Farmer Athletes Bundle up for Another Winter Sports Season


Courtesy of

Coach Coach Dowd and boys’ basketball team during a game.

Samuel Reich, Rookie Reporter

Yet another season of winter sports has now arrived, and excited Farmers are dusting off last year’s gear for a fresh start.

Friday, Nov. 10 was the official starting point of the winter sports season, where old and new players alike gathered together under the scrutinizing but animated eye of last year’s coaches for tryouts or the start of practice. Expectations for the season are high, and the Farm is looking forward to another solid year of competition.

Wheat Ridge High School’s girls swim team suited up for a training camp and their first practice of the season last week. Though they are a smaller group than they were last year, coach Dean Miller, also a chemistry teacher here on the Farm, is still very confident that they can do just as well as they did before. This would be no little achievement as they came in third in the league, beaten only by the teams that won second and third at State last year–Valor Christian and Evergreen.

“We’re going to have a good, solid team,” Miller said. “Third I thought was really good, and I think we can do the same thing this year.”

The team is also looking forward to the return of a number of seasoned swimmers, including seniors Lauryn Leslie and Emma Sappey as well as sophomores Abigail McAdams and Ellie Gothard.

The Farm’s wrestlers are also looking forward to another season of high-quality competition, coming back from taking third in conference and sending a few guys to State last year.

“Expectations are pretty high on how we should be able to do as a team this year,” David Osse, the wrestling coach and a math teacher here at WRHS, said last week. “We should have a pretty experienced team coming back from last year.”

The return of accomplished wrestlers such as seniors Angelo Vecchiarelli and Josh Moler, in addition to only having lost one senior wrestler last year, has really boosted their confidence, setting their expectations on winning conference and qualifying a handful of wrestlers to the state tournament.

Girls basketball is preparing for their second season under coach Kevin Porter, a retired teacher with a long coaching experience. Despite their very disappointing performance last year with only 3 wins and 20 losses, Porter is confident that they will be able to up their game, thanks to the hard work put in by his players over the summer.

“The expectations are higher,” he said in an interview last Friday. “I really believe that this group of girls will really strive to meet those expectations.” He has similarly high hopes for the JV team as well, which is coached by Cindy Wirth, the wife of the Farm’s last principal, Griff Wirth.

Boys basketball is also looking ahead to a stronger season than before, hoping to improve their 14-10 record from last year under the experienced direction of coach Tom Dowd, a business teacher in his 22nd year of coaching at Wheat Ridge.

“It was a pretty tough competition,” Dowd said, remarking on their formidable opponents, Valor and Golden, “[but] I think we’re going to be better.”

Though feeling the loss of a number of good senior players last year including the all-conference player Travis Cowan, the team is still strong, benefitting with the return of seniors Naishon Thomas and Payton Dietrich, junior Zeke Van Tuyl, and sophomores Dominic Bronk and Alex Morales.

“I think we have more depth than we’ve had this last couple years,” Dowd said. “We can play probably eight, nine, ten guys and not really lose a lot, and we’ve got quite a bit of experience coming back.”

Dowd also has high expectations for JV, coached by his son Vince Dowd, and the Freshman team, coached by Shawn Mulligan, thanks in part to a strong freshman class coming in this year.

All in all, Farmer athletes are looking forward to a strong year of competition ahead of them, hoping to improve their playing level from last year a good bit. With some hard work and team spirit, they might be able to accomplish just that.