The Lady Bulldogs have many reasons to be optimistic about the season. With 31 on the roster, they have enough players to field three teams, with little crossover.
Eleven freshmen came out to play. And Eric Hollembeak is their new head coach.
Hollembeak grew up in Hotchkiss and has been involved in sports as both an athlete and coach. He also teaches math at HHS.
"Coaching is good for teachers because you get to see another side of the students," said Hollembeak. "It gives you a relationship with the kids that you wouldn't have outside of the classroom."
Hollembeak accepted the head coaching job early last summer, after two-year coach Josh Kasper announced he would be leaving the area. That gave Hollembeak the opportunity to work with the team this summer. They were able to play a few games and participated in the 10,000-shot club. "They really work hard," said Hollembeak. "I can't complain."
Last season, Hotchkiss posted an 8-13 record. They were competing in Class 3A and were the smallest school in terms of enrollment last season. After adjusting classes to enrollment, Hotchkiss moved from Class 3A to 2A. But that doesn't mean competition will be any easier.
"It's not like there aren't good teams in 2A," said Hollembeak. "There are a lot of years when those teams could compete at state in 3A. The bottom line is that you've just got to win ballgames, no matter what class you're in."
The C team will be coached by Christa Hawk. Players include Tia Clock, Makenzie Katzdorn, Mae Anderson, Kynlie Derby, Alondra Gallegos, Samantha Galley, Sierra Griffith, Madi Guthrie, Noel Jaramillo, Hailey Lofley, Katey Parsons, Ashley Lovato and Kayla Milstein.
The junior varsity squad's coach will be Jeanette Carey and includes Tiffany Clock, Arial Duncan, Nilam Hypio, Kellie Jones, Annie Stechert, Shelby Rogers and Mariah Young. Jessie Violett, Marissa Cantrell and Amber Pagone will suit up for both the JV and varsity teams.
Rounding out the varsity team are seniors Katie Evans and Alexis Westergren; juniors Kylie Hodges, Natalie Anderson, Jenny Celis, and Daryl Batt; and sophomores Aleksus Wilson and Katie Richards. Hodges, Celis, Anderson, Westergren and Batt all bring varsity experience to this year's team.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the season Friday with a non-conference 57-45 loss to Olathe. Hotchkiss trailed 23-18 at the half, and added 13 third-quarter points to trail 37-31 at the end of the third. But the Lady Pirates capitalized on fouls to score 10 of their 20 fourth-period points from the foul line. Haley Turley and Ashlee Pope both contributed 11 points to Olathe's win.
Anderson scored five goals and a game-high 16 points before fouling out in the fourth. Wilson had nine second-half points, and Westergren added eight. Batt, Richards and Hodges each added four points.
Hotchkiss hosts Gunnison this Thursday at 6 p.m. They play the next four games on the road — at Vail Christian this Friday, Ridgway on Dec. 11, Basalt on Dec. 14, and Ouray on Dec. 18. They will compete in the annual Delta County Bank of the West tournament on Dec. 21-22. Hotchkiss and Paonia will battle at 3 p.m.blog comments powered by Disqus