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Forget Green Bay: Eagle-Vail is Titletown

Chris Freud
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Mark the date down – Oct. 22, 2005.Saturday was a golden day for Battle Mountain athletics, perhaps one of the greatest days in Huskies’ sports history.Rarely have Battle Mountain teams won three league/regional titles in one year. Three in one day?You’re kidding me.Nope. On Saturday, both cross country teams took regional crowns.A few hours later, volleyball stormed the court after beating Moffat for the team’s first title at 4A and first since 1999 at 3A.These are truly glorious days in Eagle-Vail. We might also want to mention that this school happens to have a pretty good soccer team, which won back-to-back titles last weekend despite Saturday’s misstep.To put this into perspective, the only time Battle Mountain won four league titles – in a year was 1992-93 – with boys soccer, girls basketball and boys and girls track.Four in one season is wonderfully ridiculous.But before we get ahead of ourselves, a few moments of celebration for volleyball and cross country.

The spikersBattle Mountain volleyball is back, a true renaissance. Not since Brie Henry transferred into the district – and her younger brother was OK, too – have we seen volleyball played like this in Eagle-Vail.I was a little stunned when the Huskies were ranked in the top 10 to start the season. I thought it was a little premature. Maybe, the ranking would be more appropriate next year when most of the team would be seniors.I’ll take that thought back. The joy of this team is that the Huskies play as a team from the starting six all the way through the bench. There is no me-first. There is no haggling over stats. All year, it’s just been about winning.What’s more the ladies have made volleyball games an event in Eagle-Vail. There is a palpable buzz in the building with the parents and the student section. (By the way, best cheer of the year has definitely been “What can Brown do for you,” in honor of setter Britney Brown and spoofing the UPS ads.)– Hard to believe that certain factions of the community wanted coach Brian Doyon out about this time last season. Of course, winning a league title can go a long ways toward healing relations between a coach and parents. But in fact, both parties deserve credit.Doyon’s toned it down a bit. That’s not to say he’s Mr. Happy Bubbles. If a player makes a mistake, he will point it out, but he does it in a diplomatic way. Practices are upbeat and productive. The guy can coach.Meanwhile, the parents have done a great job staying out of the way, keeping in mind that it’s about the kids. That’s a major step for this program. Furthermore, they have been a constantly loud, supportive voice from the stands all season. This is the way high school sports should be.– Crystin Rodrick – Yes, when she goes up to attack a ball, it makes a different sound. But what I really like about her is that she will fly all over the floor for digs. She’s the complete package, the best player in the county since Lara “Tree” Bossow.– Sydney Nichols, Sofia Lindroth, Nicole Penwill and Devon Abbott – OK, opposing teams say, we’ve got to stop Rodrick, and we’ll win. NOT. This quartet blows that theory out of the water. Sit on Rodrick, as Palisade did two weeks ago, fine. Here comes Ms. Lindroth. Nichols is equally capable. Cheat outside, Here come Penwill and Abbott. This depth is just beautiful. By the way, Penwill and Abbott are tenacious middle blockers.– Britney Brown – And that depth makes Ms. Brown, the setter, a happy camper. She has a bountiful choice of hitters to feed and she chooses wisely. What’s more she’s just as capable of dumping the ball over the net, meaning that she will usually attract an opposing team’s blocker, thus weakening the other team’s defense.

— Kendra Havlik – Let’s just watch No. 12 in the yellow jersey just go flying all over the court after the ball. The attack doesn’t get started without good passes from the back and Havlik, the libero, is the spark.– Allie O’Connor, Kori Landauer and Sarah Simmons – Ms. Havlik doesn’t do it alone. These three role players are the epitome of team play. Landauer digs, getting nice passes to Brown. She’s also brings a much needed sense of humor to the team. Allie O, a crowd favorite, serves and digs with the best of them. Then, there’s Simmons. She has been clutch behind the line this year and she’s proving to be a very adept up front.– Congrats on the league title, ladies, but the season isn’t over yet. The last time Battle Mountain won league, the Huskies went to state. Sound good, people?Cross countryWe knew the girls were going to be good. They finished fifth in the state last year, losing only one senior to graduation. But, these Huskies have exceeded expectations, a frightening thought for the rest of the state next weekend. Speaking of high expectations, the boys weren’t meant to be this good. No Grant Stevenson. No Zach Erickson. No problem. What was a rebuilding year has become a reloading year.– That’s a credit to the boys and to their coaches. So, take a bow Rob Parish, Kelli Witter and Ashley Weaver.– By the way, Parish is always upbeat. I would like to see where his bubbly-happy meter is right now.– Jennifer Bowles – Welcome to Colorado. Thanks for coming. The Southern California-transfer has been a gift from the sky, leading the team in most races. Yeah, she had to deal with altitude, but remember there’s something called smog in SoCal.– The Ghents – Erika is Ms. October. How she comes on every year when the colors turn, we don’t know, but we’re not going to complain. Christa’s only a sophomore. She’s just begun. Brad and Karen, what do you feed these kids? And there’s another Ghent on the way. Parish’s bubbly-happy meter just went up a notch.– Molly McGee and Leslie Peterson – Saints present and former contribute. Parish send a thank you note to Vail Christian’s Bob Isbell. He would like to have McGee back for track. After you’re finished with state, ladies, please go win some medals in the spring for both schools.



— Whitney Allard and Marit Johnson – These two just show the depth of this team. Allard is a solid No. 6 and is always pushing the top five, a critical role. As for Johnson, she bounced between varsity and JV, but established her creds last week at Palisade. Big time runners step up this time of year. See Ghent, Erika.– Jonny Stevens – And, we thought he was a hockey player. Yes, he’s a good blueliner, but he’s even faster when he’s not on skates. Did we mention, he’s only a sophomore. The bubbly-happy meter just went up again. (By the way this is going to be a theme for the guys.)– Shea Phelan – And, we thought he played soccer. Not too bad for the first year of cross country, ending up as the consistent No. 2. They named the football field for you, Shea, right?– Ben Rogers – Hey, Sparky, thanks for not making the golf team freshman year. A four-year letterman, Rogers has done a nice job with his performances and even a better job with chemistry and bringing the young ones along.– Jake Ball, Jamie Fahrmeyer and Ryan Walker – A junior and two sophomores. We knew that Stevens, Phelan and Rogers were going to bring it and they did. But these three have transformed what was a good team into a great one. Ball’s just a colt who’s grown into his body. Fahrmeyer broke out at Dakota Ridge and Walker’s already a two-year letterman as a sophomore. I think the bubbly-happy meter just exploded.– John O’Neill – Way to run through pain, kid. That was a gutsy performance. That shows character. Nice cannon balls, too. By the way, a holler to your older sis, Allison. Ha! Pomona beat Chapman in soccer.– To the rest of the thundering herd known as cross country, take a bow, too. You share in the glory because you were out there every day, pushing the team’s higher runners. And the way the cross country pipeline is looking, your day will come very soon.– Well done, Battle Mountain on an unforgettable day. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or via cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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