After long career, AD set for new chapter

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Bruce Wright doesn't take anything for granted, so he is retiring following the current school year after 21 years as the Highlands Ranch High School athletic director.

"My wife has been retired for a few years and has kind been waiting for me to retire," Wright said. "There are no guarantees in life, and when you can do something, do it because you don't want to wait, because if something happens then you can't do what you want to do. When you can do something and have the opportunity, do it.

"It is hard to leave. I love what I do. It's difficult, but it's time to move on. What stands out for me was working with the kids and coaches we have had."

Wright and his wife Sue are moving to Oro Valley, six miles north of Tucson, Arizona.

"We're going to do a lot of traveling, enjoy the grandkids and just enjoy life," Wright said.

Preston Davis, Littleton High's athletic director and former Smoky Hill AD, will replace Wright at Highlands Ranch. Davis also was a football, lacrosse and girls basketball coach in the Cherry Creek school district.

"He's going to do a great job," Wright said. "I've known him for a while and he's a class act. We really have a good coaching staff here and with him being a former coach helps. We're really set for some really good things to come in the next couple years. The table is set really well and he just needs to continue to nurture those coaches."

This seems like a small thing, but it's a big reason Wright will be missed:

Waiting is something we all do, whether it is waiting in line, waiting for a stoplight or just waiting for the days, hours and minutes to pass. But I never had to wait long for Wright to return a call or email, and he was always helpful for any request I might have made.

Baseball state leaders

In no game are statistics used as much as in baseball to allow fans and managers/coaches to compare the performances of players to one another.

So here's a look at some area players who are state leaders through games of April 15:

  • JD Wadleigh, a Green Mountain junior who played as a freshman at Faith Christian, leads Class 4A with a 1.242 slugging percentage in addition to leading the Class 4A Jefferson County League in five categories.
  • Skyview sophomore Corey Musch is tied for the 4A stolen base lead with 19 steals.
  • Brock Johnson, a Douglas County junior catcher, leads Class 5A with a .304 caught-stealing percentage. He has thrown out seven runners on 23 stolen base attempts in 11 games.
  • Cody Schultz, a senior at Cherry Creek, is tops in runs scored in 5A with 24 in 11 games.

Ponderosa hires state champ

Tito Rinaldis, a former Class 5A 171-pound state champion at Ponderosa, is the Mustangs' new wrestling coach, replacing Corey McNellis who resigned to seek administrative duties.

Rinaldis graduated from Ponderosa in 2005, wrestled at the University of Northern Colorado.

He has been a teacher and for the past eight years has been an assistant coach for McNellis.

Junior Home Run Derby

Local competition in the 2017 Major League Baseball Junior All-Star Home Run Derby will be held May 7, starting at 1:30 p.m. at Arapahoe High School in Centennial.

Contests for boys and girls will be held in 12U and 14U age groups.

Local winners will advance to regionals and the region winners will go to the national finals during the 2017 All-Star week in Miami. The all-star game is July 11.

There will also be a Pitch, Hit and Run competition starting at 9 a.m. for age groups 7/8, 9/10, 11/12 and 13/14.

For information, contact Jim Dollaghan at Jdollaghan@lpsk12.co.us.

Five area players honored

Five football players from area schools were honored at the Colorado Chapter's National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete banquet April 10 at the Denver West Marriott.

Honorees were selected because of a combination of athletic ability, academic achievement and character, plus citizenship and service.

Those area players honored were Judd Erickson of Mountain Vista, Dylan McCaffrey of Valor Christian, Brandon Micale of Pomona, Jake Moretti of Pomona and Jonathon Van Diest of Cherry Creek.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton

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