Sports Briefs: Moffat County rodeo riders ready for state event at home |

Sports Briefs: Moffat County rodeo riders ready for state event at home

Andy Bockelman
For Craig Press

Members of Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School’s rodeo bunch have been racking up plenty of miles this spring, but their next go will be at home.

Craig will host the Colorado State High School and Junior Rodeo Finals May 27 to 31 at Moffat County Fairgrounds as part of Grand Old West Days.

With competition coming to Northwest Colorado from every corner of the Centennial State, local athletes will be working hard to make their mark and hopefully move on to the national level this summer.

After a break in winter, cowboys and cowgirls picked up in April with events in Eaton, Lamar, and Grand Junction.

Craig's Pepper Rhyne starts his approach in the boys breakaway roping in 2018 at the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association State Finals at Moffat County Fairgrounds. (Andy Bockelman / For Craig Press)

Most recently in Greeley, Day 1 saw Craig’s Katie Jo Knez ninth in goat tying and Pepper Rhyne sixth in the tie down roping. Knez also earned third place in the breakaway roping the next day, while Rhyne was seventh in tie down and seventh in team roping paired with Ignacio’s Bodie Hine.

Knez stands at seventh in the state in goats and Rhyne ninth in tie down, both hoping to move into the top four for national qualification.

Despite a couple hard runs in Greeley, Hamilton’s Clay Durham sits fifth in bull riding, and though the Greeley event featured no shooting events, Kaden Cox leads the state in trap shoot, as well as being ranked third in rifle.

Greeley went particularly well for junior high kids from Moffat County, with Myka Grajeda and Jolene Rhyne earning first and second respectively in the barrel racing, Logan Durham winning in bulls, and Maybell’s Cactus Barnes the top in tie down for the first day alone.

Grajeda and Rhyne were second and third in barrels the next day, while Rhyne won goat tying.

Barnes repeated as the winner of tie down as well as getting first in ribbon roping with Peyton’s Jaycee Yonkers. Grajeda took second in the team roping with Durango’s Shylene Drumm, while Chance Knez earned third in the same event with Brayden Betsworth of Galeton.

Durham won the bulls again to stay ranked first among middle school athletes as he looks to win another state championship belt buckle.

Barnes is currently ranked second in ribbon roping, and third in both chute dogging and the tie down. Elsewhere, Rhyne stands at second in goats and in the all-around cowgirl count, as well as fourth in barrels, pole bending, and in ribbon roping with partner Nathan Lammers.

Moffat County track and field 2nd at Warrior Invite with 9 event wins

Moffat County High School track and field continued its strong start to the season with another big bundle of wins during Friday’s Warrior Invitational, hosted by Central High School in Grand Junction.

Both boys and girls teams placed second overall, each just behind Fruita Monument in the scoring.

MoCo athletes picked up nine total first-place finishes, starting with the girls 800-meter sprint medley relay at a time of 2:01.49.

Wins also came in the 100 dash and 400 dash for Halle Hamilton (12.77 seconds, 1:00.67), and the high jump for Emma Jones (five feet), with the two also in the top 4×200 relay team, joining Antonia Vasquez and Emaleigh Papierski.

For the boys, Logan Hafey won the 110 hurdles (16.30) and Evan Atkin the long jump (21’ 0.25”). The two both ran in the first-place 4×200 and 4×400 relays as well, alongside Taran Teeter and Caleb Frink in the former (1:33.88) and Teeter and Ian Hafey in the latter (3:37.84).

MCHS took plentiful second-place slots as well. For boys it was Frink in both the 200 dash and long jump and Hudson Jones in the triple jump. For girls, Emma Jones got the silver in the open 400 and Alexis Jones the same in the high jump, while Emma, Hamilton, Papierski and Sadie Smilanich were less than a second behind Delta in the 4×400.

As far as bronze for the girls, Alayna Behrman took third in both the 100 and 300 hurdles, as did Quincy Lowe, Smilanich, Evi Dietrich and Vasquez in the 4×100. For boys, Atkin was No. 3 in the 110 hurdles as was Corey Scranton in the discus.

MCHS varsity tracksters will next compete in May 21’s Coal Ridge Invite, with the younger athletes attending May 24’s Delta JV Meet.

Moffat County Season B, C sports teams release awards lists

Moffat County High School athletics teams recently honored the members of its Season B and Season C teams.

Season B teams included boys and girls basketball, wrestling and girls swimming.

For girls hoops, head coach Eric Hamilton continued the tradition of the HARASS Awards to recognize his top players.

The Hustle Award went to Halle Hamilton; Armor Award to Cayden King; Rebounds to Emaleigh Papierski (94 total); Assists Halle Hamilton (39); Steals to both Halle Hamilton and Papierski (43); and the Sixth Man Award to Lizzy LeWarne.

Papierski took the Most Valuable Player for her senior season, as well as CHSAA All-State Honorable Mention and All-State First Team through Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports.

Besides coach Hamilton earning 3A Western Slope League Coach of the Year honors, Papierski, King and Halle Hamilton took All-Conference First Team, with Honorable Mention going to Amber Salazar and Jacie Evenson.

Academic All-State First Team — for junior and senior student-athletes maintaining a 3.6 grade point average — went to Papierski, Halle Hamilton, Evenson, Emma Jones, Reese Weber, Evi Dietrich, and Yara Jiminez-Arellano, plus Honorable Mention for Rylie Felten.

For boys basketball, All-Conference First Team went to Ryan Peck, with Honorable Mention for Wes Counts and Chris Maneotis.

Counts was the points leader for the year with 179, as well as the group’s leader in three-pointers and free throws and their best in blocks (15). Peck was the Bulldogs’ most productive rebounder (81), while Maneotis led in assists (31) and steals (23).

Academic All-State First Team went to Peck, Logan Hafey and manager Taran Teeter, while Nick Crookston earned Honorable Mention.

Varsity lettermen for boys hoops included Counts, Peck, Maneotis, Hafey, Myles Simpson, Thayne Kitchen, Tanner Etzler, Cort Murphy, Hector Salazar, and Jordan Carlson.

For wrestling, letters were earned by Noah Duran, Kaden Hixson, Brody Wiser, Anthony Duran, Hunter Fredrickson, Caden Call, Blake Juergens, Ryan Duzik, Michael Voloshin, Pepper Rhyne, Blake Hill, Billy Lawton, and Daniel Cruz.

Juergens, Hixson, Rhyne and Hill were each state qualifiers, and coaches also acknowledged their leader in takedowns with 31 for Juergens, as well as Scholar Athlete for Rhyne, Most Improved for Wiser, and Outstanding Wrestler for Hixson.

The Bulldog Tough Award went to the noteworthy competitors in each class with Hill for freshmen, Voloshin for sophomores, Rhyne juniors and Cruz for seniors.

Call, Duzik, Rhyne and Juergens also each picked up Academic All-State First Team.

In swimming, varsity letters went to Alexa Neton, Alexei Reyes, Allison Jacobson, Cristiann Reyes, Ellina Jones, Kelsey McDiffett, Tiana Nichols, Ana Iglesias, Hailey Knowles, Kate Lockwood, Sarah Johnson, Emma Fritz, Megan Neton, Vivian Brown, Wagner Brown, Nora Gianinetti and Amanda Dietrich.

State competitors included Jones, McDiffett, Knowles, Alexa Neton and Megan Neton, part of a top 20 400-yard freestyle relay group.

Winning Academic All-State were Jones, McDiffett, Knowles, Nichols, Alexa Neton, Alexei Reyes and Cristiann Reyes.

While awards are not yet available for boys soccer, the fellow Season C volleyball team hosted its awards night recently.

Moffat County senior Emaleigh Papierski follows through on a 3-point shot Saturday night against Delta as the Moffat County student section looks on.

Coach Jessica Profumo gave out varsity letters to Aftyn Kawcak, Abbe Adams, Lizzy LeWarne, Olivia Profumo, Makaela Simpson, Diana Arellano, Jacie Evenson, Alexis Jones, Cayden King, Taytum Smercina and Ashlyn Simpson.

Olivia Profumo received All-Conference First Team, while Adams garnered Honorable Mention.

Profumo led the team in total digs (190) and receptions (230), and Adams the leader in service aces (43), kills (78), and blocks (39).

Profumo, Adams and Evenson also picked up Academic All-State.

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