Devils, minus their troupe, open today at Delta | VailDaily.com
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Devils, minus their troupe, open today at Delta

Published: Shane Macomber | Daily file photo
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GYPSUM, Colorado ” Eagle Valley’s Ashley Rohweder will not be hurdling today when the Devils track and field team starts the season at Delta.

“I’m an old woman,” she said. “I don’t think I could manage.”

The defending 4A state 300-meter hurdles champion has suffered not from accelerated aging in the last year. She’s just playing Tom Sawyer’s aunt during this weekend’s school play.

Coach Jeff Shroll’s squad is multi-talented in many ways ” as thespians and athletes ” and once he has the whole crew together, the Devils look to be as strong as usual. There are a whopping 50 boys and 28 girls out for the team this year.

“This is the biggest team I’ve had since I started coaching here,” said Shroll, who’s in his seventh year at the helm in Gypsum. “It’s a big thing and I’m excited about it. Of course, we’re sill trying to figure out who goes where.”

And that’s what meets in Delta, Hotchkiss and Kremmling this month will likely do before the season starts its run in earnest With the Eagle Valley Invite April 5.

Girls

While the boys have the edge in numbers, the girls hold the advantage in state returners. All but Hattie Higgins return to the 400 relay team. Sierra Pickslay-Zamora, Shaylynn Nielsen and Rohweder will be joined by Emily Kingston this year.

The Devils have lots of experience in the throwing department with Jamie and Kacey Bair as well as Jackie Eberhart. Kacey Bair and Eberhart were in Denver last May. Sasha Pickslay-Zamora is also looking for a return trip in the high jump.

As usual, Eagle Valley has plenty of faces in all sorts of places. Rachel Harvey will be jumping while her sister Nicole is lining up for the 800. In addition to the 400 relay, Kingston should have several other roles. Look for her in the triple jump and possibly in the high jump.

Kingston figures to be on the mile relay with Rohweder, and some combinations of the Pickslay-Zamora sisters as well as Angela Phillips. Ashley Weimer will be jumping and pole-vaulting. Incidentally, Eagle Valley has installed a new venue for pole vaulting, its first in 20 years.

Shanna Zoch is slated for the 1,600 and the 3,200.

Boys

Jamie Fahrmeyer is the top returner for the boys team. He set a school record in the 3,200 at regionals but just missed the state cut last spring. Fahrmeyer and Hill (3,200 and 800) will likely be engaging in some friendly competition from their fall cross country teammates at Battle Mountain.

Sean Minett (jumping) is another familiar name. The mile relay should be strong with a mix of Joe and Uv Trujillo, Ethan Smith, Griffin Turnipseed, Fahrmeyer and Hill. The same can be said of the 3,200 team with Fahrmeyer, Hill, Turnipseed and either of the Trujillo brothers.

In the hurdles, look for Brendan Wright and Trevor Grayson. Pavel Pavlov and Harrison Neil will tend to the sprinting. It’s big Zach Thrall and Pollo Almanza in throwing. In addition to Minett, Shroll can call on Scott House, Willie Madgziuk and Austin Woodworth in the jumps.

Auntie Ashley

And then there is Rohweder. In winning the 300 hurdles state title last year, the then-junior ran a time of 47.11 seconds, just a half-second off the state record.

Rohweder is taking low-key approach to the possibility of a repeat. Quite the opposite to the usual scenario of an athlete or team defending a title, Shroll feels the pressure is off her.

“I think with her, it’s probably a good thing it’s over,” the coach said. “She did it and got the monkey off her back. She’s looking at the season with a more relaxed attitude. At the same time, she’s bigger and faster.”

The Devils had a scrimmage meet at Montrose where they got to take to the track for the first time. By CHSAA rules, coaches aren’t allowed to report results, but it was easy to tell by Shroll’s tone that he is excited by Rohweder’s initial outing.

“It is definitely like a standard right now because of what happened,” Rohweder said. “I just want to have fun. I do have personal goals. I do track because I like it and the team focus. If everything falls into place and I repeat, great. If it’s the state record, even better.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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