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Ben Bulkeley

Stories by Ben

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Late rally lifts Bulldogs over Kennedy

With less than a minute left in the Moffat County High School varsity football game Friday night, sophomore quarterback Bubba Ivers was calm.

Bulldogs earn first victory

The Moffat County High School varsity football team resumed its season schedule at 7 p.m. today against John F. Kennedy High School at the Bulldog Proving Grounds. The Bulldogs will have their work cut out for them against the former Class 4A and current Class 3A school, head coach Kip Hafey said Thursday.

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Bulldogs look to conquer Commanders

John F. Kennedy playing MCHS football team Friday

For the first time since Aug. 27, the Moffat County High School varsity football team will be at home when they play the John F. Kennedy Commanders at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bulldogs (0-2 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League) are coming off a bye-week.

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MCHS boys soccer off to best start

Team has won all four games it’s played

The Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team has had early success this season. Already, the Bulldogs have done something no other MCHS boys soccer team has done. Win four games to open a season.

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Moffat County volleyball team victorious against Hayden Tigers, 3-0

Moffat County High School senior Lauren Roberts knows volleyball is a balancing act. From riding too high or too low, a volleyball team can fall behind and a balance is needed, Roberts said. On Tuesday night, that’s exactly what MCHS varsity volleyball did at home against Hayden High School.

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MCHS cross country sweeps top 3 positions in Grand Junction

Although the meet may have been smaller, the results were the same for the Moffat County High School cross country team. Running Friday at Grand Junction Central’s Warrior Invitational, the boys team finished first overall with four of its runners placing in the top 10, while the girls finished second, also with four top-10 finishers. “It was a good meet,” head coach Todd Trapp said. “So many kids improved on their times from a year ago.

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Wildcats slip past MCHS volleyball

At Moffat County High School’s volleyball game Saturday at home against Fruita-Monument, it looked like the Wildcats had the Bulldogs wrapped up. Winning two games to none, and holding a 17-8 lead in the third game, the Wildcats looked poised to breeze through Moffat County. The Bulldogs had other plans.

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MCHS Bulldogs soccer cruises past Grand Junction, 6-2

For the second time in a week, the Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team took on a Grand Junction team and won. Playing Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig, the Bulldogs (4-0-0 overall) beat the 5A Grand Junction Tigers (2-1-0 overall), 6-2. The win comes after Tuesday’s 4-3 romp at Grand Junction Central, another Class 5A school.

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Bulldogs’ schedule ranked No. 1 in preseason strength ratings

hat started with a zero-week game has evolved into a number one ranking. The Moffat County High School football team (0-2 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League), according to Massey Rankings, started the 2010 season with the hardest schedule in the state.

MCHS volleyball falls in Grand Junction

Although the Moffat County High School girls varsity volleyball team was unable to top Grand Junction on Thursday, head coach Sandy Camilletti said there were positives her team took away from the match.

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MCHS golfers battle high winds at Yampa Valley

Something out of the ordinary happened an hour into the Moffat County High School boys varsity golf tournament today at Yampa Valley Golf Course. Battle Mountain sophomore Michael Wilhelm teed off on the seventh hole and hooked his shot into the wind. But, a fortunate bounce sent his ball straight into the hole, earning him an ace on the scorecard.

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MCHS soccer batters Rams

Though he may be on a tear, Tracy Mendoza, Moffat County High School senior, said he has bigger plans for the boys varsity soccer team. “It’s just winning that counts,” he said. “Hopefully, we can see how we would do against some harder teams.” Mendoza, who scored three goals Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ 4-3 win over Grand Junction Central, scored five more Thursday as MCHS toppled the Roaring Fork Rams, 7-5.

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CNCC volleyball team plays rare home game in Craig

Spartans fall, 3-0, to Western Wyoming Community College

Although the stands were shaded Bulldog blue Tuesday, the crowd at the Moffat County High School gymnasium was cheering for red. The Colorado Northwestern Community College volleyball team, which plays most of its home games in Rangely, made a rare appearance in Craig, hosting Western Wyoming Community College at MCHS. Although the Spartans lost, 3-0, head coach Richard Barker said the night was a success.

Moffat County Cross country wraps up 2-day weekend

The Moffat County High School varsity cross country team finished its first weekend of action with three top-10 team finishes. Running Friday at the Arapahoe Warrior Cross Country Invitational, the girls team finished third and the boys finished sixth. Head coach Todd Trapp said the team hung tough against some of Colorado’s best running programs. “Friday, they really did well,” he said. “It’s a tough course, and I would say 95 percent of the other schools were in (Class) 5A.”

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Kurt Utzinger sinks hole-in-one at Yampa Valley Golf Course

When Craig’s Kurt Utzinger hit his first hole-in-one, it was five years ago at Ironwood Golf Course in Scottsdale, Ariz., on his last swing of the day. “It was kind of unusual,” he said. “We were playing in a couples league, and it was the last shot of the round and my last shot of the day. “I was hungry, and ready to go in. Then, it kind of just happened.”

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MCHS soccer team cruises past Cortez

Although there was a smattering of vuvuzelas sounding at halftime, it was the Moffat County High School boys varsity soccer team making the most noise Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park. The Bulldogs won their season opener, 6-1, over the visiting Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers. Coach Rusty Cox said the Bulldogs needed a little time to establish themselves.

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Skiers top Bulldogs, 46-13

Although the final score of 46-13 may not have shown it, Kip Hafey, Moffat County High School head football coach, saw something in his team that could help them through the next eight games.

Bulldogs battling in Aspen tonight

MCHS varsity football seeking to even record

The Moffat County High School football team is looking to break into the win column this season when it plays Aspen at 7 p.m. today on the road. The Bulldogs (0-1 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League) are trying to rebound from a 26-22 defeat a week ago at the hands of visiting Evergreen.

MCHS football team looking to even record

Bulldogs slated to face one of 2A’s toughest Friday night

Moffat County High School football team, meet Nick Ufkes. Ufkes, meet the Bulldogs. When the MCHS varsity team (0-1 overall, 0-0 in the Western Slope League) plays Aspen High School (0-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in Aspen, the team can expect to see plenty of the Skiers’ senior tailback.

Junior Parker King shoots 70 twice to lead MCHS golf team

Following his second consecutive day of tournament golf this week, Moffat County High School junior Parker King said things would never be the same. The reason? After winning Wednesday’s tournament at Devil’s Thumb Golf Course in Delta with a score of 70, King shot 70 again Thursday to finish second, which was first in Class 4A, at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose.

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Trio golfs 54 holes in Craig to raise money for Young Life

Steve Herman could see himself in a marathon golf tournament again. If the cause was worthwhile. Herman, along with teammates Dave Peterson and Bob Markham, could be found from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Yampa Valley Golf Course during the third annual Bear River Young Life Golf Tournament.

Big action from little players in Craig

Christine Balderston started recording football stats five years ago. When she started, she recorded tackles and rushing yards, but as the years went by, she expanded her stat sheet to include pass attempts, penalty yards, sacks, receiving yards and kick returns. All these stats are kept for the Bengals of the Craig Parks and Recreation fifth- and sixth-grade Doak Walker football team.

MCHS junior varsity golf takes on The Hill

MCHS matches up against Aspen, Rifle

Just like golf courses vary, so too have Ken Harjes’ teams for the past 30 years. This year’s team, however, shares a common goal from top to bottom, the Moffat County High School head golf coach said. “Everyone on this team comes ready to work,” Harjes said. “They come to practice, they listen, they try to incorporate what we are teaching them.”

Young Life golf tourney in Moffat County nets more than $5K

On Saturday, every drive, chip and putt at the Yampa Valley Golf Course went to a good cause, Bear River Young Life area director David Pressgrove said. The third annual Young Life Golf Tournament went smoothly Saturday despite the constant threat of foul weather, Pressgrove said. “Overall, it went well,” he said. “We had some ominous looking clouds around 8 a.m., but the weather held.”

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A program is born

MCHS rodeo has staying power, and a crop of promising young cowboys on the horizon

What does it take to build a successful sports program? Veteran leadership, a strong will to improve, and a stock of young talent are good places to start. In that way, it’s check, check and check for the 2010 Moffat County High School rodeo team, sponsor Janice Edwards said. In addition to returning everyone but Gabby Miller and Taylor Vernon from last year’s team, the first of several promising young wranglers will be entering high school.

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The rise

Brady Conner and the Bulldogs share a common story

Brady Conner was a 15-year-old Moffat County High School sophomore. As a tight end in the Bulldogs’ system, he was the first one out to block for running backs trying to turn the corner. The game was Sept. 26, 2008 in Delta. It was the Panthers’ homecoming, and the Bulldogs were looking to move to 2-2 in the Western Slope League. As usual, Conner was the man at the end of the line.

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The road back

MCHS golf team looking to end streak of missing state

In 2009, a streak — and an unfortunate one at that — was almost broken. Mark Dockstader narrowly missed becoming the first Moffat County High School boys golfer to qualify for a state meet since 1998. He shot 83, but wound up in a one-hole playoff for second alternate. All summer, he spent his mornings and weekends making sure that when the scores roll in, he’s on the right end of a trip to state.

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On the run

Both MCHS cross-country teams return experienced runners. But, is it enough?

The names of individuals who won state cross-country titles during their time in Bulldog blue aren’t engraved. Their jerseys aren’t lifted into the rafters. For one, cross-country runners don’t have numbers, and even if they did, they probably wouldn’t be retired. State and school records aren’t hung up on the wall, like with track and field athletes. But, on the walls of the Moffat County High School gymnasium, there are still banners.

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The twin pillars

When the Bulldogs get down, Matthews and Roberts pull them up

Off the court, the 2010 Moffat County High School volleyball team looks quite different, with two new coaches representing the biggest changes the team has seen from last season to this one. On the court, however, the Bulldogs have two of their pillars back for 2010.

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MCHS football falls to Evergreen, 26-22, in zero-week game

For a while, the Moffat County High School varsity football team looked like it could do no wrong. Playing Friday night at home against the Evergreen High School Cougars, the Bulldogs scored an early touchdown and added a safety to take a 9-0 lead into the second quarter. Then, the momentum changed, coach Kip Hafey said. “We had it, then they took it right back from us,” he said. “We were able to get it early, then they had the momentum and kept it.”

Bulldogs open season 0-1

Bulldogs playing host to Evergreen High School

The Moffat County High School Bulldogs begin a new season at 7 p.m. today when they play out-of-league opponent Evergreen High School at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane.

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MCHS football hosts Evergreen today

Team hosting Evergreen in zero week game

In a first for the Moffat County High School boys varsity football program, the team will play a zero week game at 7 p.m. Friday at MCHS against Evergreen High School. Every year, a handful of teams play a game before the first day of school, and this year, it’s the Bulldogs who are matched up against the Cougars a team in the Metro South League.

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Craig Swimming Complex to close Sunday

More than 250 season passes sold

The waves will stop crashing Sunday when the Craig Swimming Complex closes for the winter, signaling the end of another summer, The complex, which opened for the season in May, may still have some school programs come through, but aquatics supervisor Sylvia Griffiths said it will be closed to the public at the end of the week. “It’s going to be Sunday,” she said. “We might still do some stuff with the schools in the afternoons, but for all intents and purposes, the pool will be closing Sunday.”

MCHS golfers finish sixth in Rifle

Junior Parker King paces Bulldogs with 77

For the second time in a week, the Moffat County High School boys varsity golf team has had to compete without one of its top players. And, for the second time in almost a week, the team has responded well to the challenge, coach Ken Harjes said. Playing Tuesday at Rifle Gap Golf Course in Rifle, the team finished sixth out of 15 teams with a score of 255. The team was without the help of senior Mark Dockstader, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

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Craig Parks and Recreation football begins

After months of waiting and weeks of practicing, the first football games of fall arrived Tuesday in Moffat County. The 2010 Craig Parks and Recreation fifth- and sixth-grade football season began Tuesday with three games at Woodbury Sports Complex. The six-game regular season schedule kicked off with the Hayden Tigers playing Craig’s Ravens, the 49ers hosting the Jets, and the Chargers playing the Steelers.

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Brand new Bulldog: Hayden runner joins MCHS cross-country team

Savannah Williams joins Bulldogs

When it comes to importing athletes from Hayden, Moffat County High School has had success. Chris Zirkle was the top boys Bulldog runner in 2009 as a junior, finishing sixth at state. Taylor Branstetter rounded out the boys varsity golf team’s top three in 2009. Ben Williams has been the ace of the MCHS baseball staff for the last two years. His brother, Jordan, was an all-conference selection for MCHS before becoming the co-rookie of the year for Colorado School of Mines in 2009.

MCHS varsity golf has consistent first day, streaky second

If the Moffat County High School boys varsity golf team has a day like it did Wednesday, big things are in store, coach Ken Harjes said.

Local referees needed for upcoming sports season

As a new sports season approaches, Moffat County High School teams are busy finalizing their rosters. One team, however, is having problems filling out its numbers.

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MCHS junior Miguel Molina running cross country, playing football this season

Miguel Molina has been in constant motion this month. He wakes up every day and runs with the cross-country team at 6:30 a.m. When his run is over, the 16-year-old returns to Moffat County High School, puts on his shoulder pads, and delivers and takes his licks as a defensive back and wingback. Such is life for the two-sport Molina.

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Stormy Schuler named assistant MCHS volleyball coach

Former D-I player to coach JV team

Volleyball is no small part of Stormy Schuler’s life. She grew up around it, and it brought her first to Western Wyoming Community College, then to Arkansas State University. Now, volleyball has brought her to Moffat County. Last week, Schuler, 25, was named the assistant coach for the Moffat County High School girls volleyball team.

MCHS golf team’s first tourney of the season rained out

Ken Harjes, head coach of the Moffat County High School boys golf team, liked what he saw from his team Monday at Bookcliff Golf Course in Grand Junction. Problem is, there wasn’t enough of it. The golf team was rained out of its first tournament, and the first official sporting event of the MCHS fall sports season Monday. The team played 10 holes before storms moved in.

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Professional pool player Mike Massey puts on trick-shot exhibition in Craig

Mike Massey knows small towns. From his hometown of Loudon, Tenn., a place “a lot smaller than Craig,” the 63-year-old Massey has been able to accomplish big things. The trick pool shot specialist has a resume that includes the following: 2002 World Artistic Champion, 2005 Billiard Congress Hall of Fame inductee, and the 2000 and 2001 ESPN Trick Shot Magic Champion.

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Nick Bomba, Amber Nicholson repeat as Yampa Valley Golf Course club champions

Going into Saturday and Sunday’s Yampa Valley Golf Course club championship, four-time winner Nick Bomba said he knew the pressure to win was focused squarely on him. “Every year, there’s more pressure,” he said. “Every year, the target on my back gets a little bigger.” Bomba was able to hold onto his parking spot — the top prize awarded to the men’s and women’s club champion — by shooting a combined two-day gross score of 140 to capture his fifth club championship and fourth in a row.

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Club championship golf tournament begins Saturday at Yampa Valley

For some, Yampa Valley Golf Course’s men’s and women’s club championship is about the chance to play 18 holes among familiar faces.

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3-day football camp comes to a close in Craig

With the Moffat County High School fall sports season officially starting Monday, Bulldog football players were able to get in a little preseason action this week. The football open camp started Monday and wrapped up Wednesday, and MCHS head coach Kip Hafey said the camp accomplished what he hoped it would. “A big part of it is getting kids used to the offense,” he said. “We have a lot of new guys, so we want them to get used to the offense.

Craig Sea Sharks season wraps up at seasonal state meet

Before Craig Sea Shark Matt Hulstine entered the pool during the Aug. 6 to 8 seasonal state meet in Colorado Springs, he felt especially confident. His times in the 200-meter breaststroke had been dropping, and he liked his chances against the field. “The weekend before, I took a lot off my time,” he said. “I was pretty confident I could do it again.”

Craig City Council delays 2nd reading of lodging tax

The Craig City Council tabled Tuesday night the second reading of the lodging tax proposal that voters could see on the November general election ballot. Because council members Gene Bilodeau and Joe Herod were absent from the meeting due to Tuesday’s Republican primary election, the second reading of the proposal was moved back to the council’s next scheduled meeting.

Yampa Valley hosting golf championship

For the past year, Amber Nicholson has enjoyed a privilege she earned through her play at Yampa Valley Golf Course. This weekend, she’ll fight to keep it. Nicholson, last year’s women’s club champion, will vie to keep her parking space, the club prize for the top men’s and women’s golfer.

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Moffat County golf team hosts first fall practice

There was the usual trickle of golfers making their way to the tee boxes Monday morning at Yampa Valley Golf Course. However, one group of golfers, who haven’t been assembled since a cold, blustery day in Steamboat Springs last year, made their way to the greens. The Moffat County High School boys golf team opened practice Monday, which marked the unofficial start of the fall sports season.

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Community honors retired Moffat County hoops coach Craig Mortensen

Craig Mortensen’s stay in Moffat County was supposed to be a short one. It didn’t turn out that way. “I thought I would be in Craig for two or three years,” he said. “Originally, I had plans of moving up the ladder. “Eventually, it became more than winning. I started really enjoying the young people I was coaching, and it reinforced how important my job was. Moffat County has been the big time for me.”