New Coaches at Rifle High School


Brittany Sears, science teacher and volleyball coach

Volleyball has been a part of Brittany Sears’ life for as long as she can remember. 

“My mom was coaching when I was born,” says Sears. “She would bring me in my baby basket to practices and games, so I basically grew up in a gym.” 

Sears, who grew up in Denver and graduated from Columbine High School, has been playing volleyball since she was 12 years old. In fact, barring the lost year that was 2020, she's been a part of a volleyball team in some way for over 20 consecutive years. She played in college at the University of Denver and has coached at various high schools. This is her first year in the Garfield Re-2 School District.

“Right now, the girls are like sponges as they absorb a lot of new information,” says Sears. “We’re working on strengthening our volleyball IQ and implementing new strategies.”

Sears says her team has been hardworking and eager to practice at a fast pace from the get-go. A lot of teaching went into the lead-up to their first game, which took place on Thursday Aug. 26 against Grand Valley. After the Bears beat the Cardinals in a historic win, they have reason to celebrate as they continue to train throughout the season. The athleticism her players demonstrated gives the coach confidence for the many matches ahead, which she hopes will result in one of the top spots in the conference come the end of the season.

Laimutis Grybe, math teacher and soccer coach

Laimutis Grybe came to America as an exchange student from Lithuania and has lived and worked in various places including Asheville, North Carolina and Memphis, Tennessee. But he has been a part of the Garfield Re-2 family for nearly seven years now. A former basketball coach at Riverside Middle School, he now steps into the role of soccer coach at Rifle High. 

“I knew I wanted to stay in sports because, in addition to being a teacher, it’s another avenue to step outside the classroom and have an impact in kids’ lives,” says Grybe. “I’ve always enjoyed the role modeling aspect of coaching and the competitive nature of sports in general.”

Grybe says his aspirations as a coach are to achieve unity among players, to build good foundations in the team and to strengthen the interconnectedness of Rifle sports as a whole. “Since our first practices during open field time in the summer, I’ve noticed the kids bonding and getting to know each other,” says Grybe. “I’ve also noticed their talent and teamwork growing since then.” The Bears practice twice a day: conditioning work in the morning and strategic work in the afternoon. Their first game was on Saturday Aug. 21 against Palisade. Though the 2-1 game didn’t end in a win, it showed Grybe how far his players have come since the beginning. He and his team are eager to get back out on the field for games at the end of next week.


Klayton Costanzo RHS grad back on the links

Klayton Costanzo began his marriage with the game of golf as a young lad of 6.

“Golf has been a special part of my life for a long time. I Began playing competitively at about six (6). Golf kind of began as a daycare program. My dad would give me 20 bucks and drop me off at the Rifle Creek golf course and that’s kind of how the marriage with golf started.”

He may or may not have been able to leverage that twenty dollars into some extra lunch money over the years.

Last year, Costanzo returned to the Rifle Creek Golf Course, the links that have fostered many friendships over the years, to coach the Rifle High School ladies golf team. This fall, he is shepherding the men as well.

“Through the grapevine, I heard that the program didn’t have a leader. I mulled it around, and I made the decision that someone needed to be at the helm for these kids. It’s a good opportunity to give back,” he said.

Costanzo took a break from competitive golf, but the opportunity to coach for his alma matter has re-fanned the flames and stirred his competitive juices. This spring, Costanzo coached two Lady Bears into the state tournament. He is looking to do the same this year with the men.

“I want to create a culture where golf is bigger than the game. Some of the lessons you learn in golf transfer to life. You may not always like your boss, but you need to adapt and overcome and figure out how to deal with the hand you are given. My coaches did so much more than teach the skills of golf. They taught you about life, which is cool.”

Costanzo hopes to support his 11-man team by helping them sharpen some of their mental skills, and develop on some skills that they may not have been focused on in the past.

“Golf is a sport where the results are a direct correlation of the time you put into the sport. The number of scholarship opportunities that are out there is amazing. If kids show up, put the time in, and soak up information there are a lot of opportunities out there. ”