Moffat County golf, spirit teams under new coaches; cross country ready to run
Moffat County High School fall sports are fully underway, with most Bulldog teams hitting their first competitions within the next week.
While some squads are seeing a second season with last year’s coaches, others will be under new leadership entirely. Still others will have seasoned coaches with many years as part of the MoCo program.
The long run
MCHS cross country will be the first Bulldog team to get in action with Friday’s Cheyenne Mountain Stampede in Colorado Springs.
The early season meet traditionally serves as the starting event for most teams across Colorado, as well as the site of the state championships at season’s end.
Moffat County distance runners finished strong for the 2018 fall year, with the girls team sixth overall — their best group result since 2014 — and Wyatt Mortenson cracking the top 10 among 3A boys in ninth place individually, the team 12th.
After losing a handful of seniors last year, coach Todd Trapp will have a couple upperclassmen on the roster as well as younger but capable athletes, many of whom were at state as freshmen and sophomores.
Trapp said he has 26 total, and the lot of them are prepared for the season in front of them.
“We’ve got some good numbers split right down the middle,” he said. “They’ve come into the season really doing good work this summer.”
Wilson Eike is the lone senior for the boys, while Stephenie Swindler will be the oldest member of the girls team as well as one of the group’s newest, opting to join XC for the first year to supplement her track training.
With its rugged layout, the Stampede routinely provides a crash course for newer runners, Trapp said, as well as a great test for the stamina of all.
“This first meet’s always tough, it gets hot down there this time of year, but they’re excited to see where they’re at,” he said.
After sending a player to the state tournament last year — the first time since 2015 — MCHS boys golf is undergoing some changes this fall.
Following former coach Rod Compton’s resignation earlier this year, Tim Adams took on the position at the beginning of the month.
Adams is pastor for Sovereign Grace Community Church.
“That’s my full-time job. This is my fun job,” he said of heading the golf team.
Adams said he was motivated by his wife, Cheri, to apply for the position due to his enjoyment for working with young people and his love for the game, though this will be his first time coaching the sport.
“It’s always been a game I’ve enjoyed, and I love teaching and coaching, that’s something I do in the winter at the ski school in Steamboat,” he said. “I love encouraging lifetime activities like this.”
Adams will be overseeing a small squad, with five players attending practices during the summer. MCHS trainer Marshall Kraker also has been aiding in practices.
“We’ve really been emphasizing the fundamentals of the game and just making good contact with the ball, working a lot on putting,” he said.
MoCo golf abstained from a number of early tournaments in order to better prepare, though next week they’ll be busier than ever with events in Grand Junction and Rifle.
The Bulldogs have primarily worked at Yampa Valley Golf Course, though Adams also drove the group to Rifle Creek this week to get a sense of different conditions.
Though greens at YVGC have been tricky all summer, that hardship has also proved to be a life lesson, he said.
“We’ve had the discussion that you play whatever the conditions are and there’s no point in complaining about it,” he said. “Marshall has said it a lot to the kids, which I think is great, it’s not the last shot but the next shot that matters. You’ve got to forget what just happened and keep going.”
Rah-rah meets cha-cha
MCHS cheer coach Becky Fritz also stepped down from her position earlier this year, which ultimately prompted Athletic Director Bobby Howard to adjust the structure of the spirit program.
The new team will be both a cheer and dance format, merging the traditional cheer with the Moffat County Rave dance group, which began in the 2018-19 school year.
Heading the program will be Ashley Boulware and Shelby Massey, both of whom are already part of the MCHS faculty, with Boulware working for the YES Opportunity School and Massey part of the agriculture department.
Boulware brings experience in cheer, working in the sport during her own teenage years in Arizona.
“I remember how much fun I had and also what we did for the community, not only for the sports, but bringing up the morale of students and the community whether we did poorly or were doing great,” she said.
Likewise, Massey has 15 years of dance under her belt in the discipline while growing up in Fort Lupton, as well as teaching occasionally.
“It’s something I’ve done for over three-quarters of my life, so it’s going to be great getting back into the swing of things with that,” she said. “I’m still pretty new to the whole thing, so I’m just taking it one step at a time.”
While the spirit program is still in the works, the two coaches will host a clinic Tuesday and Thursday for potential athletes to get a sense of what the routines will be, leading up to official tryouts Friday, Aug. 30.
Ideally, the number on the team will be 15 or more, Boulware said, adding she hopes to bring “a positive light” through the team.
“Bringing up that school spirit and that pride back to Moffat County and the student body is what we want,” she said.
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The Lower and Central Yampa River Basin, which include Craig, Hayde, Rangely, Dinosaur and Meeker, will be under a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service starting at 6 a.m. Thursday.