Vail Valley preps wrap for Saturday
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain soccer just beat the 14th-ranked team in the country?
OK, don’t go nuts yet, people. Maxpreps.com ranks teams and, somehow, 3A Basalt is ranked No. 14 in the entire United States of America.
“It’s the first time we’ve beat a top-20 team in the country,” Huskies coach David Cope joked after Battle Mountain downed Basalt, 1-0, Saturday in Edwards.
We’ve got no idea of how the website came out with the Longhorns as No. 14, but Basalt is a good 3A team, ranked No. 6 in The Denver Post’s poll for that classification. In fact, the Huskies handed the Longhorns their first loss of the season. (If you’re wondering, the Huskies are No. 243 in the country, according to Maxpreps, and 4A powerhouse Cheyenne Mountain is 145th. Hmm.)
Joe LyBarger scored the only tally of the match in the 60th minute.
Battle Mountain suffered the inevitable letdown after a big 3-2 win against Steamboat Springs, but came through in the end.
“It was to be anticipated to have a little emotional letdown,” Cope said. “We put a lot of energy physically, mentally and emotionally in to the Steamboat game. It was natural to have a letdown, but our letdown was a 1-0 win against a good team.
The Huskies are 11-1-2 heading into their season finale against Eagle Valley in Edwards on Thursday at 6 p.m. Battle Mountain is the favorite against the Devils, and could wrap up their second-consecutive league title with a win. But, the Huskies have been down this road before with a season-ending game against Eagle Valley. In 2009, the Huskies had the league crown to win, only to play to a scoreless draw, which gave Steamboat the top spot.
“It will be cool to finish the regular season with a rivalry game,” Cope said. “You see that in so many other sports, a great end to the season with a rival. The boys know each other.”
Harriers primed for regionals
MONTROSE and WIGGINS – Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley cross country went through their final tuneups Saturday as the Huskies were in Wiggins and the Devils at the Montrose Relays.
Regionals are Wednesday in Delta with the ladies running at 3 p.m., followed by the gents at 3:30 p.m.
At the Montrose Relays, the Devils got a lot of work in. The athletes run one-mile intervals in boys, girls and co-ed divisions. Eagle Valley entered 25 teams among the three divisions, so as coach Melinda Brandt put it, “It was a good chance for interval work and a fun way to do it.”
Gregg Salaz and Samantha Maddux won the co-ed division. The team of Katie Hill and Kira Quintana was seventh for the ladies, while Gabby Avila and Alexa Cano were ninth. Robbie Clark and Nathan Maddux finished 10th for the boys.
Nikki Cunning got the week off for the Devils. She wasn’t the only one. Battle Mountain’s Mandy Ortiz, Sydney Gaylord and Ethan Cotton all sat out in Wiggins, resting for regionals.
The Huskies still finished third among the boys’ and girls’ teams assembled.
“We feel great about it,” Huskies coach Ken Long said. “About three-quarters of our kids got (personal records), so that’s good for the kids who’s racing his or her last race or the kid who’s getting ready for regionals.”
Both teams will work out Monday and then use Tuesday as a travel day. Delta is a traditionally fast track. The top-four teams go to state as well as any individuals who make the top 15.
On the girls’ side, Durango is the favorite unless any other school can prove otherwise. The race is wide open for the final three team spots with Battle Mountain, Delta Glenwood Springs and Moffat County (listed in alphabetical order) likely in contention.
Moffat heads up the boys’ side of things. After that there is just not much depth in the rest of the region. This should be wide open.
The Devils and Huskies should be in running to qualify individuals. Gregg Salaz, Hunter Burnham, Cunning and Quintana headline that list for Eagle Valley. David Suarez and Cotton are possible boys qualifiers for Battle Mountain.
The following are Battle Mountain’s times at Wiggins – please note the Devils did not have times because of the format in Montrose:
David Suarez, 17:33
Mike Ball, 18:22
Irvin Rodriguez, 18:31
Joseph Barrett, 18:33
Jairo Morales, 19:23
Val Constein, 20:33
Nicole Marengo, 20:52
Samantha Katz, 21:07
Bridgett Courtois, 21:13
Jenai Denardo, 21: 21
Saints sweep triangular
EDWARDS – Vail Christian volleyball is in the driver’s seat to win the 2A Slope, but does it matter?
The Saints smacked Meeker, 25-14, 25-19, 25-16, and followed that up with hard-fought victory against Paonia, 24-26, 25-22, 25-13, 27-25, in a league triangular at the friendly confines in Edwards.
That puts Vail Christian at 15-1 overall and 6-0 in the Slope, where the Saints are on the cusp of the crown.
“It would be really nice, but I don’t know if we’ve talked about it,” Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. “We’ve talked about playing our game and put more emphasis on districts and being ready to play well there.”
The Saints are at West Grand Tuesday, home for Plateau Valley and Senior Night Friday and at Hayden Saturday. A win or two would lock up the school’s second 2A Slope crown in three years, a nice accomplishment, given that Vail Christian plays up a class during the regular season.
Palisade takes crown
PALISADE – Eagle Valley’s three-year run atop the 4A Slope came to an end with a five-set loss at Palisade Saturday. The Bulldogs supplant the Devils as the champs.
There is still plenty for which to play, and Eagle Valley (11-5 overall and 6-3 in the Slope) starts that with Battle Mountain on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Gypsum. That will also be Senior Night for the Devils
“I think that’s good for us,” Devils coach Shawn Weatherred said. “It’ll be easy for us to get our intensity up again.”
The Devils also appear headed to the District 8 Tournament, likely in Durango, after the regular season ends.
VMS goes 1-2
SOROCO – The VMS volleyball team apparently is not allowed to be at full strength at middle block in Soroco.
Friday, the Gore Rangers’ Hannah McKeever (concussion) returned to the lineup, but then Monika Gehl went down with a sprained ankle (d’oh).
VMS fell in five to the Rams. Saturday, the Gore Rangers bowed in four to West Grand, but ended up with a three-set win against North Park.
“We were pleased that we continued to become a better team,” said coach Mike Garvey, whose team is 7-9 overall and 3-3 in the 2A Slope. “We feel good about our progress. We could have gone 3-0 this weekend, but as it so happened we went 1-2. Katherine Bolyard really stepped up as a go-to player against West Grand. And Hannah’s back in the lineup, so we had some good things happening.”
Vail Mountain is at Paonia Wednesday.
Huskies fall at Delta
DELTA – Battle Mountain suffered a heart-breaking loss in five games to Delta on the road Saturday.
The Huskies (4-12) are at Eagle Valley Tuesday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.