High school softball programs in Fort Collins expecting more success in 2012

High school softball programs in Fort Collins expecting more success in 2012

News

High school softball programs in Fort Collins expecting more success in 2012

By

The Front Range League is annually among the strongest in the state when it comes to softball, thanks in large part to perennial powerhouse Legacy, which has won five consecutive Class 5A state titles.

Adding to the conference’s strength, however, are the four schools in Fort Collins, all of which finished last season in the top half of the league’s standings. Rocky Mountain finished second, Fossil Ridge third, Poudre fourth and Fort Collins fifth.

City teams graduated some of the league’s top pitchers in the Lobos’ Bri Van Sickle and the Impalas’ Raquel Escareno. Collins graduated standout shortstop Nicole McAuliffe. Despite the big losses, all four city teams still have plenty of talent to finish among the league’s best.

Fossil could be the team to beat with its young talent.

The Coloradoan continues its fall prep sports previews today with a look at softball in Northern Colorado.

Fossil Ridge

* Coach: David Philop

* Season: Second

* Last year: Third in Front Range League

* Key players: Brittany Younan, sr.; Courtney Lecher, sr.; Jenna Jordan, jr.; Berkley Calapp, so.; Murphy McRoberts, so.

* Noteable: Finished last season 17-6 and lost in the first round of the state tournament to Dakota Ridge, 5-4. … Last season was first in school history to make the state tournament. … Return seven starters, but have only four seniors on the team.

* The lingo:

“Our entire program is very excited for the season with the extremely high expectations put on this group, but we are very much looking forward to the challenge. As is always the case with an upcoming season, staying healthy, along with developing depth, experience and team chemistry is paramount to having a successful season. We work hard on just getting better every day and we will just let the wins and losses take care of themselves. Hopefully, that will end up being good enough as our kids try to accomplish their goals.”

— David Philop

Fossil Ridge softball coach

Poudre

* Coach: Christy Malara

* Season: Eighth

* Last year: Fourth in the Front Range League

* Key players: Kasaundra Mascarenaz, sr.; Olivia Damge, sr.; Bri Kelley, sr.; Tori Heller, jr.

* Noteable: Young, but have a lot of talent and heart. … Expected to be a rebuilding year. … Return four players from last season. … Hard-working group.

* The lingo:

“I believe this team has a lot of heart and will work hard. We are young, but we will be fun to watch.”

— Christy Malara

Poudre softball coach

Rocky Mountain

* Coach: Mike Crockett

* Season: Ninth

* Last year: Second in Front Range League.

* Key players: Sydney Rios, sr.; Megan Rhead, sr.; Kiara Loucks, jr.; Courtney Robbins, so.; Simckah Baker, so.

* Noteable: Finished 16-6 overall and lost to to Ponderosa, 1-0, in the first round of the state tournament. … Crockett has been with the program for 20 years. Won regional last fall. … Solid core of players returning from last season.

* The lingo:

“I’m excited to get started with the season. We’ve got some quality young ladies and it will be fun to work with them.”

— Mike Crockett

Rocky Mountain softball coach

Fort Collins

* Coach: Keith Aragon

* Season: 20th

* Last year: Fifth in Front Range League

* Key players: Maddie Gudenkauf, sr.; Jessica Hargadine, sr.; Blair Norris, sr.; Autumn Anderson, fr.; Taylor White, fr.; Mackenzie Rowlett, fr.

* Noteable: Concluded last season with a 16-8 record. … Lost in the second round of the state tournament to Mountain Vista, 10-0. … Scored 207 runs last fall. … Team returns some experience with its senior class, but will be filled with new faces.

* The lingo:

“Hopefully, we give ourselves a chance to be in every ball game.”

— Keith Aragon

Fort Collins softball coach

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports