Vail Mountain School’s alpine team shines in opener
ASPEN — The battle has been joined.
Vail Mountain School skiing, which, in recent years has pretty much been the Vail Nordic School, finally has alpinists, and that could mount a challenge to Battle Mountain boys skiing’s two-year reign as state champion.
While Friday — a giant slalom in Aspen — was merely the opener of the state skiing season, it looks like it’s going to be a tight race when everyone assembles in Steamboat Springs in late February.
Host Aspen took top honors on Friday with 167 points, just one point ahead of VMS. The Gore Rangers went 1-2 individually with Michael Resnick and Peer Carnes, respectively. Peter Mitchell was 15th. What’s more, VMS appears to have some depth with Theo Marston (17th) and freshman Shane Cole. He was eighth after the first run, but ended up as a DNF.
Unlike most schools, which usually have outstanding alpine sides and hope to find some Nordic racers to pick up some points for the overall crown, VMS traditionally has a bevy of Nordic racers. The appearance of Resnick, Carnes, Mitchell, Marston and Cole — which sounds like a law firm — could pave the path to the school’s first state title on snow since 1994.
The Huskies took fourth as a team with Kedrick Kinsella ninth, Daniel Huck 13th and Bryce Runckel 14th. Expect a lot of competition among Battle Mountain’s ranks as the season progresses.
On the girls’ side, Aspen also won — no surprise on its home hill. VMS’ Whitney Merriman was the top local in third place, followed by the Huskies’ Haley Frischholz in sixth. Frischholz is the defending Skimeister, and that result was definitely a good start to reclaiming the crown.
On the Nordic side at Snow Mountain Ranch on Saturday, VMS’ Eric Zdechlik and Peter Littman finished second and fourth, as VMS was fourth with 143 points, one behind Battle Mountain.
The Huskies rolled in as a pack with Conner McCabe 12th, David Reilly 13th and Nicholas Apps 14th.
For the ladies, VMS’ Emma Blakslee (third), teammate Lyle Shipp (10th) and Eagle Valley’s Rose Sandell (seventh) all cracked the top 10.
Huskies tie Aspen
ASPEN — Hunter Fox scored in the third period to give Battle Mountain a 1-1 tie at Aspen on Friday night.
The equalizer came on the power play. Huskies goalie Declan Rooney stopped 23-of-24, shots, including three saves in overtime.
Battle Mountain (3-0-2 overall and 1-0-1 in conference) hosts Denver East on Friday at Dobson.
Saints girls get revenge against Mustangs
EDWARDS — This could be big, one of those moments upon which a team may reflect as a turning point.
Vail Christian girls basketball came back for a 44-40 win against West Grand on Saturday in Edwards. Not only was it revenge for a nonconference loss to the Mustangs back in December, but the Saints are off to a 2-0 start in the 2A Slope.
The spark plug was Marti Schmidt. The 10 points she had were nice, but she was a menace defensively with eight steals and six blocks.
“She did so much on defense, and ended up feeding everyone,” Vail Christian coach Beth Raitt said.
Speaking of Raitts, Jesse had 22 points.
The Saints (5-3, 2-0) got contributions from up and down the roster, a must after winning up at North Park on Friday night. That’s going to be critical for a team facing lots of back-to-back games on its schedule.
The Vail Christian boys led most of the way, but couldn’t sustain its offense in a 41-36 loss to West Grand.
“I feel like we’re getting better, but we just struggled offensively tonight,” Saints coach Sheldon Kuhns said.
Sebastian Moritz led the Saints with 12 points, while E.J. Koller put up nine.
The boys are at the Vail Mountain School on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Both Saints teams are at Hayden on Friday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.