Spring Sports Season Underway in Woodland Park

Three high school sports star sign to play at the college level. (Left to right) Grace McClintock, Brady Hankin, and Claire Gilginas. Photo By Trevor Phipps

Top Athletes Sign College Deals

Trevor Phipps

Now that the springtime is just around the corner in the Teller high country, a new high school sports season is already underway.

Earlier this month, track, girls’ soccer, and baseball have already started playing matches.

However, since they are outdoor sports, most of the early season games are played on the road in areas that have more favorable spring weather conditions than Teller County. Girls’ soccer has played one home match already and baseball is slated to have their first home game this Thursday.

This week, soccer is technically in its third week of the season. But due to Mother Nature, two of the first four games for the ladies have already been postponed.

And for their home match scheduled on Tuesday this week is also in the bulls’ eye zone of a storm headed this way. Even if the girls do play this week, since it is spring break, many of the players may not make the game.  This could force the team to have half their junior varsity team start the game.

The good news is, even after two games, the Lady Panthers are already looking like they could become top league contenders. They won their first match of the season against Pueblo Central by a whopping 10-0 score when the mercy rule was applied.

During their next game, the girls just barely lost 2-1 to Falcon on the road. And more good news is that every team in the Panthers’ league has also already lost at least one game.

According to the girls’ soccer coach Amy Smith, the team is very similar to what they had last year as they didn’t lose very many players to graduation in 2021. The team is still actually very young this year, as there are only two seniors playing.

But the coach did say that she has seen some improvements in the players versus their performances last season. “Our team is even better this year than they were last year,” Smith said. “They are faster. They have matured. They have more soccer knowledge and more soccer sense about them. They are stronger and I think they are even more talented.”

She said that the team even gained a new player this year that is proving to be a good addition to the club. She also stated that she is seeing power and talent on both offense and defense this season.

So far, junior Makayla Newcom has shown she is one of the team’s best players and she is their top scorer with three goals after two games. And, the coach said that senior Morgan Berry and junior Shealan Waters bring the most experience to the field.

The team’s newest addition, sophomore Hailey Witt, just moved to the area from California and she brings with her some good talent and skill. On defense, sophomore Kara Wiley and junior Giana Roskam have been the team’s two powerhouses.

The coach has also been impressed with the team’s starting, goalie Isabella Slocum, this season. According to Smith, Slocum is currently averaging an 80 percent success rate.

The coach cited team confidence as an area she would like to see improvements. “For so long, I don’t think Woodland Park has necessarily always believed in themselves that they could beat the big powerhouse teams like Falcon, Canon City and Manitou Springs,” Smith said. “I think the lack of confidence and getting in our heads that we can’t win is our greatest weakness. They have to believe in themselves and that they can go to state this year.”

This week, if the weather permits, the girls will challenge the 0-1 Summit Tigers at home. The Lady Panthers will then play their next game on March 30 on the road against the 0-1 Mitchell Marauders.

Three Athletes Sign to Play Sports at the College Level

Last week, the Woodland Park High School held a special ceremony after class congratulating three seniors that are signing to play sports at the college level next year. The event featured cake and drinks and started with speeches from the athlete’s coaches and the athletic director Chad Cosner.

This year three students signed to continue their sports’ careers, and all three represented different sports. Grace McClintock signed to play volleyball at Friends University in Kansas after playing both volleyball and basketball during her high school career.

Star wrestler Brady Hankin will be moving on to wrestle for the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. And, cheerleader Claire Gilginas will join the cheer squad at Colorado State University Pueblo.