From Multiple Golds, USSA Club of the Year and FOUR 2014 Olympic Hopefuls, TSSC Freestyle Wins Big
Having displayed world-class skills over the course of the 2012-2013 ski season, the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club's freestyle club earned the coveted title of Freestyle Club of the Year from the United States Ski and Snowboard Association. Adding to an already impressive season, two of the club’s athletes – Joe Discoe and Keaton McCargo – are within striking distance of securing coveted invitations to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Another two TSSC athletes – snowboarder Haden Kearney and freeskier Gus Kenworthy – are on track for Sochi, as well.
The freestyle team’s impressive season began when it competed at February’s Federation Internationale du Ski North American Cup event, which was held in Telluride, with Troy Tully’s smoking runs and gravity-defying aerials tricks put him at the top of the podium for single moguls (teammate Kelsey Albert also earned a podium finish, earning third in the same event). Telluride-born mogulist Keaton McCargo battled through the event’s grueling series of duals, emerging from the competition with a bronze medal in hand.
Later that month, TSSC-trained mogulist Joe Discoe, from Ridgway, a U.S. Ski Team member for the past five years, earned his first career podium finish at the World Cup level – a bronze – at the World Cup at the Listel Ski Fantasia resort in Inawashiro, Japan.
Discoe’s bronze medal-winning performance marked the first time a Telluride skier landed a World Cup win since the days of Caleb Martin, TSSC freestyle’s head coach and freestyle director, who competed on the World Cup circuit more than a decade ago.
Thomas Rowley rocketed to two podium places – third in single moguls and second in dual moguls – at the Junior Nationals in Park City, Utah.
With an impressive season under their belt, the freestyle team ventured to the elite Junior World contest in Valmalenco, Italy, where McCargo took two golds – one in single moguls and another in dual moguls. Rowley also took gold in the dual moguls competition.
TSSC Boarders Hobie Plumber and Beecher Cooney Rank Nationally
The Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club’s Hobie Plumber and Beecher Cooney ended their 2012-2013 competitive season on a high note, with both finishing first in two categories at the Sugar Pipe at Aspen Snowmass in February. With only one day of practice at Snowmass before the event, Plumber finished first in the Junior Men category (16-17 years old) and Cooney was first in the Jams Men (18-22 years old).
Cooney also became a national champion at TSSC’s trip to the United States of America Snowboarding Association's national championships at Copper Mountain, taking the gold in the halfpipe and ranking first in the overall rankings for all five snowboard disciplines (halfpipe, slopestyle, slalom, giant slalom and boardercross).
Janelle Smiley Ranks as Top North American in Int’l Ski Mountaineering
Thirty-one-year-old Ouray High School alumna and professional ski mountaineer Janelle Smith competed in the World Championship Randonee Races in Pelvoux, France. Smiley and her teammate finished sixth in a sport historically dominated by European athletes, with Smiley placing 13th – the best finish for any North American – in the 2013 individuals competition.
The World Championships in Pelvoux were not Smiley's first international championship competition; she traveled to Claut, Italy, to compete in the same event two years earlier, and dominated in the women’s division of the 2011 National Companionships at Jackson Hole.
Heidi Duce Wins Big at Competitions, Nominated for 2014 Winter Games
Twenty-two-year-old Ouray native and below-the-knee amputee Heidi Duce began her 2012-2013 snowboard season with a fundraiser at the Wright Opera House, taking a long-term approach to her goal of joining the first-ever USA Women’s Paralympic Snowboarding team at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.
Duce began her season at the Copper Mountain Ski Resort in December 2012 with full-time training for competitive boardercross. Her efforts paid off, and by the end of January, Duce had earned bronze at an International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing-sponsored race at Copper, which attracted 60 adaptive athletes from nine countries – the largest international adaptive snowboarding competition that the world had ever seen.
Duce’s impressive performance at Copper earned her an invitation at the first-ever international World Cup event in adaptive snowboarding in Slovenia in March; her impressive throughout the season earned her a nomination to the U.S. Paralympic Snowboard National A team in May. “There are no words to describe what it feels like to be nominated for the first-ever U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Team,” said Duce after being nominated.
Montrose Biker Heads to X Games in LA
Montrose resident and professional dirt bike rider and Eric Rhoten made his way to the 2013 X Games in Los Angeles, finishing in 10th place in the event’s motocross.
The 28 year-old became a professional dirt bike rider at the age of 8, and attributes the rolling adobe hills and trail riding around Montrose as some of the best riding terrain in the world, training him for the world’s stage.
Kala Keltz, Golf State Champ
Montrose High School's Kala Keltz won the State 4A individual championship in 2013, becoming the first individual champion at Montrose High School either on the girls or boys side. Keltz shot four over 76 at the championship, followed by a two-under 70 at Broken Tee golf course near Littleton. As a team, MHS finished third. Teammates Jordan Cherry finished 28th with a two-day total of 176, Chelsea Peterson 44th with 186 and Madison Gill 56th with a 194.
Indians Football Returns to State
For the first time this century, the first in 22 years, the Montrose High School football made it to the last game of the season. The team's historic postseason run ended at the hands of the Pine Creek Eagles, 49-14, in the 4A state championship at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
An estimated 1,800 Montrose fans were in attendance, many tailgated in the parking as if the Broncos were playing.
Under perfect warm skies the Indians re-introduced themselves to the state sending a message that the small Western Slope community with one high school, has the talent and sportsmanship to compete at a high level.
The powerful Indian run attack, averaging 344 yards per game, was limited to just 171 yards, with an offense, led by junior Mike Rocha and senior Angelo Youngren, halted by a stiff Pine Creek defensive line. Rocha ended the game with 84 yards on 21 carries and Youngren recorded 64 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for the Indians’ first score. MHS had fallen behind 14-0 in the first period. For the first time all season, a Montrose runner did not record 100 yards rushing in a game.
Late in the second quarter, a turnover resulted in a 93-yard Pine Creek touchdown drive sending the Indians to halftime down, 21-7. “I thought we had a chance to tie the game and we didn’t do that. We didn’t get enough stops on defense,” said head coach Todd Casebier, when it was over. “They coached better and played better.”
To open the second half, Pine Creek had a pair of long touchdown runs, one for 59 yards and the other from 53 yards. The Indians managed to cut Pine Creek’s advantage with a 57-yard pass from quarterback Kameron DeVincentis to Youngren to make the score 35-14 in the third quarter.
The Eagles ended the game with 401 yards rushing and two more touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to salt away the title. It was the Indians’ second loss of the season. The other was to Grand Junction, losing to the Tigers and losing the SWL league title by just three points, 39-36.
Casebier was named the Southwestern League Coach of the Year, and eight of his players were named to the SWL's All-Conference First Team.
It was the first time Montrose football has played at Mile High, and with a great coaching staff and young player development, it won't be the last.
Montrose’s Connor King Shows His Stuff in the Open Water
In late September Montrose High School junior Connor King, in just his second over-water swim, finished fifth in his age group of boys, ages 13-18, with a time of just over 30 minutes in the RCP Tiburon Mile Open Water Swim in Tiburon California near San Francisco, considered the most prestigious open-water swim competition in the world.
King, 16, in just his second over-water swim (first without a wetsuit) beat over one-third of the elite racers in the competition, including Olympic medalists from around the world. Race winner Mateusz Sawrymowicz of Poland finished just seven minutes ahead of him.
"Horrible water visibility, cold, cold water and the currents were really tough," King said, adding he was drawn to open-water swimming by the memory of his grandfather, Bob Zigenhagen, who also swam open-water events.
Swimmers gathered on the beach on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay under the skyline of the city of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. A siren sound began what King described was the "mad-dash" for hundreds of swimmers collapsing into the sea. Their course one-mile course went from Angel Island through the channel to the harbor of the City of Tiburon.
7-Year-Old Golfer Takes His Game to Pinehurst
Connor Alvarez, a second grader at Ouray Elementary School, spent part of his summer playing competitive golf in one of the world's most prestigious golfing areas in America, Pinehurst North Carolina. In August, Connor competed in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst at just 7 years old. He is now 8.
Altogether, there were over 1,000 golfers from 30 countries competing at the prestigious event – fewer than 100 of them Connor’s age. He made new friends from all over the world, playing with boys his age from Japan, Florida, Colombia, the Philippines, Ecuador, South Africa and Ireland.
Alvarez got his start with plastic clubs at the age of one. He played his first round on a real golf course when he was three, demonstrating his "preternatural ability."
Alvarez, who said his favorite golfer is Phil Mickelson (echoing an opinion held by his grandfather, Rick River, of Ouray), ended the World Championship tournament in 77th place.
Lady Demons Earn State Bid in Volleyball
For the first time since the late 1990s, the Ridgway Demons volleyball squad competed in the Class 2A State Tournament in Denver. Although the team lost to Meeker High School and Resurrection Christian at the Denver Coliseum in early November in the state's double elimination tournament, it builds promising anticipation for next.
“It’s a young team,” Assistant Coach Amy Rutherford said. “I’m looking forward to next season. They are excited to go back to State next year. It was definitely overwhelming; it was the first time any of them had played on a state floor. But they held their heads up, went out and played their game, and it was fun to watch.”
The Demons lost its playoff match against Meeker by a score of 3-0. Scores in the three sets were 25-21, 25-17 and 25-23. The next day, they faced the top-ranked Resurrection Christian Cougars from the Front Range, and again lost in three straight sets, 25-17, 25-14, and 25-21.
The undefeated Cougars went on to win the tournament in the 2A bracket; their coach acknowledged that the scrappy team from Ridgway gave them a surprising run for their money. Although they lost to Resurrection, Rutherford said the match was the highlight of the Lady Demons’ experience at the Denver Coliseum.
The Lady Demons earned a spot in the State Tourney as the Class 2A Wild Card team after becoming District Champs in late October. They ended their season 20-6 overall, and 7-2 within their league.
Mavericks Fall in Quarterfinals
Ranked number one going into the Colorado 1A State Basketball Tournament in March, the Norwood High School girls basketball team fell in their efforts to bring home the Championship trophy. The boys also lost in the first round of the tournament, but also fought back to win a berth into the Consolation Final, in which they lost to the #3-ranked team Fleming.
Ranked number one going into the tournament, the Lady Mavericks had some big shoes to fill, and their coach Greg Kind said that the girls were nervous on the court in their first game against Stratton, and never really got in sync with one another. The girl fell in that game 45-35 but bounced back to win the Consolation Round trophy in their Saturday victory over the Caliche Buffaloes, 47-34.
On the boys’ side, Norwood was dealt a difficult hand when they faced off against #1-ranked Shining Mountain in the quarterfinals – a team that went on to play #2-ranked McClave in the championship final (McClave was ultimately awarded the trophy.)
But the early weekend loss didn’t diminish the boys’ spirits, and the team soldiered on to win a berth into the consolation final thanks to their 53-48 win over Grenada in the Consolation Semi-finals. By game three, however, the team didn’t have enough steam to keep the momentum going, and fell to Fleming 54-38.
It was the boys’ second and the girls’ third consecutive trip to the State Tournament.