Winter begins with winter sports on the hill
It seems to never fail, the beginning of tryouts for winter sports at Virgin Valley High School, ushers in the beginning of winter, for our fair city. Simultaneously the sounds of balls hitting hardwood, groans of bodies hitting mats and the energy of young ladies competing in 40 yard dashes were intermixed with wind and lower temperatures in the Dawg pound Saturday morning.
Bulldog winter sports officially began at 7am Saturday morning on the hill. Bulldog coaches were able to begin tryouts to select players for freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams. The trip begins for Bulldog head basketball coaches Sean FitzSimons (boys), Chimane Creer (girls), flag football coach, Joey Bowler and wrestling coach, Skylar Woods as they prepare their young charges for the goal of returning to conference tournaments in February. Over 200 young men and women began that trip Saturday morning. Preview of individual sports follows.
Rebuilding year for boys basketball in 2014-2015
It could be a long year for Bulldog coach Sean FitzSimons as he greeted approximately 50 aspiring basketball players Saturday morning at 7am. ‘Fitz,’ as he is known by friends, only returns two letterman players from last year’s squad that went 9-3 in conference play and 15-11 overall. Senior Center Cody Burnside and Forward Keegan Biasi were part-time starters last year and will be counted on heavily this coming season. “We will have Cody in the middle and run plays off him,” said FitzSimons. “I will keep 12 players on the active varsity roster this season, with some players moving between varsity and J.V. teams. In all likelihood, we will have four senior, five junior and three sophomore players on this year’s season opening roster.”
Moving up to this year’s varsity squad from J.V. basketball are seniors, Quintin Smith and Kenny Carter. Juniors moving up include guard Zach Barnum, who was on the varsity roster late in last year’s season, Marcus Saunders, Cody Jones, Josh Bishop and Tony Urias. Most coaches prefer not to keep sophomore players on their varsity squad, having them gain experience at the J.V. level, but Coach Fitz knows the future of Bulldog basketball could be in the younger players on this year’s squad. Sophomore players Jaret Tietjen, Hogan Fowles and Andrew Memmott may get a lot of playing time this season. Coach Fitz let his players know that being competitive, be coachable and keep their grades up are the most important traits he expects from the kids. The Dawgs open the season at home December 2 hosting the always strong Faith Lutheran Crusaders before getting baptism experience under fire at the annual Legacy Tip-off Classic in Las Vegas from December 4 – 6.
Lady Bulldog hoopsters hoping to repeat last season’s success
The Virgin Valley High School ladies basketball team began their quest to repeat a top four finish in 1-A Sunrise Conference play. The Dawgs went 9-3 in conference play last season and 15-10 overall. The Bulldogs will return seven players from last year’s squad including four starters. Coach Chimane Creer has big shoes to fill at point guard as leading scorer and four year starter Abbie Barnard has moved on to Snow Canyon Community College in Utah.
Creer will return a tall front line of 6’5” center Kourtney Metzger, 6’0” Becca Bramlage and 5’10” sophomore Bernice Fiso. “Were hoping to repeat in top four,” said Coach Creer. “We could be as high as top two if we play to our potential.” Returnees Spencer Green, Emma Barnum, Brianna Todd and Janella Fiso add depth and experience to the Lady Dawgs. Utah transfer Kamri Ludvigson along with Barnum and Green should share guard duty for the Bulldogs. “The key to winning for us is guard play. We need to keep our turnovers to a maximum of 15 per game to win,” added Creer. The Bulldogs open at Faith Lutheran on December 2 before traveling to Page, Az for the NGS Tournament on December 4-6. Their first home game will be on December 11 when they host archrival Moapa Valley.
Seventy lady footballers show for flag football tryouts
Coach Joey Bowler and his staff greeted approximately 70 young ladies Saturday morning for flag football tryouts. Bowler, in his third year coaching the Lady Bulldog team, has six starters on offense and five on defense from last year’s squad. “We will be counting on All-Conference players Taylor Bryant and Marlene Quiarte to lead us again,” said Coach Bowler. “We have greater team speed than last year and it should show in our competitiveness. Our depth is excellent with 30 players from last year’s Varsity and J.V. teams”
The Dawgs will be counting on returnees Emma Dodenbier, Kennadi Ludvgson, Brooke White, Jasmine Correa, Ashley Fernandez, Genesis DeLeon, Ana Mejia, Idania Ramirez and others to surpass last year’s 7-9 record.
Unlike boys’ football, 33 teams compete in four conferences and only one division. Virgin Valley will be in the Northwest League which includes last year’s champion Cimarron-Memorial. The Dawgs will have 16 league games plus five preseason games prior to playoffs if they qualify. Their first game will be at Shadow Ridge on December 1 before hosting Moapa Valley on December 4. The Dawgs will also be fielding a freshman squad for the first time.
Wrestling coaches upbeat about chances in 2014-2015
It has been 12 seasons since Virgin Valley High School lifted a state championship banner in the Kirk Brotherson Gymnasium and 8 seasons without a league championship. The Bulldogs were runner up in the league the past three seasons. This could all change this year, as Bulldog coach Skylar Woods’ squad is loaded with experience and talent up and down the weight scale.
“We may give up only one weight class this year as it looks like we have kids who will stick it out for the season,” said coach Woods. “We will definitely score high at state with more kids winning this year.”
Returning for the Dawgs are state champions Jacob Baird and Juan Dominguez. Baird will move up to 113 lbs. and Dominguez will defend his 120 lbs. title. State runner up Broc Smith is counted on for big results at 160 lbs. and Heavyweight Hector Garcia was one point away from a championship match last year. Throw in fourth place finisher Cash Crandall and you have the nucleus for a great team when February rolls around. Woods is counting on freshman Ty Smith to run through the 106 lbs. class and returnees Raphael DeSantiago, Cash Burnside, Ty Rappleye and others to score points throughout the season.
The Bulldogs have not lost a team match the past two seasons and are expecting the same. The Bulldogs open the season at Green Valley Duals on December 5 and 6 and have four more away matches until December 16 when they host Sunrise Mountain and Moapa Valley in a tri-match. The only other home date this year will be against Boulder City on February 3. This year’s state championship matches will be in the north at Winnemucca High School on February 13 and 14. Pencil in these dates if you want to see great high school wrestling.