Vail Valley preps: Brennan, Dr. Phil, and I guess that wasn’t funny |

Vail Valley preps: Brennan, Dr. Phil, and I guess that wasn’t funny

SPT EVFB Neal TS 10-24-08

Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series looking back at Eagle County high school sports in 2008-09.

– Eagle Valley golf’s Bryan Brennan made state. Bravo. I’m not going to turn this into the corny “TV Movie of the Week,” but that was awesome. Teammate Jamison Bair was there as well as Battle Mountain’s Cameron Brown and Dustin Martin.

Brown, who still does not own a Giants hat among his estimated 5,000 baseball caps, was injured at last year’s state tournament and still finished 16th. If he’s able to get some golf in this summer ” just maybe ” look out this fall.

– Alex Bard is now an answer to a trivia question. Who was the first Vail Mountain School golfer to qualify for state golf?

– Yes, the volleyball team has played there. Both basketball teams played there. Even the soccer team has practiced there. But it’s still Vail Christian’s new gym. The only problem with the new digs is that the place doesn’t have good cell phone reception, which is a problem when you are looking for a nose guard for point guard Will Parker.

– Speaking of Parker, Saints football averaged 42 points per game during the regular season and that included a loss to Plateau Valley in which Vail Christian scored “only” 14 points. Every time guys like Parker, A.J. Burgess, Larry Cavanaugh, Chris Schmidt and company touched the ball, they could go for six. By the way, that’s pretty decent basketball team there as well.

– Three touches, three touchdowns, game over. Eagle Valley’s Harrison Neal’s first three carries against Battle Mountain went for 161 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-14 pasting of the Huskies. His yards-per-carry average went down slightly as the evening went on, though.

– One bummer from the annual Devils-Huskies football game was that Zak Thrall got whistled for a phantom unsportsmanlike conduct call and had to sit his final game against Rifle the next week.

My favorite Thrall memory was when he was a “little freshman,” his words, when he was standing on the sidelines during the waning moments of Eagle Valley’s playoff win against Cherokee Trail in 2005. I look up at this kid and say, “What do they feed you?” Go get ’em at Northern Colorado, Zak.

– Sun rises in east, and Battle Mountain boys cross country wins league title. Just amazing how that happens.

– It was a joke, people. The Eagle Valley boys basketball team said it got motivation from an innocuous column I wrote. So, I gave the Devils a little more motivation by jokingly saying they stink. Whoops. Apparently, some didn’t find that funny.

Castillo ended up wearing my column mug on a warm-up T-shirt before the second Battle Mountain game, which the Devils won, 62-52. Note to self: Only write tongue-and-cheek columns when teams are above .500.

– Battle Mountain basketball, for a while, looked like it was looking down the barrel of an 0-for-the-season before the boys snapped a 13-game losing streak with a 68-56 win against Palisade. The Huskies made it two in a row by downing the Devils, who had yet to be inspired by me.

– Was he pushed? Did he walk? It was probably a little of both with Battle Mountain basketball coach Philip Tronsrue. Whatever you call it, it’s a big loss for the Huskies. Dr. Phil didn’t have a frontal lobotomy after his team won the Slope in 2006. What’s the control and what’s the variable here, people ” the coach or the talent on the floor?

– I really mean this ” good luck to new basketball coach Tom Padilla. The good news is this guy is no stranger to Battle Mountain.

– Eagle Valley girls basketball was a winter highlight on the hardwood. Not only did Ken Reagan’s crew make the playoffs, but they nearly pulled the upset of the tournament, falling by five to Kennedy.

– Did we mention the fact that Vail Christian got its new gym this year? Come basketball season, the boys team fell one game short of regionals, while the girls upped their win total from 2008. Just neat is that the Mutter Dome/King Dome/Alexander Pole Vaulting Center is great place to watch a game.

– Battle Mountain’s Geoff Funk wore the C for the hockey team this year and that letter stood for captain and clutch. He had not one, but two overtime winners. Seriously, Geoff, Hollywood would have rejected the script the way your shot just got through Rampart goalie Jeremy Byrns and ever-so-slowly trickled over the line. Just sweet.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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