Moffat County school year yields many sports highlights
Here’s a look back on some of the many achievements Bulldog athletes saw during the Moffat County school year. This is the first part in a two-part series.
Led by their seniors, the Bulldogs finished 7-3, including runner-up in the 2A West League, finishing behind only Basalt in the conference.
For the fourth consecutive year, MoCo football qualified for the postseason, fighting to the end in a first-round matchup against Colorado Springs’ The Classical Academy, which the Titans won 38-21.
Senior Evan Atkin led the league in scoring with 148 points, including 23 touchdowns that put him at the top of the rankings, as well as second in the West in rushing yards with 1,102.
Upperclassmen Johnny Lopez and Michael Voloshin also led the league in interceptions (6) and sacks (5), respectively, with Cort Murphy the team’s best tackler (82).
Though he only played half the season as the team’s quarterback, Evan Beaver made his mark as a junior with 880 passing yards, the second best in the league and a standard he’ll look to outdo this fall.
• All-Conference: Evan Atkin, Catcher Jackson, Johnny Lopez, Cort Murphy, Isaac Vallem, First Team; Evan Beaver, Kaden Hixson, Hudson Jones, Max Noland, Michael Voloshin, Honorable Mention
• All-State: Evan Atkin, Second Team; Catcher Jackson, Isaac Vallem, Honorable Mention
After more than a decade drought, the Bulldogs volleyball team returned to the playoffs under coach Becca Sage.
Finishing 11-10 and fifth in the 3A Western Slope League, the Bulldogs showed they belonged at the next level as they upset higher-ranked Prospect Ridge 28-26 in the first set of the postseason, still keeping it close in the remaining rounds with the Miners, and in the subsequent 3-0 loss to Liberty Common.
Junior Ruby Short led the team in kills (133), while senior Lizzy LeWarne was second in the league in blocks (91) and captain Alexis Jones ranked fourth in the 3A WSL as the setter with 354 assists.
• All-Conference: Alexis Jones, Lizzy LeWarne, First Team; Diana Arellano, Honorable Mention
Though some players only narrowly missed going to the big time, Bulldogs golf saw both boys and girls make it to state.
In the fall boys season, junior Aron Jennings — who was invited to an international summer tournament in Scotland — placed 19th at the 3A Region 4 with an 83 at River Valley Ranch to make it to state. Senior Lance Brackett was close behind in score with an 85, and was on the cusp of state qualification before he lost a playoff round.
In his second year at the state tourney, Jennings shot 160 across two days at Denver’s Pinehurst Country Club.
Come spring, the girls season was led for most of the schedule by senior Reagan Hafey, including her best of 86 in the Lady Bulldog Invitational at Yampa Valley Golf Course. However, Hafey was hampered by injury when the regional event came to YVGC a few weeks later, preventing her from making her third straight trip to state.
Junior Arianna Anderson notched a 98 to place 14th to reach the next round at Aspen Golf Club. Anderson shot 231 during the last tournament of the year, and she’ll look for another entry as her senior season comes in 2024.
State results: Aron Jennings, 82/78, 37th; Arianna Anderson, 108/123, 63rd
MCHS runners had a somewhat smaller group during the fall, but the girls finished seventh as a group at the 3A Region 1 meet in Delta’s Confluence Park, with sophomore Josefina Kuberry leading in 30th, followed by Camila Nunez, Alyssa LeWarne, Brook Wheeler, Hannah Kilpatrick, Joslyn Bacon, Bella Simones and Nancy Nunez. The girls only lost one senior, Hayden’s Simones, to graduation.
For the boys, junior Owen Gifford finished as the regional runner-up at a personal best time of 17:10, with seniors Ian Trevenen and Boden Reidhead also making the cut for state individually with rankings of eighth and 14th, respectively. With a third-place team finish, the full group including Carson Laehr, Garrett Mercer, Karson Fedinec and Travis LeFevre went on to the state event in Colorado Springs.
The boys were 16th among 3A teams, with Gifford taking 75th, Reidhead 77th and Trevenen 93rd in the state.
State Results: 75. Owen Gifford, 18:22.6; 77. Boden Reidhead, 18:24.5; 94. Ian Trevenen, 18:39.2; 120. Carson Laehr, 19:37.3; 151. Garrett Mercer, 21:20; 152. Karson Fedinec, 21:41.3; 153. Travis LeFevre, 21:48.2.
Bulldog teams in fall and spring fought through some tough matches. For the boys, a roster that included no seniors put them up against some heavy competition in the 3A/2A Western Slope League — which saw six teams make it to the playoffs, including 3A semifinalists Coal Ridge and 2A state champs Vail Mountain.
The Dogs’ 1-13-1 season had its best games against Caprock Academy, defeating the Eagles 5-0 at home and tying 3-3 on the road.
For the girls, the team didn’t win any games, but players had smaller victories, such as improving upon the number of shutouts from a year earlier when they only had one goal the entire season. This season saw both junior Genesis Villalobos and freshman Sofia Luna score on opposition.
All-Conference: Zeke Cordero, Honorable Mention
Though without a team of their own, several Moffat County girls were part of another school’s success, with seniors Reagan Hafey and Dylan Herndon and freshman Teryn Carter suiting up for the Meeker softball team.
The 10-12 Cowboys finished third in the 3A Western Slope, helped along by Hafey on the mound with a 5.20 ERA and 36 strikeouts, though it was teammate Brea Garcia who led the league in strikeouts, sending 56 batters back to the dugout.
Meeker took a 4-0 loss to Denver school Thomas Jefferson in the postseason, but Hafey and Garcia each went on to a showcase senior exhibition game for Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports.
All-Conference: Brea Garcia, Reagan Hafey, First Team; Ryann Mergelmann, Miah Wren, Honorable Mention
All-State: Brea Garcia, Reagan Hafey, Honorable Mention
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