History is repeating itself … and that’s good | VailDaily.com

History is repeating itself … and that’s good

Chris Freud

Life is good in Gypsum.

The soccer team is in the quarterfinals Wednesday at Rock Canyon. The volleyball team took second in districts and is at regionals Saturday. And for all you wonderful people who gave me grief last weekend about rooting for Huskies football against the Devils during last Friday’s game, I called the Devils’ winning streak four weeks ago.

I’m really not the Great Satan, people, because I’ve covered Battle Mountain more in my 11-plus years here, but that’s not the point. I bring up the 11-plus years because we’re seeing history repeat itself.

Eagle Valley athletics are coming around after a bit of a slumber, and it has nothing to do with the media coverage by a guy whose real teams remain the San Francisco Giants and 49ers and the San Jose Sharks.

It’s all about getting used to playing at the 4A level, kids (and parents), and it takes time.

In every sport except for football, you go from playing schools whose student bodies range from 236-585 kids to 586-1,440. Not only are you playing bigger schools in general with likely deeper talent pools, but the range itself between a hypothetical school with 586 kids and one with 1,440 is much greater than one sees in 3A.

Whether CHSAA should overhaul the classification numbers to reflect a growing state is an argument for another day. (In short, yes.) The bottom line, though, is that it takes a while for the program to get its legs against the newer, bigger competition, especially if you’re a smaller 4A school like either Battle Mountain or Eagle Valley.

Battle Mountain was the first of the two local publics to make the leap from 3A to 4A in 2000, and it was ugly. Hardly a power in 3A, every sport except for boys soccer pretty much got creamed. (Hockey and skiing are also not involved in this discussion because there’s only one classification for these sports.)

In 2004, boys’ soccer became the first Huskies team to win a 4A league title. In 2005, the school’s fifth year at 4A, cross country and volleyball, started their runs, and Battle Mountain’s had a good go of it in most sports since.

Fast-forwarding, Eagle Valley’s in year No. 5 of 4A, and look what we have with soccer and volleyball. Sure it doesn’t hurt to have superb athletes like a Jonny Stevens in Eagle-Vail or a Cesar Castillo in Gypsum, but it takes more than one superstar to lift as team at the 4A level.

Don’t be surprised if a few more Eagle Valley teams follow in the trend.

Also from the hopper this week:

– Eagle Valley 2, Mullen 1. That was tremendous. I know I’ve been on the Devils’ case this year about not being The Castillo Show. Friday’s game was why. It wasn’t just Cesar ” though just about any team on the planet would have taken his game-winning goal. It was a total team effort. Goalie Trevor Grayson was great and he and the defense worked well. There was a transitions game, as opposed to just booting the ball to Castillo. The Devils were linking passes in both ends. That’s what this team can be, and why Rock Canyon should be worried.

– Funniest moment of Friday’s game: Coach Jason Rittmiller yelling, “Cesar, that is the sickest thing I’ve ever seen you do,” after Castillo scored.

– Devils volleyball continues to amaze. Don’t you ladies understand that your season was meant to be over when Whitney VanVoorst got hurt. Guess you didn’t get that memo. That’s good coaching and a whole lot of character from these young ladies.

– Well, that was a bummer the way Vail Christian football’s season ended. What in the world do they feed those kids from Haxtun? Can you possibly imagine what the Plains League is like? This is meant as no disrespect to the Saints, but Haxtun was the fourth-place team out of that six-team league? Is this a high school league or an NFL division?

– In other action between the Plains and the Central Leagues: Caliche 87, Silver State 7 ” that is not a typo ” Dayspring Christian 69, Justice 12 and Merino 62, North Park ). A 44-13 loss doesn’t look that bad, no? Seriously, that was a great season, Vail Christian.

– Well done to both cross country teams. How good was the 2007 Battle Mountain team that won state? Its No. 5 runner was Mario Gonzales-Martinez, who finished 16th in the state this year for Eagle Valley. Conor Wallace couldn’t crack into the scoring last year, and the Huskies runner ended up winning regionals this year.

– Kudos also to Battle Mountain coach Lyle Knudson ” following in Rob Parish’s footsteps was difficult.

– And our advice of the week is, “Kids, you just don’t win a league title every year, and that’s OK.” “As a not-senior, I’ve watched every team win a league title and go into deep into the playoffs. That’s a little disappointing,” Battle Mountain senior Kalen Burnett said after the Huskies lost to Longmont, 3-2, in overtime in Round 1 of the playoffs.

To put this in perspective, 11-plus years ago I think Huskies soccer coach David Cope would have traded his second-born for an 11-5 season. If Casey Cope, or more importantly Kathleen Cope, is reading this, we’re just kidding, but you get the point.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

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