Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Bruce Warren

Out in Leftfield


November 24, 2016


Sean Ratliff (Niwot) began his professional coaching career as hitting coach for the Kingsport Mets in 2015. In 2016 Ratliff moved up to the Brooklyn Cyclones, the short-season Class A affiliate of the Mets. And this fall he coached in the Instructional League, where his prize pupil, Tim Tebow, homered on the first pitch he saw. Ratliff was drafted by the Mets out of Stanford University, where he starred in the College World Series. He worked his way up to Class AA in the Mets organization, and appeared in several spring training games with the parent Mets. But an eye injury suffered when he was struck by a foul ball while in the on-deck circle during a minor league exhibition game ultimately ended his playing career.


Cole Nygren (Dawson) finished tied for seventh for Cal Poly Pomona at the Hartford Hawk Invitational Sept. 19-20. Nygren, a senior, shot 69-71 in the 2-day tournament. He shot a 213 at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational Oct. 30-Nov. 1, which was good for a 14th-place tie. Nygren was named Big West Conference Male Golfer of the month for September. His scoring average led the team for the month.

Adara Pauluhn (Niwot) finished in a tie for 47th for Boise State at Portland State’s Rose City Collegiate golf tournament Sept. 26-27 in Aurora, OR. Pauluhn shot a consistent 76-78-77 for the event. She followed with a tie for 31st at the New Mexico Aggie Invitational Oct. 3-5, with a 78-78-82 card.

Kelsey Webster of Gunbarrel took fourth at Cherry Hills Country Club in Junior Golf Alliance State Championship October 9 by shooting day’s low round of 1 under 72, following a first day score of 79. Webster was also named Most Improved Player of Year having shaved 10 strokes off her handicap over 6 months, making her a 1 handicap. She is a junior at Fairview High School where she competes on the golf team.


Trey Fleming (Silver Creek) was a triple threat for Black Hills State University this fall, scoring both as a receiver and as a kicker, while also punting for the Yellow Jackets. Fleming played in seven games, catching 22 passes for 289 yards and one touchdown. His 16.06 yards per catch was second on the squad. Fleming was 6-11 in field goals, with a long kick of 43 yards, tops on the team. He also led the team in punting with an average of over 38 yards, with a long kick of 57 yards. Black Hills State finished with a 7-4 record. Fleming was second on the team in scoring.

Paul “Tiny” Koehler, coached football at Niwot High for many years, including a state championship season in 1990. Koehler retired from high school teaching and coaching several years ago, but was convinced to come out of retirement to coach running backs for Fort Lewis College last season. Fort Lewis finished with a 4-7 record this fall, but Koehler’s running backs averaged over 265 yards per game, more than double that of their opponents.

Austin Apodaca (Silver Creek) has been a co-starter at New Mexico this season at quarterback. Apodaca, whose father is the head coach at Silver Creek, has completed over 57% of his passes with 4 touchdowns. He has also scored twice on the ground. His passing line of 48-85-2 produces a 128.6 passer efficiency rating. New Mexico is 7-4 on the season.

Nate Merriman (Niwot) caught his first touchdown pass of the season for Augustana in a 63-0 win over the University of Mary Sept. 10. Merriman had three catches for 24 yards on the day. He followed that with three catches for 43 yards in a 56-3 win over Minnesota-Crookston Sept. 17. Merriman picked up two more TD catches with one each against Minnesota-Duluth and Sioux Falls before exploding for 104 yards receiving against Upper Iowa, which included his fourth touchdown of the season. His season stats show 23 receptions for 304 yards. Augustana finished 8-3 on the season. Mitch Webster (Silver Creek) is also a squad member as a redshirt-freshman linebacker. Webster notched one solo tackle and three assists against Minnesota-Crookston, including one sack. He also saw action against Sioux Falls. Elijah Noterman (Niwot) was a receiver on the squad last season, but is not playing this year.

Mo Bandi (Niwot) began his college football career at William Jewell as a 6’5” 300-pound offensive lineman in the fall of 2015, but soon enrolled at the University of Colorado, where he walked on in the spring of 2016 as an offensive lineman. Bandi is now listed at 270 pounds, but has not yet seen game action on the line.

Aaron Nicoll (Niwot) played in four games for Cornell College (IA), putting up impressive numbers on punt returns and kickoff returns. Nicoll, a 5’9” 170-pound defensive back, returned two punts for 73 yards, with a long return of 44 yards. He returned three kickoffs for 157 yards, averaging 52.3 yards per return.


Chris Gurule (Niwot) has started all 21 games for New Mexico this fall. The senior defender notched four assists for the season so far, the first coming in a 2-0 win over Cal Poly Sept. 4. His next assist came in a 2-2 tie against Marshall Oct. 22. Gurule also picked up an assist in a 2-1 win over South Carolina Oct. 30. His last assist came in a 2-1 win over Charlotte Nov. 11. New Mexico has a 12-6-3 record heading into the second round of the NCAA tournament after winning a 0-0 tie on a shootout, 6-5 over Portland.

Alex Braman (Niwot) finished his senior season at St. Mary’s (CA) starting the first 16 games for the Gaels as a defender before going down with a season-ending injury in a 1-0 victory over San Francisco Oct. 23. Braman scored one goal on the season, which came in the first game of the season, and marked the first score of the season. The goal, on a header off a pass into the penalty area, came in the 31st minute of the game against California and gave St. Mary’s a 1-0 lead. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. His efforts were recognized by the West Coast Conference, which voted him to the second-team All-Conference squad.

Alex’s twin brother, Ben Braman (Niwot), also started and played the entire first game on defense. Ben Braman is only a junior in eligibility after redshirting one season due to injury. He also had one goal on the season for the Gaels, who finished 8-8-3, losing in the playoffs. Ben Braman’s season was interrupted by an injury in the second game of the season when he left after playing the first 34 minutes against Stanford, a game that also ended in a 2-2 tie. He missed the next eight games, returning to play off the bench in a 2-1 win over West Virginia Oct. 1. Braman came off the bench for one more game before resuming a starting role in a 2-1 win over Pacific. He scored his one goal on a header off a kick into the box, which turned out to be the margin of victory.

Mark Ramirez-Tapia (Niwot) played in 21 games, starting four, for Johnson & Wales this fall. Ramirez-Tapia picked up two assists in a 5-3 win over Rochester (MI) Oct. 21, and scored his first goal in a 1-1 tie against Central Christian Nov. 11. He is listed as a freshman forward on the team, majoring in business administration.


Stanford junior Elise Cranny (Niwot) won the Stanford Invitational 5K Oct. 1 with a time of 20:02.5, pulling away from three other runners to take top honors. It was her first time competing in the event, which Stanford won for the 13th consecutive time. She also took second in the USF Invitational Sept. 3. Cranny suffered a foot injury after the Stanford Invite, but returned to compete at the NCAA Championships Nov. 18. There she finished 158th overall, with a time of 21:06.1.


Matias Cleland (Niwot) has one goal and 12 assists for New Hampshire in the first 12 games this season. Cleland, a senior captain, scored his goal in a 5-3 loss to Boston College Nov. 7. He also added two assists in a 6-2 win over Massachusetts Nov. 18. Cleland, a defenseman, is third on the squad in scoring. New Hampshire has a record of 5-5-2.

Michael Sdao of Niwot joined the Colorado Eagles minor league hockey team this fall after finishing the 2015-16 season with Rochester of the American Hockey League. Sdao was drafted by Ottawa of the National Hockey League in 2009 while still playing collegiately at Princeton, and played three years for their Binghamton farm club before a trade to Rochester last year. He has played in all 16 games this season for the Eagles, posting one goal and two assists as a defenseman. The Eagles are affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche and play in the ECHL.


Marjorie Driscoll (Niwot) finished sixth in the 100Y Freestyle for Kansas with a time of 54:00 in a dual meet against Nebraska Nov. 5. Driscoll also took eighth in the 50Y Freestyle at 24.49. She also took eighth and seventh in the same events, respectively, in a triangular meet against Missouri State and North Dakota earlier in the season.


Justin Lee (Niwot) scored six points off the bench for Johnson & Wales in the season opening loss to South Dakota School of Mines Nov. 18. Lee played 17 minutes, tops for any substitute, and added three rebounds. Lee also scored six points the next night in a 92-86 win over Oglala Lakota. Forrest Lee (Niwot) is a freshman on the squad, but has not yet seen action.

Walker Bounds (Niwot) has played in one of the first two games of the season for Lake Forrest College. Bounds is a 6’4” freshman forward, but has yet to score.


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