• Category Archives Sports
  • Editorial: Something Special

    He was 8 years old when I watched him zip across the pool for the first time.

    John Plutt had just won his first race, a short 25 yard dash, and he touched the wall before other children had reached half.

    Everyone on deck couldn’t help but stare at the small, skinny, kid with arms ten times too long for his body. He hopped clumsily out of the pool, a plucky grin on his face as his mother hurriedly rushed forward to wrap him in a towel. Even in the 90 degree summer heat, John was turning blue and shivering as he walked off to talk to our coach.

    Every swimmer, coach, and dedicated parent who got to witness this historic first dip into competition knew that they had just watched something- someone- special.

    Of course, at the time, none of us knew how special John would be.

    Fast forward a couple years, I’m 12 and John’s 10. We had been swimming together for two years now, and I had been there for every practice the kid had ever had. We were lane buddies, both of us just fast enough to swim with the senior group of our team, but not old enough to be part of the social circle that came with it. Obviously, getting ignored by the oh-so-inspiring high schoolers allowed for plenty of time for John and I to get to know each other. By the time I was in middle school, I had a second little brother, and a training partner for life.

    I remember when he made his first state time, it was at a winter meet, and we were some of the only kids who even swam during the winter for our small developmental club team. It was the 100 fly, I remember he broke 1:10, and I remember screaming so loud my voice was hoarse the rest of the day. He ran from behind the blocks to our coach, who sent him quickly over to his mom and I, who he attacked in the biggest hugs he could manage at the young age of 11.

    That was the moment John became something more, as a swimmer. He got hungry, he wanted to swim more events at state, and his work reflected that. He stopped playing other sports, and he decided he really loved swimming. As far as I know, he’s never looked back.

    That first state meet was the start of a long line of state meets, and lots of races that John won. I learned very quickly that John refused to lose.

    It was that desire, that dream to win, that propelled John to convince his family into letting him switch teams with me during his 6th grade year. We left for a more competitive environment, one where I could train with other girls my age, and John could try his might against some of the older year-round boys.

    So we left, we moved, and it was terrifying. I remember John being worried that the coach would be mean.

    Little did he know that Josh Cortese, our coach, would end up being the best person to prepare him for what was to come.

    Some of the biggest turning-point races in John’s life were at a small, summer-league meets.

    Josh decided to test John by making him swim in “The Open.”

    “The Open” age group, during summer, is for kids over the age of 15, but younger kids can be entered by their coaches. At 13, John happily accepted the challenge, he swam, and still swims, with these much older kids every day. He races them in practice, and he never backs down.

    He didn’t falter in the face of this bigger obstacle. He swam with kids almost five years his senior at that league meet, and for the first time ever John realized he was not limited to being good in his own grouping, He learned that, with hard-work, age really is negotiable. The older boys quickly took him into their ranks, and helped to train him to another level.

    During his eighth grade year, we carpooled to Pueblo County High School every day for swim practice. I got to tell him all about the joys of high school swimming, and I knew then he would make a splash in Pueblo. He was already competitive with the fastest kids in town, and he wasn’t even 15!

    That year, he won a state championship during club season in the 100 fly, and his confidence sky-rocketed. Watching him win that race was like watching him win his first 25. The same grin covered his face when he got out of the water, and the same kid who used to bargain with his parents for suckers in exchange for victories walked over to his mom and immediately said she owed him a whole coconut cream pie for winning. He didn’t focus on the swim, he just wanted some food.

    His first high school meet was characterized by people saying “Who is this kid?” immediately followed by “He’s a freshman!” I couldn’t help but smile every time someone realized what I had always known. There, right there, in this goofy 15 year old boy, was something very rare.

    I am inspired daily, by my swim-brother, who sets goals as soon as he breaks them. Who has never been complacent in victory, only working harder after a big win. A boy who, no matter the attention, always stays humble.

    Imagine every practice together, every tear shed, every sore muscle, and every huge “post-win” grin coming together at one time. Imagine every aspect of your history with a person coming to mind in a second. Imagine every moment of the past rushing in and intermingling with the present as every joking “I’m gonna win as a freshmen” becomes more than a possibility, more than just a dream.

    Saturday, May 19th, I watched my closest teammate, my family, touch the wall after the most important 100 fly of his life at the 4A state swim meet.

    Tears filled my eyes as the one appeared next to his name, and everybody else on deck watched as a lanky kid, turning blue from the cold, with arms still too long for his body received his medal. They were realizing what I’ve always known, “This kid is something special.”

     

     

     

     


  • Pueblo County Hockey Elevates in State Rankings

    The Pueblo County Hockey team is looking to make some noise in the playoffs this year. Pueblo County is 8-1-0 in all of their games and 7-0-0 within their league.

    At the beginning of the season County crept their way into the number 10 spot in the state rankings. They then took their only loss against Mountain Vista, despite outshooting them 31-27. This loss removed them from the rankings.

    The Hornets won another few league games after that. The Hornets then faced a big game against Lewis Palmer; who the team hadn’t beat in 21 years. They won the game 5-0 completely dominating the Rangers. Pueblo West High School attendees Jake Pacheco, Trenton Wilson, and Connor Whittington all scored goals. “It was really exhilarating to score that first goal and get the team going,” said Whittington. Javin Billings, junior, had the other two goals.

    The Hornets also won against the previously undefeated Crested Butte team later in the weak. The first game they beat the 3-1 and the second game they won by a larger margin, 6-1.

    After these three large wins the Hornets were put 8th in the state rankings. As far as RPI goes the Hornets are ranked 5th. The only seemingly challenging games left in the year are two games against Valor Christian, and a game against the Cherry Creek Bruins.

     


  • Spring Golf Season 2018

    The game of concentration, self independence, and determination is golf. Golf  undermined sport  but it is so much more than what meets the eye.

    Coach Faith Clason, like all coaches, is determined to bring her team to the state, win SCL, and receive first place. She is also a lunch lady at Pueblo West all year. Clason prefers to not keep track of her wins and losses, she only wants to focus on  SCL and state. Golf is sport unlike football or baseball golf athletes self independence and confidence. From the start of the school year, the community focuses on the football, basketball, soccer, and baseball teams at West. Other sports, such as track, softball, gymnastics, and golf get overlooked. 

    Other sports require a multi-person team comprised of students. The coach agrees that golf is an individual sport and the team is there to help each other. A golf team is like all other teams, it creates a bond between the athletes. Clason says, “I think that there is a bond, the team does bond well and they help each other it has always been that way. It (the bond) helps because in golf to me there is no grade level difference, it is all skill level. In my years, the upperclassmen do help the lower classmen.” Clason wants all athletes who fear that their skill is very low in the sport, should try anyway because there is no harm and you don’t know if you have that skill until you try.


    Some interesting facts about Faith Clason are next to golf, baseball is her favorite sport, even though she played basketball, golfed and swam throughout her life. Her favorite golf movie is “The Legend of Bagger Vance”. Clason has been a coach for Pueblo West since 2006, head coach for the last two years, and coaches both the fall and the spring golf season. She wants her players to endure community service this spring. She is looking into the TLC, the Tender Love and Care program, because she personally loved it and it is rewarding. She motivates her players by being “very straightforward and direct encouragement” and by sharing “what I’ve been through, from a player and coach, and pass it on motivation constant.”


     This year’s season will start February 19, 2018 and will end on graduation day or senior night; the season lasts for about 3 months. The practices are held at Desert Hawk Golf Course in Pueblo West. The coaches have not set a maximum number of players as of this point but they want to keep around thirteen to fourteen girls. The tryouts will consist of playing at least nine holes of golf at Desert Hawk, the date is to be determined.

    Tournament wise, twelve are scheduled for SCL and regional leading up to state. The coaches hope to have a few tournaments up north, near Colorado Springs, Clason says, “The girls up north are just girls there is no need to fear them.” For SCL  tournaments, Coach Clason takes five girls and places four; while, The other coach stays down at Desert Hawk with the remaining girls and works on their game. For those music lovers, Coach will allow music during practice but ONLY on the putting green. When it’s tournament time, music is allowed but she requires that you have a wide time frame to concentrate and get in the right mind frame.

     

    Clason has high hopes this year for her Spring 2018 team. She is directing her main focus towards the team’s competitiveness, learning constantly, doing their best (along with winning), the mental side of golf, and, above all else, have her girls set athletic goals for themselves that can be achievable by the end of the season. Next to those goals, Clason strives to teach the team about life in general, set their mind on something, complete the task they acquire, do tasks they want to do individually and not have another person make them do what they are doing. 

    Clason communicates openly with parents and athletes and will gladly introduce herself to new parents formally. To Clason, golf is her release in life, she says, “I think it’s been a release, golf is release point for me. It doesn’t matter how old you are or long you’ve been playing there’s always something to contribute.”

    The CyChron wishes the Spring 2018 Girl’s Golf team a successful year! Good luck!


  • Pueblo West Boys Soccer: A strong team with heart

    Soccer is a sport that is often unappreciated. It’s more than just kicking a ball. It involves not only complicated skills but general talent with being quick on your feet. There is a certain breed that can successfully play this sport. The Pueblo West High Boys Soccer team was full of a group of young athletes that had such a strong passion for the game. Ashlyn Harris, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, said, “There’s no better feeling than stepping out on the field and stunning them all by doing what none of them thought you could do.” This unique team did just that during their 2017 season.

    The Pueblo West boys soccer team were deemed the underdogs before the start of the season. After losing 14 seniors, it was a completely new team with many new faces. The starting lineup consisted mainly of returning JV players from the previous year, who were tested to show what they’re capable of.

    The 2017 Cyclones Varsity Team winning the Milk Jug, which Pueblo West has held for 15 years.

    Pueblo West held the SCL (South Central League) title for five consecutive years; because of the new roster, almost everyone assumed the 2017 season would be the year they lost it. Although, after a shocking turn around season, they became one of two teams (Centennial and Pueblo West) contending for the SCL championship, as well as a spot in the playoffs. They started off the season strong, two wins right off the bat; however, they followed it up with six hard-fought losses, demoralizing the team.

    If there was one thing this team has always had, it was heart, and a lot of it. The team had to learn to work together, which was not as easy as it sounds; no one even knew each other’s names in the beginning of the season. The nine new seniors stepped up to the plate and took charge, leading the team, bettering one another each practice. They had team bonding activities after practice as well, creating a special connection that they needed in order to become the amazing team they were known as.

    It was a very well rounded team, with a few notable returners including Colby Skrivan, Evan Martin, Cavan Sheehan, Jack Dent, and Steven Cline. Injuries were a season long struggle, and the team could not seem to stay healthy. Cavan Sheehan missed seven games due to several injuries, but returned mid-way through the season. Colby Skrivan, a crucial part of the midfield, was ruled out for the season with a torn ligament; he was a team captain and a very skilled player, so his absence certainly hurt the team.

    Evan Martin, senior, playing his heart out on the field. (Photo by Ali Campos)

     

    Despite the challenges the team had to face, Pueblo West had once again managed to overcome anything in their path. They bounced back with a win against their rivals, Pueblo South, after a nail biting 1-0 victory; Sam Parker scored the winning goal. They had played South earlier in the season and came up short with a 3-1 loss; the second game showed how much the team had already improved in such a short amount of time. Later in the season, they beat South once again by a score of 2-1 in an unbelievable game going into overtime. They clenched the victory with a goal coming from Cavan Sheehan, 53 seconds remaining in the game.

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    Cavan Sheehan (left) and Austin Shaw (right) celebrate after Sheehan’s goal in double overtime against South, giving them the 2-1 victory. (Photo by Anthony Sandstrom)

    The Cyclones seized to amaze when playing Palmer Ridge, who they had lost to the previous year. It was anticipated to be a blowout, but senior striker Cavan Sheehan started the game off with a goal for Pueblo West. The game dragged into double overtime but the two sides couldn’t be separated, and it ended 1-1. Cyclones Coach Young commented, “it was our best game of the season. We went into double overtime. Everyone worked hard and it was a very physical game. The guys played with a lot of heart, it just unfortunately ended in a tie.”

    What became known as the biggest game of the season was played against their other Pueblo opponents, Centennial. Earlier in the season the two teams clashed and Centennial came out on top by a score of 3-0. West prepared for this game for weeks by studying the oppositions play style and constantly improving their touch on the ball. They also had to cope with the loss of Colby Skrivan, who they had last time the teams played, and a couple other players with minor injuries that were not able to play at their best. The game was at Centennial’s home field, Dutch Clark, unlike last time when West had home field advantage. Centennial had also been getting ready for the game because the ball movement and talent on the Bulldog side was overwhelming. Unfortunately, Pueblo West was defeated 5-0 in their final game, eliminating them from a playoff spot.

    The loss against Centennial was disappointing for the Cyclones. The team walked away knowing they had accomplished far too much to let their heads drop. The season was hard because they started off with an all new roster and new talent to form into a functioning team. The team took everyone by surprise when they swept competitors off their feet. It was a season that will be remembered.


  • County Hockey Team Starts off Season with a Sting (Student Section Views)

    On Saturday, December 2 at the Pueblo Plaza Ice Arena, the County Hornets played their first hockey game against Rampart.

    Since no other schools in Pueblo have a hockey team, students from all Pueblo schools try out for County’s team.

    As the players came on the ice, I noticed that the stands were pretty filled with not only parents, but students as well. The crowd started cheering loudly and the game began.

    The starters for County were Nicholas Rooney #2 (East), Dixson Root #6 (East), Nathan Cress #17 (ECA), and Connor Whittington #8 and Broc Schindler #16 from West.

    County started off the first period by hustling well.

    The first period ended with the scored being 3-0 with County in the lead. Root and Whittington each scored a power play goal and Whittington also scored a short-handed goal.

    Root scored only 7:14 minutes into the game. Whittington’s first goal was the short-handed goal and that was 10:04 minutes into the first period and that goal was assisted by Preston Tafoya #19 (Centennial). Whittington’s power play goal was with 1:04 minutes left in the first period. That goal was assisted by Schindler and Root.

    As second period started, County players were confident because they were already ahead.

    5:09 minutes into the second period, Schindler scored and was assisted by Jake Pacheco #15 (West).

    After his assist, Pacheco scored an incredible goal with Tafoya assisting.

    The second period ended up being 5-0, County significantly ahead.

    The first goal of the third period was scored by Pacheco once again, unassisted, and it was a power-play goal.

    Unfortunately, the game didn’t end up being a shut-out because Rampart scored, as County’s goalie, Sean Meier #33 (County), was trying to pass to a County player but the puck was stopped and shot in by a Rampart player.

    County did bounce back fairly quickly and scored one more goal before the end of the game. Emilio Aguilera #20 (County) scored with an assist from Luke Guarienti #12 (South) with 4:56 minutes left in the game.

    County won by a significant 6 points, as it was a good game for all fans to watch.

    After the game, I was fortunate enough to get an interview from Whittington and Ryan Nicoll #22 (West).

    Whittington said that Alexander Ovechkin, who plays for the Washington Capitals, inspires him and that is why Whittington is #8. Nicoll is inspired by Nathan Mackinnon, who plays for the Colorado Avalanche. When Mackinnon played Juniors, his number was #22 and that’s why Nicoll chose his number to be #22.

    Before every game, Whittington has to put all of the gear on his right side first, then his left, and of course he has to listen to good music in the locker room. Nicoll’s pregame rituals include taking a shower before each game.

    Whittington’s favorite position to play is either left wing or center, and Nicoll’s is center.

    One of the best things about hockey games that the audience doesn’t get to experience are the chirps that happen on the ice. Whittington’s favorite chirp is something that he has said and since the guy he was chirping had a bubble, he said “Buddy, roll down your window, I can’t hear you.” Nicoll’s favorite chirp is “I’ve seen better hands on a digital clock.”

    As their are eight players on the team from West which are Whittington, Pacheco, Schindler, and Nicoll, there is also Garrett Kristan #1, Cade VanRiper #10, Dylan Horvat #11, and Trentyn Wilson #14.

    I highly suggest going to at least one game this season and supporting the Hornets, and especially all of the players that were named above.