THE YEAR IN SPORTS
From Extreme to Hardcore to School Competitions, Athletes in Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties Pushed Themselves to New Heights
by Watch Staff
Dec 29, 2011 | 1600 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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NORWOOD WRESTLER Brent Harris took top honors in his weight class at state. (Courtesy photo)
Ouray Marathoner Elysa Barron Attempts 51 in 52

In January 2011, Ouray runner Elysa Barron, 30, embarked on a year-long quest to run one marathon in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Barron took on the 51 in 52 Project, as she calls it, as a means of fundraising for First Descents, a Colorado-based nonprofit that runs weeklong “adventure camps” for young adult cancer survivors.

Barron is slated to complete her adventure on Jan. 15, 2012.

Josh Wharton, Dawn Glanc Take Top Honors at 2011 Ice Festival

Josh Wharton and local girl Dawn Glanc took top honors at the 2011 Ouray Ice Festival in January. It was Wharton’s third year in a row, and Glanc’s second time in three years, to win the climbing competition, on a difficult 120-ft. vertical to overhanging mixed route designed by Vince Anderson. Glanc and Wharton both overcame injuries to win their 2011 titles.

Defending Champs Win 4th of July Water Fights

Defending champs Jude Martinez and Chris Scott won the Men’s Senior Division water fights in Ouray on the 4th of July, against challengers Ethan Fries and Zack Ficco. Martinez and Scott had both experience, and the uphill advantage, in their favor this year.

OHS Grad Competes at National Rodeo Event

OHS 2011 graduate Jake Carver competed in a team-roping event at National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming in late July. Carver and his teammate placed 16th overall against competitors from the U.S., Canada and Australia. Carver started roping at the age of 10, when his family moved to Ouray County from the Front Range. Over the years, he could frequently be seen practicing in the early hours of the morning at the Ouray County Fairgrounds, alongside his dad and roping coach Brian Carver, who is a local realtor. Carver plans to attend the University of Wyoming's College of Agriculture in the fall on a rodeo scholarship, and has ambitions to go pro.

First-Timers Dominate Hardrock 100

Frenchman Julien Chorier was the first to cross the finish line of the 18th annual Hardrock 100 ultra-endurance run in July with a time of 25:17, two hours faster than the second place finisher Dakota Jones, a Durango teenager who finished at 27:10. British ex-pat Nick Clark placed third with a time of 27:43 and Daniel Levy of France took fourth with a time of 28:57.

The top six male finishers were all first timers to the grueling event, which traces a 100-mile route connecting the towns of Silverton, Lake City, Ouray and Telluride. Ouray’s Joe Salette, 61, was the oldest finisher, coming in at 45:17 for 67th place overall among 80 finishers. Diana Finkel, who almost lost her life to kidney failure after last year’s race, took her fourth straight Hardrock 100 victory in the women’s division with a time of 29:27 and placed fifth overall. Darcy Africa took second in the women’s division with a time of 29:46 with Betsy Nye placing third with a time of 39:17.

Hardrock runners, due to ongoing private property disputes, added an extra 2.3 miles to their arduous run, so that instead of ascending Wasatch Trail this year from Bear Creek near Telluride, they were rerouted up Bridal Basin to the John McCarron Junction.

Telluride’s Watenpaugh Claims 2011 Mountain States Cup Series Title

Following a fast and furious competitive mountain biking season, the Mountain States Cup Series wrapped up over Labor Day Weekend, with none other than Telluride local boy and Life Cycles sponsored rider Ernie Watenpaugh claiming his first career win in the pro division in the short track event.

The result catapulted this relative rookie into the big leagues, as the victory helped him claw his way to the top of the field to take the overall 2011 Series Champion title.

Taking the overall title for the pro men is indeed a laudable feat, especially considering Watenpaugh is relatively new to professional mountain biking. He competed as a teenager here in Telluride, but took a dozen-year hiatus before coming back to the sport during the summer of 2010.

TSSC Athletes Climb the Ranks in 2011

The Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club’s snowboard team sent eight of its riders to the USASA’s National Championships in March, after which head coach Dylan Cooney declared it “the best performance Telluride has ever had” at a Nationals event.

Molly Cooney claimed gold in four of five events, sweeping her field of nearly 30 other women in halfpipe, slopestyle, slalom, and giant slalom, then took fifth in boardercross. She easily won the title of top woman overall in the five combined events.

Little brother Beecher held his own too, blazing into second place in the ultra-competitive Junior Men’s (age 16-17) division in halfpipe, meanwhile making it known that the Cooneys are a force to reckon with in the snowboard world.

In the freeride world, Telluride also took home a slew of podium finishes to end last ski season on a high note, at the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships in Taos. Xanthe Demas took the gold in her division, while Gregory Hope also won gold and Max Walker-Silverman won silver at the U.S. final qualifier for the Freeride World Tour.

Of Hope, Coach Zach Templin said; “The kid is on fire. He’s got a ton of talent – all these kids do – but this is Greg’s opportunity” to shine. Hope will defer college plans “to really pursue this,” this winter, Templin said.

And on the freestyle front, TSSC athletes Wade Parkinson, Troy Tulley, Keaton McCargo, and Kealey Zaumseil all received invites to 2011 U.S. Nationals, confirming Telluride’s standing as one of the most competitive in the nation. In the singles competition, both Watkins and Parkinson finished in the top ten.

“I’m proud of the whole team in terms of progressing throughout the entire season, rising up with their best performances in March, when it really counts,” head coach Caleb Martin said.

TSSC is currently gearing up for another luminary season, to follow up the last in which the most-ever competitors, across all the disciplines, qualified for Nationals events.

SCHOOL SPORTS

Trojans Take Their B-ball Game All the Way to State

The Ouray Trojans boys high school basketball team had a spectacular regular season and seized the the District 1A title in February, but lost to the top-seeded Caliche Buffaloes at the state tournament in March, and went on to narrowly lose a consolation round against Shining Mountain, a private school in Boulder. Ouray finished up the season with a 16-8 win-loss record. Coach Jim Blennis later announced that he would not return to coach another season. The team also lost five graduating seniors: Tyler Benke, Chris Cramp, Eli Holmes, Jeffrey Rummel and Caleb Sackman.

Telluride and Norwood Volleyball Teams Compete at State Championships in 2011

Both Telluride and Norwood earned berths to the State Volleyball tournament, in the 2A and 1A divisions, respectively, held in Denver in November. Neither team advanced to the semi-finals, yet their presence on the statewide stage paid homage to both of these teams’ illustrious 2011 volleyball seasons.

The State trip marked the first time in a decade that the Lady Miners had stepped onto the State stage, the event marking the climax of their most winning season in recent memory. With an overall season record of 23-5 and a San Juan Basin League title under their belts, the Lady Miners stepped up to the State challenge. The Miners knocked out a first game win in their first match of the tournament against high-ranking Akron, but ultimately in the next two matches.

Norwood, meanwhile, was making a return trip to State: The team had won their first State berth in years in 2010, and in 2011 welcomed back all but two of their starters. The Lady Mavericks climbed to a dominating 19-3 record going into the District Tournament in October, where the girls rallied to beat perennial rivals Vail Christian to take the title of District Champs. At State, the girls won one game and dropped two.

NHS’ Lindsey Stindt was named the 1A Player of the Year, while Senior Katelyn Hardman and Junior Harlie Williams were awarded All Conference.

Hardman and Stindt additionally won the recognition of the Colorado Coaches of Girls’ Sports organization, and will be playing in the All State game next weekend in Denver.

THS also put a few of its star athletes in the All Conference spotlight, with Emy Ludwig and Emily Langley winning that recognition, while Libero Sara Wontrobski was given an Honorable Mention. Ludwig and Langely also represented Telluride on the All State level, joining the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports All State Team. The Colorado High School Coaches Association additionally added Ludwig to their All State Team (comprised of the division’s top ten players,) while Langely was an alternate.



Telluride and Norwood Combine for Brilliant Talent in High School Running

The newly formed TNT (Telluride-Norwood High School track team) and the indefatigable Telluride-Norwood cross-country team confirmed that they were two of the State’s fiercest teams in Colorado high school running, with impressive records in 2011.

In the spring, TNT fired on all cylinders at the State Meet. Led by gutsy performances from runners Josephine Bush, Rachel Hampton, Emy Ludwig and Lindsey Stindt, the TNT girls’ team blasted into third place overall. Meanwhile the boys’ team, anchored by highly decorated runners Ty Williams and Colten Rogers, and with Jeff Williams and Nathan Loomis, landed in fifth place overall as a team.

In the fall, the both the girls’ and boys’ cross-country teams handily beat the rest of the field at Regionals, where NHS senior Ty Williams won it for the boys and Rachel Hampton crossed the finish line first for the girls. The teams went on to compete at the 2A State Meet, where the girls finished third and the boys took fourth. There, Williams ended his illustrious high school running career with a bang, crossing the line first for the boys nearly 20 seconds ahead of his closest competition, while Hampton garnered silver in the girls’ race.

THS Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer Advance to State Playoffs’ First Round

Both Miner squads remained undefeated for most of their seasons’ (the girls in the spring, and the boys in the fall.) The Lady Miners were undefeated in their league this season, going 11-0-1 to win the number one spot in their league. It was the third time in four years that the team has taken the league champion title, and the fourth time the team has qualified for the State Tournament. Despite high expectations to break through into the second round (Telluride was ranked 12th,) this year also marked the fourth time Telluride has gotten kicked out of the State Tournament bracket in the first round.

The boys, meanwhile, suffered one painful home loss against Crested Butte at the end of their regular season, putting the only black mark on their otherwise unsullied regular-season record. They came back to win their final regular season game handily, and took the second seed behind Alamosa in their league.

Both teams succumbed to their competition in the first round of the State Tournament.

Kolton Kyne Qualifies for 4A State Tournament

In October, Montrose High School senior golfer Kolton Kyne (who lives in Ridgway and played on Ridgway’s 2A team the last three years), shot 80 on a tough, narrow course in Rifle, then won a four-way playoff to qualify for the 4A state tournament. The Montrose team just missed going to state as a team.

At state, Kyne shot 2 under par for 36 holes and tied for fifth place at Pelican Lake in Winsor. Kyne has received several scholarship offers to play college golf.

MHS Football Cedes SWL Title to Grand Junction, Again

The Montrose Indians football team started their 2011 season with an intimidating 6-0 record, climbing to the top of their league rankings with big wins over their contenders. In fact, the only loss the team suffered the entire season was to league rivals Grand Junction, who swept the rug out from under the Indians’ feet when they beat the home team on Senior Night in October.

That sole loss proved to be the thorn in the Indians’ side. Despite their 9-1 overall regular season record, Grand Junction trounced Montrose in the League rankings and took the Southwest League title. Montrose and Grand Junction have an ongoing battle for the SWL title, with the Indians claiming four titles in the last seven years, but Grand Junction has taking it the last three years running.

Montrose still climbed into the post-season tournament bracket, but their State bid ended quickly with a 38-7 loss to Greeley West at home.

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