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William Shatner and Vail Christian basketball

The great philosopher William Shatner once said, “Irony can be very ironic.”

OK, that was “Airplane II.” But as wonderfully-stupid as the movie is, Captain James Tiberius Kirk (yep, we switched from the “Airplane” movies to “Star Trek”:) is quite right.

Look at Vail Christian boys basketball. Having watched this program develop, the elusive part was always finding a point guard to run the floor. Vail Christian always had size, but needed a field general.



Now, naturally, the Saints have a superb point guard in Fernando Hernandez (preceded by Will Parker, who was a stud) as well as Robby Bowles, who will end up setting Vail Christian scoring records. This is the best backcourt in the county.

Of course, now that Vail Christian has the guard thing all figured out, the Saints are under-sized underneath, which was something we saw in Tuesday night’s loss to Hayden and will be a continuing storyline for the season.



This is not to criticize. Vail Christian, as with other teams in the county, will develop experience and the Saints, in particular, should grow physically. This is going to be a fun team to watch this year and in the next few.

Caleb and Jaryd return?

But what if …



This is the game we sports fans can play, and I’ve found myself bouncing it around in my head. Let’s play fantasy Vail Christian boys basketball. It’s fun, but it’s tough.

Certainly, we bring back Caleb Pearson and Jaryd Francis as post players. As mentioned, the backcourt looks good right now with Hernandez and Bowles, but what about Parker? The sole male of the Parker kids was a great point guard. (By the way, the Parker women can form their own team in basketball or volleyball and the Ellsworths will do so in the future.)

Let’s go back to Kyle Morris, too. He was a standout on the early teams who naturally didn’t win much – but he can’t be overlooked.

Who’s your third forward? There’s a problem coach Sheldon Kuhns would love to have. Larry Cavanaugh? John Armstead? (Technically a shooting guard, but he can play small forward) Josh Sibley? A.J. Burgess? Chase Gruber? Chris Schmidt? And I know I’m leaving out some big players.

We’ve already made a mess of a roster for a program with a relatively short history. What about an established one?

Try Battle Mountain boys soccer on for size. Who do you put up front in coach David Cope’s 3-5-2 formation? How do Mark Perna, Jesse Maddex, Scott Ligouri, Juan Barragan, Andy Banner, Davey DeChant and Jack Sunderland all go into two spots? (Again, we’re missing people here because this program has been an offensive juggernaut in its time.)

The natural inclination for the back row is to put in Evie Gonzalez, Harrison Brown and Connor Drumm because those were the original three that allowed Battle Mountain to play in this set. Yet Connor Tedstrom needs to be here. Cody Hervert’s continued the tradition.

Pick a forward

Now, let’s make a county-wide soccer team. Just at the Vail Mountain School, in my time here since 1997, you’ve got three strikers in Slade Cogswell, Andrew Feldman and Tony Ryerson who could play on any fantasy team. This team would be clearly inadequate, though, without Eagle Valley’s Cesar Castillo. So now we’ve got 11 forwards and we haven’t even gotten to the Escobar clan with Marco, Nestor and Kevin which puts us up to 14 for two holes.

And there are only so many of those guys you can put at midfield on this ridiculously-offensive-oriented team because there’ve been too many good midfielders among the Huskies, Devils and Gore Rangers. (On another tangent, can you really have too many good midfielders?)

Goalie? From VMS alone, there’s Aaron Vandeford, Tyler Croke and Michael Busenhart. Battle Mountain gives us Mark Gulizia and Clint Hervert, while the Devils have Troy Cunningham and Trevor Grayson.

The fun can continue. Local football coaches John Ramunno and David Joyce could probably go for a backfield of Sean Matheson and Parke Robbins. That gives you some rushing options – explosive fast or scary fast.

Who’s your setter on a volleyball team? There is no right answer here with Tiffany Allan (VMS), Britney Brown (Battle Mountain), Kylie Alexander (Vail Christian) or Becka VanVoorst (Eagle Valley).

OK, we’re coming to a few points here. First, it’s fun to do this. Second, it shows what tremendous athletes we have been able to watch and get to see here and now in Eagle County.

But also, as much as we can put fantasy teams together, the fun of watching sports is going through all of these phases – the Saints are a half-court team with Pearson and Francis; they’re now a small, quick guard-oriented team which is struggling with defense, etc. Because the time will come for Saints basketball, or any other team in any other sport, when it all comes together.

And having gone through all these phases and the frustration which naturally accompanies them and all the dreaming of combinations that could have been, when that magic season comes, it makes it all the sweeter.

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


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