Senior spotlight: Battle Mountain boys lacrosse
Huskies were primed for another run to the playoffs
OK, we just wanted it to happen once, and we thought this year was going to be the year.
Battle Mountain boys’ lacrosse’s Jayme Belyea would score a game-winning goal in the last minute to lift the Huskies to a win and the Vail Daily would run the headline “Hell yeah, Belyea.”
Sigh. That’s one of the many reasons we’re bummed that spring sports didn’t happen. We wanted that headline badly.
And who knows what Huskies lax would have done in 2020? Though the program is one of the school’s youngest — born in 2009 — it has a lot of history and drama.
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Battle Mountain has made the postseason every spring since 2013 and put up league championships in 2014, 2015 and 2018, but it’s never dull.
Last year, the Huskies were 4-7 at one point and looking like they were done, only to rip off four straight wins to make the postseason again.
Would Battle Mountain take that momentum and carry it into 2020?
“Jayme and Thorne (Hensel) really led the charge to get the boys excited and get guys who didn’t play before to come back to lacrosse,” Huskies coach Connor Compton said. “We had good fall ball and winter ball sessions.”
And spring practice was spirited. The Huskies concluded camp with a black-gold scrimmage, capped by the awarding of the coveted No. 19 jersey.
For those not familiar, Mac Kelsall, Class of 2015, passed away in 2016 and his old No. 19 uniform is an honor given to a senior who inspires the squad with his work ethic and teamwork. Senior Jamie Hancock earned No. 19 this spring and was doubtless going to wear it proudly.
Another intriguing aspect of Huskies lacrosse was the experience of the Class of 2020, be it in lacrosse or numerous other sports. The seniors are Belyea, Liam McKenny, Emory Kozusko, Alex Parliament, Hensel, Matthew Heiden, Aaron Cook, Hancock, Luke Grimaldi, Chris Cappel, Parker Nash, Jamison Lee and Alec Moritz.
This is a who’s who of sports in the eastern end of Eagle County. Battle Mountain’s lacrosse has one heck of a basketball team with Lee, Moritz, McKenny, Hensel and Heiden. Hockey is well-represented (Parliament, Grimaldi and Nash) as is football at both Battle Mountain and Vail Christian (Lee, Cappel and Hancock).
“That’s the beauty of lacrosse,” Compton said. “Everyone gets to put their individual touch with all those individual skills. They could all come together and help our team.”
With a plethora of good athletes, the “what if” of 2020 lingers. In the Mountain Conference, the Huskies would have renewed acquaintances with Steamboat Springs and Vail Mountain School and, yes, Eagle Valley. The last on that list likely was in the title mix for the first time, which would have led to two heated encounters.
“Eagle Valley was going to be a strong squad this year,” Compton said. “Hopefully, we were going to be battling them for the league title. I definitely saw our team as a playoff-caliber squad.”
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As shock and outrage over George Floyd’s killing swept the nation over the weekend, even the luxurious streets of Vail Village were not insulated from pressure boiling over in the form of demonstrations.