| PostIndependent.com

Sports briefs: Turkey trots abound for an active start to your Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving morning turkey trot fun runs of varying distances are being planned for Rifle, Carbondale and Basalt on Thursday morning. Here’s the lineup:

Basalt Elementary hosts Gobble Wobble

Basalt Elementary School hosts its fifth annual Gobble Wobble fundraiser for STEM and other supplemental programming at the school, starting at 9:30 a.m., with race-day registration getting underway outside the school at 8:30 a.m.

“The Gobble Wobble has been a tremendous funding source for our Parent Engagement Group,” BES Principal Grant Waaler said. “Having such an upbeat and active outdoor event involving the entire community embodies many character traits that we strive to instill in our young students.”

Participants can register online at bit.ly/basaltgobble and can choose to either complete the 5K run or a 1 mile fun run. The cost to register individually is $20 per adult and $10 per child. A family of up to five can register and receive a capped entry fee of $50.

The first 100 adults to register receive a swag gift; the first 60 children that register will receive a Pop-It. All who register receive a prize drawing ticket.

Carbondale Turkey Trot

The Carbondale Recreation Department puts on the annual Carbondale Turkey Trot 5K or 1-Mile fun run, beginning at 9:30 a.m. outside the Rec Center.

Race day registration starts at 9 a.m., or register online at carbondalerec.com. Cost is $12 for adults, $7 for youth ages 3-17 and seniors 62 and older.

Rifle High School Turkey Trot

Rifle High School hosts its annual Turkey Trot 5K beginning at Deerfield Park, 300 E. 30th St. Little Gobblers run at 9:15 a.m., Big Gobblers at 9:30 a.m.

The event serves as a fundraiser for the RHS track team. Cost is $30 for individuals, or $100 for the family. Info at RacePlace.com/Rifle High School Turkey Trot.

“Last year we had participants from states that included Arizona and Texas,” according to the event website. “We are excited for the opportunity to host a community/country event and get people out and about to enjoy this great holiday together.”

Burn the Turkey 5K

For some post-Thanksgiving calorie burning, Anytime Fitness on Colorado Highway 82 between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale hosts its third Burn the Turkey 5K at 10 a.m. Friday.

Canned food and cash donations go to LIFT-UP for its food assistance programs. Enjoy a beer at Ball Brewery afterwards.

Sopris Runoff foot race returns for Mountain Fair July 24

Coming up Saturday, July 24 will be the 42nd annual Mount Sopris Run Off 14-miler and 4 Mile Fair Run, in conjunction with the 50th Carbondale Mountain Fair.

The 14-mile race starts in Basalt (Emma School House) at 7 a.m. and climbs 1,500 feet up West Sopris Creek Road, then descends 1,700 feet past the 4 mile start and into Carbondale, finishing in Sopris Park.

The 4-mile race begins a short time later on Prince Creek Road. Participants should meet at Sopris Park in Carbondale by 7 a.m. to take the bus to the start line.

For more information, call Independence Run and Hike at (970) 704-0909. And, for registration visit the endurancecui.active.com event page.

Preps: Demons LAX opens fire in second half to take 11-5 win over visiting Grand Junction Tuesday

Glenwood Springs Demon Bairill Davis gets hit from behind knocking the ball loose during Tuesday evening's game against the Grand Junction Tigers.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Hosting Grand Junction at Stubler Memorial Field Tuesday, the Glenwood Spring boys lacrosse team buckled down after the Tigers tied it 5-5 in the third quarter, taking the 11-5 win.

The Demons led 4-1 in the first half, but the Tiger came back to make it 5-4 at the break and scored the equalizer soon into the third.

“We started to get a little bit out of our organized offense, and it just led to them making a comeback and making some really good shots,” Glenwood head coach Joe Lang said.

The Demons controlled the ground balls 46-23 on the night, and senior co-captain and goalie Nolan McPherson had 13 saves while senior defenseman Jeff Lowe had four takeaways.

Sophomore Brady Johnson broke the tie with just under 5 minutes to play in the third period, and from that point on it was all Demons.

After Johnson’s goal, senior attackman Conner Powell had a goal called off for stepping into the crease. Seconds later, he made good on the second effort to make it 7-5.

Additional second-half goals came from sophomore attackmen Jamie Dolan and Nick Geiser, another from Powell and a parting shot from sophomore midfielder Ben Hippona in the closing seconds.

For the night, Powell and Geiser both had two goals and two assists, senior Cody Thompson had two goals and one assist, Dolan had two goals and one assist, and senior middle Owen Mangeot had a goal.

Glenwood Springs Demon Nick Geiser fights to regain possession of the ball during Tuesday evening's game against the Grand Junction Tigers.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

“We’re still a relatively young program, and we didn’t get to play last year,” Lang said of the canceled 2020 season due to COVID-19. “So with this group, it’s really only their second year playing together.”

The Demons sit at 3-2 in the 4A Mountain League ahead of a road trip to play Telluride (4-0) on Thursday and Durango (1-4) on Friday.

Baseball: Rifle stomps Coal Ridge, 16-2

Rifle sophomore Connor Abbott slides back into first base after threatening to steal second base.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Coal Ridge bats showed some promise in the second inning, getting two runners across. That, however, was it.

Manufacturing some consistent runs throughout Monday’s Memorial Day outing against the host Titans, Rifle baseball nabbed a 16-2 victory.

With the win, the Bears now hold a 5-6 overall, 4-3 Class 4A conference record. Coal Ridge, meanwhile, has dropped to a 3-9 overall, and 2-6 in the 3A conference.

Rifle drew first blood during Monday’s game, tallying three runs. After the Titans answered back in the bottom of the second stanza, Rifle would go on a 13-0 run to finish the game.

The Bears would score one run in the top of the third and fourth innings before tallying an additional three runs at the top of the fifth inning and a final eight runs in the top of the seventh inning.

Rifle junior Gavin Peterson tosses a pitch during Monday’s 16-2 win over Coal Ridge.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

On offense, Bears junior Trey Caldwell led the charge at the dish. On four appearances, he collected 4 RBI as well as 2 runs. He also spanked three doubles.

Sophomore teammate Connor Abbott also had a good showing at the plate, chipping in 2 RBI and 1 run on three appearances.

Coal Ridge freshman Alexis Serna rounds the bases on Monday.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

On the hill, starting Bears pitcher, junior Gavin Peterson, collected three strikeouts in two innings.

Coal Ridge stats were not unavailable.

Next up, Rifle prepares to host Summit at 4 p.m. Thursday. Coal Ridge, meanwhile, travels to Carbondale to take on Roaring Fork at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Glenwood Springs 8, Steamboat Springs 6

The Glenwood Springs baseball team held off a late rally by Steamboat Springs on the road Tuesday to claim the 8-6 win in the first game of a double-header.

The Demons scored two in the first, four in the fourth and another two in the fifth to lead 8-4 headed into the final two innings. The Sailors scored two in the bottom half of the seventh, but the Glenwood pitching held tight.

Junior Jordan Meraz went two for three, including a triple, and drove in three runs for the Demons. Senior pitcher Wheatley Nieslanik went six innings, giving up just one earned run.

Glenwood Springs 7, Steamboat Springs 4

The second game saw the Demons open a 2-0 lead before the Sailors came back in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. Glenwood responded with three in the sixth and two in the seventh to take the nightcap.

Senior Garret Dollahan went 2-for-4 with two runs batted in, and junior Evan Heyl was 1-for-2, also with 2 RBIs. On the mound, Heyl and Meraz combined for a team 1.00 ERA.

Glenwood stands at 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the 4A Western Slope League ahead of a Saturday double header at home against Summit and another double header Monday versus Rifle.

Girls soccer: Glenwood 4, Summit 1

Junior Sydney Reinhold scored two goals and sophomore Cate Simpson and junior Ella Johnson had one each, as the Lady Demons topped Summit on the road Tuesday.

The win keeps Glenwood Springs in the 4A Western Slope League hunt at 4-2-2. A home rematch with the Palisade Bulldogs, who the Demons beat 1-0 in double overtime Saturday, is set for 11 a.m. Saturday.

Girls tennis: Glenwood 7, Basalt 0

The Lady Demons tennis team ran the tables versus Basalt on May 28 to score their third team win of the season. The win came on the heels of a 6-1 loss to Vail Mountain on May 26.

Match wins for Glenwood on Friday came from No. 1 singles Kenzie Winder (6-4, 6-4), No. 2 singles Miah Suarez (6-0, 6-2) and No. 3 singles Katherine Young (6-1, 6-0).

Doubles winners were Ella Henderson/Emily deMoraes (6-3, 6-0), Mattea Enewold/Siri Henderson (6-1, 6-2), Cate Williams/Hellen Bolton (6-0, 6-3) and Amanda Dehm/Sofia Mohl (6-1, 6-4).

The Demons are at the 3A Region 8 tournament Thursday in Grand Junction for a chance at state qualifying.

On the Fly column: Ready, set, go

Kyle Holt and a client show off a Colorado River Brown trout.
Randy Doepke

The year’s best dry fly fishing is just around the corner. As spring runoff subsides, our local waters will begin to clear rapidly. As the water warms up, we will begin to see an intensity of hatches. These hatches are what many anglers wait all season for, as there are few things more exciting than watching a trout appear under your fly and engulf it.

Within the next few weeks, anglers can expect to see a variety of different bugs on the water from Glenwood Springs to Aspen and everywhere in between. Most notably will be the first green drake hatches around Glenwood, coupled with pale morning duns and a variety of different caddis. This explosion of insect activity after a period of high, cold and discolored water drives the local trout into a feeding frenzy. Many of these hatches along the Roaring Fork occur throughout the day and into the evening, providing very consistent fishing throughout much of the day. Regardless of your daily schedule, anglers should be able to take advantage of some great fishing. As our area rivers drop and clear, check in with local fly shops as to when and where you can encounter these hatches and where the best fishing will be.

This week the Fryingpan has been fishing very well with clear and steady water flows. Blue winged olives are the main hatch, with lesser numbers of caddis and stoneflies along the lower river. Anglers have been very successful this week near the dam using Tim’s mysis shrimp, blings and pheasant tails, plus Chocolate Thunders and Palm’s biot emergers throughout the river.

Though the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers are high, they remain fishable on the soft inside seams and near the banks as the fish congregate along these softer edges and protected pockets. As long as the river has a foot or two of visibility, the fish will feed happily. Large flies and heavier tippets are needed to pull the fish out of the fast current so anglers can land them quickly. Our summer fishing season is quickly arriving with a vengeance.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

Coal Ridge spirit team captures third consecutive state title

Coal Ridge High School spirit celebrates winning the state 2A/3A CO-ED state title in Colorado Springs on Friday.
Provided

Capturing a hefty 79.7 overall score following one of their toughest routines to date, the Coal Ridge High School spirit team has now won its third consecutive state co-ed division title.

“I think the pyramid we had at the end was very technical,” Titans senior Hartleigh Porter said. “I’ve never seen a pyramid like that at state.”

“With the whole COVID thing, it felt like there wasn’t enough time to get the routine done and perfect it,” she added. “But once we did it a few times, we knew it was a perfect routine.”

The titans, competing in the six-team 2A/3A coed division at the Colorado Springs Broadmoor World Arena on Friday, leaned heavily on six male athletes to execute a series of tumbles, tosses and the acrobatic game changer at the end. Four of the males are also varsity football players.

“I would say our routine was really a true co-ed team that really featured our boys, which is what the judges like,” head coach Alyssa Thurmon said. “They had a good variety of coed stunting.”

The title, however, didn’t come easy. Thurmon said judges applied a two-point deduction after a couple of foul-ups following a good performance in the warm-up room.

“We had a dropped stunt and some timing issues in the finals,” Thurmon explained. “But because our difficulty was so much higher, we still won.”

Coal Ridge seniors and coach Alyssa Thurmon pose for the camera after their state title win in Colorado Springs on Friday.
Provided

Thurmon said she’s pleased with her team’s perseverance at state and throughout the season.

“I think our team did really well with what we had. We did have some quarantines and a lot of kids were out of practice. Football’s going at the same time. Wrestling’s going at the same time. So that was a challenge for trying to practice around those schedules. But for everything they had to deal with, they did really well.”

Porter would praise her male counterparts for pulling through in a clutch.

“I think the whole entire team has shown more effort than I’ve seen throughout any year here that I’ve been on the team,” she said. “The football players that joined throughout the season, they really stepped up and showed the other football players that cheer isn’t like as dumb as they think it is.”

“I think that everybody else was just so excited to be able to have a season, so they showed as much effort as they possibly could,” she added.

The defending champions would easily earn their keep, outscoring second place finisher Bayfield (63.85) by nearly 20 points.

“I think that this routine was the hardest we ever had,” Titans senior and veteran captain Christian Vasquez said. “We threw in difficulty so that we can do our best routine at state.”

When the winner was announced on the loudspeaker, Coal Ridge went nuts, Vasquez said.

“It was really cool seeing everybody’s faces when we got the trophy,” he said. “That put the cherry on top.”

Though this year was plagued with its challenges, Vasquez said the team still gave it their all.

“It kind of looked like everyday at practice everybody was always trying 100 percent,” he said. “When someone wasn’t, we had to try and fix it and make it better.”

Porter, who plans on trying out for cheer and spirit in college, said not only is the title the perfect send off for her senior year, but simply getting the chance to compete amid the challenges presented by COVID-19 was a win in itself.

“I think that being able to win state or being able to have state at all in the global pandemic as a senior made me feel like we’re getting one last chance,” she said. “We‘re finally able to compete one last time with this team.”

• Lupita Angeles

• Chayce Colvin-Maher

• Andrea Jurado

• Aurie Madrid

• Morgan Terrell

• Jayla Petersen

• Dania Garcia

• Jason McHatten

• Jonathan McCartney

• Hartleigh Porter

• Haven Prodzinski

• Natalie Smythe

• Christian Vasquez

• Kutter Wilson

• Alan Bahena

• Paige Stecklein

• Nicole Herrera

• Samantha Copeland

• Head coach: Alyssa Thurmon

• Assistant coach: Tiffany McElroy

Cardinals 4th in 3A Poms

Grand Valley High School of Parachute participated in the 3A Poms division, advancing to the finals and taking fourth place overall with 77.10 points. Winning the division was University with 81.80 points, followed by Skyview Academy with 81.45 and Aspen with 80.28.

Also competing at the state spirit championships were Glenwood Springs in 4A Cheer and Rifle in 4A/5A Game Day.

Glenwood Springs finished 10th in the preliminary rounds of the cheer competition with a score of 52.40. Winning the division finals was Erie with 91.50 points.

Rifle was 21st coming out of the preliminary rounds in the Game Day competition with 68.35 points. The division was won by Valor Christian with 96.95 points.

rerku@postindependent.com

Preps wrestling: Several area wrestlers make trips to regional podium

Area wrestlers didn’t waste any time chasing titles this weekend.

With Coal Ridge, Rifle, Grand Valley and Basalt competing in the 3A regional tournament at Pagosa Springs, each program manufactured trips to the podium and state qualifiers in their respective weight classes.

First-place winners included 285-pound regional champion Hayden Grice of Grand Valley and 138-pound regional champ Bryce Rowley of Rifle. In addition, Basalt’s Ruben Samuelson won the 195-pound crown.

Alex Guardado of Rifle won the 195-pound third-place regional title.

Fourth-place winners include Titans 220-pound wrestler Angel Perea and 285-pound teammate Boston Huck, as well as a 195-pounder Brayden Harper of Grand Valley. Brady Samuelson of Basalt also won the 170-pound fourth-place match.

Meanwhile, Glenwood Springs competed in the 4A regional at Cheyenne Mountain.

Demons Leobardo Meraz and Elo Garcia notched fourth-place finishes in the 132- and 152-pound weight classes, respectively.

Up next, Garfield County high school wrestling qualifiers get set to compete at the state tournament March 12-13 at Southwest Motors Events Center in Pueblo. State pairings were to be announced Sunday afternoon.

Individual highlights:

GLENWOOD SPRINGS

At 132 pounds, Leobardo Meraz recorded a 25-second fall over Sarah Christensen of Evergreen in a first-round championship match. After losing in the quarterfinals, Meraz recorded a 25-second fall over Leo Nguyen of Bear Creek in the consolation semifinals. Marez would then notch a fourth-place finish after losing on an 11-1 major decision to Judah Guajardo of Palisade.

At 138 pounds, Ray Rosenmerkel recorded a 1:41 fall over Jacque Laloutte of Evergreen in a first-round championship match. After losing the next round, Rosenmerkel recorded a 2:12 fall over Daquan Diaz of George Washington.

At 152 pounds, after receiving a bye and losing the next round Elo Garcia recorded 4:58 fall over Jackson Grosshans of Standley Lake in a consolation first-round match. Garcia then won by injury over Jaysten Sanchez of Grand Junction Central in the consolation semifinals. Garcia would notch a fourth-place finish after losing on a close 11-10 decision to Manuel Heredia of Eagle Valley in the third-place match.

At 160 pounds, JoJohn Ritter recorded a 33-second fall over Proper Koah of Wheat Ridge in the opening round.

COAL RIDGE

At 120 pounds, Cooper Thurman recorded a 55-second fall over Phillip Hoyt of Grand Valley in the round-one championship match. Thurman also recorded a 3-0 decision over Hunter Bercher of Rifle in the round-one consolation match.

At 138 pounds, Austin Price recorded a 1:28 fall over Paul Schenk of Basalt in a round-one championship match.

At 145 pounds, after receiving a first-round bye Brandon Short recorded a 2:18 fall over Talan Hulet of Delta in a round-one consolidation match.

At 182 pounds, Dominic Centeno recorded a 1:55 fall over Benjie Tomas of Alamosa in a round-one championship match.

At 220 pounds, after receiving a first-round bye Angel Perea recorded an 8-2 decision over Jacob Barr of Middle Park in the quarterfinals. Perea recorded a 4:22 fall over Omar Bernabe of Gunnison in the consolation semifinals. Perea would go out to lose the third place match to Barr, notching fourth place overall.

At 285 pounds, after Boston Huck received a first-round bye, he recorded a 41-second fall over Treyton Sandoval of Delta in the quarterfinals. Huck would later notch a win in the consolation semis and go on to face James Sanchez of Alamosa in the third-place match. A 54-second fall, however, would lead Huck to a fourth-place finish.

GRAND VALLEY

At 106 pounds, after Teagan Jacobs received a first-round bye he recorded a 4:47 fall over Noah Duran of Moffat County in the quarterfinals.

At 126 pounds, after Hector De La Cruz received a first-round bye he recorded a 4:37 fall over Luca Rizzo of Summit in the quarterfinals.

At 132 pounds, Keenan Strauss recorded a 3:27 fall over Jonathan Bolitho of Coal Ridge in a round-one championship match.

At 160 pounds, after Jordan Cedeno received a first-round bye and lost in the quarterfinals he recorded a 1:14 fall over Elijahua Davison of Rifle in a round-one consolation match.

At 170 pounds, Cristian Barragon recorded a 2:46 fall over Levi Miller of Rifle in a first-round championship match.

At 195 pounds, after Brayden Harper received a first-round bye he recorded a 13-3 major decision over Kaleb Brumley of Middle Park in the quarterfinals. He’d then pick up a consolation semifinal win over Logan Garcia of Alamosa to face Ruben Samuelson of Basalt in the third-place match. A 49-second fall, however, would lead Harper to a fourth-place finish.

At 285 pounds, after Hayden Grice received two byes, he recorded a 1-minute fall over James Sanchez of Alamosa. He’d then take rob Kaden McKee of Pagosa Springs of a first-place crown, recording a 5-2 decision for the regional title.

Grand Valley Hayden Grice, left, on the podium with his 285-pound first-place ribbon.
Provided

RIFLE

At 113 pounds, Kellen Johnson recorded a 39-second fall over Clancy Swindell of Grand Valley in a first-round championship match.

At 126 pounds, James Webb recorded a 20-7 major decision over Emjai Holder of Coal Ridge in a first-round championship round.

At 132 pounds, Parker Miller recorded a 2:49 fall over Aiden Collins of Summit. After losing the next round, Miller recorded a 2:22 fall over Jacob Skolnick of Steamboat Springs a first-round consolidation match.

At 138 pounds, after receiving a first-round bye Bryce Rowley recorded a 49-second fall over Wes Atcitty of Montezuma-Cortez in the quarterfinals. He then picked up a semifinal win over Blake Juergens of Moffat County via 3:53 fall. Rowley would triumph in the first-place match, beating Rylin Gallegos of Gunnison with a 1:38 fall.

At 145 pounds, Caidyn Wilcox recorded a 44-second fall over Ronen Marsteller of Summit in a first-round championship match.

At 195 pounds, after Alex Guardado received a first-round bye he recorded a 1:42 fall over James Goff of Delta. After suffering a loss in the next round, Guardado recorded an 8-4 decision over Aaron Aucoin of Pagosa Springs in the consolation semifinals. Guardado then claimed a third-place victory, recording a 3:21 fall over Brayden Harper of Grand Valley.

BASALT

At 152 pounds, Ryan Zheng recorded a 12-8 decision over Dominic Mendoza of Grand Valley in a first-round championship match.

At 170 pounds, after Brady Samuelson received a bye he recorded a 53-second decision over Eli Broady of Middle Park in the quarterfinals. After suffering a loss in the next round, Samuelson recorded a 4:41 fall over Christain Barragan of Grand Valley in the consolation semifinals. Samuelson claimed fourth place overall after losing on a 1:21 fall to Clay Sandridge of Delta.

At 195 pounds, after Ruben Samuelson received a bye he recorded a 1:01 fall over Aaron Aucoin of Pagosa Springs in the quarterfinals. He then recorded a 49-second fall over Bradyen Harper of Grand Valley in the semifinals.

Samuelson skated by Cole Moon of Steamboat Springs in the title match, recording a 1:19 fall.

rerku@postindependent.com

Prep wrestling: Grand Valley ties Delta in triangular


The Grand Valley Cardinals managed to size up evenly with Delta on Saturday, claiming a 39-39 tie in a meet that also included Durango.

Grand Valley’s Keenan Strauss notched a 2:44 fall over Delta’s Rowdy Sharpe in a 132-pound matchup. Also picking up a win, 182-pound Cardinals grappler Cristian Barragon recorded a 1:10 fall over Delta’s Xavier Martinez. Teammate Brayden Harper would record a 2:37 fall over Delta’s James Goff in a 195-pound match up. Teammate Hector De La Cruz picked up 39-second fall over Delta’s Angel Romero in a 126-pound matchup

Meanwhile, 285-pounder Hayden Grice of Grand Valley recorded a 1:23 fall over Delta’s Esteban Berrelleza.

For decisions, the Cardinals’ Teagan Jacobs recorded a 5-1 decision of Delta’s Kyle Chaffin in the 106-pound matchup.

GRAND VALLEY 32, DURANGO 48

In the same triangular, Jacobs managed to tech fall Durango’s Dillon Harris 16-0 in the 106-pound matchup. Hector De La Cruz would record a 55-second fall over Julian Degas in the 126-pound matchup. Keenan Strauss decisioned Riley Belt 6-5 in the 132-pound bout. Dominic Mendoza picked up a 3:18 fall over Durango’s Dale Harris in the 152-pound bout.

In the 195-pound match, the Cardinals’ Brayden Harper picked up a 2:47 fall over Durango’s Zachary Haber. Grice would pick up a 1:06 fall against Durango’s Vincente Draper.

COAL RIDGE 30, HAYDEN 52

Coal Ridge faced off against Hayden Feb. 4, recording a 52-30 loss.

Highlights included Coal Ridge’s Cooper Thurmon, who recorded a 1:21 fall over Hayden’s Cameron Campbell in a 120-pound matchup.

RIFLE 48, COAL RIDGE 24

Rifle took on Coal Ridge in a Feb. 5 triangular, winning 48-24.

Highlights included Rifle’s Grant Houser picking up a 1:03 fall over Jonathan McCartney in a 182-pound matchup. At 195 pounds, Rifle’s Alex Gouardado picked up a 42-second fall over Jackson Greene. At 220 pounds, Rifle grappler Corey Edwards took Angelo Perea at a 3:38 fall.

Other wins for Rifle included Caleb Gieselman with a 46-second fall over Emjai Holder at 126 pounds. At 132 pounds, Parker Miller took Jonathan Bolitho with a 5:49 fall. Bryce Rowly recorded a 1:57 fall over Luke Dunbar at 138 pounds.

Coal Ridge’s Cooper Thurmon picked up the Titans’ lone win with a 46-second fall over Kellen Johnson at 120 pounds.

RIFLE 42, RANGELY 12

In the same triangular, Rifle took Rangely 42-12.

Highlights for Rifle include Alex Guardado taking Jaxon Torsell with a 1:47 fall at 195 pounds. Parker Miller recorded a 1:23 fall over Kobey Chism at 132 pounds.

RIFLE 45, BATTLE MOUNTAIN 26

Rifle toppled Battlemountain 45-26 in a Feb. 6 triangular that also included Eagle Valley.

Highlights for Rifle included Alex Guardado picking up an 11-5 decision over Matthew Marshall Jones at 195 pounds. At 113 pounds, Kellen Johnson recorded a 2:24 fall over Chris Ortiz. At 120 pounds, Hunter Bercher took Owen Kootnz with a 2:39 fall. Bryce Rowly recorded a 1:26 fall over Tommy Johnson at 138 pounds.

EAGLE VALLEY 39, RIFLE 26

In the same triangular, Eagle Valley took Rifle 39-26.

Highlights for Rifle included Alex Guardado taking Aiden Valdez with a 12-4 major decision at 195 pounds. Kellen Johnson recorded a 1:38 fall over Erick Ornelas. Hunter Bercher took Sean Castillor with a 46-second fall at 120 pounds. At 132 pounds, Parker Miller recorded a 10-2 major decision against Brody Nielsen.

At 138 pounds, Rifle’s Bryce Rowley would record the Bears’ last win, with a 2-minute fall over James Bretz.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS 33, SUMMIT 30

Glenwood Springs bested Summit during a Feb. 4 triangular that also included Steamboat Springs.

Highlights for the Demons include Leobardo Meraz picking up a 16-12 decision over Aiden Collins at 132 pounds. At 138 pounds, Ray Rosenmerkel took Carsten Slack with a 50-second fall. Elo Garcia took Wylam Moratta with a 40-second fall at 160 pounds.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS 35, STEAMBOAT SPRINGS 25

In the same triangular, the Demons beat the Sailors 35-25.

Highlights for the Demons included 120-pounder Nathan Sandoval picked up a 18-3 tech fall at 5:56 against Kaleb Young. At 132 pounds, Leobardo Meraz took Archer Bosick with a 5:27 fall. Kodiak Kellogg took Brodie Bosick with a 3:50 fall at 152 pounds.

Other wins for the Demons included Elo Garcia recording a 42-second fall against Layton Morrison at 160 pounds. At 170 pounds, JoJohn Ritter took Henry Dismuke with a 24-second fall. At 182 pounds, Cameron Small picked up a 52-second fall over Eli Moon.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS 48, BATTLE MOUNTAIN 24

In a Feb. 9 triangular that also included Eagle Mountain, the Demons took Battle Mountain 28-24.

Highlights for the Demons included Jairo Achovarria picking up a 2:36 fall over Chris Ortiz at 113 pounds. At 120 pounds, Nathan Sandoval took Owen Koontz with a 3:05 fall. Isaac Lepe took Victor Escobar with a 5:28 fall at 126 pounds. Ray Rosenmerkel took Tommy Johnson with a 1:18 fall at 138 pounds.

Other wins for Glenwood Springs included Kodiak Kellog taking Benjamin Harrison with a 1:07 fall at 145 pounds. At 152 pounds, JoJohn Ritter nabbed a 1:15 fall over Tyson Vasquez. At 160 pounds, Elo Garcio recorded a 1:50 fall over Ignacio Velasco.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS 12, EAGLE VALLEY 67

In the same triangular, the Demons lost to Eagle Mountain 67-12.

The lone highlight for the Demons included Leobordo Meraz taking Brody Nielsen with a 27-second fall over Brody Nielsen at 132 pounds.

rerku@postindependent.com

Coal Ridge’s Phoebe Young signs with Saint Martin’s University

Coal Ridge High School senior Phoebe Young officially signs her letter of intent to attend Saint Martin’s University on a track and field scholarship. Chelsea Self/ Post Independent

She holds the Coal Ridge High School record in pole vault. She spends her downtime grappling with Titans in the school’s varsity wrestling program. She also professes to be an adrenaline junkie.

Now, Titans senior Phoebe Young can officially call herself a soon-to-be collegiate athlete.

Surrounded by friends, family and Coal Ridge faculty members Wednesday afternoon, Young signed a letter of intent to compete in pole vault for Saint Martin’s University, a DII program in Washington State.

“I’m really excited,” Young said moments after inking the pen. “I guess I’m a little bit nervous, but it’s definitely where I want to be and what I want to do.”

Ever since being handed a pole vault in the summer leading to her freshman year, Young’s progression in the vertigo-inducing track-and-field event became more and more evident by the jump. In one of her very first vaults, in fact, she notched a commendable 8 feet. By the time she hit her freshman season, the auspicious vaulter would already notch personal bests and spend part of her spring at the state track meet.

“It just came really naturally to me,” Young said. “The first time I was on a pole it just felt like it was a part of my body… It was never about trying to be better than anybody else. It was also just like, every day pushing to be better than I was the last day.”

The next year, however, was arguably her biggest catapult to success of her high school career. The first meet would begin with a jaw-dropping 10-foot launch. Following that momentous crater into the sand, Young continued to achieve personal bests.

At the Eagle Invitational, she’d clear 10 feet, 2 inches. A couple weeks later at a home meet in New Castle, the sophomore went on to clear 10 feet, 3 inches — setting another school record for Coal Ridge.

Coal Ridge High School senior Phoebe Young gives her mom, Heidi, a fist bump after officially signing her letter of intent to attend the Saint Martin’s University on a track and field scholarship. Chelsea Self/ Post Independent

Then, who could forget what she accomplished at the Colorado state track meet that year? Equipped with a lot more confidence compared to her freshman year, Young elevated herself to her best height yet: 11 feet. The benchmark allowed her to take second place in all of 3A.

The feat, Young agreed, is one of the most defining moments of her high school career. But it’s more the feeling of simply outdoing her former self that she really enjoys.

“I think probably reaching a goal I wanted to get — whether that’s going to state or getting a PR — that feeling is just indesirable,” she said. “Knowing that you set a standard for yourself and you made it, it’s amazing. It’s better than anything you could imagine.”

But Young’s journey isn’t just fueled by her desire to succeed or to reach the stars (figuratively). Her mother, Heidi Young, said her now collegiate athlete of a daughter takes up her father Scott’s taste for adrenaline.

“Part of it is genetics,” Heidi joked. “Her dad was like that growing up.”

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Phoebe Young decided to take up wrestling her senior year. She didn’t let COVID-19 keep her away from any sort of competition, and she still wanted to keep in shape for her final season of track.

Prior to the signing, Coal Ridge track coach and athletic director Ben Kirk also acknowledged his star trackster’s love for the extreme, saying, “It matches her personality so well.”

“I don’t think anyone in here’s surprised that Phoebe’s going to be playing college sports,” he said. “In my opinion, Phoebe is probably one of the top two or three most athletically talented kids we ever had in our school.”

Scott Young simply attributes his daughter’s success to her competitiveness.

“She’s super athletic and she loves to compete; her competitiveness is remarkable,” Scott said. “She can go out of practice and vault and get 9 foot, 10 foot … but when she gets out to competition and there’s somebody to beat, it brings out the best in her.”

Scott said he wants Phoebe to go on to Saint Martin’s to not just compete at the next level, but to be exposed to new places, new ideas and grow from it.

“I just love her so much,” he said. “She’s always got a great attitude and she’s just fun. I’m going to miss the hell out of her.”

Phoebe was asked if she’ll miss home once she’s gone.

“I grew up in a small town. Everyone knows everyone and, I don’t know, we may not like each other all the time, but I think we all got pretty close. It’ll be kind of weird leaving but it’ll be good, too.”

rerku@postindependent.com

Mask requirement doesn’t stifle Rifle basketball teams’ excitement to be back on the court

Rifle senior Mackenzie Elizardo awaits to run a drill during practice Tuesday. Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

The last stretch of a lengthy, sweaty practice was rewarded with a grueling full-court-press scrimmage.

As the players shuffled and screeched their sneakers in the backcourt, frantically trying to intercept a pass-in from the baseline, Rifle High School girls head coach Eric Caro shrieked from the sideline.

“You guys got to be ready!” he pitched during Tuesday’s practice. “Just be big, just be big!”

Though COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges conditions to ever face Colorado high school sports, it hasn’t tampered with everyone’s excitement. Just ask the seniors especially — their determination to experience just one more tipoff is unwavering.

Rifle High School girls basketball hard at it during a Tuesday night practice. Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

Sporting one of the many sleek Under Armour masks the basketball program purchased for $500, senior Mackenzie Elizardo was a lot more excited about being able to play than having to wear a face cover.

“It’s definitely tough but it’s manageable,” she said. “ … You get used to it over time. You’re just going to have to keep it up. If not, you’re not going to get used to it.”

Since the mask isn’t disposable, it definitely requires upkeep, especially when the Rifle girls are already well into their second week of practice.

“I wash it every day,” Elizardo said.

But no matter — the season is back and Elizardo is just happy to be on the court again. She was asked what she looks forward to most with the upcoming season, which starts tonight with a cross-county battle against Grand Valley High School.

“Team bonding, being together with the team and just being able to play games,” she said.

There’s no arguing it’s been a wild, emotional ride for everyone involved in Western Slope athletics. The Colorado High School Activities Association has for months been heavily lobbying the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to try and get the ball rolling for Season B sports.

In fact, multiple delays and setbacks throughout the past couple months have prompted thorough discussion amongst the Garfield Re-2 school board and have created logistical nightmares for athletic directors, coaches and parents across the state.

Rifle High School girls basketball players battle down low during a Tuesday night practice. Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

Right now, Re-2 programs are allowing up to 50 home fans, 24 players shared between each team as well as all the essential elements: referees, scorekeepers and coaches, among others.

But amid the misgivings and frustrations in the fight against COVID-19, it’s ultimately the student/athletes who feel the most impact.

Senior teammate Katelyn Mentink said the Bears did everything they could to prepare for when the greenlight was given. This included summer workouts, attending open gyms, running around the track and lifting weights, she said.

“It was kind of hard knowing that we might not have a season, but at the same time we were able to prepare so we were ready if we were going to have the opportunity to have a season,” she said. “So we weren’t just waiting around — we were taking action.”

As for having to wear the masks all the time?

“It kind of just adds to the difficulty,” Mentink said. “But it’s kind of like conditioning ourselves to wear the masks longer.”

After the girls finished up their final drill of the night Tuesday, it was time for Rifle High School boys basketball team to take the floor.

Rifle senior Mackenzie Elizardo shoots from beyond out of bounds during practice Tuesday. Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

The electricity was so palpable that instead of leaving, the girls sat next to their gear and simply watched. Practice has never been so sweet.

During drills, senior Diego Fernandez was pulled aside and asked his thoughts on the upcoming season.

“I’m very happy actually,” he said. “I had thought we weren’t going to have a season at all, to be honest, ever since this whole pandemic thing started. I’m glad to be back.”

Like his female counterparts, Ferndandez said he also spent his off time preparing for the tentative season. This included hitting the weight room, playing pick-up games at the park and taking advantage of open gyms, he said.

Fernandez, who wears disposable masks, has already gone through six since practices began last week.

“It’s a little difficult sometimes,” he said. “It’s harder to breathe for sure, but I feel like I’m starting to get more and more used to it as time goes by.”

Senior teammate Alonso Ruiz said he’s also just happy to get back to the action.

“I’m pretty excited since it’s been a long year,” he said. “I’m just grateful I have the opportunity to play, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Ruiz added: “I just want to enjoy my last year, have fun playing and just leave it all out there.”

Rifle High School boys basketball executes drills during a Tuesday night practice. Ray K. Erku / Citizen Telegram

Another senior teammate, Tyler Pierce, was also asked his thoughts on the unique season and closing out his senior year.

“Going through these four years hard as you can, you never know if you’re going to have a senior season,” he said. “It’s complicated but at the end of the day you’re just happy to be here again.”

• Rifle girls @ Grand Valley, 6 p.m. Thursday

• Rifle boys @ Grand Valley, 7 p.m. Thursday

“Basketball means everything to me. It’s just something I’ve always known,” he added. “It makes me happy, and playing with these dudes… they’re my family basically, and it’s all I want.”

Beyond all the challenges, however, one thing’s for sure: tonight’s matchups against Grand Valley couldn’t come any sooner. For Coach Caro, he said he can already see the twinkle in his players’ eyes.

rerku@citizentelegram.com

Community profile: Demons basketball coach Fred Heisel asks himself, ‘What would Bob Chavez do?’

Glenwood Springs High School boys basketball coach Fred Heisel speaks to players during an after school practice inside the old Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Legendary former Glenwood Springs basketball coach Bob Chavez believes everyone has a distinct role on the court.

“Not everybody can be a high scorer,” he said. “You need guys that rebound. You need guys that play tough defense all the time.”

Take it from Chavez, 88, who over his 30-year career coaching Glenwood Springs High School basketball amassed three Colorado state championships, including eight total title appearances, and remains the state’s winningest coach in high school history with a 477-161 overall coaching record. Chavez was inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame for his noteworthy credentials.

Back in the days of short shorts and tube socks, a quiet, 6-foot, 3-inch freshman named Fred Heisel was already stepping into his own role as a Demons force. Though very green for high school varsity basketball standards, Heisel was being given the nod in some of the most critical times.

Take, for instance, 1984 — the “AA” state title game against Florence, a heart-stopping barnburner narrowly claimed by the Demons, 51-50.

“Because we were playing a team that was real tall, Fred was one of the tallest guys we had,” Chavez said. “I was about getting ready to start him, but he twisted his ankle before the championship game.”

The next year, however, Heisel got his shot to play in the spotlight, which churned a state runner-up campaign. By 1988 — Heisel’s graduating year from Glenwood Springs High School — the formidable rebounder was off to college ball, playing for Regis University and the former Mesa State (now Colorado Mesa).

“He was a good player,” Chavez said.

It was then that Heisel was struck with an epiphany.

“What I figured out there is, it wasn’t basketball I loved,” Heisel said. “It was Glenwood basketball.”

High school basketball is back this week in the Roaring Fork Valley after a season delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Heisel is now preparing to take on his third year as head coach of the Demons.

But the former Chavez pupil, who last year led Glenwood to a 22-4 record and their fourth consecutive league title, isn’t just excited for the truncated season. He gets to continue to emulate the legendary figure in Chavez, a household name already etched and immortalized on the wall of the high school gym.

“I try to give the same experience as ‘Chav,’” Heisel said. “He did a lot of good for me and a lot of other young men, and I realize how important that is. I’m trying to give that to some kids.”

Glenwood Springs High School boys basketball coach Fred Heisel watches on as players scrimmage during an after school practice last week. Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Heisel was in elementary school when he first met Chavez. He said Chavez, who retired in 1989, was his physical education teacher, and that he also spent his formative years watching him coach Demons high school basketball.

Back then — especially when you consider Glenwood’s previous championship successes in 1975 and 1979 — sports were a big deal.

“(Chavez) was in the championship game like one-fourth of his coaching years, which is pretty phenomenal,” Heisel said. “And the entire town would go and you would have to wait outside the gym in a line to fill the stands. There were some days you couldn’t get there early enough.”

The 1979 team is irrefutably the best basketball season in Glenwood Springs’ history. Undefeated at 23-0, equipped with an all-star cast led by Mike Vidakovich, among many other studs, and coached by an indelible name, Heisel took this all in and was determined to make a name for himself.

“You just wanted to be like those guys on the floor,” he said. “You wanted to be a Demon.”

In addition, Chavez said back then teams didn’t stand much of a chance when they came to town.

“We didn’t lose a lot of games at home,” he said. “It was like playing at a snake pit.”

But it’s not just the wins or the glory that struck Heisel. Chavez was able to make an impression with people, trying to teach students both on and off the court.

After college, Heisel went on to operate and own a construction company for some years. But the coaching and teaching bugs eventually bit him, and he’d start a new career in education.

In fact, he’d become a physical education teacher, “Just like Bob Chavez,” Heisel said. His last year of teaching P.E. was 2019.

“The gym is a place where (kids) can be a leader, they can be a name, they can be somebody … I like that part of it,” he said. “I feel the same way for music or choir, drama … I think it’s great for the kids to have those opportunities to do those things. Sometimes that’s the only place in a school environment where they feel good about where they’re at.”

When he’s not coaching, Heisel said he’s usually playing a lot of golf with his twin sophomores, Gus and Andy — they also play on the basketball team.

“For a while there, the golf course was about the only thing that was open that anyone really could go do,” he said. “I like golfing, but we also do a lot of fishing. My boys are great fishermen. They drag me up to the mountains and we fish small creeks and lakes and we do a lot of fishing on the river.”

Back on the court, Chavez said he sees a reflection of himself in relation to Heisel’s coaching style.

“Just what I see in Fred,” he said, “he did a lot of things that I did.”

Chavez, who now lives in Mesa, Arizona with his wife, Shirley, usually comes back to Glenwood Springs every summer. The summer of 2020, however, was an anomaly due to COVID-19.

But Chavez said the next time he’s able to come to town, he’ll come visit Heisel. He’s not, however, going to spend this time telling him how to coach or what plays he should do.

Chavez said it’s Heisel’s team now.

rerku@postindependent.com