Vail Mountain School shines on Senior Day |

Vail Mountain School shines on Senior Day

Vail Mountain School's Danny Miller gets around Moffat's Juan Beserra during their matchup in East Vail Tuesday. The Gore Rangers won on Senior Day, 7-0.
Anthony Thornton | |

EAST VAIL — They just looked so big at the time.

“They’re like twice my size,” VMS’ Watts Austen said of watching his school’s soccer team when he was a kindergartener. “They’re my idols. Seeing them play, seeing them score — I wanted to be that guy.”

Congratulations, Watts, and the rest of the VMS soccer team, you are now those guys. The Gore Rangers dusted Moffat County, 7-0, on Senior Day at East Vail soccer cathedral, Bandoni Alumni Field.

With the win, VMS has clinched one of the 3A Slope’s postseason berths. Break out the orange for the second straight year.

“It’s great just because being here these last two years, I know how hard these guys have worked,” VMS coach Pete Petrovski said of his nine seniors. “I know how passionate they are as a team. It’s nice for them to get rewarded. They’ve worked their tails off. They’re our leaders out here. I don’t have to tell them that we have to get ready. They’re leaders by example.”

Only six?

The scoring summary for most of the game was pretty simple. Gore Rangers senior Clay Kirwood scored. And scored. And then scored some more.

Kirwood had six goals, and coach Petrovski confirmed after the game that youngmaster Clay would not have to run laps in practice for that paltry performance.

As fun as it is to kid Kirwood for a Senior Day for the ages, VMS was working on something offensively — cutting at the end line, serving into the box and finishing — particularly after Saturday’s loss against Roaring Fork.

While the game was quickly decided, the Gore Rangers clearly displayed those qualities on their fourth goal. Senior Trevor Sheldon served it into the box and Kirwood had a devastating finish to the right side.

Manuel Neuer or Tim Howard might have had a chance of stopping Kirwood’s shot, but that’s about it. That would be quality finishing.

VMS’ seventh was Ryan Schmidt to Sheldon. It’s nice to see someone else score. It was even nicer to see Schmidt, a center back, return to action after being sidelined all season with an injury.

Schmidt, though he’s a vet of the team, is a wonderful “addition” for the Gore Rangers as they hit the stretch drive.

Happy seniors

VMS (9-3-1 overall and 6-1 in the Slope) heads to Basalt on Tuesday for its league finale. Before everyone starts figuring out the tiebreaker scenarios, VMS has to down the Longhorns and Coal Ridge needs to take care of Roaring Fork on Tuesday.

VMS finishes the season at Colorado Academy on Oct. 16, a new addition to the schedule.

In the meantime, seniors Peter Smith, Kirwood, Sheldon, Danny Miller, Tommy Miller, Kade Manula, Austen, Charlie Aziz and Schmidt took their bows before the game. This is a particularly accomplished group.

Freshman year, they were 3-11, followed by a 4-8-1 sophomore campaign. Last year, they donned the orange and made the second round. This year, they’ve already matched last year’s win total, which includes the postseason.

“It’s been really impressive and it makes me excited to come here as a (future) alumni and watch them play,” Austen said of his four years in soccer. “Seeing the incoming freshmen and sophomores, there’s a lot of talent. We’re going to be a killer squad.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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