Luke Graham

Luke Graham

Luke Graham: It's going to be shorts season soon

Local prep sports teams prepare for warmer weather

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— It’s hard to imagine that it’s already spring sports season. The winter season seems like it just began.

But, alas, spring sports practices officially started a week ago. The Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team already has played a match.

Most official games begin this weekend.

Although some winter teams and athletes still are closing out their seasons with championships, it’s harder and harder to not think about covering sports while wearing shorts.

So here’s a little look ahead at prep sports this spring.

Soroco

The Rams continue to be one of the better track and field teams in Routt County. Soroco consistently has placed individuals well at state and had two state champions last year, in graduates Alex Estes and Matt Watwood.

The cupboard isn’t bare, though. Soroco returns state qualifiers all over the roster.

Pie Lombardi is back in the pole vault. The team also should return its 3,200-meter relay team of Ben and David Strait, AJ Anderson and Michael Rossi.

On the girls side, the sprint medley team returns, along with the 800-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams.

Hayden

Hayden should have a dynamite chance to pick up an individual state championship this year, with senior distance runner Chris Zirkel. Zirkel should be a threat to win the 3,200-meter run and has a shot at the 1,600, as well.

Hayden also should get strong contributions from Aubree Haskins in the jump events and from sophomore Savannah Williams in the 3,200.

Steamboat

Steamboat is the area’s one high school that offers multiple spring sports.

The baseball team gets started Saturday, with Kellen Baker as the new manager. The team also has the best pitching prospect this area has had in a long time, in senior Alan Capistron. Capistron could make a push for Western Slope League Player of the Year.

The boys lacrosse team, meanwhile, should continue to be the class of the Mountain Conference. The Sailors have gone undefeated the last two years in the conference, a stretch that covers 21 games. But Steamboat’s schedule is dotted with interesting non-conference games. For a team that’s looking to take the next step, games against Rock Canyon, Grandview, Air Academy, Valor Christian and Littleton should tell the team quite a bit.

Girls soccer has to overcome the loss of several key seniors. But the numbers in the program are unbelievable. The Western Slope League should be a three-team battle between Steamboat, Battle Mountain and Glenwood Springs.

The girls tennis program will look to continue its streak of regional titles. Although positions aren’t quite settled, here’s guessing the team will be a strong contender by the end of the season.

The track and field program at Steamboat should be better. Morgan Bessette returns after qualifying for state in the triple jump last season. The Sailors should have an opportunity to get several more qualifiers to state in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs.

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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