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Youth key for area squads

Phil Sandoval and Joelle MilholmPost Independent Staff

A strong returning squad, joined by a promising bunch of freshmen, will lead the Roaring Fork track and field team this season.Twenty Rams make up the 2006 team, which includes a good mix of athletes in each class. Three runners, Jack Bethel, John Capelli and Tim Burden, attend Colorado Rocky Mountain School, but compete for Roaring Fork.”We are looking forward to another great season this year,” said Roaring Fork head coach Hadley Hentschel. Senior distance runners Collin Stewart and Theo Pulver, along with sophomore distance runner Casey Weaver, anchor the boys squad. Senior sprinter and jumper Laura Wright looks to guide the girls team. Four freshmen join the Rams this season and Hentschel is excited to see how they will measure up.”We have a lot of talented freshmen additions to the team this year, so we will be building,” Hentschel said. The Rams jump into their spring schedule April 8 with a meet at Eagle Valley.Titans going through sorting out processHead coach Donald Beecraft has a positive vibe about the 22 athletes out for Coal Ridge’s inaugural track team. The problem, the coach mentioned, is figuring out where everyone’s going to participate.”I think we have some great individuals and we’re going to be fine,” he said. “It’s a good mixture of freshmen and sophomores and we’re looking good in the field events.”Freshman James Skylar has cleared six feet indoors in high jump practice. Braxton Jackson has also shown promise in early workouts.Brady Gasaway, Mikaela Guettler and Mary Ellen Lyons have stepped forward in the hurdles. The Titans also have three shot-putters – Jessica Needham, Abbie Peterson and Britney Smith – on the girls team.Youth: see next pageIn the distance races, Coal Ridge has two proven cross country runners in freshmen Matriasa Beecraft and Eric Schmitz. Both could see action in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at times this year.Kody Roper will be counted on in the middle distances for the boys. The sprint crop includes David Anderson, James Steindler, Gasaway and Jessica Copeland.The Titans will get their first taste of competition today at Hotchkiss.Young Cardinals ready to fly Grand Valley has a new head coach in Jason Arthur, along with a lot of youthful optimism. Arthur has a contingent of 25 athletes with which to work, mostly freshmen and sophomores. “We are a very young team, but they’ve gotten into the routine and we’re ready to go,” he said. Still, there are a few upperclassmen Arthur can turn to for team leadership. Katie Bryan, a Class 2A state qualifier in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs last year, will compete in both races, along with a turn in the 800 and a leg in the Cardinals girls medley relay. “I look for Katie to break her school records in the 1,600 and 3,200 this year, and for her to be among the top eight girls in the state,” Authur said. He also has high expectations for sophomore sprinter Emmy Adkins this year. “She will run in the sprints, the medley and the 4×100 relays,” the coach said. On the boys side, Jonathon Thompson is Grand Valley’s top distance runner. Sam McKinley, after taking a year off due to injury, anchors the short races. Adam Johnson competes in the discus.Grand Valley also begins its season today at a meet at Hotchkiss.


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