Mullen’s Ryan Herrmann headed to Junior Olympic Nationals for gymnastics

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was simply an attempt at a cartwheel by a first-grader in the family living room years ago, but it has led to Junior Olympics Gymnastics.

Who knew?

Ryan Herrmann certainly didn’t. His mother, Lynelle Bautista, asked him: “Do you want to try a gymnastics class?” He did, he tried, he loved it and Herrmann, now a 16-year-old junior at Mullen, has turned into one of the finest young competitors in the nation.

”It’s how it took off,” the Level 10 competitor said of his introduction into a sport that’s as demanding as any.

Herrmann, 5-foot-7, 125 pounds, will compete in the Junior Olympic Nationals May 9-13 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

“It’s an adrenaline rush, the hard work and just feeling at the end that it’s a good thing,” Herrmann said.

In addition to being a Mustangs student with a 4.0 grade-point average, a teenager and spending some time with his family, Herrmann puts in 25-hour weeks in the sport. He competes for 5280 Gymnastics in Littleton, where he toils with Russian judges who are light on speaking English, but heavy on getting their point across during grueling training in a sport that requires it.

But he’s not consumed by it.

“Mainly, what I’m trying to do is compete for my team,” Herrmann said. “I’ve been with them now for for four years (he had been with an earlier club that was discontinued). It’s a status thing for me. I really just want to see if I can take this to college as opposed to the Olympics.”

Herrmann, a Colorado native and resident of Morrison, is being realistic, 5280 coach Kathy Perry said.

“Those boys put up with a lot of crap from Russian coaches, but the ones who stick to it turn into amazing people,” she said.

An all-around competitor, Herrmann’s best event is the pommel horse, “which is the hardest event,” Perry said, “and he’s really strong. But only five people get to go to the Olympics.”

For Herrmann, who Perry considers “a great kid who’s very good and has an amazing work ethic and positive attitude,” to actually get to the Olympics, “he would have to quit school and train for 8 hours a day.” she said. “That’s what it would take.”

Herrmann seems to understand. The aspiring engineer has a goal of competing for one of the only 15 colleges that offer gymnastics at the Division I level. He is considering the likes of Cal-Berkeley and Arizona State and plans on being done with it after college “to focus on a career.”

Ideally, Herrmann said, while he enjoys club gymnastics, he would prefer it if the sport was offered again on the Colorado prep level. It ran from 1948-91.

“I do it in club, but I kind of wish it was more known,” he said. “It used to be offered in school and it would be a fun thing to do, have school vs. school.”

But even with no schoolboy gymnastics available to him, he doesn’t need a school-sponsored sport to learn its lessons.

“It’s a lot mentally, physically and jt’s all round kind of exhausting,” he said. “But it pays off in the end and it’s why I stick with it.

“I think the biggest thing it beings to regular life is the discipline and learning to do everything correctly, never cheating … those are pretty big lessons I’m learning.”

 

 

4 Mustangs headed to CU summit in May

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen will participate in next month’s University of Colorado Leader to Leader Summit.

On May 8 at the Touchdown Club at the Dal Ward Athletic Center, Mustangs student-athletes Dom DePizzol, Demitra Loukopoulos, Brady Parris and Morgan Wills will join associate athletic director and teacher Duan Ruff in the program in Boulder that will run from 8 a.m. to noon and share how athletes can learn and apply leadership skills.

On hand for CU will be: Rick George, Buffaloes athletic director; Ceal Barry, senior associate AD, former women’s basketball coach and new inductee to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame; Medford Moorer, director of CU athletics diversity and inclusive excellence, and a former Buffs letter winner in football; J.R. Payne, head coach, CU women’s basketball; and Dave Callan, director of CU’s leadership and development program.

The theme of the summit is “Leadership is a Team Sport.”

DePizzol, Loukopoulos, Parris and Wills were selected by their coaches as well as athletic-department officials to represent Mullen. DePizzol is the Mullen quarterback, Loukopoulos and Parris play basketball, and Wills competes in volleyball.

 

Jaydon Vigil tries to add spice to the sweet science

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Initially, Jaydon Vigil said he tried boxing in order to get better footwork for football. In fact, until he was about 15 years old, he said, it was back and forth for him with football and boxing.

And then it started to happen. He sparred with a five-time national champion “and my whole mindset changed,” he said. “I want to do this.” It got even better for him when he went to a national tournament as well as the Junior World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“So I stopped playing football and knew this is what I wanted to do,” he said. Never mind he had only 10 fights. Vigil fell victim to the sweet science.

Fast forward to the past weekend, when Vigil, now a Mullen senior, won a unanimous decision at 152 pounds over Vidal Cobarruvius in a bout in Longmont. It was more casual, but still a Western qualifier working toward the USA Boxing Nationals next month in Albuquerque.

“The last time I fought was in the in beginning of December,” Vigil said. “I felt back in rhythm. it went well. (Cobarruvius) is a brawler. I was a little sluggish, trying to slug with him, but it’s a great experience. I was countering. My endurance was not up to par, but it was still pretty good.”

Vigil, who was surrounded – and supported – by a number of family and friends for his Longmont bout, fights out of the 20th Street Gym. His coach, Robert Baca, expects big things out of a ring hopeful who’s eyeing an Olympic shot by sticking to the basics.

“He was very well prepared and has been working hard,” he said of Vigil’s recent bout. “He had a lot of good sparring, performed well, landed some good head shots and we want a bit more body shots, more body work. He’s not 100 percent yet, but real close.”

Overall, Baca added, Vigil “listens. I’ve been coaching for 16 years and he’s one who actually follows every procedure and that means a lot. I tell the kids that if they want to be successful, they have to have a plan. You have to stick to it and it’s not that hard. You do it.”

Vigil’s fights are three rounds, 3 minutes each. He uses 10-12-ounce gloves, wears headgear and yearns for more.

He has to watch his diet, which includes three eggs every morning as well as lots of chicken and green vegetables. As a teenager, it’s tough to stay away from sweets and soda pop, but the pop he centers on is his right-cross, his best punch. It’s literally how he takes his best shot. And he tries to break up his training, which, not surprisingly, contains lots of running and is spiced with speed-and-heavy bag work, situps, sparring and all of the drills that keep boxers on their toes.

Certainly, he said, his friends can get annoyed when he can’t hang with them. “I’m always in the gym,” he said.

His father, Julian Sr., doubles as a coach. And his Mullen ties to date include Julian Jr., a Mustangs graduate, and one of his sisters, Jelena, is a Mullen freshman.

Of course, Jaydon has been taught not to go around and tell everyone that he’s a boxer. It would frequently incite unnecessary confrontation.

“I kind of keep it on the down-low just to stay away from the trouble,” he said. “My dad says the best fights are the ones you don’t get into outside the ring.”

The 5-foot-10 18-year-old also has trained with a professional in Stockton, Calif., and received “a little taste of pro life, what it’s like and see how they trained and how different their styles are.”

However, it’s the basic premise of the sport, the one-on-one, that attracts Vigil.

“When you’re in the ring, you’re by yourself and you have no one to depend on,” he said. “There aren’t any coaches in there with you to help you with stuff. You have to do it. You can’t blame anyone. You’re the one to blame.”

Heading into trimester finals, Vigil has a 3.43 grade-point average and is set to attend UNLV. The Runnin’ Rebels have a top program for physical therapy, which greatly interests him, and there are worse places than Las Vegas for boxers.

And when asked about where he’s at and where he’s headed, Vigil didn’t hesitate, just like he wouldn’t when reacting to a left hook or reeling off an upper cut.

“I’m very happy,” he said.

 

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Athletics Office

Athletic Director
Mr. Vince Massey
303.761.1764 Ext. 3314

Vince Massey joined the Mullen Community in the Fall of 1995. He has served as a classroom teacher, dean of students, and currently serves as Athletic Director and Director of Safety and Security. When not at Mullen, Vince enjoys spending time with his wife Jessica and his three kids, Danielle, Jacob and Joey.

 

Associate Athletic Director
Mr. Hank Hooper
303.761.1764 Ext. 3316

Hank is in his 18th year at Mullen High School. Prior to arriving at Mullen, Hank taught and coached at Little Rock Catholic High School in Arkansas for 6 years and then Dallas Jesuit in Texas for 71/2 years. At Mullen Hank taught English and coached football for 14 years before transitioning into an administrative role. Hank has worked in the Athletic Department as Dean of Athletic Renewal, Assitant Athletic Director, Interim Athletic Director, and currently as Associate Athletic Director. Hank and his wife Pam have two children both of whom are Mullen grads, Lindsay ('07) and Patrick ('04). Lindsay is the Registrar at Mullen High School and is also the Mullen POMs dance team's head coach. Patrick and his wife Heather both work for the NHL's San Jose Sharks where Patrick is the Digital Media Manager and Heather is the Shark's Foundation Director. They, also, became proud parents in March of this year to Graysen Rhea Hooper.

Karen Lane

Associate Athletic Director
303.761.1764 Ext. 3319

 

 

 

Director of Sports Medicine
Mr. Joey Mahmood
303.761.1764 Ext. 3343

Joey Mahmood joined the Mullen community as a teacher and the head athletic trainer in the fall of 2011. Joey currently is the Director of Sports Medicine, the Department Chair of Physical Education and teaches physical education and science classes. Joey considers himself lucky to be able to help student athletes stay healthy during competition and then teach students in the classroom how to take care of themselfs and others. When Joey isn't at Mullen he is spending time with his wife Michele, two sons Dino and Enzo and his two dogs, Duke and Trigger.

Sports Information Specialist
Mr. Neil H. Devlin
devlin@mullenhigh.com

A native of Phoenixville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, Devlin has covered high-school sports in Colorado for 39 years through newspapers, television, magazines and the Internet. A former participant in four prep sports at St. Pius X High School in Pottstown, Pa., began his role as Sports Information Specialist at Mullen in 2017 and has been inducted into various scholastic halls of fame and won numerous writing awards. Devlin occupies the only full-time sports-information position at a high school in the state. Also a contributor to other media outlets in the Denver area as well as other spots in Colorado that helps promote Mullen athletics, his goal is to turn the Mullen Broadcasting Network (MBN) into a class within the curriculum, to expand the network and website, and ensure it’s a student-run operation.

 

 

 

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