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Here’s what DHS spring athletes made all-league and all-state

Numerous Demons were honored
Annabel Carithers of Durango High School looks for a shot against Grand Junction High School at Fort Lewis College this past season. Carithers made second team all-state and first team all-league. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo)

High school spring sports have been over for a few weeks in Colorado and therefore accolades have been given out to the top student-athletes from Durango’s spring sports.

No teams won any state championships in the spring like hockey did in the winter but student-athletes from almost every team were awarded.

Here’s a team-by-team look at what players were honored for their play this spring.

Girls lacrosse:

The Durango girls lacrosse team made the state playoffs for the third consecutive season. Unfortunately for the Demons, No. 18 Durango lost in the first round to No. 15 Steamboat Springs 15-10.

Senior Annabel Carithers led the Demons in points with 35 goals and nine assists. She made first team all-league and second-team all-state in 4A.

Carithers previously made the all-league teams in her freshman, sophomore and junior years. She was the player of the year in the league as a sophomore.

Demons girls lacrosse head coach Eric Elliot applauded Carithers for her brilliant career and said she leads almost all career statistical categories for the Durango girls lacrosse program.

Also on the first team all-league was junior defender Kyana Newcomer-Ball. She had 35 ground balls, 14 caused turnovers, a goal and four assists for the Demons. Newcomer-Ball was also named to the honorable mention 4A team.

“She's a solid defender and she has been in her career,” Elliot said. “She's pretty good at anticipating the passes. So she’s been really good at jumping passes and at least knocking him down. She's unbelievably fast so she’s one of the defenders that typically if she gets it on the defense end, she's going to push it up the field herself.”

Also on first team all-league and honorable mention for 4A was sophomore defender Laurel Dondlinger. She had 37 ground balls, 12 caused turnovers and a goal for Durango.

Elliot described Dondlinger as an aggressive defender who primarily plays on goal line extended. Elliot commended Dondlinger for her ability to shut down any attackers who tried to spin toward the crease and score. Dondlinger is good at sliding to help on defense and keeping the ball after a caused turnover, according to Elliot.

The final first team all-league player and honorable mention all-state was junior goalie Fiona Chandler. She played the whole year and had 173 saves on 320 shots on goal for a 54% save percentage.

“She's just consistent,” Elliot said about Chandler. “I think being a goalkeeper is probably the worst job on the field. Her biggest quality is she has pretty good short-term memory. If one gets by her she forgets about it right away. She's on to the next one, which is a quality that is 100% needed in a goalie.”

Elliot said Chandler has improved on picking off passes from goal and using her athleticism to jump on the deflections to eliminate the rebound shot.

Although the Demons had four first team all-league selections, Elliot was surprised Durango didn’t have more all-league selections. He is excited for next season because the Demons will returns three of the four all-league selections along with a bunch of other promising players.

Boys lacrosse:

The Durango boys lacrosse team had a tough season finishing 2-11 overall and 1-9 in 4A Mountain League play. But the Demons’ top players were still awarded for their play.

Senior defender Owen Carozza made first team all-league and was honorable mention all-state. Carozza led the Demons with 69 ground balls and 50 takeaways.

Owen Carozza of Durango High School plays defense against Montrose High School this past season at DHS. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo)

Fellow defender junior Zane Geygan made second team all-league after getting 33 ground balls and 14 takeaways in nine games played.

Junior midfielder JT Munger made first team all-league. Munger led Durango with 31 goals and 10 assists as the primary offensive option.

Durango head coach Luke Miller complimented Munger all season for his two-way play and his ability to score for the Demons.

Baseball:

The Demons baseball team struggled to hit down the stretch and lost 11 in a row to end the season 8-15 overall and 0-8 in the 4A/5A Southwestern League.

However, there were some bright spots as sophomore Austin Romero made first team all-league, honorable mention all-state and sophomore Dawson McInnes made second team all-league.

Romero led the team with a batting average of 0.408 and had one home run. Romero also went 3-4 as a pitcher with an ERA of 4.81 and was second on the team with 39 strikeouts.

McInnes had a batting average of 0.369 and also had a home run.

“They both really deserve it,” Durango baseball head coach Austin Anderson said. “They came a long way over the season. They were our two leaders on the team. Austin pitched lights out and I know the win-loss column doesn't show it but when you can have one guy on the mound and totally change the dynamic of your team … he definitely deserves first team. Dawson really came along a lot this way this season. When you can have somebody like him be so versatile, he’s super athletic and he can hit in any position.”

Although Anderson won’t be returning to coach the Demons, he’s excited to see how the players progress as the Demons will be returning most of the roster.

Girls soccer:

It was a disappointing end to the Durango girls soccer season when the Demons were upset at home in the first round after getting a top-four seed in 4A state playoffs.

But that poor showing shouldn’t dissuade fans from thinking it was a successful season. The Demons were 9-3-3 overall and were dominant for the second half of the regular season.

Durango senior forward Emery Miller and senior defender Carter Neiman were named first team all-league and were honorable mention all-state in 4A.

Miller led the Demons with 10 goals and six assists while Neiman was the defensive anchor as the team’s center back and had two goals and two assists while being the Durango’s best asset on set pieces.

Emery Miller of Durango High School against Dakota Ridge High School in the first round of playoffs at DHS this past season. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo )

“Having two players get represented from Durango is huge,” Durango girls soccer head coach Melissa Halonen said. “No matter what, I'm extremely proud of them and the group of girls they've been playing with for so many years. It takes everyone to make kids good.”

Demons junior midfielder Bella Saren made first team all-league after finishing second on the team with seven goals and six assists. Junior midfielder Emily Mcvaugh and senior defender Adde Neiman were second team all-league.

Halonen wishes she could’ve nominated more players for all-state but since the Demons lost in the first round of the playoffs she could only nominate two players. If Durango advanced Halonen could’ve nominated more.

Looking at next year, Halonen is excited for the returning players like Saren, Mcvaugh, junior Peyton Cioppa and sophomore Ryne Neiman and others to step up after contributing a lot this past season.

bkelly@durangoherald.com