John Vandelinder: This week in MCHS sports


John Vandelinder

John Vandelinder's columns appear Tuesdays and Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail him at

A mixed bag of results in the land of Moffat County High School sports this week led to some movement in my weekly rankings.

Let's take a look:

Cross Country

The Bulldog runners stay on top of the beat this week.

It's not that they blew away the competition during the weekend in Colorado Springs; I'm leaving them here because, so far this season, they have been a model of consistency.

Senior Alicia Nelson didn't win this week, but her second-place showing against stiff competition earned her a fourth consecutive top-3 finish to start the season.

Colt Criswell (50 seconds), Jared Blevins (2 minutes) and Charlie Griffiths (2:30) each cut a considerable amount of time from their previous personal bests.

MCHS hosts its lone home meet of the season Saturday morning at Loudy-Simpson Park.


The Bulldog ball-strikers took a huge step forward this week, placing third in Aspen on the course they will see next week during the state regional tournament. I mentioned in last week's beat that Moffat County would need to learn the course's nuances if they were to have a shot once the postseason rolls along. If they compete at the regionals like they did last week, it won't matter. Nick Moyer (77) and Mark Dockstader (79) broke 80 and finished in the top five. Erick Leonard and Parker Hagins each broke 90, and Bulldog No. 3 Taylor Branstetter shot a 92 on what coach Ken Harjes called an "off day."

If the team can duplicate those scores, look for MCHS to have its first state qualifier, maybe three, since 2003, when the state tournament begins Oct. 6 in the team's backyard - Yampa Valley Golf Course.


Class 3A Western Slope Conference standings

Conf Overall

Glenwood Springs 2-0 4-0

Palisade 2-0 4-0

Steamboat Springs 2-0 3-0

Rifle 1-0 1-2

Moffat County 1-1 1-2

Montezuma-Cortez 0-1 1-1

Delta 0-2 1-2

Battle Mountain 0-2 0-3

Eagle Valley 0-2 0-4

MCHS got in the win column Friday with a big victory at Battle Mountain.

The offense looked downright unstoppable, but then again, it was the winless Huskies on the opposite side of the field. Halen Raymond had a big game - his first on offense - at running back. The junior tallied 105 yards on 10 carries, including a 72-yard rumble down the sideline for a touchdown. Impressive, but the performance of junior Pablo Salcido - nine carries for 180 yards and two touchdowns - was the straw that broke the Huskies' backs. Palisade - the No. 2 team in the state - looks to end the Bulldogs one-game win streak Friday in Craig.


The rodeo team slips two spots in this week's beat. The Bulldogs had a fair showing in Hotchkiss during the weekend, but the football team's thrilling victory combined with the stellar performance by the golf team bumps the MCHS cowboys and cowgirls from second.

Senior Eric Fleming picked up 29 points and two wins, but he lost the all-around top spot. The MCHS senior currently sits in second with 89 points, nine behind the leader.

Taylor Vernon picked up just two points, pushing the junior down in the girls all-around rankings to 30th. Her brother, Troy, had a strong showing in Sunday's bull-riding event, capturing first and earning 10 points toward the all-around title.

Troy currently is in 15th place.

MCHS hosts its lone rodeo of both the fall and summer seasons beginning Saturday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. This is the only shot for rodeo fans to get a look at three potential National Championship qualifiers in Fleming and the Vernons.

Don't miss it.


Class 4A Western Slope Conference standings

Conf Overall

Steamboat Springs 2-0 6-1

Battle Mountain 2-0 4-1

Eagle Valley 2-0 4-1

Glenwood Springs 2-1 3-5

Moffat County 1-1 2-4

Delta 0-2 1-4

Palisade 0-2 2-5

Rifle 0-3 5-3

The Bulldogs escaped with a three-games-to-two, tiebreaker victory against the hapless Bears - Rifle hasn't won a league game since 2003 - keeping its integrity intact. But, consecutive sweeps by Montrose and Glenwood Springs told me this team isn't even close to the team of a year ago.

That said, I don't expect fiery head coach Brianna Montgomery to let the team lay down. A strong showing Thursday and Saturday in Steamboat Springs could be the motivator that could get this team over the hump.


Class 4A Western Slope Conference standings

Conf Overall

Battle Mountain 4-0 5-0

Steamboat Springs 3-0 6-0

Eagle Valley 2-1 5-1

Glenwood Springs 2-0 3-2

Rifle 1-3 2-3

Palisade 0-4 1-5

Moffat County 0-4 0-4

Boy, oh boy, the soccer team could be in for a long season. The team lost, 6-0, at Steamboat on Tuesday, and dropped a game, 5-1, Saturday to Eagle Valley. The Bulldogs have been outscored 20-3 throughout the first four games of the season, prompting me to ask, where's the offense?

A stiff defense will win you games, but averaging less than a goal per game, while giving up five per, is no way to get into the postseason.

Wait. Postseason?

Unfortunately Bulldog soccer fans, it seems light years away.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or


buck523 8 years, 7 months ago

John your posts are degrading and insulting to our youth. There are back handed jabs and inuendos throughout. Personally, I'm disgusted that the daily press allows you to publish this. Our kids bust their buts and work hard. I'm beginning to think you must have really stunk as an athlete when you were a kid and take real pleasure in running these kids down. Get rid of the negative stuff.


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