The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball finished the regular season on an eight-game win streak to force a three-way tie atop the Western Slope League. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs shared the league title with Delta and Glenwood Springs. All three teams advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the 4A state playoffs before being knocked out of the tournament by a higher-seeded opponent. As evenly as the three teams seemed to be, the Bulldogs ranked ahead of their league rivals in all-conference selections announced Tuesday.
It had been seven years since the Craig Middle School wrestling team competed at the Centennial Invitational in Montrose. But Saturday, the Bulldogs went back to Montrose without missing a beat, finishing in first place out of 18 teams. “We had our successes and our disappointments, but the kids did a great job,” head coach Ron Linsacum said. “They had a focus uncommon for their age group and they meant business. They fought from the first match to the last and I am proud of them.” The Bulldogs were led by eighth-graders Shandon Hadley and Eddie Guevara, who finished first in the 125- and 130-pound weight classes, respectively.
The Moffat County High School girls varsity golf team had little time to prepare for the first tournament of the season, hitting the links Monday after only a week of practice. That week of practice came inside the East Elementary School gymnasium, making Monday’s Palisade Invitational at Chipeta Golf Course in Grand Junction the first time four of the five MCHS players stepped on a course as a high school player. Senior Sam Fox led the way with an 85 on the par-59 executive course made up primarily of par-3s. Fox, the only returning Bulldog golfer to play Monday, said despite not posting the score she wanted, she was happy with the way she played.
Last year, the Little Snake River Valley School (Wyo.) boys varsity basketball team got back to prominence, winning the 1A state title. This season was about staying on top, head coach Paul Prestrud said. The Rattlers went from November to March, never losing in 28 games, capped by a 70-59 victory Saturday over Burlington in Casper, Wyo., to capture their second consecutive state championship. “Last year was the first time in a while we won a title, so I think this year there was a little more pressure,” Prestrud said. “It was nice to go undefeated and prove in the final game that we didn’t just beat easy teams because we played a good team in Burlington and beat them playing our game.”
Josey King has earned a trip to the Colorado state Elks Lodge Hoop Shoot tournament the last three years and four trips to state overall. The Hoop Shoot competition consists of two rounds of free throws, with each player taking 25 shots. King, a 13-year-old Craig Middle School seventh-grader, competed in her last Hoop Shoot competition this year, taking first in the local tournament Dec. 17, 2011, at Sandrock Elementary School and first at the district tournament Jan. 15 in Rifle, her third straight first-place finish at districts. And, in her final year, King finished second in the state competition Feb. 25 in Salida.
The Little Snake River Valley School (Wyo.) girls varsity basketball team hadn’t faced many deficits this season. In 26 wins, the Rattlers closest game was a 37-31 win over Farson-Eden. On Friday, Farson was the last team standing between LSRV and the 1A state championship game in Casper, Wyo. And, in the two teams’ fourth meeting this season, Farson jumped out to an 8-4 lead early in the first quarter.
The Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School boys varsity basketball team saw five players score in the first half of Friday’s semifinals game against Ten Sleep. Compared to Ten Sleep’s two players who scored, Rattlers head coach Paul Prestrud said statistically, LSRV should have been up big. But, the Rattlers only went into halftime with a nine-point lead. The Rattlers didn’t panic, Prestrud said, and the team’s three seniors again led LSRV to a 63-41 victory and a spot in today’s 1A championship game in Casper, Wyo.
Nothing about Angie Charchalis’ fast-break opportunity during a December 2010 game was out of the ordinary. It was the sixth game of the 2010-11 season for the Colorado School of Mines women’s basketball team, and Charchalis had a two-on-one opportunity in a close game against Colorado Christian at home. But when Charchalis, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate, tried to stop to pass the ball on the break, her feet halted but her body didn’t. She ended up tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and missed the rest of her junior season.
Jodi Stanley wanted the Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School girls varsity basketball team to get out to a fast start in its first-round playoff match-up with Hulett. In a rare early morning game — the contest tipped off at 9 a.m. in Casper, Wyo. — Stanley, the girls head coach, said a fast start would ensure the Rattlers wouldn’t have a let down later in the game. The Rattlers did just that, jumping out to a 19-2 lead after the first quarter, then using a consistent offense en route to a 66-32 victory. “We had a great start in the first quarter and never really looked back,” Stanley said. “It was nice to get the first game out of the way, and I thought we played pretty well.”
The spring sports season got into swing Monday with the first day of official practice for Moffat County High School teams. For four of the five teams — baseball, track and field, girls golf, and girls soccer — practice means staying indoors for at least a couple more weeks. For coaches and players who compete outside, practicing indoors because of the weather can make the early season tough. “Before we head to the Montrose Tournament on March 16, we will be in the gym until then,” baseball head coach Justin Folley said. “Some years, we are in the gym until April because with the different weather we get here, our field can stay muddy and make it hard to practice on.”
The spring sports season got into full swing Monday with the first day of official practice for Moffat County High School teams. For four of the five teams — baseball, track and field, girls golf, and girls soccer — practice means staying indoors for at least a couple more weeks. For coaches and players who compete outside, practicing indoors because of the weather can make the early part of the season tough.
It seems no matter what Kat Thompson adds to her schedule, she is never overwhelmed. Thompson, a Moffat County High School senior, is part of the high school’s National Honor Society as well as the yearbook committee. After school, she’s usually working on the next MCHS theater production, working as a sales associate at Maurices, or finding time to sing the national anthem at Bulldog sporting events. This year, she's also competing in the Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA, earning a trip to the state competition after only competing twice.
The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team’s goal this season was to advance to the Elite 8 in the 4A state playoffs. While the Bulldogs were eliminated in the Sweet 16, head coach Matt Ray said the season was far from a disappointment. “It was a great season, we had a great record, and we had a good finish,” he said Tuesday. “We were a little disappointed we lost when we did, but overall, it was a great year.” The Bulldogs wrapped up the season with an 18-7 overall record and a 10-2 mark in the Western Slope League.
Joe Camilletti, Taft Cleverly and Tyler Davis each started playing basketball when they were in grade school. All three worked their way through the ranks, starting in the youth leagues before suiting up for the Craig Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade teams. But Cleverly, a Moffat County High School sophomore, and freshmen Camilletti and Davis, found themselves in a rare position in the 2011-12 season — contributing as young players for a varsity basketball team. “All three of those guys are dedicated to basketball,” head coach Eric Hamilton said. “They have put in a lot of hours in the sport and they are only getting better. They each have a great work ethic and we coaches expect them to help make this program successful.”
Garrett Stewart was in fifth grade when he started wrestling. The sport was a kind of family tradition, Stewart said, with his dad, uncles, cousins and brothers having wrestled at one time or another. But it was the feeling Stewart got when he was on the mat, the feeling of fighting for his own success, that kept him around. “Wrestling is a unique sport, not like anything else,” Stewart said. “It is you and only you on the mat and there is no team to blame if you don’t do good. It is all up to you what you end up doing.”
Ron Linsacum said with 43 seventh- and eighth-grade wrestlers in one room, things can get intense. But, it is the intensity large numbers foster that makes the Craig Middle School wrestling team something special. “The wrestling room is packed,” said Linsacum, the Bulldogs head coach. “The kids feed off each other and they have so many wrestling partners, they can see a lot of different styles and share their knowledge with each other. “It is just the atmosphere and the engery in the room, everything is falling into place for (this program).”
Paul Prestrud said when a shooter is on, there is no stopping them. Such was the case for Daniel Wille, a Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School senior, on Saturday in the finals of the 1A West Regional Tournament. The Burlington defense collapsed inside the paint, forcing the LSRV boys varsity basketball team to take shots from the outside. Wille responded, scoring 36 points, including six 3-pointers, to lead the Rattlers to a 63-53 victory and the senior class’s first regional championship.
Jodi Stanley said the Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School girls varsity basketball team wanted to come out strong Saturday in the finals of the 1A West Regional Tournament. The Rattlers wasted no time, jumping out to a 25-6 lead after the first quarter and cruising to a 70-46 victory over Cokeville. “We forced a lot of turnovers in the first four minutes of play and we capitalized on them and set the tone for the rest of the game,” said Stanley, the Rattlers head coach. “I think we made them a little nervous early, but they played us even for the next three quarters. We just came out strong early.” Senior Morgan Wille started the Rattlers off with two steals, which turned into four quick points to give LSRV a 4-0 lead.
Annie Sadvar and Melissa Camilletti were upset following Saturday’s Sweet 16 game at Centaurus High School. It wasn’t only because the 45-32 loss was the two Moffat County High School seniors’ last game, but because they felt they should have won. “We shouldn’t have lost,” Melissa said. “We were the better team and we should not have lost.” “We played terrible and gave up for pretty much the whole fourth quarter,” Sadvar said.
Farson-Eden gave the Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School girls varsity players their closest game of an undefeated season this year. On Jan. 20, Farson came close to upending the Rattlers, but ultimately fell, 37-31, at home. The Pronghorns met a similar fate Feb. 11 in Baggs, Wyo., falling 45-33. On Friday, Farson had one more chance to beat LSRV in the semifinals of the 1A West Regional Tournament in Lander, Wyo.
Miles Englehart, Rex Stanley and Daniel Wille have brought a state basketball title back to Baggs, Wyo., but never a regional championship. After two blowout wins Thursday and Friday, the Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School seniors will have a chance to complete their goal today in the 1A West Regional Tournament finals. The Rattlers (24-0) beat St. Stephens, 85-58, Thursday in the quarterfinals in Lander, Wyo., and pulled away Friday against Ten Sleep to score a 79-51 victory and a spot in the finals. LSRV will match-up against Burlington at 1 p.m. today in the championship game in Lander.
LAFAYETTE — Melissa Camilletti said the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team works on free throws all the time in practice. The shots from the charity strip may be uncontested, but are not always a given. The Bulldogs showed hard work pays off Friday in the second round of the 4A state playoffs against Thompson Valley, as they went 30 for 35 from the free throw line, including a 10 for 10 run to start the fourth quarter, en route to a 65-41 victory. “When both teams got in foul trouble, we finished and they didn’t,” said Melissa, an MCHS senior. “Our free throws were crucial and we stepped up and made them when we needed them.”
Annie Sadvar said playoff basketball is faster, more physical and overall has a more competitive feel to it. Sadvar, a Moffat County High School senior, will help lead the MCHS girls varsity basketball team into a second-round match-up with Thompson Valley at 5 p.m. today at Centaurus High School. The sixth-seeded Eagles (16-8) beat No. 11 Frederick, 57-28, on Wednesday in the first round, advancing to take on the Bulldogs. Sadvar said Thursday was the only day Moffat County had to solely focus on Thompson Valley, but they feel prepared.
Jarret Walt has a dream of playing hockey at the next level. Walt, a Moffat County High School junior, lives in a town without an official high school hockey team, so he commutes to Steamboat Springs to play for the Sailors. Because Walt lives on the Western Slope instead of the Front Range, where he says the best hockey teams are, he plans to go to a camp this summer in Arvada to get his name out there. But Walt may have found his biggest opportunity in Craig.
Miscommunications between Jeff Simon, Moffat County High School athletic director, the Moffat County School District, and MCHS varsity coaches resulted in a preemptive hold on all postseason expenses for varsity teams this school year. Simon said discussions took place before the 2011-12 school year about the district not paying for team expenses during the postseason due to budgetary concerns. In past years, the school district paid for player and coach hotel rooms and gave meal stipends when teams qualified for the postseason.
The Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team’s season didn’t start the way coaches or players hoped. The Bulldogs had just two wins a month into the season and the team’s offense was streaky. But, first-year head coach Eric Hamilton said he knew there would be growing pains along the way. Hamilton was the team’s third head coach in as many years and seven freshmen suited up for the varsity during the season.
On Jan. 20, the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team lost 54-39 to Delta and fell two games back in the Western Slope League title race. But, the Bulldogs never wavered from their league title aspirations, and went on to win the remaining eight games on their schedule, including victories at Delta and over Glenwood Springs. The late-season win streak earned MCHS a three-way split of the league title on Friday, and on Sunday the Bulldogs learned they’d be a No. 3 seed in the 4A state basketball playoffs and have a first-round bye. MCHS has the best seed of the five WSL teams to earn a berth in the state tournament.
Sometimes luck is all an athlete needs to accomplish a rare achievement. For Jonathan Marks, it was a case of beginner’s luck. The greatest individual accomplishment a bowler can achieve is to bowl a perfect 300 game. Marks’ father bowled for years, but never accomplished a 300 game.
Qualifying for the state wrestling tournament is an achievement in itself, but Garrett Stewart wasn’t satisfied with just being a qualifier. Stewart, a Moffat County High School junior, said his goal was to place in his second year at the tournament. But, following a 14-8 loss in the second round of the 138-pound consolation bracket Friday, Stewart walked off the mat without achieving his goal, having been eliminated after going 1-2 overall in Denver. “I wrestled a lot better (Friday) than I did the first day because I didn’t wrestle well on my feet (Thursday),” Stewart said. “But, there is always room for improvement and I just couldn’t get it done.”
Garrett Stewart went into Thursday’s first round of the 4A state wrestling tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver as the underdog. Stewart, a Moffat County High School junior, was matched up against the No. 2 seed in the 138-pound bracket, Josh Donkle of Windsor. Donkle took control of the match early and wrestled Stewart like he knew he had the win, letting Stewart escape without resistance after almost every takedown. Despite trying time and again to get a takedown, Stewart couldn’t overcome the stronger Donkle, as the Windsor senior scored a pin with 12 seconds remaining in the second period.
It’s a different season, but the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team finds itself in a similar predicament as last season. With a regular-season finale against Steamboat Springs looming, a share of the Western Slope League title and a higher seed in the 4A state playoffs are on the line. A year ago, the Bulldogs took care of Steamboat at home to share the league title with Delta and Glenwood Springs and earn a No. 17 seed in the playoffs. On Friday, the Bulldogs battle the league-rival Sailors in Steamboat.
Last week, Matt Ray received news that required him to put his coaching job on the back burner. Ray, head coach of the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team, learned his mother-in-law had died. The Bulldogs had a big game coming up in Delta with a chance to take a step closer to a share of the league title. However, Ray’s family took precedence and he had to leave town.
Colby Haddan broke loose with the basketball Tuesday against Glenwood Springs at Moffat County High School. Haddan, an MCHS senior playing in the final home game of his high school career, had a chance to do something he had wanted to do for three years. Dunk. Haddan elevated with the ball and slammed it through the hoop, and the crowd went crazy.
Eryn Leonard said her performance at the 4A state swimming finals Friday and Saturday in Thornton was “pretty average.” Leonard’s average, however, was enough to earn her a top-10 finish in the 100-yard butterfly and a new school record. The Moffat County High School junior swam the 100-yard butterfly in 1 minute, .92 seconds, to finish in 10th place and top her own school record. “Nothing was fantastic but nothing was bad, and I was pretty happy with how I competed,” Leonard said Tuesday. “When I began (Friday) I was super nervous, but after that my instincts took over and I just went with it.”
The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team was no stranger to the circumstances surrounding Tuesday’s game against Glenwood Springs. A victory and the Bulldogs would move into a three-way tie for the Western Slope League title. A loss would knock them out of contention. MCHS faced the same situation last year in Glenwood, but this season the Bulldogs were playing at home on senior night. Senior Melissa Camilletti hit four clutch free throws down the stretch to secure a 44-37 victory for her team and move the Bulldogs into a three-way tie for first place in the league with Glenwood and Delta.
Garrett Stewart struggled at times this wrestling season to return to the form he had a year ago when he was a state qualifier. Stewart, the Moffat County High School varsity wrestling team’s only returning state qualifier this year, surprised his team and himself last season when he took fourth place at the regional meet and joined two seniors in Denver for state. Despite problems this season, Stewart, an MCHS junior, wrestled his way to another fourth-place finish Saturday in the 4A regional tournament at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum — the only Bulldog grappler to advance to the 4A state meet. However, Stewart said he wasn’t surprised this time.
Eric Hamilton knew his first season as head coach of the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team would be a challenging learning experience. Hamilton is the Bulldogs third head coach in the same number of seasons and he inherited a team with young talent. So, despite falling 68-48 on Saturday in Palisade, Hamilton praised his players for their best game of the season. “Palisade is dang tough and played physical and aggressive, but I thought it was our best game of the year,” Hamilton said. “We matched their intensity and played hard. Again, the score didn’t show how close we were and we just played very physical.”
The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team was riding high after a big win Friday over Delta. On Saturday at Palisade, however, the Bulldogs played like a team struggling with their energy level. MCHS took an early 12-5 lead after the first quarter, but Palisade tied the game at the break and again after the third quarter before the Bulldogs used clutch free throws down the stretch to pull out a 48-36 win. “It is tough coming off a huge win,” coach Norm Yoast said. “We came out and executed everything, but we were just a step off. We would bobble passes and have good shots but just miss.
The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team needed a win Friday night in Delta. The Bulldogs trailed the Panthers in the Western Slope League by two games a week ago, but following Delta’s first league loss to Glenwood on Feb. 4, MCHS had a chance to pull even with their league foe with a victory. The MCHS seniors made it happen. Melissa Camilletti led MCHS with 27 points and Annie Sadvar scored 18 as the Bulldogs pulled out a 61-60 win in a thriller that saw Melissa hit a driving lay-up as the buzzer went off to give her team the win.
Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball players put up a fight Friday at Delta High School. While Delta was trying to stay in the race for the Western Slope League title, the Bulldogs were looking to get an upset on the road. MCHS pulled within two points in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs couldn’t overcome Delta’s hot shooters, falling 80-58. “The score doesn’t show how close the game really was,” head coach Eric Hamilton said. “All our guys played their hearts out and they were really close to getting a win.
Parker King was 2 years old when he was first introduced to golf. In his grandparents’ backyard, King was swinging away at plastic wiffle balls with all his might. King has come a long way since then, qualifying for the 4A state tournament in his junior year and averaging a score of around 77 this season as a senior at Moffat County High School. Now, King has made the decision to play for the Colorado Mesa University men’s golf team beginning in the fall.
The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team scored 12 points in the second half on Jan. 20 against Delta while falling, 54-39, at home. The loss dropped the Bulldogs two games behind Delta in the Western Slope League race and forced Moffat County to rely on another league team to trip the Panthers up. On Saturday, Glenwood Springs went into Delta and left with a 56-48 win to hand the Panthers their first WSL loss. Now, the Bulldogs have a chance Friday to go to Delta and pull even with the Panthers if they can score a road victory.
The Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team’s starters didn’t see the court much Tuesday against Basalt, but made use of the time they did have. The Bulldogs hosted the winless Basalt Longhorns in a non-league game and MCHS head coach Eric Hamilton said he wanted to make sure the younger players saw some playing time. The starting five each scored a bucket in the opening minutes to give Moffat County a 10-0 lead and a mixture of experienced and freshmen players closed out a 70-58 victory. The win gave the Bulldogs their first back-to-back wins of the season.
Meghan Francone said the Moffat County High School girls varsity swimming team wanted to leave the Western Slope regional meet with the right mind set. The regional meet, held Friday and Saturday at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, was the Bulldogs final meet before this weekend’s 4A state competition in Thornton. The Bulldogs’ individual leaders — junior Eryn Leonard and Steamboat Springs senior Amy Brodie — showed no signs of slowing down in their events, with each swimming around their best times of the season. Brodie took first in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle, while Leonard finished in third place in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly.
Tyler Hildebrandt was called into the starting lineup for the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team earlier this season following an injury to senior Jacob Scroggs. On Saturday against Battle Mountain at home, Hildebrandt, an MCHS junior, got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first seven points. Hildebrandt ended the game with a team-high 15 points in leading the Bulldogs to a 58-31 win and the team’s first home victory of the season. “It feels great,” Hildebrandt said. “We really played as a team and had a lot of trust in each other and put in a lot of effort. “It was just a good team win.”
The Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team jumped to an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter Saturday against Battle Mountain at home. However, the six points were the only points the Bulldogs scored in the first quarter and MCHS only put 19 total on the board in the first half. Head coach Matt Ray said it could be hard for players to get ready for a game against a lesser opponent, such as the Huskies, who came into Saturday’s game without a league win. But, after halftime, the Bulldogs came out firing, scoring 22 points in the third quarter en route to a 56-24 victory.
The game plan for the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team Friday at Eagle Valley was to control the tempo and slow the game down. But, no matter how hard the Bulldogs tried, head coach Eric Hamilton said Eagle Valley forced the contest into a running match, one the Devils easily controlled. Moffat County struggled early to keep Eagle Valley at bay and couldn’t keep up with the scoring pace in a 71-43 loss on the road. “We played alright at times, but (Eagle Valley) is just a great ball team who can shoot lights out,” Hamilton said. “It was senior night there so they were motivated, and were in the game and we were just outmatched.”
At 5, Hunter Beckett had to decide which sport to pursue — hockey or wrestling. Hunter had been competing for the Craig Bad Dogs youth wrestling program, but said he wanted to try something new. Hunter’s parents, Matt and Stephanie Beckett, had been playing hockey as he was growing up, and ultimately Hunter decided to follow his parents. Now, five years later, Hunter’s decision and hard work has paid off. The Moffat County Commission chose him to skate with the Colorado Avalanche during the team’s warm-up before a March 24 game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center.
Matt Ray said the Moffat County High School girls varsity basketball team expected to get a win Friday at Eagle Valley. The Bulldogs lived up to their own expectations, riding a big first-half lead to a 54-27 victory to score a sweep over the Devils this season. But, Ray said it is the work a team puts in against a lesser opponent that can make the difference later in the season, something his team didn’t do in the second half against Eagle Valley. “In the first half, we came out and did what we needed to take a 31-10 halftime lead,” he said. “But in the second half, we were not as good as I had hoped and we let one of their girls look better than she probably should have.”
The Moffat County High School girls varsity swimmers have one last opportunity to qualify for the 4A state swim meet. The Bulldogs compete today and Saturday in the Western Slope regional meet at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. The meet is the final competition for the Bulldogs before the state meet Feb. 10 and 11 in Thornton. Junior Eryn Leonard and Steamboat Springs senior Amy Brodie, who competes for Moffat County, have qualified individually, and the 200-yard medley relay and 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays have also qualified for the state meet.