Battle Mountain tops Palisade; wins league title |

Battle Mountain tops Palisade; wins league title

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — One week ago, the Battle Mountain girls soccer team left its home pitch after a 2-1 loss to Coal Ridge in a state of shock. One week later, the Huskies were singing their hearts out.

It’s been one heck of a week for the Huskies, who improbably rallied from that devastating loss to the Titans to win the 4A Slope championship Thursday night at Gates Field in Glenwood Springs, blanking Palisade, 1-0.

“It was looking a little grim,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “We didn’t want to put the pressure on the girls, so we didn’t tell them we thought they had to win both (playoff) games (to make the state playoffs). But now we did. We’re league champions.”

Yes, they are. Battle Mountain (9-2-4) upset Glenwood Springs, 3-1, Tuesday in Edwards and capped the comeback, thanks to a Melisa Lopez goal in the 65th minute Thursday to down the Bulldogs.

This is third league title for the Battle Mountain girls soccer team, and its first since back-to-back crowns in 2007 and 2008. This win gives Battle Mountain soccer as a whole its third double — both boys and girls Slope championships in the same school year. Most importantly, with the league title, the Huskies have locked up a state-playoff spot. The draw comes out Sunday, and Battle Mountain plays Tuesday.

Support Local Journalism

“There’s a fair level of excitement,” Cope said dryly over his phone as he was nearly drowned out by his team singing in the background.

While all contributed to Thursday’s big win, a few deserve special mention. Goalie Mindy Vickers made three monster saves as she helped the Huskies pitch a shutout. One of those stops came away on a breakaway at the end of the first half.

Lopez’s score goes into the file of memorable goals in Battle Mountain history, along with “Alberto Saenz against VMS” and “Lizzie Seibert over Steamboat Springs.” It’s fitting. Lopez hit the post in the 25th minute of the first half. She wasn’t denied when she got a slick feed from Molly Phannenstiel.

“This group worked so hard to get it done,” Cope said. “There were moments of doubt, but over 15 games, we only lost twice, and we avenged one of those losses (Glenwood Springs). In the playoffs, you never know. The girls are yelling ‘Five games to go.’”

State track outlook

There are two meets left in the track and field regular season. We’ve got the Battle Mountain Invite on Saturday and then the league meet down in Grand Junction.

Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Vail Christian all put up new state-qualifying times last weekend. The interesting thing is that there were instances where athletes posted their best times of the year, yet dropped in the standings because faster times/longer distances from other meets were entered into

This just underscores the fluid nature of the stretch run. One only should feel comfortable in the top three or top five. Along those lines, Eagle Valley’s Aaron Kline made a big move with his pole-vault performance last week up in Kremmling. Battle Mountain’s David Suarez did the same in the 1,600 meters. (And, some times in some events just make it, and 4 minutes, 30 seconds-and-change in the mile does the trick.)

Battle Mountain’s Val Constien and Eagle Valley’s Roxy Trotter put up season-best times in the 800. That duel is on. The Huskies’ Lilly McMurrain made a big jump in the 300 hurdles.

In 1A, Vail Christian’s boys 400 team makes its first appearance in the state standings. Meanwhile, Taylor Alexander also seems to be making a move. Can an Alexander keep the 1A pole vault title in the family?

Stay tuned.

Local class 4A state standings

(Top 18 qualify)


200 — 11. Zeke Sandoval, EV (new).

400 — 13. Zeke Sandoval, EV.

800 — 16. Hunter Burnham, EV.

1,600 — 8. David Suarez, BM (new).

110 hurdles — 14. Riley Rowles (new); 15. Aaron Kline (new).

400 relay — 13. Eagle Valley (new).

800 relay — 10. Eagle Valley (new).

1,600 relay — 9. Eagle Valley.

3,200 relay — 9. Eagle Valley (new).

High jump — 17. Will Dutmer, EV.

Shot put — 12. Roberto Cortes, EV.

Pole vault — T2-6. Aaron Kline, EV (new).


400 — 9. Carly Volkmer, EV (new); 18. Katia Lopez, BM (new).

800 — 11. Val Constien, BM (new); 15. Roxy Trotter, EV (new).

1,600 — 15. Mandy Ortiz, BM.

3,200 — 5. Mandy Ortiz, BM.

300 hurdles — 7. Lilly McMurrain, BM (new); 12. Sophia Calabrese, BM.

Medley — 13. Eagle Valley.

400 relay — 13. Eagle Valley.

800 relay — 12. Eagle Valley.

1,600 relay — 5. Battle Mountain; 17. Eagle Valley (new).

3,200 relay — 15. Battle Mountain.

High jump — T4-10. Justine Bukovich, EV (new); T12-18, McKenzie Sisson, EV (new).

Triple jump — 1. Michelle Carbajal, EV; 9. Tesha Olsen, BM.

Pole vault — 8. Molly Childers, BM (new); 17. Lilly McMurrain, BM.

Local 1A state standings

(Top nine qualify in track events; top 12 qualify in field events)


100 — 7. Cole Caynoski, VC.

1,600 — 7. Ethan Pence, VC.

800 relay — 5. Vail Christian (new).

Long jump — 11. Cole Caynoski, VC (new).

Pole vault — 1. Mack Cooper, VC; 4. Cooper Daniels, VC (new); 7. Nick Boyne, VC (new); 11. Nick Boyne (new); 12. Keaghen Mullin, VC (new).


100 — 2. Taylor Alexander, VC.

200 — 1. Taylor Alexander, VC (new).

400 relay — 3. Vail Christian (new).

High jump — 3, Celia Smith, VC; 11. Kristen Currey.

Pole vault — 1. Taylor Alexander (new); 2. Celia Smith.

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

Support Local Journalism