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Dakota boys hope to return to winning ways on the court

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By Dan Johnson

At Dakota Ridge High School, basketball is ruled by the girls.

Coach Traci Nemechek has transformed the Eagles into perennial state title contenders, in addition to dominating Class 5A Jefferson County.

What about the boys?

Well, there was a time that the Dakota Ridge boys basketball team was one of the state’s best. Recently, though, the Eagles have fallen on hard times.

The low point came this past season, as the Eagles finished the year with an 8-16 record. Dakota Ridge did qualify for the 5A state tournament — barely — and were quickly dispatched by Monarch in the opening round, 54-35.

Although the Eagles have gone through their share of struggles, athletic director Matt Heckel is optimistic about the program’s future.

He recently hired Curi Wutzy to take over the position vacated by Jeff Parriott. Wutzy, prior to taking over at Dakota Ridge had spent time coaching at D’Evelyn.

“He’s organized and full of energy,” said Heckel, who added that Nemechek was on the interview committee. “He’s ready to get going. He brought in a packet to his interview, made out specifically for Dakota Ridge with plays, drills and team expectations.”

Wutzy’s passion for basketball was evident from the outset according to Heckel, and the new hire stressed his desire to promote the program, and eventually, get it back to where it used to be.

“You got the sense that he’s dedicated to building the program the right way,” Heckel said. “We’re excited to have him on board.”

Clearly this won’t be an overnight project. Building the youth program, as Wutzy has mentioned as being a priority, is a step in the right direction as having depth at all levels of play is what ultimately builds a solid program.

Dakota Ridge may have gone through some lean years, but with the right coaching and right attitude and commitment from the players, the Eagle may soon soar again.