Coaching changes at Paonia, Hotchkiss

By Tamie Meck

Coaching changes at Paonia, Hotchkiss | Sports, PHS, HHS

Photo by Tamie Meck Taralee Williams, a graduate of Ohio State University, takes over the head coaching position at Hotchkiss High School from Kendal Roberts (2012-2014). Williams will also teach social studies, tech and weights at HHS.

Hotchkiss and Paonia will see some coaching changes for the 2015-2016 sports season.

Hotchkiss said good-bye to head volleyball coach Kendal Roberts and hello to Taralee Williams.

Williams hails from Brookfield, Ohio, and attended Ohio State University. She was living in Limon and looking for a teaching job when she heard about the head volleyball position after Roberts moved out of the area.

Williams, 26, will also teach social studies, weights and tech classes at HHS. She brings club, AAU, high school and Junior Olympic experience to the team. This is her second high school head coaching position.

Williams is getting to know her players through open gym and weights sessions. "Fundamental-wise, Kendal did an awesome job," and it especially shows in returning upperclassmen including senior Gracia Fisher. That's important, said Williams, since the team lost seven seniors. "She is really stepping up" as a leader and keeps the team motivated.

With other returning seniors and a strong sophomore class, "I think our future is pretty bright."

Nate Wiggins will take over the assistant wrestling coach position at Paonia High School, but Wiggins is hardly new to the program. A 2002 PHS alum, he wrestled four years under head coach Andy Pipher and under Chuck Pipher for five years at Mesa State (now Colorado Mesa University). He has experience in both Greco and freestyle wrestling styles.

After graduating, Wiggins returned to PHS as a volunteer coach. During his time the Eagles have won three state team titles and numerous individual titles, including five titles in 2014. He has also coached at the peewee level, at the middle school level with brother Lucas Wiggins, now head coach of the middle school program. Wiggins said that peewees can be the most difficult to coach, in part because of the diversity of the kids, often numbering around 40, and the difficulty in making learning enjoyable. It's best to start kids early, he said, "If they don't have fun, they won't do it later."

He also believes that, for him, learning different styles and training under a variety of coaches translates to better coaching.

Also at Paonia High School, Tim Esgar will return to his former position as athletic director, while Karla Head will take on the position of assistant principal/counselor after serving as athletic director for two years.

Fall sports practices throughout Delta County begin Aug. 17.