Could the North Fork baseball teams face off in the state championship baseball game?
Ask his friends what they remember about Casey Gillenwater and they'll say that he was humble, mature beyond his years, fun-loving, bubbly, friendly and caring, and fiercely competitive. They will say he made positive impact on many, many lives.
The Paonia girls medaled in 10 events and scored 41 points to place sixth at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Track and Field Meet.
After placing 16th as a freshman, third as a sophomore, and second as a junior, Mckenna Palmer won the triple jump.
The Ute Trails Car Club held its annual car show at Zack's BBQ Saturday, May 12 -- one of many activities taking place in Hotchkiss on Mother's Day weekend. A portion of the proceeds funds scholarships for graduating seniors.
At Monday night's commencement exercises, 41 eaglets officially left the nest that is Paonia High School. During their four years, the class of 2018 collectively had higher than average SAT scores, participated in all-state choir and band, broke sports records, won numerous titles, built and installed a solar energy system, and won the hearts of their community.
Steve Swartzendruber, a longtime Paonia coach in several sports, recently retired.
Swartzendruber is retiring after more than three decades of coaching ball in Paonia.
Donald Carter won't be attending his graduation. In a staged scene, the Paonia High School senior, had a dangerous mix of alcohol and marijuana in his system on prom night when he made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car carrying four other prom-goers.
In the final state qualifying track meet of the season the Paonia girls scored 141 points to win the 11-team Cedaredge Bruin Invitational.
Brooke Hillman won the 800m in a season-best time of 2:27.83.
After defeating rival Paonia by a single run in conference play, Hotchkiss (17-3) was seeded first heading into Saturday's district baseball tournament at Hubbard Field in Olathe; Paonia (19-2) was seeded second. Both teams won their respective semifinal game in five innings.
The Delta girls tennis team will send a doubles team to this week's 3A State tennis tournament, which opens Thursday at Centennial Park in Greeley.
The four doubles team of Shoshana Vigil and Kendyll Siettmann qualified for state on a challenge match.
Paonia will enter this week's District 3/5 tournament with a 17-2 overall record after defeating Nucla, 27-0, on May 1. The Eagles scored 18 runs in the third inning.
Over the two-day meet the boys and girls teams combined set about 40 personal records, said Paonia head coach Brian Mitchem. "Some of them were what we'd been waiting for."
Just who will come out on top in Class 2A District 3/5 baseball remains a mystery after the two top teams in the district split a doubleheader last week. On Thursday, Hotchkiss won game one of the series, beating Paonia on its home turf by a single run.
The Paonia girls 3200 relay team of Randi Rapke, Poppy Lightfoot, Brooke Hillman and Tawny Roberts dominated at Montrose.
At the race's first exchange, Lightfoot was a close third and a few meters back from Olathe and Crested Butte when she handed the baton to freshman Tawny Roberts.
Paonia senior Mckenna Palmer continues to dominate the triple jump event, where she's ranked first in state in Class 2A top-18 standings. At last Thursday's Coal Ridge invitational Palmer won gold in the triple jump with a mark of 35 feet, one-quarter inch.
With the 3A Region 8 tennis tournament less than two weeks away, the Paonia girls tennis team will wrap up the season Thursday against Delta before heading to regional competition May 4-5.
Paonia's most recent matches were against tough schools.
The two top-ranked teams in the 2A Western Slope League will meet twice this week, with the outcome determining the league champions.
Paonia (13-1, 5-0) is currently in the number two spot in state Max Preps standings and Hotchkiss (11-1, 4-0) is number four.
All good things must come to an end. For the defending state champion Paonia Eagles baseball team, last week's 9-8 loss to Class 5A Grand Junction ended a 35-game winning streak.
After losing their first seven games of the season, the Tigers had won seven of their last eight games.
On Wednesday, April 25, the North Fork Ambulance will present a biennial training exercise known as the mock DUI crash at Paonia High School beginning at 9 a.m.
The North Fork Ambulance coordinates and works in partnership with local agencies including ambulance, fire and law enforcement to educate students about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Delta High School's baseball fortunes included a pair of wins and a loss last week. Wins came against Olathe (0-3 and 1-10 in 3A WSL) and Hotchkiss (2-0 and 9-1 in 2A District 3/5).
North Fork baseball teams cleaned up on Saturday at Ignacio, dominating 2A District 5 teams Dolores and Ignacio. Paonia slipped past Dolores 14-2 in its first game and then shutout host Ignacio 17-0 in game two.
While the Paonia track teams didn't score a lot of points at Saturday's Demon Invitational track meet at Glenwood Springs -- the girls placed seventh with 48 points and the boys finished 11th with 16 points at the 19-team meet -- multiple Paonia athletes set personal best times, heights and distances.
At the April 4 Grand Valley Cardinal Open track meet, the Paonia boys' 3200m relay team took first with a time of 8 minutes, 48.08 seconds. At Saturday's Frank Woodburn Invitational the team of Caden Meilner, Ethan Bartlett, Harley Ewert and Logan Green took nine seconds off that mark, placing fourth overall and first among Class 2A teams with a time of 8:39.98.
The Paonia girls track team scored 74 points last Wednesday evening to place fourth at the 13-team Grand Valley Cardinal Open track meet. On Saturday the Eagles finished fifth with 69.5 points at Palisade High School's Frank Woodburn Invitational at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
Four Delta County high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional character, leadership, and commitment to the community have earned a place in the Daniels Scholarship Program.
Among the 238 students selected as 2018 Daniels Scholars are Kayla Kensler, Cedaredge High School; Thomas Neil, Delta High School; and Slater Podgorny and Anders Schopp, Paonia High School.
The Paonia baseball team remains undefeated after sweeping a doubleheader at Rangely Saturday. Both games ended in five innings.
The Paonia girls track team made its best showing of the season, scoring 93 points to place third at Saturday's Cedaredge Invitational.
Senior Mckenna Palmer set a mark of 34 feet, 6.5 inches to win the long jump.
The Paonia Eagles played to two five-inning wins Saturday under sunny skies. "It's good to be out here on a nice day, finally," said head coach Nate Miller.
In its opening matches of the season, Paonia swept the doubles matches to defeat visiting Cedaredge, 4-3, on March 19.
Cedaredge swept the singles matches in straight sets.
After losing most of its varsity team to graduation, the Paonia girls tennis team is off to a good start this season. Following a 4-3 conference win over Cedaredge (see story on B8) Paonia defeated the Fruita Monument junior varsity squad, 6-1 Saturday at Apple Valley Park.
The Paonia girls placed fourth with 63.5 points Saturday at the annual Hotchkiss Invitational track and field meet.
In individual events, Mckenna Palmer finished second in the long jump with a jump of 15 feet, 8.5 inches, and placed third in the 100m hurdles (17.40).
A solar array project started by Paonia High School students in 2016 was recently installed on school grounds. Eight high school students enrolled in the Solar Energy International PV101 course worked with Empowered Energy Systems to install the 40-panel, 10.4-kW ground mount system and Schlettler rack.
The defending Class 2A state champion Paonia Eagles opened the season Thursday with a 7-1 home win over Delta. Senior Kaden Seriani, one of four returning all-state players for the Eagles, allowed four hits in five innings and struck out 10.
The Paonia boys track team finished in the top three in two events and scored 29 points at Saturday's Delta Panther Invitational.
In the 400-meter dash, junior Harley Ewart took second with a time of 55.09 seconds.
In their first meet of the season, the Paonia girls scored 41 points to place sixth Saturday at the Delta Panther Invitational.
Among the top Paonia placers, senior Mckenna Palmer won the triple jump with a wind-assisted (3.4 meters per hour) distance of 32 feet, 4 inches.
The Paonia boys, Paonia girls and Hotchkiss boys basketball teams all saw their chances for a state playoff berth vanish in the first round of regional playoffs last Friday.
The Paonia girls ended the season with a 14-9 record following a 47-24 loss to Denver Christian at the Region 8 tournament at Ignacio.
The Colorado High School Activities Association, ColoradoPreps.com and MaxPreps have announced their annual all-state wrestling teams for the 2018 season. Among the top wrestlers in the state, six are from Delta County.
Eleven schools participated in a regional speech and debate tournament hosted by Delta High School coach Danielle Lopez and Central High School coach Britny Walker at Central High School. Participating schools included Ouray High School, Summit High School and several in between.
After placing in the top five in the district, Hotchkiss and Paonia will compete this weekend in regional tournaments for a shot at the Great 8 state championship tournament in Loveland.
Hotchkiss opened the district tournament last Wednesday with a 68-63 quarterfinal win against rival Paonia.
In their closest game in more than a decade, the Paonia Eagles edged out rival Hotchkiss in the District 5 consolation round Saturday at De Beque High School to qualify for this week's regional basketball playoffs.
Seniors Kassidy Rapke scored a game-high 13 points for Paonia, and Andi Todd scored 12.
The Hotchkiss Bulldog boys' basketball team played inspired basketball in last week's 2A District 5 tournament. A 68-63 win over fourth-seed Paonia in quarterfinal play marked the third game between the two rivals in 2017-18 with Hotchkiss (fifth seed) winning two of the three match-ups.
The first three quarters of Paonia High School's boys basketball game between the Eagles and Rangely essentially spelled the difference in last week's game. The Panthers were a five-point winner, 61-56, when the final buzzer sounded.
Last week's basketball schedule included two games to end the regular season for Paonia's girls. The Eagles played Montrose's junior varsity on Feb. 13 and recorded a 37-16 non-conference win at home.
A select group of Paonia and Delta high school junior and senior students performed recently with some 600 other choir members from across the state at the annual Colorado All-State Choir, held Feb. 1-3 in Denver.
PHS students Derek Holt sang in the men's choir, Cade Meilner sang mixed choir, and Jordan Evans sang in the women's choir.
The Paonia Eagles placed seven wrestlers and scored 147 points to finish second at the Class 2A state wrestling tournament. "I thought they peaked at the right time," said first year head coach Nate Wiggins. "They really performed."
The Paonia boys have worked their way into the top three of 2A District 5 standings and are looking to make the most of it with the playoffs looming in the future.
Paonia is 9-2 in league play and 12-6 overall. Last week's visit to Meeker resulted in one of the two league losses the Eagles show in standings.
The Paonia Eagles placed 12 wrestlers and scored 203.5 points to finish second Saturday at the 2A Region 1 tournament.
Senior Clay Campbell was one of three Paonia wrestlers to go undefeated.
With one match remaining last Friday night at Delta High School, the host Panthers were leading by a slim three points against Paonia.
For Class 2A Paonia to win the annual dual against the Class 3A Panthers, 126-pound sophomore Zeb Etter needed at least a major win over Ayden Tucker.
The Eagles upped their winning streak to five games and their conference record to 9-1 last week with wins over Vail Mountain, North Park and West Grand.
The North Park and West Grand games marked the first starts for junior Elan Maulhardt.
With two weeks remaining in regulation play the Eagles upped their 2A/1A Western Slope conference record to 7-2 with wins over North Park and West Grand.
This Friday and Saturday, wrestlers from around the state will compete at one of four regional meets for a chance to wrestle at the 82nd annual State Wrestling Tournament, scheduled for Feb. 15-17 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
In Delta County, 14 teams will compete in the Class 2A Region 1 tournament at Delta High School.
The Paonia girls are now 5-2 in the 2A/1A Western Slope conference and 9-5 overall. On Jan. 23, Paonia played to a 43-21 non-conference loss at Grand Valley (8-4 overall, 2-1, 3A WSL). On Friday night, the Eagles lost a conference battle at Vail Christian by a score of 44-32.
In what head coach Chase Roeber called "a really big week," the Paonia Eagles bumped their conference record to 6-1 on wins over Vail Christian Friday and De Beque Saturday.
In Friday's 80-67 win at Vail Christian, senior Enoch Kropp scored a game- and season-high 39 points.
In their final home dual of the season the Paonia Eagles defeated Olathe last Thursday, 59-9.
The dual opened at 160 pounds with Olathe's Wyatt Mansker winning by an 8-2 decision over Jesse Burns.
In their final tournament of the regulation season, the Paonia Eagles scored 174 points to place third at the annual Valley Classic tournament at Center High School. With the state tournament less than three weeks away, Paonia is in third place in Class 2A On the Mat rankings.
For the first time in recent history, the Class 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament will be held in Delta County.
On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, 15 teams and more than 100 wrestlers will compete at Delta High School for a berth at the Colorado High School Activities Association's 82nd annual State Wrestling Tournament, to be held Feb. 15-17 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
In Paonia's 72-6 dual win Friday over West Grand, nine matches were determined by forfeit. Of the five matches wrestled, the Eagles won four by fall.
The Hotchkiss Bulldogs overcame missed opportunities and a sluggish third quarter last Thursday to win their conference game against Paonia by a score of 55-50. The game marked the first win over their rival since 2013.
Hotchkiss controlled the board for much of the game, leading 19-14, at the end of first-quarter play.
Strong defense helped Paonia sail to a 16-point win over neighbor Hotchkiss last Thursday in a girls game that nearly packed the Paonia High School gymnasium.
In the opening period the Eagles held Hotchkiss to one goal -- by junior post Carson Collins -- and two free throws -- by guard Elsie Vasquez -- to lead, 15-4, at the buzzer.
The three participating Delta County wrestling teams placed multiple wrestlers and produced champions Saturday at the annual Screaming Eagle tournament. Twenty-one teams and about 170 wrestlers competed at the annual tournament.
Junior Sackett Chesnik wrestled to a 5-0 record and a first-place finish Saturday at the 45th annual Tournament of Champions at Vernal, Utah. Paonia was one of eight teams from Western Colorado competing in the tournament.
The annual Screamin' Eagle wrestling tournament returns to Paonia High School this Saturday.
Twenty-two teams, including Delta, Cedaredge, Hotchkiss and Olathe, registered for the tournament.
In a battle between the two top teams in Class 2A On the Mat rankings, No. 2 Paonia defeated No. 1 Cedaredge Thursday night, 39-33. Of the 13 matches wrestled, four were won by decision.
Paonia High School alumna Ashley Vanvleet, a sophomore member of the Idaho State University Bengals track team, won her first title of the season. Vanvleet scored 3,413 points to win the pentathlon at the Snake River Open, held Jan. 12 and 13 in Pocatello, Idaho.
Paonia won eight championship matches and scored 219 points to win the Cowboy Invitational Saturday at Western State Colorado University Field House in Gunnison.
Individual champions include Sackett Chesnik at 138 pounds, Clay Campbell (145), Grey Neal (152), Jesse Burns (160), Anthony Felice (160), Jaden Miller (182), Cyrus Malek-Madani (220) and Levi Peterson (285).
Does height matter in basketball? Two starting players for the Paonia Lady Eagles will tell you in a very convincing way that, in the game, height doesn't always equal success.
The Paonia boys basketball team opened the conference season with a convincing 68-37 win at Plateau Valley last Friday. On Saturday it took a 70-20 win over Caprock Academy in Grand Junction.
After strong team and individual finishes at the Warrior Classic, Cedaredge, Paonia and Hotchkiss are in the top three spots, respectively, in the Class 2A On the Mat team rankings heading into the new year. That could make for an interesting run for the Region 1 title on Feb. 9-10.
Last week, Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) announced the names of 25 students from Colorado's Third Congressional District who received a Service Academy nomination. The individuals were selected based on meeting or exceeding the rigorous requirements of the respective academy and Congressman Tipton's office.
In its first home dual of the season, Paonia defeated Palisade last Wednesday in a competition that came down to the final match.
Paonia head coach Nate Wiggins and Palisade head coach Tanner Ridgway both wrestled at Paonia under former head coach Andy Pipher.
When Paonia senior Clay Campbell lost to a 4A wrestler in the third round at this year's Warrior Classic he went to work, winning five consecutive consolation matches and placing fourth at 145 pounds.
While he would like to have ended the tournament on a win, "I made the podium," said Campbell.
At the Warrior Classic, where even the best wrestlers in the state can get beaten, and up-and-coming wrestlers can gain invaluable experience against athletes they might otherwise never see, victories often come in small measure: not getting pinned against a top-ranked wrestler, winning a consolation match or two, or scoring against a state champion from a bigger school.
After rolling over Paonia 48-36 in their opener in this year's First Colorado National Bank Basketball Tournament, Delta's Panthers had control of the title game over Cedaredge but suffered lack of consistency in the second half in a 47-43 overtime loss to the Bruins (see related article).
Paonia won last year's girls division of the First Colorado National Bank Basketball Tournament and Emily Pieper was named MVP. This year's Paonia Eagles are competitive but lack experience and the depth of last year's squad.
After suffering through a cold shooting night against Delta the previous day, Paonia's Eagles bounced back in the First Colorado National Bank's consolation game for a 60-43 win on Saturday. Paonia scored just 30 points against Delta in Friday night's opener.
Paonia Junior-Senior High School students believe their school and community are supportive of them. They also want fewer homework assignments, more class options, and more job opportunities.
The Paonia Eagles sent five into the championship round, and emerged with five champions -- Sackett Chesnik (138), Clay Campbell (145), Rockley Grey Neal (152), Anthony Felice (170) and Jaden Miller (182).
The Paonia girls are now 3-1 following last week's games against 3A Western Slope League teams. On Dec. 5 the Eagles hit 30 percent of their field goal attempts and had single-digit scores in all four quarters in their 35-28 loss at Olathe (2-2).
The Paonia High School girls basketball teams of 1975-1979 had arguably the best run in the history of Paonia girls basketball. "The players were driven," said head coach Don Hinson.
It's an annual ritual that dates back decades. Each year, Hotchkiss and Paonia step onto the wrestling mat to see which team can out-dual the other.
Last Thursday's dual win went to Paonia, which won at seven weight divisions and won one match by forfeit.
After losing all five starters and a five-year assistant coach from last season's state champion team, Paonia head basketball coach Scott Rienks said he doesn't know what this season will bring for the Eagles. But with more than two decades of coaching experience and three state titles to his name, Rienks does know a few things.
After a 22-4 season and a fourth-place finish at state, the Paonia Eagles lost four six-foot-plus players and most of its size to graduation. But there's a lot of returning talent left to work with.
Two Paonia High School senior student-athletes committed to playing sports at a Division I schools during Nov. 14 signing ceremonies.
Mckenna Palmer signed to play volleyball at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Paonia's 35-23 state quarterfinal loss to Bennett was a tough one, but head coach Blaine Escher had nothing but praise for his players. Bennett, after all, has lost just five games in the last three seasons and is now 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state as they head into next week's semifinals.
Paonia head football coach Blaine Escher made no bones about it. The strategy going into Saturday's first-round state football playoff Saturday at Peyton focused on the wind.
The 2A Western Slope volleyball conference will be well-represented at this week's state tournament, but for the first time in six seasons, Paonia won't be there.
The Eagles ended the season with a 17-8 record after placing second at the Region C tournament Saturday at Meeker.
The Paonia Eagles capped the football season with a 21-2 win at Grand Valley Friday night, but it wasn't a pretty win. Paonia lacked big plays, was unable to capitalize on short field situations, and had three critical turnovers, including two in the first quarter.
A late-season arrival by freshman Tawny Roberts gave the Paonia cross country team what it needed to win this year's regional title, and a stellar performance by Paonia's top runners earned the team a second place finish and another piece of hardware for the trophy case.
The Paonia volleyball team will travel to Meeker this week to compete in the Region C tournament after placing third Saturday at the district tournament.
After opening Friday with a 3-1 district win over Plateau Valley, Paonia shocked third-seeded Vail Mountain with a three-set, 26-24, 25-22, 25-23 win, eliminating Vail from the tournament and guaranteeing the Eagles a regional playoff berth.
If there was any doubt that Meeker is the No. 1 team in the 1A Western Slope League, it was put to rest Friday night when the Cowboys handed the hometown Paonia Eagles a 31-14 loss. For the Eagles it was their first conference loss and second overall loss of the season.
The Paonia Eagles ended the regular volleyball season with a 14-5 overall, 9-3 conference record following losses to Meeker and Vail Mountain in last week's action.
Meeker (16-3, 9-1), was coming off of a three-set loss to Rangely and was battling for position ahead of this week's district volleyball tournament.
For the first time since 2013, Paonia will send both cross country teams to state after strong showings in the Class 2A Region 4 competition last Friday at Confluence Park in Delta.
The Paonia girls placed four runners in the top 10 and scored 23 points to win the division, and the boys scored 38 points to finish third overall.
If there was any question whether Paonia could adjust to a new coaching staff and play as one unit, the answer may be found in its 42-7 routing of Olathe.
For the Pirates, who were coming off of a seven-point win over Cedaredge, it marked their first conference loss of the season.
Paonia remains in third place in 2A District 5 volleyball standings after posting its first conference loss of the season Saturday at Rangely. The three set (17-25, 25-27, 16-25) loss gives Paonia an 8-1 conference and 13-3 overall record with three games remaining in the regular season.
The Paonia cross country teams ended the regular season at the Montrose Relays.
Paonia appears poised to qualify a boys' team for the first time since 2013.
The North Fork Bowl trophy will remain at Paonia High School for a fifth consecutive year after the Eagles defeated rival Hotchkiss Friday night by a score of 28-21.
Eagles quarterback Caden Meilner had one of his best nights of the season, completing six of seven passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, running for two touchdowns, and going four-for-four in PATs.
There's no denying Hotchkiss and Paonia are rivals, but the Bulldogs will have to wait another season to attempt a win over the Eagles after playing to a 3-0, 25-21, 25-7, 25-18 home loss last Friday.
Hotchkiss coach Peter Nethington said that while it was a tough loss, he wasn't unhappy with the team's performance.
Paonia senior Caden Meilner is well on his way to a third consecutive state qualification in cross country after finishing 17th out of 124 runners at last Friday's Pantherfest invitational run. Meilner finished in 17 minutes, 20.17 seconds and placed fourth among class 2A runners.
Former Paonia High School standout volleyball player McKenna Hartigan is seeing lots of playing time as a freshman for Chadron State's Eagles. Hartigan recorded 11 kills against Westminster this past weekend and now has a total of 59 kills on the season as a freshman.
In what could be its toughest match of the season, the Paonia volleyball team battled to a non-conference 3-2 win over Cedaredge Friday night. The game also marked the annual Pink Night fundraiser for HopeWest in recognition of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Paonia Eagles upped their winning streak to nine games last week, beginning Sept. 26 with a 25-9, 25-16, 25-8 win over Vail Christian. Senior Mckenna Palmer led in serve receives with 16, and in kills with 14.
For Paonia fans, Friday night's conference-opening win was another victory under a new coaching staff and in a season dubbed "New Year, New Team, One Dream."
For Cedaredge fans, it was a long night that ended in a 49-8 loss.
Katya Schwieterman and Brooke Hillman led the Paonia cross country team to a second-place finish Saturday at the Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational cross country meet. Schwieterman pulled out all the stops with a second-place time of 20 minutes, 44.65 seconds, topping her former personal best performance run a week earlier at the Anna Banana memorial race in Fruita.
The Eagles volleyball team is now 8-1 overall following a three-set win Saturday over Nucla.
The first and last games went well, but in the second game, "We did not play up to our potential," said coach Karla Head.
The Paonia Eagles barely broke a sweat Friday night in their 55-0 homecoming win over Roaring Fork.
It was a much different game from the week before when the Eagles fumbled the ball away on their first two possessions.
The Paonia boys cross country team placed sixth out of 12 scoring teams Saturday at the Anna Banana Wildcat Memorial Cross Country race at Fruita, and first among 2A and 3A schools.
Senior Caden Meilner finished 11th with a time of 17 minutes, 37.3 seconds.
During halftime of the Paonia Homecoming football game, former Eagles quarterback Casey Gillenwater was honored in words and in spirit. Gillenwater was killed in a truck wreck on Sept. 13. He was a 2011 PHS graduate and in 2010 was crowned Homecoming king.
Paonia High School will be a blur of activity this week as students celebrate Homecoming Week.
The week includes numerous longstanding traditions.
More than 220 racers from 20 schools competed in the men's division at the Eagle Valley Cross Country invitational. Harley Ewert and Caden Meilner led the Paonia Eagles to finish in 18 minutes, 15.30 seconds and 18:15.8, earning 26 and 27 points, respectively. One of three Class 2A teams at the meet, Paonia entered 12 runners and placed eighth overall with 222 points, with Logan Green, Ethan Bartlett, Ben O'Rourke and Elijah Evans rounding out scoring.
About two thirds of the way through Saturday's Hotchkiss Cross Country Invitational, Paonia senior Caden Meilner trailed Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez as they cruised across the high ridgeline of the adobe desert course. "He's just such a phenomenal runner and I kept him in my sights throughout the race," said Meilner.
The Paonia Eagles are now 1-1 after a non-conference routing of Rye Friday night at Salida. The 44-3 win is the first for the Eagles under new head coach Blaine Escher.
Despite missing two top runners, the Paonia girls' cross country team placed four runners in the top 20 and finished third with 37 points Saturday at the Hotchkiss Invitational.
Katya Schwieterman finished fourth with a time of 23 minutes, 35.9 seconds.
The Eagles are off to a good start under new head volleyball coach Karla Head. Following last week's two conference wins and a non-conference loss to 3A Coal Ridge, they are 4-1 overall and undefeated in the 2A/1A Western Slope League.
Heading into last Friday's Devil's Thumb Hill Climb cross country race, coaches were telling their runners that due to the technical level of the course, times weren't a priority.
Paonia head coach Brandy Sparks told her runners not to worry about times.
The Paonia Eagles volleyball team is off to a strong start to the season after posting wins over Plateau Valley and Norwood last week.
Mckenna Palmer had 17 kills and served six aces in the Paonia Eagles' season-opening 3-0 (25-10, 25-9, 25-22) win on Aug. 29.
If Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez was uncertain about how his cross country season will go, his performance at last Friday's Devil's Thumb Hill Climb should quiet any doubts in his mind. Rodriguez placed fifth out of 107 runners.
Paonia first-year head coach Blaine Escher was expecting last Friday's zero-week game at Centauri to be tough. Centauri returns a big senior class that includes two all-state honorable mention players.
Since the cross country program began in 2013, Paonia has qualified just two teams for state competition -- a boys' team in 2013, and a girls' team in 2016.
This year, Paonia appears primed to send both teams to state.
Every prep sports team loses a good group of seniors. But for Paonia, graduating seniors took a big chunk of experience and talent with it.
PHS alumni Blaine Escher, Josh Burns and Lucas Wiggins will make up the majority of the Eagles coaching staff as the program heads into the post-Brent McRae era. Veteran coaches Don Holt and Scott Rienks will help with the transition.
Two Paonia High School juniors were recently selected to participate in elite summer military programs and experience what life is like in the armed forces. The programs they attended are designed to help applicants in their post-secondary education decisions.
Three Paonia High School student-athletes signed their national letters of intent to participate in college sports on April 24.
Warren Minerich will compete in track and field as a thrower for South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, where he plans to study mining engineering. Minerich was a three-year state qualifying thrower in discus and shot put.
With six Paonia baseball players receiving all-state honors from the Colorado High School Activities Association, it's easy to see why the Eagles went undefeated this season. They are loaded with talent.
Four Paonia High School student-athletes and two head coaches were nominated to participate in the annual Colorado High School Coaches Association All-State Games June 6-10.
All team coaches and senior athletes who participate in the games are nominated and voted on by CHSCA member coaches.
The 2017 high school all-state baseball selections were released recently.
Several athletes from Delta County were honored with selections to the state's elite baseball squads.
A changing of the guard in Paonia hasn't altered the gathering of wrestlers from around the state, and out of the state, for an annual event which traditionally draws some of the best wrestlers who want to compete against someone they don't often see.
Paonia High School math teacher and sports coach Brent McRae said that leaving Paonia was one of the toughest decisions he's ever made. McRae has accepted a teaching position at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch.
The Paonia Eagles baseball team topped off a historic season at Hobbs Field in Pueblo Saturday, holding its opponents scoreless in state semifinal and final games to bring home the trophy and end the year with a perfect 25-0 record.
Head coach Nate Miller called the win a "huge redemption" after the Eagles suffered a heartbreaker 4-2 state semifinal loss to Limon last May.
In light of the two-day weather delay of the 2017 state track meet, the Colorado High School Activities Association held a special graduation ceremony Sunday morning for all athletes who missed their graduation ceremonies at home.
This year's Lions Club memorial scholarships were presented to PHS students Blake Benson and Kelsey Stroud.
During the Paonia High School senior scholarship awards ceremony May 11, Doug Cline, master of Paonia Masonic Lodge, presented a vocational scholarship from the Colorado Masons Benevolent Fund Association to Alexis Triantos.
Paonia's baseball team remained undefeated last weekend and heads to the fateful semifinal round which kayoed the Eagles title run in 2016 when Limon knocked off Paonia in a late innings rally.
The Eagles won their opening round contest against No. 16 Sargent (11-11 overall and 7-1 in 2A District 1 play) on Saturday morning in Pueblo.
In light of the two-day weather delay of the 2017 state track meet, the Colorado High School Activities Association held a special graduation ceremony Sunday morning, May 21, for all athletes who missed their graduation ceremonies at home.
The graduates of Paonia High School's Class of 2017 finish what they start, excel in all they do and they stand out like no other class -- so it's only fitting they should have an entirely distinctive graduation ceremony. With those words -- and the announcement that the Paonia girls had just won their fifth consecutive state track title -- assistant principal Karla Head welcomed friends and family members to the graduation celebration Sunday afternoon.
At the Paonia High School senior scholarship awards ceremony May 11, Linda Osborn, representing the Paonia Eastern Star Chapter, presented the Outstanding Junior Girl Award to McKenna Palmer.
If seeding was any indication, the Paonia girls track team had a shot at winning its fifth state track title by under 10 points. Instead, it dominated, Lady Eagles style, outscoring its closest competitors by 36 points to win the Class 2A state title.
While some athletes were hoping for one last chance to hit that state-qualifying height, distance or time last Saturday at the Cedaredge Bruin Invitational track meet, Brian Mitchem's girls team, for the most part, took it easy. Their relay teams are already sitting comfortably in top-18 rankings and were mostly working on handoffs.
Paonia and Hotchkiss will advance to regional baseball competition in Pueblo this week after placing 1-2 at the 2A District 3/5 tournament at Grand Valley High School in Parachute Saturday.
Hotchkiss, which is seeded eighth in the state, takes a 15-5 record into the regional tournament.
This week two of Paonia's throwers are making their second and final trip to state. Seniors Warren Minerich and Blake Benson are both ranked in the top five in their respective event -- Minerich in shot put and Benson in discus.
Since they started throwing back in middle school, qualifying for state their senior year has been their goal all along.
Because they are on the same side of the bracket, Paonia and Hotchkiss could face each other again this Friday.
The Paonia tennis team qualified a singles player and two doubles teams for the Class 3A state tennis tournament in Greeley. This is the most players a Delta County team has qualified for state in a single season, and the first time Paonia has qualified doubles teams for state.
As Paonia's top distance runner, junior Caden Meilner can run all out for more than three and a half miles in a single day. You might say he's driven.
Paonia will take a 19-0 record into this week's District 3/5 tournament after wins over Nucla and Sanford.
Last Tuesday's 9-1 home win over Nucla was a little closer than their first meeting.
The Paonia girls track team won eight events and were runners up in six more events to win the 2A/1A Western Slope district track and field meet, held Friday and Saturday at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
Sophia Anderson won the district title in the triple jump with a mark of 36 feet, 9 inches.
Class 3A Region 8 tennis competition opens this Thursday at Canyon View Park in Grand Junction, and local teams are hoping to send players to the state tournament opening next Thursday in Greeley.
In its final competition ahead of the regional tournament, Aspen swept Paonia last Wednesday at Apple Valley Park, with two matches going into a tiebreaker.
If there was any question as to who the best team is in 1A/2A District 5 competition, it was answered last week as No. 1-ranked Paonia swept a two-game series against No. 2 Hotchkiss.
With high temperatures in the mid-40s, last Friday's annual Montrose Invitational wasn't the best meet for setting new speeds, distances and heights, but it didn't slow Paonia senior Sophia Anderson.
Anderson won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, resetting her personal best marks in both events.
In track and field competition, a fraction of a second or an inch can mean the difference between a win and a loss. To qualify for the Colorado High School Activities Association's state track meet, athletes must be ranked in the top 18 in the state in their respective class.
At Saturday's Western State Colorado University -- Gunnison High School Combined Invitational track meet Saturday, the Paonia girls track team set 10 season-best marks. In the process the four-time defending state 2A champions scored 134 points to win the 13-team event. Class 2A Buena Vista scored 130 points to finish second, and 3A Gunnison placed third with 111 points.
Paonia takes a 15-0 overall record into the week following two five-inning wins at Meeker Saturday.
The undefeated Eagles opened with a 14-3 conference win over the Cowboys. Meeker (10-5 overall, 2-2 in 2A District 3/5) had five hits and three RBIs in the loss.
With five games remaining in the prep baseball season, it seems no one is going to touch Paonia. Even in facing a 5A team and a high-ranked 3A team last week, its record remained unscathed and it ended the week at 13-0.
In its 5-2 win over Delta the Paonia tennis team swept the singles matches in straight sets last Thursday at Apple Valley Park.
At one singles competition, McKenna Erickson defeated Makyla Miramontez, 6-4, 6-0. At two singles Kelsey Stroud defeated Cassidy Parker, 6-1, 6-1.
At Saturday's 20-team Demon Invitational track and field meet in Glenwood Springs the Paonia girls swept the long jump event, with senior Brianna Van Vleet winning gold with a mark of 17 feet, 11.75 inches. The mark also broke the meet record of 16-10.5 set by a Glenwood Springs athlete in 1985 -- the first year the Demon Invitational was held.
Returning state placers Blake Benson and Warren Minerich continue to be consistent point-earners for the Paonia boys track team.
At Saturday's 37th annual Demon Invitational at Glenwood Springs Saturday, Minerich placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 11 inches.
Paonia continues to dominate on the diamond. Last week the Eagles outscored opponents, 46-2, in three games.
A walk-off three-run homer by Kaden Seriani in the bottom of the fifth inning gave Paonia an 11-0 non-conference win over Coal Ridge last Wednesday.
Despite missing its junior teammates due to state testing, the Paonia girls track team scored 111 points to win the 15-team Frank Woodburn Track Meet in Grand Junction Saturday.
Senior Sophia Anderson won two individual events. Her winning time of 26 seconds flat in the 200-meter dash broke the 2015 school record of 26.14 set by Marisa Edmondson.
At last Wednesday's Grand Valley Cardinal Open track meet in Parachute, the Paonia boys scored 55.5 points to place fifth.
Junior Caden Meilner won silver in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:55.81 seconds, and placed fifth in the 800m run with a time of 2:18.19.
Since January, about 150 Delta County high school students have conducted studies in air quality. Paonia High School students of science teacher Jim Frazier carried out experiments to measure the emissions of different kinds of woods when burned, compare emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a full versus an empty pickup fuel tank, and measure heavy VOCs contained in every-day scented items, to mention a few.
Against Glenwood Springs on April 1, senior two singles player Kelsey Stroud posted the sole win for the Paonia tennis team, handily defeating Savanah Kelley, 1-6, 0-6.
The team had some long and hard-fought games against Glenwood Springs, said head coach Dee Holt, with four of the seven matches determined by 10-point tiebreakers.
Parents of a 17-year-old disabled student at Paonia High School are at odds with the school administration over whether their son should be allowed to walk in school.
Alex Hood was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movement and coordination, and suffered a stroke at birth.
At Paonia High School's basketball awards ceremony last week it's an understatement to say that there was a lot to celebrate. The most notable was the girls' Class 2A state championship.
In one week, two Paonia Eagles were one walk away from pitching a perfect game.
Paonia opened conference play Saturday with a 15-0 win over Dolores and a no-hitter for junior pitcher Jaden Miller.
The Paonia girls scored 81 points to tie with Coal Ridge for first place at the annual Cedaredge Invitational.
The girls won four individual events.
The Paonia boys scored 45 points to finish sixth out of 17 teams Saturday at the annual Hotchkiss Invitational track and field meet. The meet was held at Delta High School.
Last Saturday the Paonia Eagles were looking forward to a home doubleheader against Dayspring Christian Academy, a Greeley school ranked sixth in early-season state 2A rankings. Dayspring was scheduled to come to Delta County Friday for a game against No. 7 Hotchkiss, then face No. 1 Paonia Saturday.
The Paonia girls won three events and scored 88 points to finish second at the Hotchkiss Invitational. Montrose won the meet with 146 points.
Following two wins and a loss last week, Delta High School's baseball team is 4-3 on the season. The Panthers are 1-0 in 3A WSL action and lead the league standings with Gunnison (4-1, 1-0), Basalt (1-1, 1-0), Olathe (0-6, 0-1) and Roaring Fork (0-3, 0-1) rounding out the top five.
The Paonia Eagles opened the baseball season at 2-0, sweeping a doubleheader against the Uintah Utes last Thursday in Grand Junction, 3-0, 8-4.
Last season the Eagles won the District 2 championship on a 5-4 win over rival Hotchkiss.
The Paonia girls are a perennial powerhouse in both the track and field events. The Eagles will seek their fifth consecutive state team title this May.
Trevor Smith wants his wrestling medal back. Smith, a senior at Paonia High School, won the Class 2A heavyweight wrestling title in February.
A couple of tough-luck games at the 2017 boys' Class 2A State Basketball Championships were all that stood in the way of Paonia High School's shot at a state basketball title.
The Eagles had some early difficulty handling the No. 3 Del Norte Tigers in quarterfinal play before dispatching them with a 45-37 win.
It's a tradition at Paonia High School that each year, after state wrestling, the team celebrates the end of the season and enjoys some ice cream. And each year Paonia head coach Andy Pipher recaps the season and shares something personal about each wrestler.
Paonia High School girls' basketball coach remembered the scenario which unfolded in the 2010 championship matchup between the Eagles and Akron. "Down eight with 2:30 left in the game. I asked the girls to look me in the eye and I told them we were going to win," quoted Paonia girls coach Scott Rienks.
Colton Godwin is about to become a Grizzly. Last Friday the Paonia senior signed to play soccer at Adams State University in Alamosa, which competes in the NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Godwin plans to study business marketing after taking a business class this year with Brent McRae.
Paonia girls head basketball coach Scott Rienks has one of the most athletic teams of his career. The Eagles were league and district champions, and last weekend they won their 22nd consecutive game of the season to qualify for this week's final 8 state tournament.
The Paonia Eagles will make their sixth consecutive trip to the girls state basketball championships this week after defeating Center, 78-37, Saturday at the West Slope regional tournament at Gunnison. They enter the Great 8 bracket as the No. 2 seed and with a 22-0 record.
After a shaky start the Paonia Eagles pulled off a convincing 63-33 regional win over Telluride Saturday to advance to the final eight round of the CHSAA state basketball championships.
"We were the last ones to punch our ticket," said head coach Chase Roeber after the late evening 63-33 win at Western State Colorado University's Mountaineer Field House in Gunnison.
Paonia girls head coach Scott Rienks is eyeing his sixth consecutive trip to the Class 2A state basketball tournament. With an undefeated season and a top seed at this week's Western Slope regional playoffs, odds are they'll get there.
Paonia head basketball coach Chase Roeber knew ahead of post season play that there would be no easy games on the road to the state tournament. Of top seven teams vying for the 2A District 5 title, the tournament could go to any of them, said Roeber. "They're all right there."
The prep basketball playoff season is officially underway. Each of the state's eight districts are now down to eight teams after pigtail games were held Monday, with second-round playoffs continuing today.
Paonia's boys basketball team was expected to win last Friday in Rangely. A 66-36 decision was as lopsided as it sounds with everyone on Coach Chase Roeber's roster seeing action.
Paonia's Eagles kept a stranglehold on 2A District 5's top spot with a solid 61-45 win against Rangely on Feb. 17 and will host a first-round playoff game on Wednesday (Feb. 22).
Last Friday's game, played in Rangely, wasn't in doubt after the conclusion of the first half. Paonia was comfortably ahead 38-23 heading to its locker room after the first 16 minutes of play.
Paonia senior Trevor Smith is a little underweight for a heavyweight wrestler, but that didn't stop him from winning the Class 2A heavyweight title at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Wrestling Tournament at the Pepsi Center last weekend. Smith brought home Delta County's only state title, ending the tournament and his career with a 4-3 overtime win against Meeker senior Tyler Ilgen and a nice medal.
The Paonia Eagles' boys took care of business Friday, defeating visiting Meeker, 46-38.
"It was a tale of two halves," said head coach Chase Roeber.
The Paonia girls basketball team easily rolled over rival Meeker Friday night for a 72-44 win.
The Eagles forced steals on Meeker's first two possessions to take a quick 4-0 lead and never looked back, ending the game with 22 steals.
With one match remaining in the 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament, Paonia trailed Meeker, 200-198. Both the heavyweight and team titles hung in the balance when No. 1 seed Trevor Smith stepped on the mat to face Meeker's No. 2 seed, Tyler Ilgen. After three rounds, the score was tied, 2-2 -- two escapes each.
Eli Etter felt a bit of pressure going into the last home match of his high school wrestling career. Paonia led Delta in the final dual of the regular season by a mere two points, and Etter's was the last match of the dual. He didn't want to lose.
Five of the top 10 teams in state 2A rankings will compete in the 2A Region 1 wrestling tournament, which opens at 1 p.m. Friday the Colorado Mesa University Brownson Arena in Grand Junction. Saturday's semifinal and consolation quarterfinals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The Paonia Eagles boys' team added three games to the win column last week to remain undefeated and in first place in 2A District 5 standings.
On Feb. 3 they pulled off a come-from-behind 62-47 home win over Vail Mountain (10-4 overall, 9-3 district).
Two Paonia High School juniors participated in the Colorado High School Activities Association's 2016-2017 All State Choir last weekend.
Derek Holt and Caden Meilner attended the event with PHS choir director Dee Holt. Derek Holt a Tenor II, sang in the Mixed Choir, and Meilner, a Bass II, sang in the Men's Choir.
Two Paonia High School seniors who played for one of the most successful football programs in state history are headed to Division II schools after signing their national letters of intent last Wednesday as part of National Signing Day.
Trevor Smith signed with Western State Colorado University, and Dagan Rienks signed to play at Colorado Mesa University.
When the three-point shots are falling with ease, points add up quickly. That's the situation the Paonia boys found themselves in Friday in a need-to-win match against visiting Vail Christian. Only it was their opponent calling the shots.
Two Delta County wrestling teams participated in the Valley Classic in Center this past weekend.
Hotchkiss' Bulldogs were the toast of the meet after outpointing 21 other teams for the team title with 208.5 points.
Palisade finished first and Grand Junction Central took second in the the All-Congress speech and debate meet held Jan. 28 at Paonia High School.
Speaker results included:
The speech and debate All-Congress meet was held Saturday at Paonia High School. Just as the 115th U.S. Congress is doing, about 35 students from North Fork, Grand Junction and Montrose area high schools wrote, introduced and debated bills on two House floors throughout the daylong event.
Not only did the Grand Valley Cardinals push the Eagle's high-scoring offenses, they also tested Paonia's defense with some solid offensive play.
Paonia's boys lost their battle with the Cardinals, 56-44, with the girls prevailing 44-34 in a harder than usual contest for them.
Paonia's Eagles wrestled three duals and hosted their annual Screaming Eagle Tournament over the weekend.
Paonia's first dual was with Palisade on Thursday, Jan. 18 and were winners by a 42-30 score.
The Bulldog boys suffered a pair of losses last week with Paonia coming to town on Jan. 19 to score a 57-33 win. Vail Mountain's Gore Rangers held on for a 44-42 win on Saturday.
The top scoring teams in this year's Screaming Eagles Wrestling Tournament were led by the Hotchkiss Bulldogs which scored 201.5 points. Cedaredge was second with 186.5 points with host team Paonia and Meeker tied for third with 186 points.
The Hotchkiss Bulldogs had wrestling matches on Jan. 11 and 12 last week. Hotchkiss hosted Paonia on the 11th and scratched out a 38-30 victory. On the 12th the Bulldogs were in Parachute for a tri-meet with Grand Valley and Glenwood Springs.
Paonia Eagles' basketball teams recorded a pair of wins last weekend. The first set of victories came against Soroco, 64-57 for girls and 88-32 for the boys.
With the stands filled with cheering fans, and a single light highlighting the action on the mat, the dual meet between Cedaredge and Paonia on Thursday, Jan. 12, was filled with anticipation and drama. And with two evenly matched teams, the competition certainly delivered. The dual was held in Cedaredge.
Paonia's wrestling week began with a 53-22 victory in Olathe on Jan. 5. There were six forfeits in the match and 11 pins expediting the conclusion of this match.
Paonia High School began its week on the hardwood with a contest against Plateau Valley on Jan. 6. Paonia's girls had little trouble with the Cowboys in a 72-22 win. The Eagles' boys were equally successful in their 79-45 decision.
With Colorado prep sports programs exiting their Christmas break, the 2016-17 winter sessions will commence this week. Area wrestling teams have been honing skills in preparation for their runs to post-season competition.
Area wrestling teams have earned some top rankings, as have many athletes from Delta County Schools (Cedaredge, Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia) and Olathe.
Teams are taking a break from the 2016-17 hoops season to enjoy the Christmas holidays. Several Delta County basketball teams are putting up excellent numbers in the early stages of a long and challenging season.
This Paonia girls basketball story missed last week's deadline and is an addition to this week's stories.
The Eagles held on to beat Olathe 50-43 last Tuesday in the Paonia gym, beating the Pirates for only the second time in the last ten years.
Central High School in Grand Junction held its yearly Warrior Classic last weekend, the biggest early-season wrestling meet in Colorado.
Forty teams from three different states competed in the event, which draws the best wrestlers in every classification and serves as a pretty good preview of the state tournament in February.
This year's First Colorado National Bank basketball tournament began its sponsorship under the initial format of all four Delta County schools participating in a pre-Christmas tournament in Delta. In 1994, the tournament was known as the Bank of the West Basketball Tournament with all four schools in the county playing at Delta High School on two consecutive days (Thursday and Friday) before Christmas break began.
The boys basketball team from Paonia High School saw a little bit of everything last week.
The Eagles fired on all cylinders in a 75-45 win at home against Olathe last Tuesday.
Fans got their first glimpse of the wrestling team from Paonia High School last Friday night and the Eagles gave them a lot to cheer about.
Paonia hosted its first home duals of the year.
Brittany Kendall became the third member of the senior class at Paonia High School to commit to play sports in a college setting next year.
Last Wednesday Kendall signed her letter of intent to attend Dodge City Community College in Kansas and will play softball for the Conquistadors.
It's been many years since a full-length musical production came to the Paonia High School stage. Musicals take work and talent. They take training and dedication, costumes, sets, a good stage manager and crew, and hours and hours of rehearsal.
Another wrestling season is underway and that means another Delta Invitational Wrestling Tournament has taken place. Delta hosted a 12-team tournament last Saturday at Delta High School.
Seven teams posted scores of 100 points or more, with Cedaredge's Bruins claiming the team title with 197 points.
The girls basketball team from Paonia High School still remembers the score: 55-46.
Last year in the 2A state title game, the Eagles lost to Yuma by that tally and fell just short of their ultimate goal.
The boys basketball team from Paonia High School has some unfinished business to take care of.
While it's outrageous to say that a team that went 25-2 last year had a bad season, the Eagles were disappointed that one of those losses came in the first round of the 2A state tournament.
The wrestling team from Paonia High School kept its leader for one more year, and the Eagles are looking forward to a strong showing at state. Again.
Defying all expectations after losing the regional title for the first time in years, Paonia finished an impressive fourth in the 2A state tournament last year.
A new season has begun for the Paonia-Hotchkiss speech and debate team. The team has competed in two meets so far, and it has already met with some success.
In the end, the Eagles just got worn out.
The football team from Paonia High School was up to the challenge but didn't have enough depth to beat an athletic and physical Strasburg team in the 1A state semifinals on Saturday.
Paonia High School's volleyball team accomplished many things during its season. One goal was to get to state, and they did, for the fifth straight time.
Two of the best Eagles will be taking their talents to the next level.
Paonia High School seniors Sophie Anderson and Brianna Van Vleet signed letters of intent last Wednesday and will play for colleges next year.
It wasn't easy by any means, but the Eagles are one game away from playing in a fourth consecutive 1A state championship game.
The football team from Paonia High School got just enough big plays on both sides of the ball to defeat Burlington 22-20 in a quarterfinal game last Saturday afternoon at Paonia Town Park.
The football team from Paonia High School saved its best game of the year for the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles dominated from the opening kickoff until the end of the running clock and crushed perennial rival Buena Vista 51-6 last Friday night at Paonia Town Park.
Nothing comes easy for the volleyball team from Paonia High School.
The Eagles lost their senior co-captain to injury before the matches even started, but Paonia recovered and beat Meeker and Ridgway last Saturday afternoon to advance to the 2A state volleyball tournament for a fifth consecutive season.
Nancy Hovde wasn't able to make this year's Pink Night volleyball fundraiser for HopeWest at Paonia High School, but she promises she won't miss it next year. Hovde is the new development director for HopeWest.
The Paonia High School volleyball team swept through the district playoffs and now comes home for the regionals.
Paonia faced four opponents in two days at Grand Valley High School last weekend and things couldn't have gone any better for the Eagles (21-2), winning each match with clean 3-0 sweeps.
The Paonia High School football team is headed to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and will face a familiar foe when the 1A state tournament kicks off this weekend.
The Eagles beat Grand Valley 42-8 at Paonia Town Park last Friday night, finishing the regular season 8-1.
For the second time in three years, Paonia High School made the list of Newsweek Magazine's Top 500 high schools in America for low-income students. For the 2015-2016 school year Paonia was ranked 435th for the 2015-2016 school year; for the 2014-2015 school year PHS was ranked 449th.
The Paonia High School volleyball team lost one and won two last week as the Eagles prepared for this weekend's district tournament in Grand Valley.
The Eagles went on the road last Wednesday for a late season nonleague matchup against Class 5A Fruita Monument.
The girls cross country team from Paonia High School is going to the state meet for the first time in three years.
Brooke Hillman and Nora Dransfield finished ninth and 10th, respectively, in the individual race to pace the Eagles to state.
The Hotchkiss High School boys cross country team came to the 2A Region 4 championship race on a mission.
After finishing just short of qualifying for state last year, the Bulldogs ran all season with the intention of getting back to the state meet this weekend in Colorado Springs.
The Paonia High School volleyball team won a couple more matches and continued its march toward the state tournament.
The Eagles held off a third set rally by visiting Rangely and beat the Panthers 3-0 last Saturday afternoon.
The Hotchkiss High School volleyball team is finishing off the regular season the right way, with a couple of wins.
And like it has been all year, nothing came easy for the Bulldogs.
The Paonia High School football team keeps finding ways to win.
One week after just edging North Fork rival Hotchkiss 7-6, the Eagles shook off a sluggish start and dominated the second half in a 40-10 victory over Olathe last Friday night.
The annual North Fork football game between Paonia and Hotchkiss ended up being the closest game between the rival teams in recent history.
"They played hard, they played up to their ability and the level they're capable of," said Hotchkiss head coach Curtis Hintz.
Paonia's volleyball team didn't lose any momentum during last week's play against Hayden and Hotchkiss. The Eagles won both contests in three sets and boast a widening lead in 2A District 5 volleyball standings.
Local high school students from Paonia, Hotchkiss and Olathe were able to get outside of the classroom recently thanks to the Youth Outdoor Network. Students ranging from freshmen to seniors waded across the chilly North Fork of the Gunnison River at Pleasure Park with tools and fencing in hand to reach young cottonwoods on the other bank.
Paonia assistant cross country coach Shauna Meilner passed along the following meet results from last week's Pantherfest Invitational at Confluence Park.
On Friday, Oct. 7 -- exactly two weeks before the regional cross country meet -- the Paonia Eagles had a precursor run on the same course at the Delta Pantherfest Invitational (Confluence Park).
Get out your pink shoes and best pink attire, because this Friday is Pink Night!
Pink Night was started at PHS in 2007 by English teacher and volleyball assistant coach, Krissey Allen.
It has been said that "leadership cannot be taught, but it must be learned."
Two outstanding Paonia High School students were given a unique opportunity last summer to experience what that means.
Cedaredge's Bruins are sitting in fifth place following last week's 1-2 record. Cedaredge played Coal Ridge on Tuesday, Sept. 27, and was defeated by the Titans in four sets, 18-25, 25-21, 19-25 and 15-25.
Titan senior Nicole Mooney paced Coal Ridge with 19 kills, two aces, two blocks and 18 digs.
Last Friday's prep 1A football game between the state 1A number three team, Paonia, and the number seven team, Cedaredge, was a win for both teams in regards to half of play.
The Bruins dominated Paonia for the game's first 24 minutes and used two scores in the second quarter to take a 14-6 lead to the locker room for halftime.
The Paonia High School cross country team had its best finish of the year last weekend and the Eagles are building toward qualifying for the state meet.
The boys squad missed Caden Meilner and the girls were missing Nora Dransfield but both Eagles teams finished fourth overall in a competitive field at Ouray.
Paonia High School is home to the No. 1 ranked football team and volleyball team.
The Eagles went to Carbondale and had no problem with Roaring Fork on the gridiron, winning 55-7 last Friday and improving to 4-0 in nonconference play.
The Paonia High School football team won its third game in a row to open the season and the Eagles might well be back on top of Class 1A once again.
No. 2 Paonia rolled to a 38-0 win at Ridge View in Watkins last Friday afternoon and stands at 3-0.
The Paonia High School volleyball team responded to its biggest test of the season so far with a come-from-behind victory and maintained its No. 1 ranking in 2A.
West Grand came into the Paonia gym last Friday and gave the Eagles a stiff challenge, winning the first set and taking huge leads in the second set before Paonia rallied to win the match 3-1.
Paonia assistant cross country coach Shauna Meilner prepared the following results for Paonia High School's athletes at Eagle Valley's Invitational.
On Saturday, September 17, the Paonia Eagles cross country team was one of nineteen teams represented at the Eagle Valley Invitational.
The Paonia High School volleyball team may have lost its first game of the year but the Eagles are rolling right along.
Paonia dropped a game to Coal Ridge at home on Sept. 6 but went on to defeat the Titans 3-1.
Hotchkiss High School hosted the third cross country meet of the season last Saturday morning and Delta County runners enjoyed the home field advantage.
"It's a tough course. We run it every day so we knew what to expect," Bulldogs sophomore Kaiya Firor, a state qualifier last year, said after she finished third in the girls race.
Some of the faces may have changed on the Paonia High School football team, but the results on the scoreboard are still the same.
Behind a dynamic offense and a physical defense, the Eagles opened the season with a 49-7 homecoming win over Center last Friday night at Paonia Town Park.
Shauna Meilner attended last Saturday's Battle Mountain Huskey Invitational Cross Country Meet in Edwards. She graciously supplied the following results for Paonia High School's athletes attending the meet.
The Paonia High School volleyball team answered a lot of questions at Homecoming.
In front of an elaborately costumed and enthusiastic student section, Paonia swept Norwood 3-0 last Thursday night in its home opener.
Costumes, interclass competition, sports and dance are all on this week's menu as Paonia High School celebrates Homecoming Week.
This year's theme is the Olympics.
The Paonia High School football team kicks off the season on Friday night against Center, and for the first time in four years, Taylor Walters will not be on the field.
Walters graduated and took his 125 career touchdowns and two state championships to Colorado Mesa University, where he will play at the next level along with former Eagles teammate Jeramiah Hillman.
The Eagles seniors want to make it five in a row.
The Paonia High School volleyball team opens the season tomorrow night at home against Norwood led by four seniors who are seeking the program's fifth consecutive appearance at the 2A state tournament.
Soroco's Ben Kelley used just 16 minutes to traverse 5000 meters at the Basalt Longhorn Invitational on Saturday.
Paonia's Eagles were also in attendance with the boys scoring 155 points to place fifth and the girls duplicating a fifth place finish by scoring 122 points in their divisional competition.
The 1A Western Slope Conference will have a new look this season.
All high school classifications were redone this year for football teams in Colorado.
Paonia long-jumper Brianna Van Vleet has qualified for national competition in the U.S.A. Track & Field Junior Olympics.
Van Vleet, the daughter of David and Tracy Van Vleet, is a state record-holder in the long jump.
Six Paonia High School graduates were selected by the Cherry Days Forever Committee to represent Paonia as this year's Cherry Days royalty.
After riding in the July 4 parade, the king and queen will be crowned promptly at 12:15 p.m., at the Paonia Town Park gazebo, immediately following the flag ceremony.
This year's Cherry Days art work was created by Paonia High School art student Elena Neirmann. She was among several students of art teacher Dave Kuta who submitted designs for the fourth annual Cherry Days art contest, sponsored by the Cherry Days Forever committee.
The annual Paonia Summer Duals took place over the weekend at Paonia High School and the Eagles welcomed over 315 wrestlers for the matches.
"It broke out into 24 teams. Just a really good turnout," Paonia coach Andy Pipher said. "There's a lot of local kids which is nice, then there are teams here from Wyoming, kids here from Utah and Nebraska. Just a lotta fun."
The annual Paonia Summer Duals wrestling camp will be held June 11 and 12 at Paonia High School.
Upward of 400 wrestlers compete in the annual duals.
There's an old adage in sports. Before you can win it all, you have to know what it's like to lose it all.
The baseball team from Paonia High School learned that lesson painfully last Sunday when the Eagles fell to Limon 4-2 in the 2A state semifinals in Pueblo.
The Eagles seniors finished their careers undefeated at state.
After claiming their fourth consecutive 2A state track title last Saturday in dominating fashion, the six seniors from Paonia basked in the bright evening sunshine at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood and reveled in the celebration.
Paonia High School's march toward another state title is alive and more than well. The Eagles made huge strides last weekend in Pueblo with an 11-1 win over Sargent in first-round play and then bounced Akron, 7-2, in game two.
For the fourth year in a row, the Paonia girls' track team dominated the 2A competition at the state meet at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood and brought home another team title.
The competition was never really in doubt as the Eagles girls led after the first event and had the title locked up after the second day of the meet.
The rubber game went to the Eagles.
In the third game of the year between baseball rivals Paonia and Hotchkiss, the Eagles won 5-4 last Saturday in Cortez to capture the 2A District 2 championship and clinch a spot in the 16-team state tournament field.
The Paonia High School Class of 2016 chose philosopher Ayn Rand to provide their class quote: "The question isn't who is going to let me, it's who is going to stop me."
Not much has stopped this class from achieving lofty, if not downright mind-boggling goals.
The three teams representing Delta County at Thursday's 2A state track meet in Lakewood, and 4A Delta High School, went through their final paces and prepared to peak at the right time during last Saturday's track meet at Cedaredge High School.
The mission of the Black Mesa CattleWomen is to promote and protect the beef industry through education and communication. One method the group uses to accomplish this is by supporting youth, education and research.
The baseball team from Hotchkiss High School took one huge step toward becoming a family last Friday afternoon.
Cole Carvill hit a walk-off grand slam and the Bulldogs beat No. 1 Paonia 12-8, evening the regular season series between the rivals and giving Hotchkiss a major shot in the arm as the postseason approaches.
"Sign your life away, Bo," said Paonia wrestling coach Andy Pipher.
With that, Bo Pipher fulfilled a lifelong dream last Wednesday when he signed a Letter of Intent to wrestle for national champion Penn State.
It wasn't pretty, but Paonia got another win in its last home baseball game of the season.
Paonia, ranked No. 1 in 2A and rolling toward the postseason, defeated Cedaredge 11-1 last Tuesday and improved to 18-0 on the campaign.
The tennis team from Paonia High School saved its best for last.
The squad, comprised of athletes from Hotchkiss and Paonia, posted a fifth-place team finish at regionals last weekend in Grand Junction and saw Paonia senior Jessie Holt qualify for a third straight state tournament.
It was supposed to be a magical night. But as the rock group The Eagles sing, "In a New York minute, everything can change."
Paonia senior Chelsea Meilner was recently named a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Boettcher Foundation Scholarship.
The scholarship covers full tuition and fees and provides a book allowance and stipend for living expenses for four years at any in-state college or university.
The baseball team from Paonia High School added three more wins to its already impressive resume this past week.
The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in 2A in the recent CHSAA online poll, got the week started off right with a 12-4 win in Gunnison last Wednesday.
Cedaredge sent a handful of athletes to the Coal Ridge Invitational on Friday and then followed up with a trip to Gunnison on Saturday for a weekend of track competition. Hotchkiss' Bulldogs were in New Castle with their full team but did not attend Saturday's combined college/high school meet in Gunnison on Saturday.
In what Paonia tennis coach Brian Benson described as "an old fashioned barn-burner," the Eagles played their way to a 5-2 win over league foe Cedaredge in Delta on Tuesday afternoon.
Benson quipped, "I don't know if you really use that term for tennis matches, but we had a lot of close matches to say the least."
With the exception of Gunnison High School's boys' team, the 16-team field was basically no match for Class 2A Paonia and Cedaredge on the track.
Paonia's girls won their division with 158 points with Cedaredge placing second with 109 points. The boys' division was won by Gunnison (154) with Cedaredge (134.5) second and Paonia (71) third.
Depending upon which poll you follow, the state's No. 1 and No. 2 2A baseball teams met at Volunteer Park last Tuesday evening in Paonia.
In the first of two regular season matchups between rivals that have played baseball for over a hundred years, Paonia showed that it can execute in all three phases of the game and beat the Bulldogs 3-0.
A visit to Delta on Thursday resulted in a 5-2 tennis victory for Paonia's Eagles. Paonia swept the singles competition and won two of four doubles matches in recording the decision.
Paonia senior Jessie Holt capped a remarkable comeback after signing a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball at Southern Virginia University.
After sustaining a knee injury that forced her to miss her senior volleyball season, Holt recovered from surgery in time to compete for the Eagles tennis team
A mock crash event scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, may look like the real thing, but it's only a drill.
With high school proms happening April 30 and end-of-school-year celebrations a month away, local EMS, fire, police and state troopers will conduct a mock crash event.
The No. 1 Eagles found themselves in unfamiliar territory but rallied for a 14-5 baseball win in Cedaredge last Wednesday.
Paonia moved to 11-0 on the eve of yesterday's showdown with No. 4 Hotchkiss.
Paonia High School's track teams enjoyed plenty of success this past weekend, in spite of some of Mother Nature's intervention. A brief rainstorm, accompanied by a dose of lightning, suspended activities at the Frank Woodburn Invitational for a short time.
Nearing the halfway point in the high school baseball season, the Eagles are discovering that the sky is the limit.
Paonia swept a doubleheader from Meeker last Saturday afternoon at Volunteer Park, improving to 10-0 to start the season.
The Paonia High School girls' tennis team is just getting started, and the Eagles have been hot despite the cold weather at the beginning of the season.
Like the boys' tennis team, which plays in the fall, the girls' team is comprised of athletes from both Paonia and Hotchkiss High School.
Delta-Montrose Technical College career services coordinator Jessica Carlson wants all area high school students to know about the career options the school has to offer. On a visit last week to Paonia High School, Carlson explained that a four-year degree used to be the standard option for graduating seniors.
Delta County track teams fared well at last weekend's Cedaredge Invitational track meet. Paonia's girls won the team title in their division with 168 points on the strength of five first-place finishes. The Eagles' Brianna Van Vleet set a new long jump record for the meet in one of Paonia's wins.
Anna Burns-Meza, a 2001 graduate of Paonia High School, has been named the 2016 Colorado Manager of the Year by the Colorado School Nutrition Association. She will be recognized at the annual summer conference of CSNA in June.
On the eve of its biggest road trip of the year, the baseball team from Paonia High School dominated another doubleheader at home last Saturday and has already hit twice the home runs it hit all of last season.
"I think last year we had six or eight home runs all season, and now we've already got 13," Paonia sophomore pitcher and catcher Jaden Miller said.
Delta County basketball was well represented in 2015-16. Paonia, Cedaredge and Delta landed athletes on the Colorado High School Activities Association all-state teams, announced last Friday.
Paonia High School's Ashley Van Vleet and Cedaredge's Nellie Freeman were honored with selections to First-Team status.
The high school track teams from Delta County are just in the second week of competition but already are showing signs that a great running season is in store for all.
At a snowy and windy event at Hotchkiss High School last Saturday, 16 different boys' teams and 15 different girls' teams from all around the Western Slope competed for early season bragging rights.
On March 16, three recent graduates of Paonia High School who now attend West Point Military Academy, Harvard University, and Colorado School of Mines, addressed the student body and offered their perspectives and advice.
"Our classes teach critical thinking, above everything else," said Drewe Lee, an engineering student at Mines.
Paonia's girls put together a solid effort last Saturday to score 106 points and a third-place finish at the Delta Invitational meet. Freshman Alexandra Eaton and senior Marisa Edmondson had first-place finishes for the Eagles.
There's a buzz going around Volunteer Park. It's the sound of baseballs being knocked into the river.
A trio of third-place finishes highlighted Paonia's boys' day at last Saturday's Delta Invitational meet.
Warren Minerich posted two of those third-place scores in discus and shot put competitions.
Paonia High School's boys' basketball team knew there was a good possibility of being in the state playoffs before season play began. All the preparations, dating from last summer to this year's 2A state playoffs, paid off for the Eagles. Paonia entered this year's state tournament as the No. 6-seeded team and with a 23-1 record.
The hopes of a successful basketball season began last year for Paonia High School's girls' basketball program. After winning the 2A consolation title a year ago, Paonia looked forward to a return trip, and a shot at the state title in 2016.
The Paonia High School Class of 1975 met in June 2015 for its 40th class reunion. Twenty-three members of the class met for a picnic and then activities on Cherry Day.
Given the competition continues to rise as teams advance in playoff races, Paonia High School's Eagles used all that surrounds those contests to gain experience and momentum on their journey toward a state basketball title this week in Pueblo.
The Eagles continued their winning ways with two more victories in Rifle over opponents in the 2A Region 3 tournament.
An error in last week's DCI had the Paonia boys losing only to Hotchkiss earlier in the season, when, in fact, Grand Valley's Cardinals should have been given that victory. Grand Valley handed the Eagles their only loss of the season to date, a 60-49 decision on Dec. 19 in Parachute. Since that time, the Eagles are on a 17-game winning streak and have a 23-1 record.
For Paonia High School, the second season for girls' basketball is underway with some positive results so far.
The Eagles, ranked second by MaxPreps, won last weekend's 2A District 5 tournament hosted in De Beque.
Paonia High School's run to the title game in last weekend's 2A District 5 tournament began at home with a matchup against 13-8 Meeker. The Eagles were less than hospitable, on the court, as they soared to an 83-49 victory.
A full week of basketball kept Cedaredge High School's girls' team busy preparing for last week's 2A District 5 tournament. The week began with quarterfinal action in Cedaredge on Tuesday.
Hotchkiss High School's boys are still alive and fighting for a berth in the 2016 2A State Basketball Championships in Pueblo.
The Bulldogs won their quarterfinal game against Soroco, 67-46, on Feb. 23.
Last weekend's basketball games scheduled for Paonia High School required little thought as to who would win its games. The Eagles' boys found the going easy and raced to a 77-31 victory.
This was supposed to be a down year for the Paonia High School wrestling team.
After having its consecutive streak of three straight 2A state titles snapped by Rocky Ford last year and after finishing second to Hotchkiss at regionals for the first time in years, no one expected too much from the Eagles at state this year.
Despite losing to Cedaredge at home, the Paonia High School girls' basketball team remained at No. 2 in the 2A state rankings and bounced back from the Bruins loss to post two blowout wins this past week.
Paonia is 16-2 overall and stands at 10-1 in 1A/2A Western Slope League action.
The boys' basketball team from Paonia has been in cruise control for a couple of weeks now and has reeled off 11 wins in a row.
The Eagles are 17-1 overall and 11-0 in 1A/2A Western Slope League play.
The Paonia High School wrestling team is going back to the familiar confines of the Pepsi Center in Denver for this weekend's state championship tournament.
Last year the Eagles saw their record of three consecutive state team titles snapped by Rocky Ford, which enters this year's tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in 2A.
The annual Speech and Debate Speech Congress was held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13, at Paonia High School. Eight Western Slope schools and more than 45 students participated in the Congressional and Senate house debates.
For the second consecutive year, Hotchkiss High School senior Gratia Fisher and Paonia High School senior Jessie Holt represented their respective schools and Delta County at All-State Choir.
Presented by the Colorado High School Athletic Association, Fisher and Holt joined more than 500 other students in the three-day annual event, which culminated Saturday evening in choral performances at the Bellco Theatre at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
A busy week for the No. 2 Paonia girls' basketball team started as usual with some big wins but ended with an extremely unusual loss at home.
With three games left on their schedule before Districts, all at home, the Eagles are 14-2 overall and are 8-1 in 1A/2A Western Slope League action.
The Cedaredge High School girls' basketball team just learned a lot about who they can be.
The Bruins trailed virtually the entire game before rallying to beat Paonia 42-40 last Saturday afternoon, handing the No. 2 Eagles their first defeat in 1A/2A Western Slope League play.
The No. 4 Paonia High School boys' basketball team is in cruise control headed toward the post season.
Last week the Eagles posted three wins in five days and improved their winning streak to nine in a row. The boys are 15-1 overall and are undefeated in 1A/2A Western Slope League play at 9-0.
Two top wrestling teams met on the mat last Thursday at Delta High School. Class 2A contender Paonia is ranked seventh in the latest On the Mat Rankings. Delta, in Class 3A, is also ranked seventh.
The wrestling season is a war of attrition, and the Paonia grapplers are battling through the final part of the campaign.
The state tournament in Denver is two weeks away and Paonia has several individuals who are rounding into top form.
So far, everything is going right for the Paonia High School boys' basketball team.
The Eagles went to Meeker last Friday and won their sixth game in a row after defeating the Cowboys 67-56.
Both basketball teams from Paonia are firing on all cylinders.
The Eagles boys' and girls' teams are both 11-1 and undefeated in 1A/2A Western Slope League play. At the end of a five-game road stretch, Paonia is at Meeker on Friday and at Hotchkiss on Tuesday.
After a 60-34 win against Hotchkiss' boys on Jan. 19, Cedaredge was looking for a sixth consecutive win heading into last Friday's encounter against Paonia's Eagles. Paonia, after starting the season with six straight wins, was dealt a loss by Grand Valley on Dec. 19.
Cedaredge High School's Bruins finished last weekend's Screamin' Eagle wrestling tournament with 136.5 points and placed fifth. Hotchkiss won the tournament with 229 points with Meeker second (210.5), Centauri third (204) and Paonia fourth (203.5).
The Cedaredge Bruins were on an 11-game winning streak before Paonia's Eagles came to town last Friday evening. The last loss for Cedaredge was at last year's 2A State Tournament in Pueblo when Paonia did the trick.
Fans of Paonia wrestling were treated to quite a show last Saturday when three hometown grapplers won individual titles at the Screamin' Eagle Tournament.
Hotchkiss won the team title and Paonia finished fourth in the standings, but the Eagles were not disappointed after three of their standouts claimed championships.
The Paonia High School wrestling team completed a very busy week after winning three duals and finishing fourth in the Screamin' Eagle Tournament last Saturday.
The No. 6 Eagles got a good look at every 2A team ahead of them except No. 1 Rocky Ford last week and Paonia has reason to think it'll be right there with them at the end of the year.
The boys' basketball team from Paonia High School keeps putting up big wins and is moving up rapidly in state polls.
The Eagles were ranked No. 5 in 2A in the most recent CHSAA online poll, and they might go higher after posting two big victories last week.
Whispers around Paonia High School are reminding fans that this year's girls' basketball squad is starting to look a lot like another really good Eagles team.
The 2010 Eagles were the last Paonia squad to win state, and this year's version of the Eagles looks a lot like that dominating team.
The wrestlers at Hotchkiss High School keep posting impressive wins. On the Mat ranks the Bulldogs as No. 6 in 2A, right behind Paonia.
The Bulldogs had only one event last week.
Despite being shorthanded, the Hotchkiss Bulldogs wrestling team is showing signs of depth, ability and skill that might pay off big in the end.
In their first dual after the Christmas break, the Bulldogs battled North Fork Valley rival Paonia to a 30-30 score on the mat, but fell in the final tally 42-30 because of two open weights.
The wrestling team at Paonia High School came out of the Christmas break determined to post some pins and wins.
The Eagles provided both as Paonia won two duals and placed several strong individual finishes in a tournament this past week.
The Eagles soared into the New Year.
Both basketball teams from Paonia High School opened league play with road victories last Saturday afternoon at Plateau Valley.
A number of deserving athletes in Delta County were selected to various all-conference and all-state teams from fall sports programs. The following is a capsulation of awards given to Delta County athletes, in some cases both all-conference and all-state honors. This list of elite athletes was compiled by Cedaredge High School's Kirby Henderson.
A quick look at the latest wrestling rankings from Tim Yount's On the Mat Rankings shows Hotchkiss in the number five spot in 2A, with Paonia listed sixth. Meeker is third while Norwood/Nucla is fourth.
Prep sports is taking a breather before resuming rigorous schedules beginning in early January.
Delta County athletes are taking time off but are scheduled to begin practicing for opening contests in the new year.
The wrestling teams from Paonia and Hotchkiss went to the Warrior Classic last weekend and got a look at some of the best competition in the state before they retired to rest during the Christmas break.
The Warrior is considered one of the top tournaments of the season and this year featured 38 teams at Central High School in Grand Junction.
The basketball teams at Paonia High School enter the Christmas break ranked among the top 10 teams in the state and are posting some big numbers.
The Paonia boys started the season with six straight wins before falling at Grand Valley.
The Paonia High School girls' basketball team saw the highs and the lows this past week.
The latter came last Tuesday on the road in Olathe, where the Eagles suffered their first loss of the season.
The wrestlers at Paonia High School don't have much time to get ready for the season.
The Eagles, who saw their three-year streak of 2A state championships snapped last year, showed no signs of a tough transition from the football season as Paonia hosted a pair of duals during week two of the young season.
The Paonia High School boys' basketball team appears to be a very motivated bunch.
After making it to the regional championship game the past two seasons, the experienced Eagles began their quest for the state tournament with three straight wins.
Walk into the wrestling room behind the gym at Paonia High School and instantly you can tell: the Eagles are back.
Even though Paonia had its streak of 2A state championships halted at three last year after the Eagles finished third, enthusiasm and energy burst through the room as the grapplers returned for the 2015 campaign last week.
If the first week of the season is any indication, the Paonia High School girls' basketball team is going to be celebrating quite a few wins this year.
Many of the Paonia girls are still making the transition from volleyball to basketball, but the natural athletes that make up the deep Eagles roster showed no ill effects of a late start during the First Colorado National Bank Tournament last weekend at Paonia High School.
Paonia High School boys' basketball coach Chase Roeber doesn't mince words when asked about goals and expectations for the 2015 version of the Eagles hoopsters.
"Nothing short of making the state tournament," Roeber said after the first game of the year. "If we don't get to the state tournament, it's a bust."
The Paonia High School girls' basketball team came back from the 2A state tournament last year with a trophy, just maybe not the one it really wanted.
"We finished as the consolation champs," Paonia head coach Scott Rienks said.
For the first time in three years, the Eagles came up just short.
Buena Vista shut out the Eagles in the second half of the 1A state championship football game and prevented Paonia from winning its third consecutive title after the Demons won 27-20 last Saturday in Buena Vista.
There were plenty of tears to go around for the Paonia Eagles after they lost 27-20 to Buena Vista in the 1A state championship game last Saturday in Buena Vista.
Paonia attempted to become the 20th high school team in Colorado history to win three state titles in a row.
Here on the Western Slope of the Rockies in Colorado, you can tell the history of a town through the history of its prep sports teams.
In 1902, the town of Paonia was founded by Samuel Wade.
The Paonia High School football team found itself in unfamiliar territory last Saturday afternoon.
On the road. Trailing the entire game. The Eagles' season and quest for a coveted 3-peat state championship on the line.
Paonia goes for the 3-peat on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Buena Vista. The matchup seemed fated from the very beginning of the season.
Paonia was No. 1 and the Demons were ranked No. 2 until the Eagles lost to 2A Bayfield (currently No. 1 in 2A and playing for the state title on Saturday as well) in Week 4.
Tim Helmer is quick to explain how a microinverter converts energy generated by a solar panel from DC power to AC. And he does it in a way that makes it sound so simple.
The six Paonia High School students who shared lunch with Vietnam veteran Joe Kaputa on Veterans Day paid close attention as the former Marine told of how he enlisted, his tours, and about spending time on the island of Okinawa. Much like the USO, said Kaputa, Okinawa was a place where members of the military could go and relax.
Saturday's convincing 47-7 win over Burlington puts the two-time defending state champion Paonia Eagles in the semifinal game at Loveland next Saturday, where they will face the team they defeated to win last year's title.
Saturday's game against the sixth-seeded Cougars wasn't predicted to be a runaway.
Like many of the athletes from the Delta and Cedaredge High School volleyball teams, I attended this past weekend's state championship tournament for the first time.
The spectacle at the Denver Coliseum was truly impressive.
The Paonia High School girls' volleyball team posted two wins at the state championship tournament last weekend and reached the 2A semifinals for the first time.
While the Eagles fell in three sets to powerful Resurrection Christian, Paonia completed its fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament by going further than any of the previous Eagles teams that made it to the Denver Coliseum.
Three-time state champion Ashley Van Vleet signed a Letter of Intent to run track at Idaho State University last Thursday in the commons at Paonia High School.
Also a standout volleyball and basketball player, Van Vleet went with her heart and decided to compete in track at the next level.
Paonia began its quest for a third consecutive 1A state football championship last Saturday with a 49-6 domination of Ellicott that was in doubt for exactly 14 seconds.
That's how long it took Jeramiah Hillman to take the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, and the Eagles just poured it on after that.
The Eagles are going back to state.
Rebounding from a tough loss to Cedaredge in the District championship, Paonia rallied on the road last Saturday at Regionals to beat Ignacio in three sets, and defeated Ridgway in four sets to earn a fourth consecutive trip to the 2A state championship tournament this weekend in Denver.
Two Western Slope Conference Class 1A football teams are still alive in the playoffs as the 1A quarterfinals kick off this weekend.
No. 3 Paonia (9-1) will host perennial playoff contender Burlington (9-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Paonia Town Park.
Thanks to a four-win weekend, in tournament play, Cedaredge High School earned first-place honors in Class 2A District 5 tournament play in Parachute. The Bruins faced tough competition on both days (Friday and Saturday) and scored wins in each match.
Volleyball rivals Paonia and Cedaredge met in the finals of the 2A District 5 Tournament last Saturday, and just like the regular season matches between the Eagles and Bruins, fans at neutral Grand Valley High School were treated to an outstanding match that needed extra points to decide the victor.
In a fiercely competitive match, Cedaredge (19-4) won the five-set nailbiter 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 13-25, 18-16.
Good news for volleyball fans in Delta County. Two teams will host regional play beginning Saturday, Nov. 7.
The top three teams in 1A football stayed the same most of the year and each squad found out its playoff matchups when the brackets were released last Sunday morning.
Two-time defending state champion and three-time defending Western Slope Conference Champion Paonia (8-1) will play 14th-seeded Ellicott at Paonia Town Park on Saturday.
It was a numbers game last Friday night when the Eagles defeated Cedaredge 48-7 at Paonia Town Park in the last football contest of the 1A regular season.
Six seniors, 15 Western Slope Conference wins. Two state titles, three straight conference championships.
A player was ejected. The head coaches confronted each other during a contentious postgame handshake, and 63 points were scored.
The Eagles volleyball team got just what the doctor ordered.
After suffering through an uncharacteristic mid-season slump, Paonia recovered to win eight consecutive matches and heads to districts this weekend with tons of momentum.
Caden Meilner never expected to make it to the state cross country championship.
"This is something I do kind of on the side.
The Bulldogs are going back to state.
The Hotchkiss girls' cross country team placed three runners in the top 15 and finished second in the 2A Region 4 race last Friday at Confluence Park in Delta, qualifying for a return to this weekend's state championship race in Colorado Springs.
Football action in the 1A Western Slope Conference is only two weeks away from being complete, and teams are jockeying for position in the drive to the state playoffs.
The first high school sport of the fall season is over, and the future is bright for Paonia tennis.
The boys' team competed in the fall while the girls will hit the courts during the spring season.
The Paonia volleyball team recovered from a rough regular-season stretch and posted three straight 3-0 victories last week.
The Eagles rebounded to win five in a row since losing three of four matches in the middle of the season and have an overall record of 13-3.
One day each fall, the Paonia High School Eagles volleyball team goes all out for breast cancer awareness. The Colorado High School Activities Association encourages volleyball teams to "Think Pink" in honor of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month during a home match.
The Paonia High School volleyball team saw a little of everything last week.
The Eagles fell to a very strong Delta team, marking its third loss in four matches.
The 1A Western Slope Conference still has three weeks to play, but last Friday's game between Meeker and Paonia went a long way toward determining who will be the conference champion.
Paonia put itself in the driver's seat for a third straight conference title after defeating the Cowboys 34-30 in a wild game at Paonia Town Park.
The October sun made its presence felt and temperatures were almost as hot as the running by the time the boys' race got underway at the Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational last Friday.
Like the girls before them, the boys found the 5K lake course much to their liking and ripe for a personal record.
Delta paced Delta County's contingent of participants at the Pantherfest Cross Country Meet at Confluence Park.
Hotchkiss and Paonia did not have enough participants to warrant team scores in the event but did have individual runners in both the boys' and girls' competition.
Cedaredge High School has taken a step in the right direction toward laying claim to the 2A/1A Western Slope Grand Mesa League title. The Bruins continued their winning ways with wins over rival Paonia and Rangely this past week.
The Paonia High School volleyball team found itself in very unfamiliar territory last week after suffering its first consecutive defeats during the regular season in many years.
"Our last league loss was in 2011," Eagles coach Krista Carsten said.
Personal records were set in droves last Friday as runners got a chance to race on an almost perfectly flat 5k course around Sweitzer Lake at the Pantherfest Cross Country Invitational.
Conditions were even better for the girls squads, who ran their race under brilliant blue sky with a late morning breeze as escort.
The Paonia cross country team competed at the Anna Banana Invitational in Fruita last weekend. The race is run in honor of Anna Janowitz, a member of the Fruita cross country team who died in a tragic car accident. Janowitz loved the sport and inspired many in the cross country family.
It may have come 46 years after the fact, but Frank Michael Griffin is officially a high school graduate. Griffin was awarded an honorary diploma from Paonia High School during halftime ceremonies of Friday's Homecoming football game.
Paonia had all the motivation it needed going into last Friday night's football game against visiting Centauri.
It was the Falcons who last beat Paonia, a little over two years ago, handing head coach Brent McRae and star quarterback Taylor Walters their only high school defeat.
The Paonia High School volleyball team is putting all the pieces together.
After beating Plateau Valley and Gunnison last week, the Eagles are up to 5-0 and are rolling into the middle portion of their schedule with some tough challenges ahead.
The Paonia tennis team is small in numbers but big in heart and enthusiasm.
The Eagles, featuring a combined team of players from Paonia and Hotchkiss, have improved steadily over the course of the season despite having to forfeit doubles matches because of a small turnout.
When is a bonfire more than just a bonfire? During Homecoming Week, of course.
A little more thought and planning went into Paonia High School's 2015 Homecoming bonfire.
School spirit will have nowhere to hide this week as Paonia High School celebrates Homecoming Week.
This year's theme is "A Lifetime of Music." Throughout the week, classes will compete in sports and other events, vying for both class points and bragging rights.
Make it 25 in a row for the Eagles.
Paonia's high school football team played in front of its home fans for the first time this year last Friday night and the Eagles showed that the present and the future are looking good.
Three Delta County high schools saw vastly improved performances from their boys' cross country teams at the Hotchkiss Invitational last Saturday at Hotchkiss High School.
The hilly 5k course got hotter as the day went on, and the boys ran the final test of the event. Montrose standout Ian Meek was the overall winner for the second week in a row, and he did it in impressive fashion.
The Paonia High School volleyball team is back to its winning ways.
After defeating Caprock and Rangely in its first home matches of the year last week, the Eagles are showing signs of the chemistry and teamwork that got them to the state tournament last year.
No. 1 Paonia opened defense of its third straight 1A state championship on the road last Friday night at No. 7 Monte Vista.
The Eagles won the game 21-7 behind Player of the Year Taylor Walters and a stingy effort from its young defense.
The Paonia girls' cross country squad showed that the Eagles have one of its deepest, most talented teams yet.
Leading the way last Friday was senior Chelsea Meilner, who completed the course in 20:23.75 to finish fifth overall.
Paonia's boys' cross country team continues to make strides and is starting to set higher goals for itself as more and more talented Eagles join the squad.
In the second meet of the year at Confluence Park in Delta last Friday morning, nearly all of the Eagles posted times that improved upon their first meet marks.
The Paonia football team has its season opening kickoff on Friday night, and the quest for the coveted 3-peat will officially begin.
Prep cross-country competition got underway this past weekend. Delta's and Paonia High School's teams chose to attend the Warrior Invitational at Matchett Park on Saturday. Hotchkiss competed in Basalt at the Longhorn Stampede.
The Paonia tennis team served and volleyed in its first matches of the year last Saturday at Apple Valley Park, and the Eagles showed that they are in for a promising season.
Two consecutive state titles. A 23-game winning streak. The reigning Player and Coach of the Year.
The Paonia High School volleyball team keeps resetting the standard for excellence.
The Eagles took to the floor last week and began the season looking to equal or better their stellar campaign last year.
The diverse landscape of high school tennis in the North Fork Valley is hard to predict, and coach Brian Benson has a whole new set of changes to deal with this season.
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