Steamboat’s Eryn Rinck fights for the ball in a game last season against Windsor. Rinck and nine other players have been traveling to Denver on Sundays to play games against Front Range teams.
Steamboat Springs Nikki Fry has one simple goal. The sophomore wants to beat Moffat County in basketball next year.
“My goal for next year is to beat Craig,” she said. “That’s my only goal for next season is to beat Craig.”
That’s why Fry and nine teammates have started working in the offseason.
The team works in the gyms when it can and then heads down to Denver on Sundays to play other schools from across the state.
“We get to play against each other when we have numbers, mostly in the summer,” Steamboat girls varsity coach John Ameen said. “Games are at a premium. We don’t get to play as much as other teams in our league.”
But because of Colorado High School Activities Association rules, Ameen is not allowed to have contact with players on Sunday. Instead, volunteer coach Leon Rinck has taken the group to Denver two weekends to play.
In addition to Fry, Eryn Rinck, McKenzie Repollo, Ashley Spitellie, Mikaila Jegtvig, Hunter Anderson, Kayla Guettich, Amaris Duryea, Ellie Becker and Maggie Crouch have played.
The offseason and games in Denver become all the more important for Ameen and the Sailors team with the departure of seniors Hannah Moore, Tara Spitellie and Katie Lettunich.
The three led the Sailors all season, and with a limited amount of experience coming back, Ameen said the Denver sessions are crucial for the team’s success next season.
“We’re hopefully going to be able to do some things that we haven’t been able to do as far as depth is concerned with our quickness,” Ameen said. “We’ll implement some stuff over the summer. We’re going to utilize our athleticism and quickness. That’s going to be our go-to. We want to wear teams out and make it real, real tough for them on the offensive end.”
As beneficial as it is for the team, individual players like Fry also greatly benefit.
Fry played junior varsity last year and practiced with the varsity. The spring and summer sessions allow her to work on fundamentals in a smaller setting, which she said she hopes leads to more playing time next season.
“We’re getting more personalized attention,” she said. “As a whole group, we’re getting everyone better. I think we make bigger strides in the offseason. Just from doing this, I’ve noticed more confidence in my playing.”