Surprises abound on winter preps scene
Time flies when you’re having fun, and we’re just about at the halfway point for some local high school teams that are having a blast.
We knew Eagle Valley wrestling was coming. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that with nine state returners the Devils were going to be good.
Vail Christian’s boys’ basketball? Surprising, given that four starters graduated last spring.
Battle Mountain girls’ basketball? Staggering. The Huskies have two winning seasons in my 21 winters (1998 and 2017) here in Happy Valley.
So we’ve got the rundown on the playoff chase and who needs to do what as we approach the postseason.
Eagle Valley wrestling, by any measure, is having an outstanding season — second at the Warrior Classic, winning its home tournament and taking top honors at the Mel Smith.
But the Devils are not a happy bunch, and that should make Eagle Valley wrestling fans very happy.
When Lucas Comroe received the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the Eagle Valley Invite earlier this month, he politely accepted it but knew he hadn’t wrestled well in his final.
The team was happy to win in Florence last weekend, but no one won his division, something that is fueling the team in practice this week.
Good. No one gives a hoot how good you are now. You need to be great at regionals three weekends from now.
Stay humble and hungry, gents.
DeBeque is coming
The biggest game of the weekend is at the Wheeler Athletic Center, aka Vail Christian: Saints boys’ basketball vs. DeBeque on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The winner takes the lead in the 2A Slope.
Challenge No. 1: Don’t do the face plant by losing at West Grand on Friday. The Saints did a good job of back-to-backs two weeks ago with Rangely and Meeker, dispatching the Panthers in good order and then taking out the Cowboys, the bigger game of the weekend.
Do that again. West Grand, first, guys.
As for DeBeque, the biggest question is on defense. How does Vail Christian handle the Dragons’ Brennan Rigsby, Wes Ryan, and Dillon Baumgardner? Please don’t forget to play defense. (Not so subliminal message: Paonia, last year.)
The end is near?
I apologize in advance for invoking the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse when talking about Battle Mountain girls’ basketball. What’s exciting is that the Huskies are winning in the 4A Western Slope, which hasn’t happened in … ever.
Even in 2017 when the team went 12-10, the Huskies were 5-7 in the Slope.
This weekend brings at Glenwood Springs and at Rifle, which normally provokes the “uh-oh” reaction. The Demons are 4-0 in the Slope and the Bears the 3-1, with the Huskies at 3-0. Let’s see what happens.
Hockey is back?
Very quietly, Team United Nations, aka Battle Mountain hockey is 4-2-2. After a frustrating 4-3 loss to Glenwood Springs, the Huskies bounced back well against Columbine.
The gang is going to find out a lot about itself in the next week. Tonight, the team hosts Mountain Vista, followed by a really exciting trip — by which we mean long — to Crested Butte. The Huskies then host Steamboat in Eagle on Wednesday and Aspen at Dobson on Friday next week.
If the Huskies’ third and fourth lines can contribute, they might be good to go.
Big game Tuesday
The astute reader might notice that we haven’t reached Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley boys basketball. They apparently are playing again — this time in Edwards — on Tuesday.
See you all there, and at a bunch of other games in the next week.