Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Bruce Warren

Out in Leftfield (Fall 2018)


November 4, 2018

Photo courtesy of Belleville Senators

Matias Cleland of Niwot is playing for the Belleville Senators in the ECHL


Sarah Falk (Niwot) has played eight matches for Sacramento State this fall. Falk, a redshirt freshman, is a middle blocker. After seeing action in only three of the first 18 games, she has played in five of the last eight games. Falk has five kills on the season in 10 attacks, with only one error.

Mackenzie Fidelak (Niwot) played her first collegiate match for Stanford University in a 3-0 victory over West Virginia Sept. 1. Fidelak, who is listed as an outside hitter/opposite on the roster, had three kills in nine total attacks, with one error.


Matias Cleland (Niwot) and Michael Sdao of Niwot are teammates for the Adirondack Thunder of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). Both are defencemen for the minor league affiliate of the New Jersey Devils of the NHL, and fittingly for athletes from Niwot, both shoot lefthanded.

Cleland has played in all eight early-season games for Adirondack but has yet to score on 14 shots while Sdao has yet to take the ice while recovering from off-season knee surgery. Cleland played for the Orlando Solar Bears last season, while Sdao played for the Rapid City Rush.

Riley Herbst (Niwot) is a goalie for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Herbst has played in two games this season. He played over 35 minutes in a 10-5 loss to Des Moines Sept. 28, allowing five goals on 16 shots, with 11 saves. He came back to play the last 20 minutes in a 6-0 loss to Muskegon Oct. 13, and allowed only one goal on 13 shots. On the season, Herbst has allowed only six goals in 56 minutes of playing time, with 29 saves.

Andy Sturtz, nephew of Brad and Jane Langdon of Niwot, is playing right wing with the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League after a stellar career at Penn State. Sturz saw action in the first game of the season, a 3-1 loss to Utica in which Sturtz had one shot on goal. Belleville is a minor league team affiliated with the Ottawa Senators of the NHL.


Alex Oelsner (Niwot) saw his first action this season for Northwestern University. Oelsner, a redshirt freshman slotback listed at 6’4” and 234 pounds, made his college debut in a 31-17 victory over 20th-ranked Wisconsin Oct. 27, but did not record any stats.

Mo Bandi (Niwot) saw his first game action for the University of Colorado this season. Bandi, a redshirt junior, took the field for one play in CU’s opening game victory over CSU as a defensive lineman, but did not record any statistics. The 6’5” 270-pound walk-on lineman shifted to defense this season from the offensive line.

Paul “Tiny” Koehler, longtime former Niwot High football coach, is once again assisting the Fort Lewis College football staff as an assistant coach. Koehler, who resides in Estes Park when he’s not coaching, is listed as the running backs coach for Fort Lewis.

Mitch Webster (Silver Creek), son of Niwot grads Dave Webster and Ali (Roth) Webster, switched to tight end this season at Augustana University (SD). Webster, a junior, has caught one pass for two yards this season, and the former linebacker has also recorded three tackles on special teams.

Aaron Nicoll (Niwot) is handling both punting and kicking duties for Cornell College (IA) this season. Nicoll kicked three out of four extra point attempts in a season-opening 27-21 win over Iowa Wesleyan, and averaged 39.2 yards on six punts. Cornell also picked up a win with a 28-17 victory over Beloit, with Nicoll kicking four extra points. Nicoll’s first two extra point attempts failed in a 22-7 victory over Knox College Oct. 27, but he went on to kick a field goal from 24 yards, and added an extra point. He also averaged 37.8 yards on eight punts.


Elise Cranny (Niwot) was named Women’s Pac-12 Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Oct. 26 prior to the conference championships. Cranny, a fifth-year senior, is a human biology major and carries a 3.87 GPA. She is an 11-time All-America in cross country and indoor and outdoor track. Cranny, the third Cardinal to win the women's award, is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, with first-team selections the past two years. She began her Stanford career by placing second at the Pac-12 cross country championships, earning conference Freshman of the Year honors. Cranny is a two-time Pac-12 track champion, a two-time NCAA individual runner-up, and a three-time NCAA 1,500-meter finalist. This season, she won the Stanford Invitational with a time of 20:32.5 and was fourth in her race at the highly-competitive Wisconsin Pre-Nationals Invitational, improving her best time this season to 20:06.9. Both athletic and academic accomplishments are taken into consideration for the Pac-12 Conference award.

Jenna McCaffrey (Niwot) finished 17th for Northern Arizona at the George Kyte Classic season-opening meet. McCaffrey, a sophomore, also finished 178th at the Wisconsin Nuttycombe meet, posting a time of 22:06.0 and followed with a time of 22:08.0 at the Pre-Nationals, where she finished 21st in the B Division on Oct. 13.

Courtney Smoljan (Niwot) finished 103rd at the Fort Hays State Tiger Open for Colorado School of Mines Oct. 13. Smoljan, a redshirt freshman, posted a time of 22:48.4. She opened the season by finishing 47th at the Colorado College Invitational Sept. 8.

Claire Gillett (Niwot) finished 53rd at the West Coast Conference Championships for Gonzaga Oct. 27, posting a time of 23:42.40. Gillett, a sophomore, took third at the Sasquatch Invitational with a time of 18:59.5 Oct.19. She placed 40th at the Inland Empire with a time of 18:41. At the Montana Invite, she placed 31st with a time of 19:47, fourth-best on the Gonzaga squad. She has consistently been one of the top four runners for Gonzaga.


Justin Barkow (Niwot), a junior forward at South Dakota School of Mining & Technology, has started 13 of 14 games this season. He scored the team’s only goal in a 1-1 tie against Adams State. He followed with a goal against CSU-Pueblo in a 2-1 loss, and in the next game, scored the first of this team’s goals, then assisted on the second score in a 3-1 victory over Colorado Christian. Barkow has posted five goals and two assists on the season.

Maddie Barkow (Niwot) has started all 18 games for the University of Northern Colorado this fall. Barkow, a sophomore forward, has two goals and four assists. She picked up her first goal in a 3-1 win over Air Force Aug. 19, and garnered her first assist in a 4-1 win over Wyoming Sept. 4. She added assists against Idaho and Eastern Washington in back-to-back games, then posted her second goal in a 5-0 win over Idaho State Oct. 7. Barkow also had an assist in a 3-1 win over Southern Utah Oct. 14. Northern Colorado is 10-7-1 on the season.

Photo courtesy of Belleville Senators

Matias Cleland of Niwot is playing for the Belleville Senators in the ECHL

Kailee Stobbe (Niwot) has played in every game this season for Merrimack College. Stobbe, a sophomore forward, scored her first goal in the first game of the season, a 3-0 win over Molloy. She picked up an assist in a 7-0 win over Le Moyne Oct. 13.

Allie Colvin (Niwot) is the starting goalie for Fisher College this season. Colvin has played 13 of 14 games in goal, recording 94 saves while giving up 49 goals. Fisher College is 3-10-1 on the season.


Jake Butler (Niwot) finished tied for 38th for Midland University at the Morningside College Fall Invite Aug. 28 as one of 11 Midland golfers to finish in the top 40. Butler is a sophomore at Midland.

Mya Ostrom (Niwot) is a member of the South Dakota School of Mining and Technology golf team this fall. Ostrom, a freshman, has yet to see varsity action.


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