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Titans trying to take the next step this fall

Mike Vidakovich
sports@postindependent.com
Coal Ridge High School's Kaitlyn Detlefsen goes through back-pass drills with junior Karissa Feese (right) during a practice at Coal Ridge High School last week.
Jon Mithell / jmitchell@postindependent.com |

COAL RIDGE TITANS

VOLLEYBALL

Head coach: Scott Black (Sixth season).

Last season: 21-6 overall. Finished second in Western Slope League 3A. Lost in pool play at Class 3A State Championships.

Key returners: Maggie Bell, Sr., S; Leah Kanakaraj, Sr., Libero; Bailey Davis, Sr., OH; Britni Allen, Sr., MH.

Others to watch: Kaitlyn Detlefsen, Jr., MH/OH; Nicole Mooney, Soph., OH; Dana Kotz, Soph., S.

Outlook: The Titan volleyball program has made strides in the right direction each year under coach Scott Black, culminating last season with a trip to the state tournament in Denver. Coal Ridge seems primed again to stay on the fast track with plenty of firepower returning in a group of solid seniors. Black will lean heavily on the leadership of four-year starters Maggie Bell and Leah Kanakaraj to help fend off a talented league schedule which includes Roaring Fork, Grand Valley and Olathe. Black is excited about this year’s nonconference schedule as the Titans will tackle 4A toughie Battle Mountain to open the season and then head over the mountains to the Lewis Palmer Tournament, which will feature many of the best teams in the state.

BOYS SOCCER

Head coach: Mike Mikalakis (Third season).

Last season: 12-2-1 overall, 7-0-1 Western Slope League. Won WSL title last two seasons. Lost to Classical Academy in state quarterfinals.

Key returners: Enrique Bucio, Sr., MF; Chaz Apostolik, Sr., MF/F; Alex Gutierrez, Sr., D.

Others to watch: Ray Bencomo, Jr., C/MF; Miguel Navarro, Jr., D.

Outlook: Coach Mikalakis is confident going into the season that his team will play at the high level that people have come to expect from the Titans. Enrique Bucio, a first team all-state selection who led class 3A in assists last year with 36, and fellow seniors Chaz Apostolik and Alex Gutierrez, both all-state honorable mention selections, give Mikalakis reason to believe his team can stay on the field with anyone around. The coach was quick to point out that Roaring Fork, Basalt and Vail Mountain will all field teams that can compete at a high level in the WSL. With the talent on hand, look for Coal Ridge to have a better than average shot to make it a league three-peat and move deep into the state playoffs.

CROSS COUNTRY

Head coach: Craig Parks (Third season).

Last season: Sent two boys to 3A state meet (Noah Crisler, Sr., Sam Jorgensen, graduated).

Key returners: Boys — Noah Crisler, Sr.; Adrian White, Soph.; James Nalley, Soph. Girls — Mariela Martinez, Sr.; Molly Mello, Sr.; Brittan Bianco, Soph.

Others to watch: Boys — Javier Padilla, Jr.; Justin Alles, Soph.; Dalton Miner, Fr.; Evan Lake, Sr.

Outlook: The Coal Ridge cross country program, with only six kids competing, was on the verge of extinction when Parks took over in 2012. The numbers have steadily risen to an all-time high of 22 athletes out for the team this season. Parks is excited that he will finally have enough numbers with both the boys and girls to be counted in the team scoring at meets in 2014. State qualifier Noah Crisler will lead the way for the boys team, while Mariela Martinez, a state qualifier as a freshman in 2011, and Molly Mello, will be counted on to lead the pack for the Titan ladies. Both seniors, Martinez and Mello, have been on the Coal Ridge cross country team since they were freshmen. Parks believes his team will be in shape and ready to go when they hit the Confluence Park course in Delta to open the season on Aug. 29.

BOYS GOLF

Head coach: Jemiah Fowler (Fifth season)

Last season: Sent one individual to Class 3A State Championships.

Key players: Riley Tamburello, Michael Moser, Daylen Tamburello, Danny Wenzel, Devon Ellis.

Outlook: Coal Ridge lost its only state qualifier from a year ago, Tyler Scott, to graduation. Still, this year’s group of players is showing signs of good play, including a fourth-place finish at the Rifle Invitational at Rifle Creek Golf Course last week.

PEACH VALLEY — Coal Ridge High School volleyball coach Scott Black and boys soccer coach Mike Mikalakis both guided their teams to outstanding seasons in 2013. A berth in the Class 3A state tournament was the pot of gold at the end of each team’s rainbow.

Black and Mikalakis are hoping a repeat of good fortune is in the cards for their teams this year.

“Every year we have gone a little farther,” said Black, who is in his sixth season guiding the Titans. “We don’t want to stop now. Every year we want to win the league. We’ve come up short the last two years. We would like to get it done this year.”

Mikalakis’ words reflect the fact that he is equally as confident in his charges heading into the 2014 schedule.

“We’ve got a tough team. We don’t want to look back at last year’s success. We just want to look forward,” Mikalakis said. “This senior class has played together since they were kids. These boys have the ability to make a fantastic run through the league and the state.”

The Coal Ridge cross country team also has reason for optimism as the heat of summer turns into the cool of fall.

Coach Craig Parks has a record number of 22 runners out for his team this year, and he is excited just to see so many young people enjoying the sport of distance running.

“We have a lot of kids out this year just enjoying being a part of a sport,” said Parks. “They don’t have to be at the top of each race. I’m just happy to have them out no matter how fast or how slow they are. My main goal is for them to achieve individual success and celebrate improvement.”


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