Playoff Picture For WP Teams Still Unclear
Now that the Spring Break is over, high school athletes have been back at it, looking towards ending the season with success.
The 2023 spring season is now in full gear. As a result, many of the teams have started battling opponents in their league in order to decide playoff possibilities.
Currently, playoff chances are still unclear as the brunt of the team’s league matches have yet to take place. But many spring athletes have made some great accomplishments so far this year. The following is an overall synopsis of the spring sports season for the Woodland Park High School, as the sports year reaches a closure.
Track and Field
Earlier this month, the boys’ and girls’ track teams did stellar while competing at a meet in Salida. The girls’ team took home the first place trophy and the boys finished fourth out of 17 teams.
When it came to individual competitions, the Panthers had several athletes that finished in the top eight in their events, which meant that they scored points for their team. During the recent meets in Chaparral and Salida, Hayden Molina and Jonny Sarmiento took first place in the pole vault.
Caden Howard also took the top spot in the 300-meter hurdles. According to a press release sent out by the school district, all three of the first place winning athletes should secure spots in the state championship track meet in May.
“It is fun to see the athletes get excited to perform well as a team,” track and field head coach Jeremy Grier said in the press release. “With everyone focused on their individual events, the overall team performance can sometimes get overlooked. We have not been in a position to compete in meets as a team for a while. The athletes are starting to understand how good we can become as a team and do a fantastic job supporting each other.”
So far this season, the girls have made strides in improving their play as the year has progressed. The Lady Panthers currently have a 3-4-2 overall record, but they have yet to play any league matches.
The girls play at home on Tuesday in a non-league match against the 3-4 Vista Ridge Wolves. They then play their first league match of the season Thursday on the road against the 3-4 James Irwin Jaguars. The team returns home on Saturday for another non-league match against the 4-2-1 Pueblo Centennial Bulldogs.
The girls have lately been achieving success on the field after they came up with an impressive 7-0 victory over the Sand Creek Scorpions last Thursday. Kara Wiley, Sophia Wiley and Pyper Wedhoff each contributed one goal to the team’s shutout win, while Shea Waters and Missa Kleppe scored two goals each.
According to a press release sent out by the school district last week, the team has recently found a fun way to improve their footwork while on the field. As a part of their training regimen, the Lady Panthers have recently started taking line dancing lessons together and they have found that it complements the footwork part of their soccer skills.
“The team has been enjoying the benefits of this activity, which adds variety, fun, and camaraderie to their group,” the press release stated. “They believe that every athlete needs the benefit of rest, recovery, and a mental shift as they train at competitive levels, and line dancing has been an enjoyable addition to their season! The team would like to thank Martha for generously donating her time to teach them this fun and surprisingly complex skill. For those interested in learning line dancing, Martha teaches classes from 6-7:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Crystola Roadhouse, with Wednesdays being beginner lessons.”
The Panther baseball team has struggled a bit this year in coming out on top, but the coach has said he has seen growth in the team as the season moves on. The boys currently have a 1-6 overall record and a 0-2 league record, but the majority of their league matches have not yet taken place.
On April 7, the boys impressed their head coach, Chris Becker, in a game against Sand Creek, but they ultimately fell 6-5. However, the boys never gave up in the game when it came to scoring as they ran in three scores in the final inning and they threatened to score with runners on first and third right before the game came to its end.
“Offensively, Senior Ethan Horton, Junior Griffin King, and Freshman Gavin Strouse each had two hits, with Horton and King hitting home runs for the Panthers,” a school district press release stated. “Pitching was led by Senior Tanner McAfee, who pitched five innings, striking out five and walking one while giving up six runs. Junior Ian Newsham pitched the 6th inning and held Sand Creek to give Woodland Park a chance to come back.”
“Our team showed a lot of heart and determination today,” Coach Becker said after the team’s defeat versus Sand Creek. “We may have lost, but we never gave up and fought until the very end. Our offense was strong, and our pitching was solid. We’re excited to continue growing as a team and facing off against tough competition in the upcoming Trojan Baseball Invitational.”
During the tournament last Friday, the Panthers lost 5-2 to Colorado Springs Christian. The team comes back for a non-league home match this Thursday against the 4-3 Evangel Christian Academy Eagles.