Gear continues to fall into the hands of the Roaring Fork Rams after their state championship in November.
Senior captain Ross Barlow was named Colorado State’s 3A Player of the Year, leading four team members represented on the All-State roster and two honorable mentions. Nick Forbes of Roaring Fork was named Coach of the Year for classification.
“It was definitely one of my biggest dreams – being state and winning All-State awards,” Barlow said. “I was sitting in one of my classes and the CHSAA had not published it. But Nick knew who won the awards, and he sent it to my mom (Roaring Fork High School’s athletic director Crista Barlow), and she announced it over the loudspeaker while I was in class. , so that’s how I found out.
According to MaxPreps statistics, Barlow has scored 14 goals and had 19 assists in his senior season for 47 points. Most important, however, was an assist for Josh Hernandez in the state championship game, giving the Rams a 2-1 lead over No.1 seed Jefferson Academy. That turned out to be the winning tally, as the No.11 Rams finished a not-so-Cinderella run through the playoffs, beating each of the top three seeds and giving the Jaguars their first loss of the season when that mattered the most.
This victory saw Roaring Fork win the first state team sports championship since 1991 and the first in the men’s soccer program. Forbes named Barlow the player of the match.
“When you put aside your own individual stats – which is a difficult skill – you end up being successful as an individual anyway, which is a weird conundrum,” Forbes said. “His defining moment throughout the season kind of epitomized because it wasn’t a goal, it was a great assist.”
The entire Rams system went through Barlow, Forbes said. His midfield skills, along with those of Junior Mercado – who won the Western Slope League Player of the Year award – allowed Roaring Fork to play an additional striker while still having confidence in the transition and defense.
Forbes added that many of Barlow’s contributions don’t show up on a stat sheet, especially with his distance from the attacking position.
“What we don’t have in those stats is how many tackles he makes and when he starts attacking with those tackles, key passes and all those things that you just don’t have the power to do. to control unless you watch every game, “Forbes said.
Seniors Junior Mercado and Carlos Perez Rios and junior Emi Magana joined Barlow in the first team. Seniors Cole Pargiter-Walker and Braden Stainton received honorable mentions.
“For four of us to be on the All-State first team is just crazy because there are tons of kids in 3As,” said Barlow. “I think it’s good to point out that all of these awards are only possible because of the strength of our team. “
For Forbes, this is his second All-State Coach of the Year award in two seasons – he also guided the Rams to the final in 2019, where they did not win the ultimate award. .
“That one looked like a bottomed out price because of the way it turned out,” Forbes said. “But this award is awesome. … It’s my baby.”
Forbes highlighted assistant coaches Jeff Mohsenin and Rod Woelfle, saying the trio take training perhaps more seriously than their normal jobs.
The trio coordinate college and junior college together. They are deeply committed to the team with a passion for it that is evident to the players.
“Nick being a coach he does it for himself,” said Barlow. “Other coaches in private schools probably make a lot of money from coaching, and those schools find the best coaches they can. But Nick is, I believe, better than these coaches because he’s just graduated and has taken public school to report twice in the past three years.
Coal Ridge seniors Eddie Salazar in the first team and Ezra Williams in the second team also represented the Western Slope League on the All State roster. The Titans finished just behind the Rams in the league standings with tied records of 7-1 and entered the tournament state at a higher seed – No.6.
Journalist Rich Allen can be reached at 970-384-9131 or [email protected]