Vall Valley preps, the year in review: The moments that mattered |

Vall Valley preps, the year in review: The moments that mattered

Chris Freud

The year in preps

Thursday, May 24: The moments that mattered.

Friday, May 25: The best games of the year.

Saturday, May 26: Freud’s commencement address to the students.

Sunday, May 27: Freud’s commencement address to the parents.

This is not the best of … That comes later.

There are just moments that stick with me as a high school season with its seasons and ebbs and flows.

The crack

Audrey Teague scores twice in playoff game against Sand Creek. The Huskies won that game, 3-2, so her role was rather significant. (This is, again, the sporting analysis you expect from the Vail Daily.)

First of all, it was the sound. One of the joys of high school sports is that there are not 35,000 fans roaring at every game. I heard the way her boot hit the ball and the way it smashed into the net and out on the first goal. Just pure. I heard the quick silence as everyone’s brains were working to compute that it actually was goal.

The meaning behind the goal and her second had nothing to do with the score.

We can talk about how the Teague family is good athletic one. There are genes there that enable Audrey to do what she does. But she’s also watched a ton of soccer.

A lot of athletes are missing this part of the game. Teague’s been watching soccer forever on the sidelines as a ball girl/ball person/ball-retriever engineer. She’s absorbed the game.

It’s another piece in the mosaic that makes her a soccer stud.

The Teague family, as a whole, also gets bonus points for knowing Mel Brooks’ movies line-by-line in the press box.

The people are revolting …

Now if you’re the Teague family, you say, “You said it. They stink on ice.” That, of course, is Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part I.”

Very cool to see Eagle Valley community come out to support their coaches this year. Well done, everybody. We’re very happy that “Kenny’s Mom,” aka Jackie Rindy is “back” as the volleyball coach. We have no idea why Mike Garvey is now the school’s assistant coach. Does that guy know anything about volleyball?

Coaches deserve our support. It is a thankless, yet critical job. Yes, ideally, kids are molded in the classroom, but if sports are what it takes to teach them life lessons and values, fine. (And, yes, this ensures my gainful employment.)

We are fortunate in this county to have great teacher/coaches, except for that Garvey guy.

The interview

Battle Mountain boys lacrosse had just lost to Aspen, 9-8, during the state quarterfinals in devastating fashion. Coach Jerry Nichols brought senior Jeremy Sforzo to do postgame interviews with him. The three of us took over the trainer’s room.

Sforzo was beside himself. In the immediate aftermath of the loss, he was blaming himself for not scoring the game-tying goal in the final 30 seconds of the game, understandable but ludicrous simultaneously.

Before I turned on my phone to record, Nichols took Sforzo by the shoulders and gave him a variant of the “life isn’t fair” speech, and “the sooner you learn it, the better off you’ll be.”

That’s what our coaches do, people. They teach. Teaching kids to find the seams in the defense is one thing, and Sforzo definitely mastered that. And he will master “life isn’t fair,” a far more valuable lesson, as well.

Turning point

Battle Mountain football had phoned in the second half in a 31-14 loss to Coal Ridge and then lost to Basalt, 41-33, two losses in a row to 2A teams. The Huskies were looking down the barrel of a 2-8 season. As coach Jim Schuppler called in the result dutifully, he said that his team had a “turning point” that night.

Do you know how many Battle Mountain football coaches have told me about turning points only to get obliterated the week and weeks after? If I had a nickel for every time … yadda, yadda, then Freud is retired in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, right now.

This actually was. We can joke about the law of averages of a Battle Mountain football coach finally being right or we can say the program finally has another true believer such as David Joyce from whose coaching tree Schuppler springs.

The Huskies played their guts out in a 27-23 loss to Green Mountain the next week. The Rams had beaten Battle Mountain in 40-12 squeaker the previous year.

Battle Mountain went 4-6 on the field or 5-5 with the Glenwood forfeit, serious progress.

And just as a coach can pick up a team, the Huskies picked up their coach with a 32-24 win at Summit to end the year.


I’m an only child. My parents were/are only children (and I expect them to remain so). My best friend growing up was an only child. I resemble my late father in the way I carry myself, think and so on, but I don’t look like him. I don’t look like my mom, though we are related as we swear simultaneously during Giants games.

I apparently look like my paternal grandfather, who died five years before I was born.

One of the great fascinations of my job — because let’s face it, not every game’s a barn burner — is watching families and seeing resemblances between parents and their offspring and then the siblings.

That results in me occasionally calling Vail Christian’s Joseph Emmer Teller — sorry, Joseph — and seeing his classmate Luke Wilson, and knowing he’s definitely a Wilson. Goodness gracious, he’s a combo of Gunnar and Garrett.

And this takes me back to two years to a volleyball game when I was ordering two hot dogs, and just caught the profile of the young lady standing next to me waiting to get something.

“You’ve got to be a Constien,” I blurted out to her.

Not exactly suave, but that’s how I met Elizabeth Constien, at the time a sophomore.

She was and remains Val’s younger sister, as her impending graduation doesn’t change that. But at the time, being Val’s younger sister was burden because the older sister was the best female runner Battle Mountain’s ever had, big shoes to fill whether you intend to or not.

Well done, Liz. Two cross-country state championships and an individual state winner in the same, among other accomplishments later, you are Elizabeth Constien and Val is Liz’s older sister.


As in what the fudge? Vail Christian’s Ethan Kuhns is graduating. It was yesterday that he and Sug Ellsworth, as little people, were running around the gym pretending to be varsity basketball players, right?

Young master Kuhns is a living tale about how things don’t necessarily go as planned. His dad, Sheldon, is the basketball coach at Vail Christian, the only coach the school has had. Ethan grew up wanting to play varsity basketball (as well as football), and hurt his knee twice.

That’s crushing.

He rehabbed and re-rehabbed and got to start his senior year. Seeing him score on a routine layup against Eagle Valley back in December was a one of my favorite moments this year.


This was probably the worst ending of a game this season. With Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain soccer tied at one in overtime, Devils’ goalie Brennecke Gale simply whiffed on a Huskies’ shot.

Battle Mountain won, 2-1, and Gale was in tears.

Eagle Valley coach Maggie Sherman asked me for a moment before doing postgame so that she could talk to Gale. Coach, you didn’t need to ask.

Sherman played goalie at Colorado State. She knows the highs and lows of the position. Sherman wasn’t the only one comforting Gale. The kids — from both teams — were doing it, too.

You might have noticed that a lot of these vignettes involve failure or overcoming challenges. Those elements make sports compelling. These moments also produce quality people, such as Gale.

Yes, in these pages, we know her as the Devils’ daring goalie who will roam wherever a shot needs saving, regardless of the realms of the goalie box. On the academic front, Gale’s going to Stanford in the fall, has already given TedX talk on story telling and was a National Merit Scholar finalist.

She’s pretty bright, and she’s going to be just fine. When Gale has invented the widget that changes our world, we’re going to be laughing about that miss.

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