Luke Graham: A vote for the Western Slope |

Luke Graham: A vote for the Western Slope

Luke Graham

There are several common themes with Western Slope athletics.

The players seem to be more physical.

The games seem to be closer.

But maybe the biggest theme – in all the sports – is the lack of respect the Western Slope League gets from the Front Range.

Ask players, coaches, fans, parents or anybody associated with the programs on this side of the state and you’re likely to hear “the Denver papers hate us.”

It’s usually a valid point.

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Especially when it comes to voting on All-State and All-Colorado teams.

It’s tough to expect a sportswriter who sits at his desk in downtown Denver to know a lot about players three hours away.

But we’re here to ratify that.

Fellow sports reporter Dave Shively and I, along with a dozen or so Western Slope newspapers, have banded together to create this year’s All Western-Slope teams.

Sure, there will still be players from this part of the state to make the Denver papers’ teams – and rightfully so – but as a group of newspapers over here, we thought who better than us to put teams together and recognize players that deserve it.

Although it’s not an exact science, and surely some people won’t be happy with the selections, it’s about time the Western Slope is recognized.

Here’s how it works.

Shively, who has covered most of Routt County’s high school volleyball and soccer games across the Western Slope League, will put together players for a first- and second-team roster.

He’ll circulate the rosters via e-mail to the other newspapers – who have seen a lot of the same teams and players – to vote, converse, argue and finally come up with a first and second team.

We’ll do the same for football, and come winter, the same for those sports and on into spring.

A player of the year will be voted on, as will a coach of the year.

Look for the soccer teams to be released in early November, volleyball teams in mid-November and football teams in the beginning of December.

It’s a first time thing, so any suggestions are welcomed.

It’s time to start getting the Western Slope and its athletes some recognition.

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail