Page 1


P R O M 03

Xpress Staff- visit the staff page to read detailed bios on all members of the staff, as well as link to any specific person’s stories, photos, blogs and email. Go here to keep track of your favorite author or comment on their recent stories or photos.


Letters to the Editor- feel strongly about an issue presented in the Xpress? Use this link to write us a letter about how you feel! If we like it, you might even get your letter and your name (if you want) printed in the next issue of the Xpress!

About the Xpress and Advertising- use these links to learn about all of the technical and legal matters involving the newspaper, as well as any information regarding advertising with the Xpress.

Blogs- some members of the staff have discovered the wonderful world of blogging! Check out their blogs to read all of their past and present rants on issues that might not have made it into the paper, or that aren’t relevant enough to be publicized. Quick teasers of the two most recent blogs from each author can be viewed here

Comments- leave a quick comment for all to see on any story! Your comment will show up in the recent comments section and will be displayed below the story for anyone to read, and respond to!

The Xpress goes

digital by Tony McKendry Staff Writer The days of the print newspaper are numbered. The demand for pixels now exceeds that of paper; no longer do people want their daily news delivered in a tight roll of printed paper, wrapped in a rubber band; they want their news constantly updated, available to them at their every whim, accessible through a cell phone, email, Google, or Kindle. The print paper is going the way of the dinosaurs, chivalry and the dodo bird...dead. Ralston Valley, and its surrounding residents, can relate to this new trend of tabloid-death in the recent death of the print version of the Rocky Mountain News. People no longer want to pay for a physical, handheld copy of the news, when they can get a digital, free version, at whim, whenever they want. The Xpress, noticing this morbid trend in the journalism industry, has jumped the gun on the upcoming, virtually mandatory, digital transition. Hence, the [e] Xpress was born. Now, as well as being able to read all of the Xpress’ hard hitting stories of the month in print; students can now visit to view a constantly updated, web based version of the paper! Xpress reporters can now post breaking news stories at all hours of the day; and students can read those same stories as soon as they are posted! As well as being able to stay updated on all of the goings on of Ralston Valley and the surrounding area (and even the rest of the world in some cases), the site acts as a means for readers to post comments and voice their opinions on any story, write letters to the editor, and access the personal blogs of many of the staff writers. All of us here at the Xpress are deeply hurt by the death of the nearby Rocky Mountain News, and hope that our print version will not be following it down the path to journalistic death; but on the flip side we are all very excited about our new digital means of presenting the news to the masses! To contact the writer or comment on this story, email


Ooh La La Every spring break a group of French students led by Mme. Leslie travels across the Atlantic to the wonderful country of France. Usually, the trip consists of the students experiencing the French culture, but from a more touristy perspective. This year however there was a twist in the itinerary. For this year’s trip the students, accompanied by Mme. Leslie and her husband, were able to truly experience the French culture by living with a French family in a 4 day 5 night stay, and then get the touristy angle by spending the remainder of the trip in a hotel in Paris. March 26-31 I was lucky enough to participate in this adventure, and let me tell you, it was amazing. My family stay started off with a few awkward pauses but by the end it was like I had lived there all my life. I was able to experience high school in France, shopping in all the little side shops in the city of Rennes (where my family lived). I attended a French house party, was taken to a giant castle that was swallowed by the sea at high tide. It was absolutely amazing. And of course, I was able to truly experience the French culture in its entirety. This experience was not nearly long enough, and before I knew it was on the train with the rest of the students who came in my group, bound for Paris… April 1 We arrived in Paris to a wonderfully warm “April Fools” day today. Our hotel, Hôtel Beaugrenelle Tour Eiffel, was not ready for us when we arrived at 11 am, and said we could return at 2 pm to claim our rooms. Great. So we took our bags to their musty basement and left them there. I had put my passport in my suitcase for safekeeping; however I needed it for the day ahead. So after bringing it to the basement, I opened my suitcase

French students go to France Around the world The top five stories from during spring break.

and retrieved my passport. Unfortunately both zippers on my suitcase broke. So there’s no way to close it without stuff falling out, save for the single belt strapping it together around the middle. At that moment I didn’t have time to fix it; we were going out to lunch! So I left it in the basement unzipped and headed up to the lobby. After lunch we walked over to the Eiffel Tower and stood in line for close to an hour and watched a man dressed as a pilot mock people or pretend they were his mom or dad. It was very entertaining and made the hour go by quickly. When we reached the top of the tower the view was breathtaking. The whole of Paris was at our feet. You could see everything, from Notre Dame, the Chanzelize, to a small soccer game taking place on the ground below. Simply amazing. We next headed to Mount Martre which was the first cathedral I’ve ever been in. While of course not nearly as big as Notre Dame, it was still quite large. Along the way we hit up the small shops that lined the walkway up to the cathedral and took pictures of the fantastic view and each other in front of it. When we had finally regrouped we headed to the risqué red light district to see the Moulin Rouge. We capped off our day with dinner at a nice restaurant while exchanging stories of our family stay. and most definitely saved the night.

around the world and nation since March 9 Gay Marriage


The group poses in front of the Eiffel Tower in France. Photo by Ashley Pajor

Online exclusive:

Go to to see more photos and read about the last three days of Ashley’s amazing trip to France.

To contact the writer or comment on this story email

¿Qué tal?

Spanish students travel to Spain and Morocco during spring break.

Day One I arrived at the airport 90 minutes before our scheduled meeting time (I had anticipated greater weather-related driving difficulties). I got some breakfast from Caribou Coffee and wandered around DIA until some other members of our group began filtering in. Excited, we waited anxiously for Sra. Vits to arrive while listening to our parents discuss the best method to get home, as roads were being closed. We checked in, praying that the checked baggage didn’t exceed the weight limit, and meandered to the gate. Some of us were freaking out about the impending plane ride across the Atlantic, but most were terribly thrilled to be going to Spain. We boarded and were warned about the slippery nature of the gangway. Everyone headed the warnings, except the flight attendant, who fell and injured her back. The incident was obviously unfortunate, but it resulted in the eventual cancellation of our flight (after two hours of waiting on the plane). We debated if we would go to a hotel for the night or stay in DIA. Srta. Ward, Sras. Roth and Fortunato, and Ms. Hicks stayed in a hotel, while Sra. Vits, Mr. Gus, and the students slept on rigid foam mats in the A Terminal. Day Two We went through security a second time after waking up at eight. As one can expect, we smelled like the Botanical Gardens on a warm spring day. Even more so after 11 hours on two planes. We arrived at 9:30 on the morning of day three, our first day in Spain. Day Three After arriving at the hotel, a very nice hotel, we were given a few minutes to freshen up. Unfortunately, 20 minutes is not sufficient time for adequate freshening. We toured Madrid, visited el Prado, and had free time over the course of the day. Madrid was beautiful. The tour guide, Enrique (or Kike), showed

P R O M 05

me a small Turkish place at which we ordered dinner. It was appropriately festive as there was a soccer game against Turkey that night. Suddenly thrust into a society in which English is the second language, I quickly had to adapt. All five years of Spanish came hurtling back and I found myself ill prepared for a conversation lacking “¿Qué?’s” and “Huh?”s. Day Four We spent but one night in the lovely hotel when we were off to Granada via Toledo. Still recovering from the eight-hour time difference, we were forced to wake up at an ungodly hour in the morning in order to leave on time. It was totally worth it when I saw Toledo, a city of narrow allies winding through history. Our guide for Toledo was a small, enthusiastic woman who frequently reminded us that we need to learn from history. Toledo was the city of three cultures, in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived relatively peacefully. She claimed that the harmony in which these historically warring peoples lived should be an example for us. Day Five We visited La Alhambra, a beautiful palace and fortress complex of the Moorish rulers of Granada in southern Spain. It is one of the most popular examples of the complicated Moorish architecture and

later Christian influences. Afterwards, we transferred to Costa del Sol, the European equivalent of Florida. Most of its inhabitants were retired Germans and Englishmen, making English less of a second language than in the rest of the country. Costa del Sol was ridiculously sunny and a welcomed break from ominous threats of rain from ubiquitous clouds. To contact the writer or comment on this story email caitlin.mcconnell@rvhsnews. com.

After the passage of Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, last November, the state Supreme Court is now deciding on the legality of said measure. Various lawsuits ranging from technicalities to the constitutionality of the new law have appeared before the courts. Other lawsuits have been filed claiming that those gay marriages that were granted from 2008 until November should be legally invalid. The court is due for a decision on both the legality of Proposition 8 and the grandfathering of the gay rights law in the next few months. Similarly, earlier this month, the Vermont Congress voted to allow gay marriage beginning September 1. After passing both houses of the legislature, Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the bill, which was then overridden by a very wide margin. Same sex marriages are legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts. On April 27, they will be legal in Iowa. In Colorado, civil unions will be legal beginning July 1. For more information see http://tinyurl. com/xpress-prop8.



Some students freeze while posing in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by Caitlin McConnell

Online exclusive:

Go to to see more photos and read about the last six days of Caitlin’s awesome trip to Spain.

G-20 Summit

The G-20 Leader’s Summit on Financial Markets and World Economy met on April 2, 2009 in London. The G-20 is a meeting of the 19 most financially prosperous nations plus the European Union, this time to discuss the global economic crisis. The G-20 promised over $1000 billion to stimulate trade support, lending, and to help finances in poorer countries. They also promised over $1.1 trillion to create a program to restore credit, growth, and jobs in the global market. According to the G-20 London Summit website, the leaders stated, “We start from the belief that prosperity is indivisible; that growth, to be sustained, has to be shared; and that our global plan for recovery must have at its heart the needs and jobs of hard-working families, not just in developed countries but in emerging markets and the poorest countries of the world too...”. The Summit plans on meeting at the end of this year to assess the success of the stimulus money and plan for the next year. For more information see

Pirates (without Johny Depp)

Earlier this week, the captain and crew of the Maersk Alabama experienced a real-live pirate attack off the coast of Somalia, in Northeastern Africa. The pirates took control of the ship, but the crew quickly regained power. Although the crew is currently in control of the ship, the pirates took the captain hostage and were holding him for ransom. He has since been rescued. Piracy has become a multi-million dollar industry in Somalia, a country without a centralized government since 1991. The pirate-ridden waters surrounding Africa are patrolled by an international antipiracy armada, but as Lt. Nathan Christenson stated, “we can’t be everywhere at one time.” For more information, see To comment on any of these stories email




Exhibitors Connor Randall of Excellence 2009



by Michael Auslen Assistant Editor

onnor Randall has a heart. After all, he is human and, like all humans, he needs that oxygen-enriched blood that the heart so graciously pumps through the body. Yet, unlike most humans, Connor is extremely lucky to have a heart.

When Connor was only three months old, he was diagnosed with

Cardiomyopathy. Simply put, Connor’s heart muscle was underdeveloped and had not grown at the same rate as the rest of his body. So, he was put on the list for a heart transplant.

Three months later, Connor received a successful heart transplant at Children’s

Hospital in Denver.

For 11 years, Connor lived life like every other child. He was on medications and had occasional doctor visits to ensure that his ticker was ticking correctly, but the transplant had relatively little effect on Connor’s life. But on July 4, 2003, Connor woke up and fainted. He was rushed to the hospital, but was sent home with instructions to have him drink more water; he was probably dehydrated. Four days later, Connor fainted again. Once more, Connor was rushed to the hospital, where they took an emergency cardio catheterization and found that his body was rejecting the heart through Coronary Artery Disease. “Basically what happens is the brain recognizes the heart as a foreign object and sends the immune system to attack it,” Connor said. “It’s like attacking yourself and there’s nothing you can do about it.” The only response in situations like these is immune suppression medications, which Connor had already been taking. So, the hospital started treatments and Connor was in and out of the hospital practically nonstop for one-and-a-half years. Almost one year later, Connor was put on the re-transplant list as a sort of last re-

sort. The doctors had tried everything else. “Basically, it was at the point where I probably had a week left to live in the summer of 2005,” Connor said. “I was so sick I couldn’t walk up stairs without getting out of breath, I was freezing cold all the time… I lost a lot of weight and I had pick lines in my arm permanently feeding medicine directly into my heart.” On July 18, 2005, at three o’clock in the morning, Connor’ family received a call about the transplant. Connor went in for surgery. Though he doesn’t remember the surgery (he was knocked out), Connor does remember some parts of that morning. “I remember walking in. They wanted to wheelchair me, but I wouldn’t let them do that, so I walked in with the nurses, turned around and gave them [my family] the thumbs up. Then I laid myself down,” Connor said. The surgery was a success. Nine days later, Connor was released. He continued to have treatments to ensure that the transplant remained successful and to avoid rejection from the body. In December 2007, Connor had another cardio catheterization, which revealed a small amount of rejection. He underwent treatment for four months, during which he missed most of the second semester of


Kayanne Klipka by Michael Auslen Assistant Editor



n a quick glance, Kayanne Klipka doesn’t stand out. She seems like any other person one might pass in the halls. She may be chatting with friends or sitting in a classroom, but it doesn’t take one very much time, after engaging

Kayanne in conversation, to come to the realization that she is, in fact, a very unique person.

Kayanne has a passion for people that stretches far beyond most people’s. “She’s got great energy,” said Amanda Kingry, Kayanne’s youth pastor at Christ Community Covenant Church. “She’s excited about life and is a really positive person, even when things are going kind of rough.” This is certainly evident in the things Kayanne strives to achieve. Last year, at a youth group event, Kayanne watched a video about human sex trafficking in Southeast Asia and knew she needed to get involved. She found an organization called Love 146, which works to free young girls from brothels and, most importantly, to create awareness of the problem so that something can be done.

So she set out to do her part within the Ralston Valley community. She spoke out against sex trafficking and also slave labor, taking every opportunity she could to make sure people knew what was happening to little girls in Asia or how much human sacrifice really went into the clothes the wore or the food they ate. “It’s something people don’t want to believe and I think it makes a lot of people uncomfortable to know that a lot of the stuff we own is made unfairly,” Kayanne said. A business’s job is, understandably, to turn a profit, which requires spending the least money possible, while still creating a competitive, desirable product.

his sophomore year. But, in June 2008, organ donation and has been involved in after another catheterization, the doctors promoting that cause, including appeardiscovered that the rejection was under ances on the radio with Slacker and Steve. control, though not completely gone. Since his second transplant in 2005, Despite the incredible medical challeng- Connor has made countless speeches at es Connor has had to face, he has made a fundraisers of all kinds to promote organ profound impact on the community. For donation. the 11 years between As if his involvet’s important for his first transplant and ment outside of the rejection of that which actually other students to see school, heart, he was a sort of spreads farther than poster child for Chilthese few causes, how corageous he was dren’s Hospital. As one enough, Connor and to see what a great isn’t of the nation’s leaders is also active within in heart transplants, difference he was mak- the Ralston Valley Children’s relied on community. He is a ing. Connor, telling other member of student children like him (and Sate Rep. Sara Galiardi government and, their parents) that until it did not reform everything would turn this year, the mock out okay. They could point to Connor and trial team. Connor is also a member of the say, “see, his was a success.” Xpress staff (it is important to note that More recently, Connor has worked with this had no influence on the judging comState Rep. Sara Gagliardi of Arvada on a mittee’s decision). bill to lower the blood donation age to 16, Connor has faced trials. He has had a with parental consent. total of three hearts in seventeen years “I was basically the young expert,” of existence. He, at one point in his life, beConnor said. “It’s estimated that it [lowercame so sick that he had perhaps just one ing the donation age] will increase their week left. Yet, Connor has taken every opdonations by 35 percent, just by lowering portunity to make a difference. He exhibits it down to the sophomore class.” excellence within the RVHS community, Connor met with Gagliardi and Bonyes, but his impact has rippled outward fils Blood Center and testified before the like a stone thrown into a pond. He proHealth and Human Services committee in motes blood and organ donation, which the state capital in an effort to get this bill directly save lives, and which directly passed. saved his life, and he doesn’t back down, “It’s important for other students to even when the task before him is daunting, know how courageous he was to do this because, in Connor’s eyes, a life is worth so and to see what a great difference he was much more than a few free moments. making” Gagliardi said. “He has such an understanding of health and what a differTo contact the writer or comment on this ence that can make.” story, send an email to michael.auslen@ In addition, Connor is an advocate for


Therefore, many companies turn to purchasing supplies and products made using slave labor. Rather than searching for plantations that are completely fair and have adequately paid workers, a company like Hershey’s will purchase chocolate from whoever will charge them the least. And that is usually whoever uses slave labor. By promoting activism and purchasing “fair trade” items (that is, items that have been produced only by paid employees every step of the way), Kayanne has made a very real global impact, yet she also works locally as a small group leader at Christ Community Covenant Church. Essentially, this entails Kayanne meeting once per week with a group of freshmen and sophomore girls to discuss things about their lives and act as a mentor to them. But no matter what Kayanne is doing, whether it’s saying something no one else would say or it’s in an attempt to bring awareness to a grave problem facing the world, she is a unique person who is always looking for a way to help.

She summed it up best herself: “I just like connecting with people.” To contact the writer or comment on this story, send an email to michael.auslen@



P R O M 13

Ashlynn McCarville


Ashlynn is one of those quiet strong people, the ones who are quiet but

once you get them to open up are some of the best people to be around. Says Katie Duggan (11) “Ashlynn is a quiet leader, but she has a positive attitude and always helps you feel better when you are feeling down.” Ashlynn is receiving this award because of her dedication to not only her school work, but her family and music as well. She is an excellent student who does her work without question and does it well. While her studies are an achievement in and of themselves, her music is another story. Ashlynn is a cello player here at RV, and a darn good one. “She is a dedicated cello player and nice to everyone; she always demonstrates excellence.” Says Amanda Trinh (11). Not only does she excel in her studies and musical talent, but she is able to make time for her family as well. She has never missed a single one of her brother’s games on the weekends, and is constantly there to support him in his sports endeavors. With so much going on already, it seems like she has zero time. And while that may be true, there is still magically time for her social life as well. Everyone who knows her has nothing but good things to say and happy memories to relay. EXCELLENT RATED Kayanne Klipka (12), Connor Randall (11) and Ashlynn McCarville (11) won the 2009 Exhibitors of Excellence awards. Photo by Ashley Pajor.

Eric Honert

Ian Griffey

Melissa Gross

by Ashley Pajor and Caitlin McConnell Photographer and Copy Editor

by Caitlin McConnell Copy Editor

by Anna Patton Editor-In-Chief




n outstanding academic

Ian Griffey is certainly an Ex-

record, winner of league

hibitor of Excellence. He is a great

tennis sophomore and

student and involved in a plethora



t’s no suprise that when the Ralston Valley newspaper set out looking for quality candi-

To contact the writer or comment on this story, email

Michelle Seguin


by Connor Randall Staff Writer


ichelle is the type of girl that, no matter how bad

junior years, Jeffco MVP nominee,

of after-school activities. He is

dates for the Exhibitors of Excel-

of a day you’re having, can put a

and community service activist,

taking advanced classes (Spanish

lence contest, Melissa Gross’ name

smile on your face,” said Chelsea

Eric Honert is certainly an Exhibi-

Four, Pre-Calculus, AP English 12)

came up more than once. Melissa

McKinney (11). And that pretty

tor of Excellence.

and has no off blocks. He is pit

has been playing music since 5th

much sums it up.

Eric has had above a 4.0 GPA every

captain in Band and playing violin

grade when she chose to take up

year of high school in which AP and honors classes are offered. He is currently taking a senior seminar as a junior (after taking physics as a sophomore) while also doing community service with his church and NHS. “I work with my church. I work through the school. Recently, we went to Denver Rescue Mission; I helped deliver thanksgiving baskets I also did MMP through the school,” Eric said. What keeps him going? His goal of going to college; he does all of these activities to make sure that he gets into a good college. When advising athletes with the delicate balancing act they have to perform between school and sports, he said, “Organize, organize and a lot of time management. You can’t just be wandering around all the time and doing nothing with your time, you always have to be doing something with it.” His advanced classes, achievements in sports, community service record and easy-going personality make him a great candidate for university and for Exhibitors of Excellence.

in Chamber Orchestra. He’s been in band since eighth grade, after a percussion teacher, Mr. Ewer, showed him how cool band could be. Griffey has taken his love for Spanish and transformed it into a Spanish club, which he started with Sophie Ridl (12). The club plans to participate in many cultural events such as Salsa dancing, encouraging recycling and being ‘green,’ and maybe helping Habitat for Humanity. “Mrs. Rubin inspired us to [start the club],” Griffey said. Griffey is doing an internship for architecture in Golden with Ewers Architecture, a Coloradobased architecture firm specializing in environmentally sustainable design. He’s always wanted to be an architect and is “basically a shadow” to the main architect. He is not only a good student who’s passionate about learning, he’s also just a good guy. “Ian is a great person to be around; he’s fun, cheerful, and helpful. You cannot know Ian and not like him. He is silly and can bring anyone out of a bad mood,” Kayla Fochtman, 11, his nominator, said. According to Claire Crowther, 12, “Ian can make you laugh to matter what.” To contact the writer or comment on this story email

the violin, and has been excelling in music ever since. “Melissa is amazing and a confident musician; she definitely has a future in music.” said Garret Rasmussen (10). Since entering high school, Melissa has been named first chair violinist at Ralston Valley twice and in front range youth symphony for two years. She has participated in all county orchestra all four years of high school, and has also been graded for a solo ensemble all through high school as well. She is always available to help her classmates with auditions for all county and even for private auditions with Mr. Sawyer. Everyone around Melissa can tell not only what a committed musician she is, but also how much of a kindhearted person she is overall. “She is very dedicated and hardworking. She never says mean things and is always smiling.” said Kathryn Jones (12). Melissa’s passion for music doesn’t end with her extensive career as a violinist. For her, music is more than just a fun release. “Music is something that i have to show you, it’s not really something I can describe to you. It is what gets me up in the morning and is my motivation for coming to school.” said Melissa (12).

To contact the writer or comment on this story email

To contact the writer or comment on this story email

Michelle is not only one of the nicest people you can run into at RV, but she has a fierce enthusiasm for music. She is a violinist in the Chamber Orchestra, and landed the seat as first chair Concert Mistress in the All-County Orchestra. (Which, in normal language, means that she’s the best.) She says that music is her passion, and also acts as her “stress reliever,” and with a quick glance at her rigorous schedule, one can see that any normal person would need a relief. But Michelle handles it with confidence and ease. She has already conquered some of the most difficult courses offered here at RV; and has come out with, what else, but straight A’s. To top it all off, Michelle is a proud member of NHS, Care Team, Winter Guard, and was also captain of the Color Guard throughout the Marching Band season. Though she’s never had an off block, she somehow finds the time to be a phenomenal student, musician, and friend. Michelle Sequin is a true example of excellence here at RV. To contact the writer or comment on this story email


Girls’ Track and Field by Michael Auslen Assistant Editor

It’s been a long time since I last had the opportunity to participate in one of RVHS’s wonderful sporting practices and, to be honest, I wasn’t completely confident in my decision to do girls’ track. Those who recall my first column (cross country) will remember that I am not athletic, as I continually assert, but even more specifically, I do not run. I abhor running. Nevertheless, track went off relatively well. At the beginning of practice we gathered near the math hall and did two laps of some combination of stairs and running through classroom wings. I must express some pride in my ability to stay near the head of the pack with my faithful partner in journalism Ashley Pajor (who is, incidentally, a member of the track team), but, near the end of the second lap I found myself near the rear of the pack. In any case, I then went outside to throw discus and do triple jump. I started with the wimpy fake disc, and didn’t do so hot, but I did graduate to the real deal one pound disc. Though discus wasn’t my strong point by any means, if I do say so myself, triple jump is possible the most fun thing I’ve done with any sports team during practice to date. It took some practice to figure it out, but even Ashley said I wasn’t too bad. I suppose now would be the appropriate time to do a bit of shameless promotion. I have put videos online of discus, triple jump and my pole vaulting adventures at At that point, I was supposed to do sprinting, but that group of girls was finished, so we cut the day short. However, after spring break, I got back together with Ashley to do the one thing that, from the beginning of planning my track practice misadventures, I had vehemently opposed: pole vaulting. Somehow, I am not comfortable with the idea of holding a long pole and running straight towards a pile of mats, only to hoist myself onto said mats using said pole. It seems unnatural and, frankly, extremely dangerous. But I reluctantly agreed to accompany Ashley to Arvada West for one day of practice. Unfortunately, there were other

people practicing there, so I didn’t get quite as many tries doing the real deal as I would have liked, although maybe that was for the best. For starters, Ashley taught me how to swing forward using the pole. I was instructed to thrust one knee forward and have the trail leg follow behind, a move I quickly likened to Peter Pan. But my trip to Never Neverland was regrettably cut short by my own failure at athletics. As Ashley added steps to my travesty of an attempt at pole vaulting, I quickly worsened in my ability to do any of it. In fact, even things I had mastered earlier seemed to disappear from my short list of things I can do which require insane amounts of hand-eye coordination. I did finally get a couple of tries on the pole, the first of which was an utter failure (but it was all Ashley’s fault for not fixing my hand position), but the second of which sort of worked. I say sort of because I only made it onto the mats with very little air time or height, but I say worked because I actually made it onto the mats without injuring myself, which was above my own expectations. Though my time with the girls’ track team wasn’t nearly as physically strenuous as some of my other practices, it was very difficult. I spent most of my time doing field events and found that it takes a serious amount of practice and dedication to succeed. These girls (and, I suppose, their male counterparts) push themselves throughout the entire season to achieve as close as they can come to perfection. There’s always some little tweak to make to the routine or a few more inches that can be thrown or jumped. So, though I may not have been tested as much as usual, I did come out of girls’ track with a few very beneficial things: I now understand the difficulty of field events, which I once would have considered not altogether difficult to master. I have conquered my fear of pole vaulting, and what a short-lived fear it was. I have, as usual provided you with some sort of entertainment at my pitiful athletic attempts, this time in a video format online. To contact the writer or comment on this story, send an email to michael.auslen@


by Ashley Pajor Photographer While I do enjoy many sports, baseball, up until now, has been one I just don’t get. Well along with golf, but that’s a different rant. Baseball, while yes the American pastime, I just never really got. You run you stop you run, wait no go back. Try again. Fail. Now switch positions. What? That was my basic understanding of the sport. Well my experience with the boys’ baseball team most definitely changed my perspective of the American pastime. I arrived at the baseball diamond after school one very nice spring afternoon to meet the team and participate in their training. Right off the bat I was welcomed and given a glove. Since I have basically never played baseball (except in the back yard with my brother when I was about 9, and that was enough for me to figure out baseball was not my sport) I have zero skills, talent, or anything really to give me a little support in the practice. We started the practice with a quick warm up: partners throwing a ball back and forth. So I partnered with Matt Spirek and started throwing. My catching skills were not up to par at first and I missed the ball quite a bit but towards the end I was able to catch most of what was coming at me. Unfortunately my throwing was about the same level as my catching and I could throw a little over half the distance the rest of the team was throwing. We next had a meeting with the whole team with coach Freelhing standing center. He gave us a quick rundown of how practice would go down, and introduced me to the team. We then split up JV and Varsity; with Varsity starting on the field and JV in the batting cages. I went with Varsity. Everyone threw down their gloves and started jogging over to one side of the field and pulling giant net things and a rolling giant net thing to the center and home base of the field. I stood around and looked pretty for this part of practice… We then had another meeting, this time it wasn’t the game plan for the day but the game plan for the rest of the season. Coach Freelhing was very clear in emphasizing that while the game is a physical one, it is also a mental one. They needed to clear their heads of past losses, and focus on what’s happening now. After the meeting we divided into outfield and infield, and started batting. There were 3 stations for batting practice. The first was “air batting” at a wiffle ball, basically you swat at it with your hand. It stings. Bad. But not too bad. After a few rounds of the swatting practice, I moved onto the next station. Hitting a wiffle ball with a baseball bat. At first it was rather disastrous however once again I was able to get the swing of it it turned out ok. The third and final stage was of course a real bat with a real baseball inside the giant rolley-net-thing which turned out to be a kind of portable batting cage. I came up to the plate, rather nervous, after all I was about to make a fool of myself in front of the entire boys varsity baseball team. I looked at the umpire,

Dylan Dwyer, who gave me some weird facial gesture, and faced the pitching mound. “I can’t do this I can’t do this” was all that was running through my head. And finally it came out my mouth. “We never say cant” said coach Freelhing, “you can do it”. So he came over and threw up the ball a few times right in front of me and I hit the balls. Then when I miraculously hit the ball from that position, he moved back to the pitching net-thing the boys dragged out earlier and pitched (a little slower) just like he would with any other member of the team. And I hit it! Wow, let me tell you I was extremely surprised, and am still. Me, with zero coordination, who tripped over the bucket of balls in the middle of the field later in practice, hit the tiny little baseball! Yes! And all in about a minute too. Now that’s good coaching. We did this drill for a while, switching off infield and outfield. Outfield was less intense for me than infield, mostly because I just got all the baseballs and threw them in a bucket. And then tripped over the bucket… but in any case, I was in the outfield. When we finished this drill we did some conditioning. Which is basically the same sport to sport: Running. So we ran around the diamond and came back and stretched and then did the “relaxation exercise”. Now this was a first for me. We were instructed to lie on our backs and look up at the clouds, the sun was setting and so it wasn’t too bright any more. “Close your eyes” coach said, “Arms at your sides”. “Now breathe, Buddha belly! Breathe into your stomach. Now keep breathing, hold it for 4 seconds, and exhale.” So we breathed for a while, it was very relaxing; I thought this might be all but then… “Now, visualize all the things that are stressing you out. School, homework, girls, (boys) and now exhale. Exhale it all away”. This was nice; exhaling all my ridiculous homework, projects, and stress, very nice indeed. He then said to “visualize all the things that make you happy, a great homerun, your best game of baseball” etc. etc. When we had finished with our happy visualizations, he had us tense different muscles of our body, starting with our head and ending with our toes, one section at a time. And finally, he had us visualize a cold bucket of water being poured on our head and going down the rest of our body. I must have visualized this very good because I don’t really know what he said after that due to my shivering in the grass from the cold bucket “dumped” on my body. Practice finished with the relaxation exercise, around 6 o’clock. While everyone was relaxed, it was still easy to see the tiredness in the faces of the team. Practice was long, it was hard, and it pays off. The baseball team has done really well this year; excluding a loss from Pomona the guys have had a great run of games. The season is almost over, but you can still catch a piece of the action April 20 when the guys play Dakota Ridge at 4 pm. To contact the writer or comment on this story, send an email to ashley.pajor@

Online exclusive:

Go to to see more photos and video coverage of Michael and Ashley at girls’ track and baseball practices.

FORWARD N E W S LIMELIGHT S P O R T S V O I C E Mustangs Get The Win They’ve Been Looking For Against Farmers The Lacrosse team dominates the lady farmers for the first time in four years by Shay Hicks Staff Writer It is time for a new beginning. The girl’s lacrosse team got off to a slow start this season with a brutal non-conference schedule losing three of its first four games and tying another. However, they have won four straight league games, including an 18-11 win over Wheat Ridge last Saturday, April 11. The momentum that the Mustangs are starting to build is going to make them a tough team to beat as the season goes on. The win over Wheat Ridge was a huge moral boost for the girls, ending a three-year losing streak to the Farmers. The game was very tight going into halftime with the Mustangs leading 8-7. “We got off to a good start,” junior Kelsea Wallace said. “However, Maribel Gallegos played very well and kept them in the game.” Gallegos scored four of Wheat Ridge’s seven firsthalf goals. It was a complete different story in the second half for the girls in blue. Chelsea Roberts scored her first goal of the game only slightly after a minute passed, giving the Mustangs a two-point edge. In the next few minutes, Wallace tallied her fourth goal of the game, and shortly after that Roberts scored again to create a four-goal cushion with 20:26 remaining in the game. Wheat Ridge’s Kelsey O’Conner got a goal with 19:10 left, giving Wheat Ridge some life. However, RV’s Phaedra Randolph answered with a goal almost two minutes later to push the margin back up to four with a little under 17 minutes

All photos taken by: Kumiko Sasa

remaining in the contest. Randolph’s goal started a Mustang run that the Farmers just could not bounce back from. Wallace scored her fifth goal and gave RV a 13-8 lead with 15:04 left. The Mustangs, with a five-goal lead did a masterful job controlling the ball and killing the clock. They got good defensive stops, including a couple of Roberts’ steals before she scored again with 9:31 remaining. “We did a great job of playing for each other,” said Roberts, a junior. “We did the little things right which translated into doing the big things right.” Sophomore Kristina Lucas put the nail in the coffin with a goal at the 6:23 mark. Down by seven, the Farmers tried to make things interesting, scoring two goals in a 24-second span. But the deficit was just too much for Wheat Ridge. Wallace and Randolph scored the last three goals for the Mustangs pushing the lead up to 18-10, and O’Conner scored a meaningless goal with 37 seconds left in the contest for Wheat Ridge. “Transition and good passing helped us get good shots,” Wallace said. “We played very well together as a team, a very unselfish effort from everyone,” sophomore Gabrielle Wallace said. With a 4-1 league record and a fourgame winning streak, teams are going to have to bring their best effort against Ralston Valley. The Mustangs hope to keep the momentum the remainder of the season and into the playoffs. To contact the writer or comment on this story, email



Shay’s Sports Corner

All Mustangs Fear the Media Curse

Ralston Valley is cursed. Just as there is a curse hanging over the cubs for the last century. It is similar to the curse over any Florida State kicker against Miami. It is just as bizarre as the Madden Cover Jinx. The source of the Ralston Valley curse is an odd one. Although it is odd, it has become deadly. Of course you can assume I am talking about the Ralston Valley Media Curse. It seams that as of late, when our athletes catch the eyes of the media our teams can’t perform under pressure. Two seasons ago the football team was 11-1 and one game away from the 4A state championship. Earlier in the season the Mustangs pulled off a miraculous finish against Wheat Ridge with what seamed to be the tying touchdown as time expired. However the Miracle Mustangs went for 2 and the win giving Ralston Valley an 8-7 victory. Again they met Wheat Ridge in the playoffs. Earlier that week there was an article in the paper about the talented Ralston Valley defense that held top ranked Mullen scoreless the week before. Final score: Farmers 28 Mustangs 7. Last season Ralston Valley had a loaded football team posting a perfect regular season record and winning the first game in the playoffs. With an 11-0 record they caught the attention from Fox 31. Marcia Neville came to R.V. and talked about the football team as if they were the 72 Dolphins. She also called our mascots bulldog and mustang showing us how intelligent she is. That night Ralston Valley went to battle against Monarch. Final score: Coyotes 34 Mustangs 28. Last year’s basketball program started the season 4-5. They didn’t lose again in the regular season including an undefeated league record. As the

playoffs began there was an article in the Denver Post about Ralston Valley’s Pierce Hornung compared to Abraham Lincoln’s Francisco Cruise. R.V. met up with the Lincoln Lancers in the state semifinals. Hornung was held to 9 points in the Ralston Valley loss. Hopefully we would have learned from these obvious occurrences with media coverage and would have kept our athletes in the dark. However we gave it one last go-round with the basketball team. ESPN’s Rise Magazine did an article about Pierce Hornung back in January. As the playoffs began the CBS 4 News team did a story about Hornung most likely inspired by the magazine article. They ranted about Hornung and how the basketball team is one of the favorites in the tournament. The day that the mustangs went to battle with Arapahoe there was an article by the Denver Post preps columnist Neil H. Devlin titled Mustangs are in good hands with Hornung at the Helm. Final score: Warriors 58 Mustangs 54 OT. Now notice that all the articles are positive articles praising the Mustangs. Remember my article I wrote at the beginning of the season when the Football team was 0-3. I wrote about how someone needed to step up and show some leadership. R.V. won seven games in a row and the league championship. We should only allow the release of negative stories about our sports teams. Think about it. If there is an article saying that the Mustangs don’t have a prayer, then they will play harder just to prove everyone wrong. However when there is an article or news story about how unstoppable the mustangs are, the opposition is going to want to prove everyone wrong. All this media coverage is not as much an inspiration for the mustangs as it is for the opponent.

April, 15, 2009, Issue  

Volume 9, Issue 9

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you