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Huskies girls hoops optimistic

In short, things seem to be starting to come together for Battle Mountain girls basketball.

For the first time in four years, the Huskies have a returning coach in David Hite. The team will be starting three juniors (Sara LyBarger, Mary Ramirez and Kim White) and two seniors (Erin Drumm and Kati Russell).

And don’t think it doesn’t make a difference.

“We don’t have to start at square one,” Hite said. “And because we played all summer, we’re at least a year ahead of where we need to be. We’re not trying to do a lot of ball-handling. We’re not trying to get our whole offense and defense together. I know the girls better. So that helps.”

What would also help would be a good dose of good health. If anyone’s due for a healthy campaign, it’s Battle Mountain. Lost in last year’s 2-18 season was that the Huskies were actually playing some solid basketball early in the season. Then, LyBarger and Russell went down with injuries in practice during the same week and that was that.

Those were both critical losses. LyBarger, who is still wearing a knee brace, runs the offense and, if there were a statistical category for hustle, she’d be leading it. Russell is a potential force inside. Just before she got injured last year, she had a whopping 26 points and 25 rebounds in a win at West Grand.

“She led the state for two weeks in rebounding,” Hite said. “She could lead in rebounding and scoring. It’s matter of keeping her healthy and making sure she gets the ball.”

The rest of your 2002 Huskies include Nicole LeRoy, Krystal Ettawill, Meagan Riegel, Katie Hite, Jenna Tjossem and Jessie Jacobson.

Battle Mountain opens Friday at the Buena Vista Tournament against host Buena Vista. The Huskies’ home opener is next Friday against West Grand.

League play, where the Huskies hope to make a move, starts Jan. 7 against Steamboat Springs.

“Palisade’s always going to be tough Rifle’s very strong. I think Moffat has two big, blond, brick houses and three sharp guards,” David Hite said. “But I think we’re right in the middle too. If we get off to a good start, that will carry over.”

Huskies wrestling opens tonight

EAGLE-VAIL – “We’re working really hard. They’ve had a great attitude up to this point. They’re just learning so much every day. That’s our strength,” Battle Mountain wrestling coach Jason Dutton said. “Our weakness is experience. There’s no substitute for that.”

That process starts tonight as the young Huskies grapplers host Soroco and Grand Valley, starting at 6 p.m. Next up for Battle Mountain is the Middle Park Tournament Saturday.

Dutton has a lineup which will fill all but two weight classes. Joey Valdez and Chris Sandoval will be competing for time at 103 pounds. Rudy Frausto (112), Fran Saucedo (119) and Adam Garcia (125) follow. At 130, it’s Daniel Trujillo and Jason Wooley at 135. Rudy Serna is slotted at 140 and Chris Salazar is taking care of business at 145. The lineup is rounded out by Joe Ortega (171), David Lewis (189) and Cody Stackpole (heavyweight).

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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