Cedaredge grad proving she can run with the best

The practices were at first overwhelming.

Hot. Muggy. Everybody faster than in high school. Nothing like tiny Cedaredge, Colo.

Welcome to Tallahassee, Fla., Sierra Williams. The Cedaredge High School graduate who last spring set state-meet records and placed first in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and ran the anchor leg on the Bruins’ state-meet record 400 and 800 relays is now a freshman sprinting for Florida State University.

Forget winning the 60-meter dash. She is proving she can sprint with others in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Having prepared for the Seminoles’ first indoor meet on Jan. 12 in Alabama, Williams is feeling even stronger and faster than when she consistently ran a few horse lengths ahead of her next competitor in Delta and Mesa counties.

“It’s definitely a lot different than what I’m used to,” Williams said. “The caliber of athletes I run with every day is just incredible. And I mean, you really have to give it your all every day in practice just to keep up with them and prove you can be there.”

A year ago, Williams would have been driving more than an hour to Stocker Stadium to train.

Now she trains in the South.

“It was overwhelming at first,” Williams said. “Definitely there were some days where you say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a struggle.’ But you make it through it, and the sun comes up in the morning and you’re much better than you were before.”

RUBALCABA ADDS WEIGHT AT UNC

His redshirt freshman season at the University of Northern Colorado is over.

Like many college athletes as freshmen, former Grand Junction High School quarterback and Denver Post Gold Helmet Award winner Sean Rubalcaba has added about eight pounds.

“We’ve just been doing in-season workouts,” Rubalcaba said. “I’ve just been eating a lot and pushing myself.”

As for next season, Rubalcaba, at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, said it’s his goal to continue learning the Bears’ offense and add 10 to 15 pounds.

Rubalcaba said Bears coaches have told him the starting quarterback position is up for grabs.

If nothing else, he enjoyed his redshirt experience.

“I thought it was awesome,” Rubalcaba said. “No pressure, just go at your own pace. It’s about adjusting to the speed and just easing your way into the offense, and basically putting on weight.”

DENNIS EYES GAME ACTION AT CMU

Jerreon Dennis, a teammate of Rubalcaba’s in 2011 at Grand Junction High School, also is done with a redshirt freshman season.

A running back at Colorado Mesa University, Dennis, who rushed for 2,354 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior with the Tigers, sat out a season with the Mavericks.

Unlike many freshmen football players, Dennis did not gain weight. But the 5-11, 190-pounder hopes that will change.

“I want to gain more muscle and try to keep my speed,” Dennis said.

Dennis said CMU coaches told him as long as he’s healthy next season, he could see some game action.

“I’m not sure how much playing time I’ll get,” Dennis said. “It depends on how other running backs are doing, how I’m doing.”

Dennis, unlike Rubalcaba, did not like redshirting.

“Missing a year and just not being on that field, it’s a lot different,” Dennis said. “But it gave me time to grow and realize some things, and I still have four more years of eligibility.”

GURULE WRESTLES TO PAIR OF WINS

Central High School graduate Matt Gurule subbed in for No. 1-ranked Matt McDonough and picked up two wins for the University of Iowa wrestling team last weekend.

Gurule, a sophomore, defeated returning NCAA national qualifier Max Soria of the University of Buffalo 15-10 in the Hawkeyes’ 39-3 victory in the Grapple at the Garden at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Soria took Gurule down early in the first period, but Gurule came back to take a 9-8 lead by the end of the second period. He opened the third period with a reversal and added two takedowns.

Gurule followed up that win with a 6-5 victory over Austin Miller in the Hawkeyes’ 34-9 victory over Bucknell on Monday.

Sentinel reporter Allen Gemaehlich contributed to this report.


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