Practices underway for MCHS girls winter sports teams |

Practices underway for MCHS girls winter sports teams

Moffat County sophomore Makayla Camilletti, front, and junior Adrie Camp bounce balls against screens during a Tuesday afternoon practice in the MCHS gym. Girls basketball is among the winter sports teams that began practicing within the last week.
Andy Bockelman

Standing by the edge of the Moffat County High School swimming pool Tuesday afternoon, freshman Regina Acosta was ready to begin her first day on the girls swim team.

Although she has had little experience in the pool, seeing her teammates practicing laps and soaring off the diving board gave her a good feeling about her new sport.

“It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.

The early stage of the MCHS winter sports season is underway, with girls swimming and basketball starting practice. The season will not only welcome players who are new to each sport, but coaches of varying experience levels.

Returning as co-coaches for the swim team are Meghan Francone and Anita Reynolds.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Francone has headed the team for five years.

“We have a lot of returning girls, and we have some girls who have never been in the water before,” she said.

Francone listed Eryn Leonard, Mary Penner and Melody Whitener among her veterans. Also returning is diver Larissa Grammer, the team’s only swimmer who competes from the diving board.

Reynolds has been working with Grammer especially.

“We’ve been working on a lot of conditioning and drills,” she said. “I know we’re going to have a really good season.”

Acosta is one of the newest members of the team, currently made up of 11 girls.

“I’ve always liked swimming, but I’ve never been very good at it. I thought this would be a good way to learn more about it,” she said.

Acosta said she wants to work on breathing techniques before anything else. She is unsure of which event she wants to compete in.

Francone said based on what she has seen from her team in the first few days of practice, she is confident that they will have a solid season against consistently strong competitors like Grand Junction, Durango and Montrose. The team’s first meet will be the Montrose Invitational on Dec. 3.

“My expectations are very high,” she said. “We’ve got some great fliers and freestylers, we have strong back and breast (stroke swimmers). I think we’ll have a strong team across the board.”

As the swimmers worked in the second floor pool, elsewhere the girls basketball team was running their own drills, honing skills in layups, passing, running and more under the watch of head coach Matt Ray.

“We’ve mostly been working on shooting, ball-handling, fundamental things,” he said.

This is Ray’s first season as the head coach, having worked as an assistant to former coach Craig Mortensen, who retired at the end of last season.

“It’s not a whole lot different, except I get to make all the decisions,” he said. “Other than that, it’s pretty much the same thing, the same girls doing the same thing. It’s been pretty smooth at this point.”

The roster includes 10 freshmen out of a total 26 girls. Norm Yoast is the freshman coach, while Sara Linsacum handles the junior varsity.

Ray said he has not made any definite decisions for the varsity lineup.

“We’ve got 16 upper girls who are competing for varsity,” he said. “We’ve got a scrimmage next week against Rifle and Coal Ridge, so we’re hoping to have a lot of offense and defensive plays ready then, and then we’ll fine tune it the next week.”

The team’s first game will be Uintah’s Shanon Johnson Tournament on Dec. 3.

“I expect them to work hard, and I think with hard work we’ll be able to do some great things,” Ray said.

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