Battle Mountain soccer team gets police escort over Vail Pass after winning state title
The team stopped into The George Restaurant and Pub to surprise its owner — and their goalie coach — with the state championship trophy
The newly-minted 4A state champion Battle Mountain boys soccer team received a true hero’s welcome home Saturday evening.
On the way back from Colorado Springs after defeating Northfield 2-0 at Switchbacks Weidner Field, the team bus was intercepted by several Vail Police cars at the top of Vail Pass. The squad cars’ sirens blared and lights flashed during the late-night celebratory escort back to Edwards. Before getting to the high school, the team made a quick stop at The George Restaurant and Pub to surprise Jim Glendining. The restaurant owner and team’s goalie coach spent the weekend training new staff.
“The doorman came and got me and he said, ‘there’s some people out front, a guy needs to talk to you,'” Glendining recalled. “I walked out there; it was a mellow night.”
That changed once he opened the door.
“The entire team screamed, ‘Jimbo!'” Glendining laughed. “It was one of the great experiences of my life.”
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“It was very cool and a great moment for Jim,” stated Rex Keep, a loyal Husky supporter whose Battle Mountain athletic photos often grace Vail Daily’s pages. Keep’s camera captured Leo Martinez’s opening goal and Cooper Skidmore’s security score in the second half of the 2-0 victory. He also rode the bus home and witnessed the surprise visit.
Glendining had been receiving text updates throughout the game from his daughter (the goalie for the Lady Huskies in the spring), who’d driven down to watch.
“I had texted her in the morning that they were going to win,” he said. “I totally, completely could feel they were going to win.”
Glendining probably deserves some credit. The Huskies were able to hold off the Nighthawks’ ferocious second-half assault in large part because of goalie Ezequiel Alvarez, who recorded his third shutout of the playoffs.
“He’s just brilliant. He’s developed into a top-class goalkeeper and a top-class young man at the same time,” Glendining said of his pupil. “There’s no other way to describe it.”
The goalie coach since 2014, Glendining said he has the best job on the Huskies’ coaching staff.
When head coach Dave Cope — who led the Huskies to a perfect 20-0 championship season in 2012 before title-game losses in 2016 and 2022 — came through the door on Saturday night, Glendining told him, “I knew it. I knew they were going to do it Cope. We just knew.”
Northfield came into the game as the two-time defending champions and boasted a 56-1-1 record over the previous three campaigns.
“You just want to be the other one, that’s all,” Glendining said. “I think the boys had it in their minds that they were ready. Last year was sort of almost a surprise for them, and this year they said, ‘you know what, we deserve to be here. We’ll just beat them.’ It was a quiet confidence amongst the group — even amongst the ups and downs of a season.”
Keep, whose son Chase played on the 2015 Battle Mountain team that went 15-3 before losing in the state quarterfinals, caught it all on camera. The photographer was also there for the 2022 title game loss to Northfield. Needless to say, a fixture at all Husky events knows how rare a state championship is.
“I’m just so glad to have been a part of it all,” he said.
“Who knows when it’ll happen again.”
A celebration parade will take place in Edwards this Friday. The varsity and junior varsity teams will be joined by drum line and dance team members, all of whom will head west from Mountain Rec on Miller Ranch Road starting at 4 p.m. The parade route takes a left on Edwards Access Road, crosses the bridge and will head east on Highway 6 before traveling through Riverwalk. There will be a celebratory stop next to the Riverwalk Theatre.