State Games notes: 5-year old bowler a star in the making

By: Brent W. New, The Gazette
July 28, 2013 Updated: July 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm
photo - Five-year-old Ronin Rivera won two golds in the Rocky Mountain State Games. (Courtesy Randy Gulley)
Five-year-old Ronin Rivera won two golds in the Rocky Mountain State Games. (Courtesy Randy Gulley) 

Five-year-old Ronin Rivera wasn't fazed by the competition at the Rocky Mountain State Games.

He's been bowling for two years now.

Sunday, he took home golds in the Pee Wee Scratch Singles, as well as the Adult Youth Handicap event along with his partner and dad Anthony.

Ronin's high score in the tournament was a 110.

Pickleball's cancellation doesn't stop competition

JoAnn Gaston hasn't let anything slow her down since she picked up a pickleball racket three years ago. Not her delicate frame. Not her 71-year-old age. Not even the rain that puddled up the pickleball courts at Monument Valley Park.

But while the weather washed out Sunday's competition, it couldn't keep the sport's diehards from knocking the whiffle ball back and forth.

"We just wanted to play. We will always be here - rain or shine," said Gaston, who won the gold medal, along with 72-year-old partner Roger Bruggeman in the mixed 70-and-over bracket Saturday. "It's changed my life not only physically, but socially too. There isn't a better time than this."

Gaston walked past these same courts three years ago with her grandchildren. She was only a curious spectator then.

"Ever since, this has just been the best thing for me," she said.

Former AFA tennis player wins gold at the Games

Former Air Academy tennis player Grant Voyen won the National Tennis Rating Program 4.0 Men's singles' title.

He beat Minnesota-native Pranav J. Barve 6-2, 6-4 in finals after winning his three prior matches.

Elsewhere, Colorado Springs residents Luis E. Peon won the Men's Open singles title and Vicky Mediate won gold in the NTRP Women's 4.0 singles event.

Palmer alum stands by reluctantly

He usually doesn't take kindly to the role of spectator, but Dominic Rufran didn't mind so much on Sunday at Memorial Park. Rufran, a 2011 Palmer graduate and projected starter heading into his junior year at Wyoming, cheered on former teammates and friends at the flag football championship game.

Rufran heads back to Laramie on Aug. 4 for preseason camp in preparation for the upcoming season.

"I'll be honest, I wanted to grab my cleats and gloves so I could get out there and play," Rufran said. "Everybody had a good time out there, and it was nice to enjoy and think back to our high school days."

Rufran, an all-state receiver as a senior at Palmer, has caught 83 passes for 931 yards for seven touchdowns in 25 games during the first two years in college.

Vista Ridge team finds positives in blowout loss

A team comprised of mainly Vista Ridge recent graduates, with a pair of returning letter-winners, didn't prove much of a match against eventual champion Saints Row in flag football.

That didn't keep incoming senior quarterback Austin Mildbrandt from finding a silver lining on a rainy late morning Sunday at Memorial Park.

"We're trying to have fun, and every day, any day, I could play football," said Mildbrandt, who played receiver last year when the Wolves went 10-2 but suffered a stinging 28-21 loss to eventual 4A state champ Monarch in the second-round playoff game. "It's better than being home watching TV. I would have loved to have seen more high school teams here, but it gives us more playing time."

Saints Row scored the first 28 points en route to a 35-6 win in an elimination-round game following pool play.

The Gazette

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