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Vail Valley preps wrap for Friday

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LOVELAND – Many happy returns to Battle Mountain’s Cooper Cartmill and Kendall VanHee.

OK, VanHee’s a freshman and she just got here, but there’s something comfortable about seeing a member of that family on the podium for Huskies skiing as she was in second in Friday’s season-opening slalom in Loveland.

As for Cartmill, Friday was his first race in more than two seasons after a knee injury and the senior showed no rust, finished eighth.

“It was an awesome start, not just for those who qualified (for state),” Huskies coach Simon Marsh said. “There’s a lot of potential for everyone with such a large team. I’m looking forward to seeing how they ski this year and in years to come.”

Following in her older sisters’ boots – Kate and Kelly – young Kendall led the Huskies girls with a time of 1 minute, 23.87 seconds. With that performance, young VanHee punched her slalom ticket for the state meet in February in Keystone.

She already has company. Isabelle Courtois finished 12th, followed by Jana Weiss (14th), and Haley Wallace (16th) also finished inside the magical top-third for qualifying. Vail Mountain’s Kimberly Newton (10th) is also off to the dance.

The Huskies also had a quintet of racers just on the outside looking in with Rachael L’Heureux, Trisha Bruen, Rebecca Bosworth, Kayla Strahan and Briana Johnson.

On the boys’ side, the Huskies had three in the top 10. Charlie Berry finished with bronze, followed by his cousin Brinton Barry in sixth, and Cartmill was the comeback kid in eighth.

The boys’ results are still unofficial. Just as this is the first race of the season for the skiers, it is too for the timers. Right now, Battle Mountain’s Jake Bishop finished 15th, followed by Spencer Currie in 16th, Bryan Aubel in 19th and Ike Sheppard in 21st. Vail Christian’s Corey Seeman is also a state qualifier in 11th.

The reason the Battle Mountain camp is waiting for official results is that 21st was the cut for state and the Huskies just happen to have Stephen Licciardi in 22nd and J.T. Schmitt and 23rd, and depending on the postrace deliberations, they might end up moving up.

Either way, there are five more races ahead in the season, starting with Jan. 8’s giant slalom in Aspen.

Zoch qualifies for Devils

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Eagle Valley’s Shanna Zoch conquered Howelsen Hill Friday becoming the first Devils skier to qualify for the state meet.

She zipped down the hill for a combined time of 1:23.90, finishing 12th, five spots inside the qualifying line. Meanwhile, Ian Bailey just missed a spot in state by 5-tenths of a second.

“Shonna always has trouble with the first race of the year, but she skied wonderfully,” Devils coach Francois Nanin said. “What was unbelievable was how well everyone on the team skied. Only Wednesday, we had our first practice in gates.”

Eagle Valley is at Aspen for a GS after the holidays on Jan. 8.

Girls basketball

Vail Christian 56, DeBeque 40

DEBEQUE – Vail Christian girls basketball likely played its best half of basketball of the season Friday night in a 56-40 victory at DeBeque.

The Saints rolled out to a 33-15 lead at the intermission and extended their lead to 50-27 by the end of three quarters before subbing in their bench.

“The first half, I thought we played really well,” Saints coach Doug Bruce said. “We rebounded better than we did all year.”

Ashlyn Gruber had 11 boards, including nine in the offensive end. That helped her end up with 21 points for Vail Christian.

Alexis Ellsworth matched her uniform number with 10 points, while Emily Irwin had nine and Dakota Francis eight.

The Saints enter the break 2-3 and start after Christmas at No. 1-ranked Paonia Jan. 8.

“Welcome back,” Bruce joked.

Eagle Valley 49, Platte Canyon 30

BAILEY – Eagle Valley girls basketball keeps rolling along.

The Devils dispatched Platte Canyon, 49-30, Friday night, upping their record to 6-1. Emily Kingston led the Devils with 13 points. Jazmin Zapata and Kayla Gagnon each had 10.

The Devils are at Denver Christian today for their final game before the break.

Boys basketball

Vail Christian 63, DeBeque 61

DEBEQUE – It never comes easily at DeBeque for Vail Christian boys basketball.

Whether it’s the early days of the program when the Dragons used the Saints as a punching bag or this year when DeBeque is a bit down.

It was still a struggle to the end, but the Saints came away with a 63-61 victory.

Granger Moch logged a career-high 24 points and freshman Robby Bowles had 20. The two combined for seven 3s, a definite change for Saints’ basketball recently.

Senior Kieran Hurt had six points and six rebounds for the Saints who are 3-2 heading into the break.

“We’re excited,” Vail Christian coach Sheldon Kuhns said. “Our senior leadership has been fantastic. They’ve been doing a great job of leading the younger guys. For our age and experience, we’re right where we want to be.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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