Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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The beginning of another year of prep sports is upon us, and it's a good time to be a sports reporter in Routt County.
Although the area teams tend to be the biggest story, each school has athletes who are definitely worth watching.
- Football: Alex Wood. Wood wears many hats on the Steamboat team; maybe the most important is being all-around playmaker. A 70-catch, 1,200-yard season isn't out of the question for him.
- Volleyball: Colleen King. The junior setter has a year of experience and should be one of the keys to Steamboat's season. She also will be one of the best and most consistent players in the league.
- Cross country: John Cutter. Cutter continuously cut time off during the track and field season. He has said he expects big things this season.
- Softball: Darcy Hornstein. Hornstein was Steamboat's most consistent performer last year, and she should be so again this year.
- Soccer: Connor Birch. The junior goalie improved each game last year and helped Steamboat stay close to Greeley Central in the playoffs. Expect improvement from Birch, who could lead Steamboat to a league title.
- Tennis: Jamey Swiggart. The freshman is playing at No. 1 singles. Although most kids his age would be nervous about the transition, Swiggart has played in tournaments across the state, region and nation. He won't intimidate anyone, but he'll surely get the job done.
- Golf: Kaelen Gunderson. Gunderson has started to prove himself as the No. 1 player on the Sailors team. A low round from him will be pivotal in getting Steamboat back to the state tournament as a team.
- Football: Mitch Doolin. Hayden loves to run the ball, but if Doolin can prove effective at throwing it, Hayden may just eclipse last year's trip to the state semifinals.
- Volleyball: Holli Salazar. A do-everything athlete, Salazar will be expected to lead - and rack up kills - under a new regime.
- Football: Cody Miles. Miles put on 15 pounds in the offseason. Miles will be leaned on heavily in the open Soroco offense. Expect a big year out of him, especially with the transition to 8-man football.
- Volleyball: Sarajane Rossi. Hayden has Salazar; Soroco has Rossi. Rossi, a three-sport athlete, will lead a Soroco team with huge expectations.
- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229
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