RIDGWAY, Sept. 4, 7:31 a.m. – The Ridgway/Ouray High School boys’ soccer team will be tested early and often as its season opens Thursday.
The team, which finished 3-5-2 a year ago, will begin their 2007 campaign in Durango against the Demons’ junior varsity squad before playing back-to-back Class 3A Southwest Conference contests on consecutive days at home against Telluride on Friday and Pagosa Springs on Saturday. Both games are at Solar Ranch.
The Demons will play each team twice for its six-team conference schedule, which includes Bayfield, Center, Crested Butte, Pagosa Springs, and Telluride. The Rocky Mountain News predicts Pagosa Springs will finish atop the league standings with strong contention from Crested Butte and Telluride. Crested Butte advanced to the state tournament each of the last three seasons, while Pagosa Springs was a state-qualifier in both 2004 and 2005.
As for the Demons, second-year coach Chuck Siefken has 19 players out, which include seniors Paul Donegan (Ridgway) and Teddy Sirotek (Ouray), juniors Logan Daley (Ridgway), Jesse Klein (Ridgway), Irving Macias (Ouray), Eli Lane (Ouray), and Danny Blas Meza (Ridgway), with sophomores Michael Gardner (Ridgway), Jake Coulter (Ridgway), Hunter Gleason (Ridgway), Nakoa Martinez (Ouray), Peter Felde (Ouray), and freshmen Devin Overton (Ridgway), Aaron Mangelsen (Ridgway), Josh Crozier (Ridgway), Eli Holmes (Ouray), Chris Yurgartis (Ouray), Wheeler Juell (Ouray), and Ben Zaugg (Ridgway).
The Southwest Conference is one of six in Class 3A, which also includes the East, Metro, North, South, and West.
The last two 3A state champions have come out of the Metro Conference in Arvada Faith Christian (16-1-2, last year), who didn’t even win that conference last season, and LaFayette Peak to Peak (17-3, 2005).