And how exactly do you top 2012 preps? |

And how exactly do you top 2012 preps?

Battle Mountain soccer celebrates after winning the Class 4A state championship game against Palmer Ridge last year. The Huskies are the defending state champs, but it's a whole new year filled with challenges and opportunities.
Justin McCarty | Daily file photo |

So, anyone up for an encore?

It would be pretty hard to top the fall of 2012, and I’m not even talking about Giants baseball.

In high school sports, Battle Mountain soccer went 20-0 and won the whole shooting match. Eagle Valley football had a renaissance, going 8-4, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Vail Mountain School volleyball won districts. Vail Christian’s golf team took seventh in the state.

Early thoughts for the fall as golf kicks off practice and the rest of the autumn teams likely have assorted forms of voluntary workouts.

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Battle Mountain soccer will not go 20-0 and repeat as state champions. (Go ahead, pin it up on the wall and use it as motivation.) Even if the program could find a way to avoid graduation rules and bring back its 10 seniors with its 2012 roster in tact, it would be doubtful.

Repeating is hard. Even with superbly-talented teams, you need a little magic. That was the case last year. Everything clicked into place with Christian Espinoza stopping three shots during penalty kicks against Evergreen and a whiteout during the title game against Palmer Ridge in Denver.

That takes nothing away from last year’s team, nor does it doom the 2013 Huskies to mediocrity. This is a new year.

The cupboard is, by no means, bare. Roberto Diaz, Alex Trujillo and Brandon Osorio return for a very good foundation. (That’s 32 goals and 30 assists from 2012. Wow.) There’s also the factor that has made Huskies soccer the best program in the county — its system.

This program has a knack for turning out varsity players, be they breakout athletes or just steady ones who click into the team while making it look effortless. There will be new faces in new places, especially goalie — hello, Donnie Leavitt.

The Huskies will be in the running in the Slope, and don’t be surprised to see them in the field of 32 come playoff time.

Eagle Valley could be a sleeper team. The Devils played Steamboat Springs well twice and weren’t outclassed by Summit County. After a 5-10 campaign, breaking the .500 mark is not unrealistic.


First off, Oct. 18 in Gypsum. See you there.

Eagle Valley’s biggest concern is finding offensive and defensive lines. As good as the Cole Nielsen was — and he was a stud — the trenches made it happen in 2012. Who’s it going to be to replace the like of Andy Armstrong, Roberto Cortes, Ty LaFramboise, etc. There are talented players at the skill positions, but all will depend on the beef up front.

For Battle Mountain, it’s simple. The Huskies have to get in the win column. Zero week is at D’Evelyn, but then Week 1 and 2 are Summit and Montezuma-Cortez. It’s gotta happen. This has been a more settled offseason for the Huskies — they have a coach in Steve Greve — there is no getting-to-know-you process this year. Just win, baby.

Vail Christian should be retooling in the 8-man ranks. The $64,000-question — actually among many — is who’s the quarterback in this usually pass-happy offense. We’ve got nice targets in Clayton Davis and Branden Currey. After three years of Austin Ellsworth under center, who’s it going to be?


OK, it’s been building for two years. Is this the year for Battle Mountain to make some noise? The Huskies were at .500 last year — 11-11 overall and 6-6 in league.

Early 3-2 losses to Montrose, Glenwood Springs, Vail Mountain School and Eagle Valley likely doomed Battle Mountain’s chances of finishing in the top 36 in the state and getting a berth in regionals. The good news is that Montrose is in town Aug. 29.

Eagle Valley should bounce back from a down year, though it still has the crazy start with which to deal. Sept. 9? Really?

I’ve given up trying to pick VMS volleyball. It’s really a dumb thing to do. Seriously, usually someone goes down with a terrible injury in training camp. (Is it possible for someone to be struck by lightning inside of a gym? It might be in VMS’ case.) Then all the Gore Rangers get the flu at once. And somehow, Mike Garvey’s team ends up being in the mix in the postseason.

I do see Vail Christian’s spikers on the upswing. Last year’s freshpeople class was quite good. They took their lumps, and could surprise.

Cross country

Battle Mountain will be there. No question. The Huskies always are.

Sleeper pick is Eagle Valley’s boys team. Watch out. They have five of seven state runners returning from last year. That’s always a good thing.

Watch out for Battle Mountain’s Val Constien on the ladies’ side. She’s a female Tony Crisofulli, which, if you’ve followed Huskies cross country for a while, you’ll know is good thing.


Vail Christian lost Robby Bowles — he actually went to college; I felt like I’d been covering him for 6 years — but still should be deep. Cooper Gould, Tony Clark and Parker Poage all made state last season and are back.

The best finish at state last year by a returning golfer? Vail Mountain’s Harrison Alonzo finished 21st. Look out for him.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via

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