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Vista Ridge's Cartagena committing to UNC
Speedster could play as freshman
Brandon Cartagena set a Vista Ridge school record Thursday without playing a game.
The Wolves football star verbally committed to Northern Colorado, becoming the first Vista Ridge athlete to commit to a Division I program.
“My sophomore year I said that would be one of my goals,” said Cartagena, who announced his decision on Twitter on Thursday. “Just to accomplish that is very big, and it shows my hard work has paid off.”
On Twitter, Cartagena joined the growing number of high school athletes who use the social media site to make their commitments public.
“Gonna be wearing a blue and gold jersey in the fall! Going to Northern Colorado!” he tweeted.
Cartagena said he was recruited by the Bears as an athlete, putting him in a position to compete for playing time immediately.
“I can play running back, defensive back, returner; kind of wherever I do my best at,” said Cartagena, who rushed for 1,582 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. “I plan to play running back because that’s what I think I play the best.”
“I think it does (give me an opportunity) because I’ll be more versatile and I can play more positions. I’ll probably have to put on a little bit of weight.”
At 175 pounds, Cartagena has room to grow. But with his speed he won’t need that size immediately. Last spring, the Wolves track star sprinted to second place at state in the 200 meters and third in the 100 meters in 10.72 seconds.
“The thing I’ve noticed – I went to one of their games during the season – they’re a lot bigger,” he said. “Good thing I’ve got speed on my side.”
Cartagena said Bears coach Earnest Collins will let him run track if the Vista Ridge senior so decides.
“I know that football is going to take a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s definitely a possibility,” Cartagena said.
Cartagena is the second Colorado Springs-area football player to commit to UNC in less than a week. On Sunday, Fountain-Fort Carson’s Anthony Davis announced he would become a Bear.
The two soon-to-be-Bears roomed together at UNC when they made their official visit the same weekend.
“That just means that it’s going to be healthy competition, as well,” Cartagena said. “It’s really cool for us two to go up there and represent Colorado Springs.”
Vista Ridge coach Les Johnson liked seeing two locals heading to Greeley.
“That speaks highly of what we’re doing down here in the Springs,” Johnson said. “To get two of the best players out of Colorado to stay home and play at UNC speaks volumes for the type of talent that program is looking at here.”