Every senior class is special.
But take a look to the right if you’ve got the print edition of this column or the left if you’re online. Look at that picture.
That’s the Battle Mountain girls lacrosse’s Class of 2014 — Hannah McKeever, Avery Hynes, Missy Bosworth, Amie Hixon and co-captains Clare Baker and Maddi Conlin.
Yeah, it’s nice that they’re 10-4. Yeah, it’s a bummer that they probably won’t make the playoffs, despite their accomplishments.
What these young ladies have done transcends numbers. Here’s a dirty little secret, people. The reason Battle Mountain originally had a girls lacrosse team is because the school had to. To have a boys lacrosse team, for which there was great interest at the time, Battle Mountain needed a female counterpart to comply with Title IX. Thus, there was Huskies girls lacrosse.
This program was an afterthought, and, in its first few years, it looked like one.
In their four years, these six seniors have done a lot to legitimize this team. Yes, the stats are nice, including two 10-win seasons the past two seasons. Sure, Colin’s and Baker’s numbers are off-the-chart silly in a good way. Yet it was by going to practice every day — often in less-than-blissful conditions — and traveling to outposts around the state, sometimes with good results and other times not-so good. That perseverance has done it, and the results have followed.
Last week’s overtime thriller, a 14-13 loss to Aspen, was a huge moment. It was a great game. Period. Unfortunately, the bad guys/gals won, but that showed that girls lacrosse is a great sport and, even if you don’t know the difference between a goalie’s stick and that of a midfielder, you enjoyed the game.
There was a time when girls soccer at Battle Mountain wasn’t a big deal. Back in the spring of 1998, it was a strange thing happening during the spring. And then Battle Mountain played Steamboat Springs to a 1-1 tie. (Jackie Pirog scored for the Huskies, for the trivially inclined.) It was a fantastic game and made the sport a fixture at the school.
The Aspen game was that moment for girls lacrosse at Battle Mountain. The die-hards saw it. The boys lacrosse team was in the stands, cheering the ladies on and actually switching sides in the stands with the teams as the overtime periods passed.
Seasons don’t start on the first day of practice in August, November or February. Teams and programs develop from year to year. Ask Battle Mountain soccer coach David Cope about his boys soccer team of 2012. That state title didn’t begin in August of that year. It started, maybe, with a an overtime win at the Vail Mountain School on the last day of the 1998 season, sending the Huskies to the playoffs for the fist time in six years. (Yep, there really was a time when Battle Mountain soccer was terrible.) And that 1998 team grew from guys like Matt Johnson, Eric Eves, Mark Perna and Jesse Maddux, who helped the Huskies beat Eagle Valley, 1-0, for the team’s first win over the Devils in three years in 1997. (Cope actually jumped after that game. It was that big of a moment.)
The wonderful governing organization of Colorado High School sports, CHSAA, has always given the back of its hand to Western Slope teams. It will likely only take one team (Aspen) for the playoffs and seed the Skiers as the No. 13, the worst seed, by rule, that CHSAA can give a Mountain Conference champion. Don’t get me started. I still am hacked off by Huskies soccer going 15-0 in 2012 and drawing No. 6. I await in horror as to what CHSAA will do to the girls soccer team on Sunday.
However, mark it now. Battle Mountain girls lacrosse is on the brink of winning the Mountain Conference and making the playoffs. Likely, the sport will also eventually split into classes 5A and 4A, just like the guys, as the sport increases in participation. Either way, the Huskies will be in the postseason.
And they will be doing it on the shoulders of these six seniors.
Well done, Hannah, Avery, Missy, Amie, Clare and Maddi, and go beat the heck out of Aspen on Friday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.