Jace Christian figured he’d contribute to his CSU-Pueblo football team in many ways this season, but probably not on the field.
A couple of suspensions changed all of that. Suddenly, the redshirt freshman and third-string quarterback, a 2017 Fountain-Fort Carson graduate, found himself at the controls of the No. 13-ranked Thunderwolves for Saturday’s road game at Adams State.
Christian completed 10 of 22 passes for 140 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, helping CSU-Pueblo down the Grizzlies, 29-22, to run the Thunderwolves’ winning streak to five games.
“My coaches tell me to prepare every week like you’re the starter, and I went from third to first string,” Christian said after practice Monday. “I finally got to see what I haven’t seen since I played in high school.”
This weekend, with the reinstatement of starter Brandon Edwards and backup A.J. Thompson, Christian will reassume his spot on the depth chart.
“I stepped in, now I’m ready to step back and let the other guys do their jobs,” Christian said. “You never know when you’re going to get called on, so you have to be in that mindset that you have to be ready to go all the time. Something crazy might happen. It did with me.”
Bartalo serving up aces in wildly successful season at Denver
Serving used to be a major concern for Denver sophomore Lydia Bartalo.
Now, it’s her opponents who can’t seem to keep the ball in play.
“Over the summer, I stayed on campus, and my teammates helped me figure out what I needed to fix and nail it down where there was no pressure,” said Bartalo, who graduated in 2017 from Lewis-Palmer after winning three 4A state championships under then-coach Susan Odenbaugh. “Serving was the thing I was struggling with the most last year.”
In the latest NCAA Division I serving stats, Bartalo ranks tied for sixth in the country with 43 aces. She had eight all of last year.
“I think I found the balance you have to have as a college athlete,” said Bartalo, whose youngest sister, Gianna, a junior at L-P, verbally committed to join Lydia at DU in two years. “Getting an ace is a great feeling. Not only did the point not continue, but it was all you. You’re setting the tone for that play, and an ace can psych out the other team.”
Bartalo is part of a historic run for her team, which is 20-1 and riding an 18-game winning streak.
Coronado grads making waves in the RMAC
He spent his first two years of college at Denver but didn’t feel quite at home there, so Isaac Petersilie went out and found his new place.
He found it at Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction, and the former 4A individual state champion at Coronado enjoyed a solid fall season there, earlier this season earning a No. 9 ranking, according to Golfstat.
“I got a fresh start here at Mesa,” said Petersilie, who also was part of a Coronado boys’ 5A team title in 2014, one year after his championship at Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen. “Denver has an awesome program, but it wasn’t the best fit. My first two tournaments here were solid, but the last two, not as much. I’m hoping to be more consistent during the spring season.”
Petersilie’s former classmate, Austin Micci, has found his home at CSU-Pueblo. On Saturday, the junior had the go-ahead, 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to highlight a 141-yard effort in a 29-22 win at Adams State.
Micci, who helped the Cougars claim the 3A state title in 2013, entered the game ranked No. 11 in Division 2 with 6.9 yards per attempt.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every month, Gazette Preps will catch up athletes who continue to stand out in the athletics arena at the collegiate level.