Game On!

The Daily Sentinel sports team covers athletics all across the Grand Valley.

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Andrew Walter enjoys return to Stocker Stadium

By Allen Gemaehlich
Saturday, July 14, 2012

A lot has changed since the last time Andrew Walter was on the football field at Stocker Stadium.

The field was changed from grass to a synthetic grass turf and the east stands are new, including the pressbox, hospitality suite and ADA-seating.

“I was shocked,” Walter said of the stadium. “It’s a great idea. It’s great for the boosters, the college and obviously the high schools. I feel like the bleachers were higher.”

The former Grand Junction High School quarterback, who last played at Stocker Stadium in 1999, is right. The bleachers were higher. Now, they are wider and seat more people.

Walter was at the stadium Saturday with his former GJHS teammate Marques Harris, who held his second Harris' Kids Football Camp. Walter couldn't attend last year.

Harris, 30, played with the San Diego Chargers for four seasons and part of a fifth season with the Chargers and San Francisco 49ers (2005-2009). He lives in the Denver-metro area and manages several businesses.

Walter, 30, played four years with the Oakland Raiders (2005-2008). He was in the New England Patriots training camp in 2009 before retiring. He recently finished getting his Master’s of Business Administration and is working at Mid First Bank in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“I’m enjoying the next career if you will,” Walter said. “I consider myself a well-rounded individual while I played. When I finished, it took a good two years to get a handle on what I was going to do. I couldn’t imagine guys that aren’t well-rounded or have an interest outside of football. I’m on the other side of it now, thankfully, but for a while it was very difficult.”

Walter said he watches football from a distance, but he doesn’t pay attention to the offseason, except for the big news like Peyton Manning signing with the Broncos.

He was never diagnosed with a concussion, and isn’t involved in the class action suits against the NFL.

“The attorneys take 35-45 percent from whatever the settlement ends up being, then you split the rest among a couple thousand people," Walter said. "It sets a precedent. I get that, but we all signed the line. We knew what we were getting into. We went into it eyes wide-opened. The medical science was hazy (when he played). It’s not healthy to repeatedly take hits to the head.

“People always talk about the pressure to get out there and play and that’s all true, but that’s no different than an oil rigger feeling pressure to work to feed his kids.”

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Grand Junction Cheerleaders Score High at State

By Nick Walter
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Grand Junction High cheerleading team finished 20th out of 47 teams in the Class 5A all-girls division Dec. 9 at the Cheerleading State Championships.

Tigers cheerleading coach Katie Goddeyne, who was a cheerleader for two years at Colorado Mesa University, and the rest of the cheeleaders drove about four hours and 30 minutes to Denver Coliseum for a two-and-a-half minute routine.

"It was stressful," Goddeyne said. "But this is big for Junction cheer.

She said the cheerleaders had been working since June, primarily for that competition.

Said cheerleader Jessica Leeds: "We were astonishing."

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Chadron coach caught up in officiating

By Allen Gemaehlich
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Anyone sitting near the Chadron State (Neb.) College bench Friday night for the Colorado Mesa men's basketball game, couldn't help but notice Chadron State coach Brett Bargen complaining.

Sure, coaches spend a significant amount of time trying to persuade officials to make calls in their favor, but Bargen seemed to devote the entire second half on whining about calls.

As his team fell further behind, Bargen kept complaining about Colorado Mesa coach Jim Heaps asking about officials calls. You would think Bargen would've been more concerned about making adjustments to keep the Eagles in the game.

With or without Bargen's help, the Eagles did get back in the game, trailing by five points with two minutes left. Mesa put the game away, making 9 of 11 free throws in the final two minutes for a 76-70 victory.
 

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Respect, likeability not enough for Ramunno

By Allen Gemaehlich
Friday, November 18, 2011

Joe Ramunno was a much-loved and respected coach.

Players, fans and peers have all said he is a class act and wanted the Colorado Mesa University football coach to succeed, but it wasn't enough. Ramunno resigned Friday morning.

The team's lack of success the past three seasons and lack of Academic All-Conference players likely added up to the end. Ramunno was disappointed more than anyone there wasn't more wins and academic All-Americans.

On the field, the lack of an experienced quarterback hurt. In 2009, the Mavericks went back and forth between two redshirt freshmen. The following year, Mesa started with sophomore Robert Felberg the first game, but went to sophomore Michael Mankoff the rest of the season. He threw 13 interceptions and had eight touchdowns.

This season, they started with Felberg again, but three games into the season, Mesa put in redshirt freshman Steve Romero against nationally-ranked Nebraska-Kearney. Romero showed some ability in running the offense, but was injured. By the fourth game of the season, Mesa started four different quarterbacks.

When Romero returned, he held the position the rest of the season, but went through growing pains. He completed 48 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Romero may prove to be the right quarterback in time, but  for the Mavericks to consistently win, they will need to get closer to the RMAC limit of 28 full-time equivalent scholarships.

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Rockies meet and greet

By {screen_name}
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One thing kept popping into my head Tuesday as I chatted with various members of the Colorado Rockies and Grand Junction Rockies front office.

Just how many purple shirts do these men own?

Dick Monfort had on a light purple dress shirt. Jay Alves, the Rockies' VP of communications and public relations, had on white dress shirt with purple and silver/gray stripes. You've gotta get creative when purple is your domiant color — too much can be overwhelming.

But Grand Junction will be awash in purple, black and silver this summer when the Grand Junction Rockies debut at Suplizio Field somewhere around June 18. The Pioneer League schedule hasn't been released yet, so Tim Ray, the club's affable general manager, doesn't know if the GJ Rocks will open at home or in one of the other seven Pioneer League cities in Utah, Idaho and Montana.

Here's the official club logo... what do you think?

The caps haven't been approved by Minor League Baseball, but they'll have an interlocking GJ, just like the big club's CR. The Rookie club will wear Rockies unis and the lettering will be the same.

Right now, Dick Monfort said, there are no plans to rename the team in a year or two, like Casper did. That club started out as the Casper Rockies, then changed to the Casper Ghosts. Monfort likes the link between the Western Slope and the Mile High City, starting with the club's name.

"Everything is always open and we’d have to have the OK (from Minor League Baseball),” he said. “I believe it is our desire for them to be the Grand Junction Rockies.”

The club has already sold more than 400 season tickets at $299 each (38 home games). Call 255-ROCK to order, and in the next few days, the club's website, gjrockies.com, will be running. And soon, I'm guessing, just as soon as the cap logo is approved, Grand Junction Rockies caps, T-shirts, sweatshirts, seat cushions and anything else you can put a logo on will be on sale.

No word on if we'll get our own baby Dinger...now THAT's a lot of purple.

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