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Titans no myth

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox
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PEACH VALLEY ” Classes aren’t set to begin at Coal Ridge High School until next week. Yet, thanks to its athletes, the new high school has become more than a name.

Over the past three months, prospective football, basketball, volleyball players and the cheerleaders have attended voluntary team practices and summer camps, in hope of earning a spot on one of those team’s rosters.

In turn, those prospective athletes started the foundation of Titan pride, giving CRHS an identity in the community.



Volleyball has been the most active of the school’s inaugural fall sports teams.

Head coach Denise Greene said the numbers have ranged “from 12 to 20 girls,” for practices this summer. To further hone their skills, the many players also attended a camp at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.



Greene, who lives in New Castle, takes over the head volleyball coach position at Coal Ridge after helping build Glenwood Springs High School into a 4A Western Slope League power, first as an assistant, then as the head coach the past two years.

Playing their respective game was an easy task for the athletes. Getting used to playing for a new school without a history, and without its own campus facilities before last week, was a tougher adjustment.

“It took a couple of weeks to get used to,” said incoming freshman basketball player Kevin Screen. “But it’s really come together more than I thought. After a couple of days on the court, the team has become best friends.”

Mike Cox, the boys varsity basketball coach, said it wasn’t hard getting athletes to come out. “These kids from New Castle and Silt are hungry for basketball. I knew that part would be easy.”

It took longer for the athletes to associate themselves with Coal Ridge, Cox said, because most of the team’s practices took palce at Rifle High School.

“It was hard to sense at first because we were using Rifle’s gym,” explained Cox, who was a varsity girls assistant coach at RHS the past three years. A shipment of practice jerseys with the Coal Ridge mascot’s name moved the team’s transition forward.

“The jerseys said ‘Titans’ on them. That was we when said ‘We are Coal Ridge,'” Cox said. “From that point on we grew as Coal Ridge and you could see from that first day they were proud to wear (the Titans jerseys).”

And, those jerseys have been worn a lot since they were issued at the basketball team’s first summer league game the last week in May.

“We’ve been involved in almost 60 events,” Cox said. Team activities included fund-raisers, summer-league practices, a summer league games at nearby Grand Valley High School in Parachute and tournaments in Denver and Colorado Springs.

The cheerleading squad has been visible and successful, as well.The six-member squad selected at tryouts in April has participated at the Burning Mountain Festival and Silt Heyday parades.

Between local appearances, the cheerleaders attended a Universal Cheerleaders Association instructional camp at Mesa State College and earned the new high school’s first award.

“When we found out that we were the first athletic team to win an award for Coal Ridge High School, we were excited and happy,” said team captain Nadine Chavez, a sophomore. “The community is very proud of us. I’m happy how it’s all coming together.”

The first official practice for fall sports (except golf) is Monday.


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