Soroco junior Morgan George, left, and sophomore Bailey Singer run through drills on Thursday during basketball practice in Oak Creek. Thursday was the first official day of high school practices for winter sports in Colorado.

Soroco junior Morgan George, left, and sophomore Bailey Singer run through drills on Thursday during basketball practice in Oak Creek. Thursday was the first official day of high school practices for winter sports in Colorado. Photo by Austin Colbert. |

Winter practices underway for high school preps

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— There aren’t many people as excited to have winter practices underway as DaKota Bruner. The Soroco High School junior and returning all-conference selection for the girls’ basketball team tore her ACL and partially tore her MCL 15 games into the season last winter, but now, she's back at full speed and ready to get to work.

“I’m really excited that we are starting practice again. I’m glad to be back with the girls playing, because I really missed it,” Bruner said. “It’s going to take some time to get back into condition for it, but I think this year is going to be a good year, and I’m excited to get back.”

Practices officially got underway Thursday for all winter sports in Colorado, including each of the basketball, wrestling and hockey teams in Routt County.

For some, it’s a chance to start fresh after a disappointing season. But for the Soroco girls’ basketball team, it’s the beginning of a quest to defend its league title, captured a year ago. Last season, the Rams finished 19-4, the second-most wins in a single season in program history, falling to Paonia in the 2A regional tournament.

Despite the loss of five talented seniors — including Eastern Wyoming College signee Jessica Rossi — the Rams are already confident about their chances at back-to-back league titles.

“We are young, but I think we are going to do pretty well,” said senior Briana Peterson, who was also a first team all-conference pick with Bruner last season. “Some teams are definitely going to want to come after us hardcore, but I think we are ready. We are just going to do what we do, and I think we will be OK.”

The first few practices of the season are usually a feeling out process. Coaches spend much of their time analyzing and critiquing, trying to figure out what they have. But with first contest dates the first week of December, there isn’t a lot of time to work out all the kinks.

“We are getting them acclimated, getting them back in the room,” said Hayden High School wrestling coach Chad Jones. “You are getting stuff done, it’s just the paperwork and all that good stuff. The stuff you don’t want to do as a wrestling coach. But you get it done and out of the way.”

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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