EAST VAIL - As much watching sports is America's obsession, the truth is that there is rarely a happy ending.
In front of a loud and spirited crowd, the Vail Mountain School volleyball team went 1-1 Saturday at the 2A Region C Tournament in East Vail. The Gore Rangers dropped a 25-18, 20-25-20-25, 25-17, 15-11 heartbreaker to Paonia before defeating Dolores, 25-23, 25-22.
Paonia nabbed the automatic berth to the 2A state tournament out of the region. VMS (19-7) now gets to wait on Freeman-Maxpreps rankings to find out if it gets one of the four at-large bids to the state tourney.
"Right now, unfortunately, we put ourselves in a situation where we are waiting to be an at-large team," VMS coach Mike Garvey said. "That math is going to be pretty difficult for us. We gave ourselves a chance by beating Dolores. I was really proud of how the girls came back and handled that. We'll just have to wait and see."
VMS was ranked No. 17 in the computer rankings before Saturday's action in 2A statewide, so it's hard to see the Gore Rangers moving up five spots after a 1-1 weekend. (Twelve make state.)
That said, the Gore Rangers nearly pulled off a win against Paonia (No. 9 in the Freeman-Maxpreps rankings and No. 5 in The Denver Post Poll.) VMS led the Eagles. 2-1, and was up in the fifth game, 10-6, before falling to its league rivals.
Nonetheless, VMS was able to finish the season (in all likelihood) with a win, downing Dolores easily.
Whatever happens, the Dolores game was the final home match for seniors Ellen Edgerton, Lizzie Bolyard, Sierra Brill and Monika Gehl, and all four have had distinguished careers.
After their freshmen years in which VMS won the district tournament, the Gore Rangers struggled with everything from injuries to seemingly the plague. (We say that jokingly, but Boyard's 2011 season was done before it started with an ACL injury in a preseason scrimmage.)
Nonetheless, VMS came into its own in 2012. After early season losses in the 2A Slope to Paonia and Meeker, the Gore Rangers won nine matches in a row, including a five-setter over 4A Battle Mountain.
That streak ended only when the Gore Rangers went to a tournament in Summit County and went 1-3 against 4A schools. VMS remained hot, sweeping through the District 5 Tournament last weekend for a title.
"They've all gone through a lot of growth," Garvey said. "It's seven to eight years with the families. I'm proud of all they've done. My fingers are crossed that I get another week with them."
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.