Column: Former Aspen coach takes over Grand Junction High football |

Column: Former Aspen coach takes over Grand Junction High football

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Aspen Times Sports Editor Dale Strode
Nick Massaro Jr. / Special to The Aspen Times |

Names, notes and numbers:

Former Aspen High School football coach Mike Sirko is back in the game again. Sirko was hired at Grand Junction High School to take over the football program.

Sirko, 61, is coming off two seasons at Hotchkiss — his second coaching tour there. He had started his football coaching career at Hotchkiss in the 1970s.

He had gone to Hotchkiss after an unprecedented run of football success at Aspen High School, directing the Skiers to the state playoffs for six consecutive seasons.

Sirko, currently the state’s seventh-winningest football coach, went 52-24 in his seven years in Aspen.

In all, he has 244 career victories. More than 150 of those have come at the 4A and 5A levels. Sirko has coached at Rampart, Falcon, Doherty, Smoky Hill, Aspen and Hotchkiss.

In 1998, Sirko’s Rampart team went 14-0 and won the Class 4A state title.

A football lifer from Pennsylvania who came to Colorado to play small-college football, Sirko was hired at Grand Junction High School by Athletic Director Carol Sams, the former longtime AD in Aspen.

“Coach Sirko has been recognized for his ability to build and sustain successful football programs across the state,” Sams said.

He takes over for Robbie Owens, who has taken a coaching job in Southern California.

Grand Junction is slated to move from Class 5A to Class 4A with the 2017 state realignment of classifications.

Aspen lacrosse players keep on playing. From the 2016 AHS boys team, Academic All-Americans Jonathan Wells and Henry Godfrey will keep on playing next year. So will Burke Daily.

Wells is set to play for the club lacrosse team at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he will be reunited with former Aspen standout Harry Ferguson. They played together on Aspen High School’s state championship team in 2015.

Godfrey is in line to play for the UCLA club team.

Daily, who will attend Chapman, also will play lacrosse there.

Nicky Cottrell, another member of Aspen’s state championship team, is playing on the club team at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The lax Buffs recently concluded their season at the 2016 MCLA National Championships, where the Colorado squad finished fifth. Colorado lost in the quarterfinals to Cal Poly.

Connor Peirce of the 2015 AHS state championshp team played at Chapman last year as the team went 22-0. Peirce also played on the club hockey team at Chapman.

Other 2015 Aspen lacrosse alums, including Ryan Fitzgerald, Tyler Tick and John Heaphey, also played college lacrosse this year.

The Valor Christian boys lacrosse team won the Class 4A state championship this year after falling to Aspen in the state title game a year ago. Valor Christian edged No. 1 Alexander Dawson, 10-9, in the championship game at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.

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