the cross country team has a few key runners back from a season ago, and it’s spurred a youth movement of sorts that has bumped the Titans’ numbers up significantly for the upcoming fall. Ten extra runners are out for cross country this fall.
“We’re always hopeful that we can take a crew to state,” second-year Coal Ridge cross country coach Craig Parks said. “I can see one of our top guys going to state, and our best girl [Mariella Martinez] is running a lot more confident than she has in the past.
“And it is really nice to have a bunch of new runners coming into the program, too,” he added.
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John Iuele’s fadeaway jump shot as time expired propelled the Demons to a thrilling 38-36 overtime victory against the Montrose Indians in the championship game of the Demon Invitational Tournament at Glenwood Springs High School.