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Devils preps set for busy opening weekend

Ryan Slabaugh

Now, it’s time for the test.

Today at 7 p.m., the Devils host ninth-ranked 4A Rifle in the first home event for any Eagle Valley winter sports team.

“We’re kind of looking at it as a good measuring stick to see where we’re at,” said senior Charles Faulhaber, who won the 171-pound championship in Steamboat. “Going into the season, it’s one of those meets you write down. You know it’s going to be a good test.”

Faulhaber will have his hands full, as he is pitted against state-ranked Anthony Alfini. Head coach Jeff Lueders said he’s interested in seeing how Faulhaber, who’s turning into a leader for the experienced Devils, handles the tough match.

“I think he came out of football a lot stronger,” said Lueders, speaking of Faulhaber’s experience this fall as a part of the Devils’ football team that reached the state semifinals. “He lacked a little confidence in his wrestling, but he’s starting to get it. He’ll be fine.”

The Devils have been working on conditioning all season, something they said paid off during last weekend’s championship.

“We do feel we’re more in shape than any other team,” junior 103-pound Tommy Barela said. “We’re used to wrestling three, six matches a day, so only wrestling one will be a lot easier.”

Boys basketball heads to Glenwood

GYPSUM –After a month of practice, the Eagle Valley boys basketball team says it’s ready for a game.

It better be.

The Devils travel to Glenwood today for the season-opener against Ignacio, ranked No. 9 in 3A and a team looking for revenge after Eagle Valley upended the Bobcats in the regional championship game last season. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Saturday, the Devils take on defending 3A state champ Faith Christian, ranked second in the state, and Glenwood, the host.

“Since we jump into the league right away before Christmas this year, these games are much, more important for us,” Devils head coach Phil Cain said. “We’re not going to look at the wins and losses coming out of there. We’re looking at the weaknesses we can approve upon.”

Against Faith Christian, a team that beat Eagle Valley last year in the preseason, the Devils will be without senior starters Justin Wood and Craig Jagger, who are taking SATs.

“It will be a good chance for others on our team to show what they can do,” Cain said.

The schedule Saturday has the Devils playing Faith Christian at 10:30 a.m. and Glenwood at 6 p.m.

Girls basketball opens tonight

GYPSUM –Eagle Valley girls basketball and first-year coach Mike Vidakovich will bring a young team to face another youthful squad tonight at the Glenwood Springs Invitational.

The Devils face Greeley Central at 3:30 p.m.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the girls,” Vidakovich said. “They’ve worked so hard in practice and are such a good group to be around. Greeley Central has a young team, and so do we. It should be a fairly even match.”

The Devils play Saturday at 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Nordic team heads to Steamboat

GYPSUM –The top four Eagle Valley Devils Nordic racers are set for a busy weekend.

Dan Lewis, James Ewing, Audrey Powell and Jill Ewing will compete in today’s Rocky Mountain classic race in Steamboat Springs, and then race with their team Saturday in a freestyle event organized by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

“Either way, we expect these four to be our top finishers Saturday,” Nordic head coach Glen Ewing said. “We’re looking for Kim Smith and Ellie Comerford to help Audrey and Jill. On the men’s side, we’re looking for Nathan Hoza to help Dan Lewis and James. Plus, Everett Minnett, a first-year senior racer, should have a quick time.”

The Rocky Mountain race today will feature top college and high-school ability levels, while the CHSAA event is just for high school athletes.

“We’re going to use the first two CHSAA events as training races for the team,” Ewing said. “We want to establish what these athletes see as a race pace. We’ll work from there.”

Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at rslabaugh@vaildaily.com.


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