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Prep Notebook: State skiing starts Thursday and basketball wraps up regular season

Branden Vigil lets fly from 3-point land Tuesday against Rifle.
Connie Melzer/Courtesy photo

Eagle Valley took down Rifle 67-53 Tuesday, a senior night victory which moved them to 17-5 on the season, setting up a pivotal date with league-leading Steamboat Springs on Thursday. Claiming the conference crown was a goal from the beginning for Justin Brandt and company.

“Our number one goal this season was to win conference. We’ve given ourselves a chance to win it, which is great,” Brandt said.

If the Devils take care of business on the road, they will either share the league title with Palisade, provided the Bulldogs win their final game against red-hot Glenwood Springs, or have sole possession of the honor, something they haven’t done since 2012.

“These kids’ hard work has given them great opportunities to do something that hasn’t happened in a long time,” the coach said.

The Eagle Valley girls lost to Rifle 34-28 on Tuesday before earning a big 60-49 win against Steamboat Springs Thursday to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Sailors hold the 48th and final playoff spot in the CHSSA RPI rankings, with the Devils sitting at 49th.

“It’s up to the basketball gods now to see if our win tonight gets us into that final spot,” wrote coach Vinny Cisneros after the win.

Jasmine Fontana led the way with 22 points with Josie Fitzsimmons and Anna Gill adding 15 apiece. The defensive play of Alyssa Jones, Alexa Alderete and Cedar Fitzsimmons helped blaze a 19-10 third quarter run that culminated in a Fontana halfcourt buzzer beater.

“That put us up by double digits, and we never looked back,” stated Cisneros about the team’s final regular season game.

Tuesday’s game against Rifle honored the seniors, including Matt Garvey, for their impact on the Eagle Valley basketball program.
Connie Melzer/Courtesy photo

In other prep basketball action this week, the Battle Mountain boys defeated Basalt 60-46 on Monday to improve to 6-15. They will travel to Rifle Thursday before finishing their regular season on the road against Palisade on Saturday.

Bryan Martinez skies for two against Rifle Tuesday in Gypsum.
Connie Melzer/Courtesy photo

Ski Notes: State gets underway in Winter Park and Granby

Seamus Farrell on his way to a 10th place finish earlier this season. Farrell is currently ranked no. 1 in the skimeister competition, which utilizes both Nordic and Alpine results to crown the best overall skier in Colorado.
Erik Gilbert/Courtesy photo

 

At the 2021 state meet, Aspen took girls and boys team titles on the Nordic side. With many athletes migrating over to the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, the Skier’s have been thinner than normal in the discipline this season. Eagle Valley placed second last year, with Vail Mountain School coming in third and Battle Mountain placing sixth. On the girls side, the Gore Rangers were fifth, Battle Mountain was eighth, and Eagle Valley placed 10th.

Boys Nordic CHSSL Team Scores for League Awards (prior to state meet)
Summit InviteMaloit classicMaloit skateLeadville RelaySteamboat InviteTotal
Battle Mountain168155146335157961
Eagle Valley 171162159310159961
Poudre145130127320142864
Middle Park117158154165162756
Vail Mountain School15014315515584687
Lake County106127125140135633
Summit1451611650153624
Steamboat 121108113145118605
Colorado Rocky Mountain1139710512039474
Evergreen109697313577463
Clear Creek80836011562400
Aspen262627030109

Based upon their cumulative team point totals, all of the area teams had good reason for optimism going into the two day affair.

Senior Ferguson St. John led the favorite Eagle Valley team in Thursday’s opening event, continuing his undefeated streak in individual races by taking the classic crown in style. He finished 41 seconds in front of Battle Mountain’s Sullivan Middaugh, who gapped Vail Mountain School’s Cyrus Creasy by 20 seconds. Jake Drever utilized his strong aerobic engine to place fourth for the Devils, with Brody Nielsen finishing fifth overall to round out the ever important third and final scoring slot. Miles McKenzie also secured a top ten finish for the Huskies, who entered the state meet perfectly matched in total season points with the Devils at 961.

Friday’s individual races will have skinny ski enthusiasts salivating. St. John and Middaugh will go at it one more time in their final chances at state supremacy. In the all-state rankings, St. John is ranked no. 1, Middaugh is no. 2, and Eagle Valley’s Lukas Bergsten is no. 4. Will Brunner of Vail Mountain School is the other area athlete in the top 10, sitting in ninth. Meanwhile, Seamus Farrelll is ranked 12th, but he is currently the no. 1 ranked skimeister (combined Alpine and Nordic season long competition).

CHSSL Nordic All-State Rankings (prior to state meet)

Boys

1. Ferguson St. John, Eagle Valley – 380

2. Sullivan Middaugh, Battle Mountain – 320

3. Jace Peters, Lake County – 185

4. Lukas Bergsten, Eagle Valley – 168

5. Gray Barker, Middle Park, 150

Girls

1. Sylvia Brower, Middle Park – 210

2. Rose Horning, Lake County – 200

3. Ella Bullock, Lake County – 195

4. Ella Hagen, Summit – 182

5. Michaela Kenny, Aspen, 156

On the girl’s side, Lake County entered the meet with the potential to be dominant, depending on who showed up. Lake County’s defending state champion Rose Horning, who has won most of her Ski and Snowboard Club Vail races this year, is priming for U.S. Junior Nationals in March. Fortunately for the Panthers, Thursday’s skate race fit into her peaking plan, where she demonstrated her dominance with a 71-second victory over teammate Ella Bullock, who finished second. Sophia Bertonneau and Ella Hagen paired up behind the Lake County duo for third and fourth, and Sam Blair was the top Eagle Valley skier in eighth.

Battle Mountain relied on its depth with Lindsey Whitton —ranked no. 1 in the girls skimeister standings — finishing in ninth and Addison Beuche and Haley McKenzie finishing 14th and 15th, respectively.

Girls Nordic CHSSL Team Scores for League Awards (prior to state meet)
SummitMaloit classicMaloit SkateLeadville RelaySteamboatTotal
Battle Mountain159144145350157955
Poudre139155126295144859
Steamboat 158116134305125838
Eagle Valley148114109280134785
Lake County130162174150166782
Middle Park139160145175162781
Nederland 131108111145111606
Summit941601670132553
Colorado Rocky Mountain9612011912058513
Aspen 981211310137487
Clear Creek59787611087410
Vail Mountain School67606113034352

Heading into Friday’s classic, Bullock has momentum stored up in the discipline, having won last weekend’s 5-kilometer classic in Steamboat Springs by nine seconds.

The girls 5k classic takes off Friday at 3:00 p.m., with the boys following at 4:00 p.m. in the same discipline and distance. Results will be available at www.kandutiming.com/results.

CHSSL State Nordic Ski Meet Top 10 – 5k Individual start skate – Thursday

Boys

1. St John, Ferguson EVHS 14:33.0

2. Middaugh, Sullivan BMHS 15:14.9

3. Creasy, Cyrus VMS 15:34.3

4. Drever, Jake EVHS 16:07.6

5. Nielsen, Brody EVHS 16:43.8

6. Jensen, Dane MPHS 16:47.8

7. Skowron, Christian SUM 16:56.1

8. Gallagher, Ewan MPHS 16:56.5

9. McKenzie, Miles BMHS 17:01.3

10. Sowers, James SUM 17:15.3

Girls

1. Horning, Rose LCHS 16:59.1

2. Bullock, Ella LCHS 18:10.4

3. Bertonneau, Sophia SUM 18:11.0

4. Hagen, Ella SUM 18:21.3

5. Brower, Sylvia MPHS 18:45.8

6. Zygulski, Liliane SUM 18:55.6

7. Kenny, Michaela ASP 19:11.3

8. Blair, Samantha EVHS 19:31.4

9. Whitton, Lindsey BMHS 19:39.3

10. Diaz, Julia ASP 19:44.8

In Winter Park, Alpine skiers took to the nearby slopes for the state giant slalom competition on Thursday. A slalom will follow on Friday. Team scores from those competitions go towards an overall team title, which was swept by Aspen last year.

Will Bettenhausen, who came into state brimming with confidence after a second place finish last Friday at Beaver Creek, was the highest placing Battle Mountain skier, finishing in fourth. Andrew Conley finished ninth as six Huskies skied into the top 15. Toby Scarpella of Durango won the overall title, with Aspen’s David Conners and Summit’s Dylan Smith rounding out the podium.

Though he is perhaps more known for his basketball prowess, Vail Mountain’s Cole Pattison produced from the fifth bib position, placing 10th for the Gore Rangers.

Consistency was key on the girls side, where Paige Petersen, who sat in fourth after the first run, moved into first for Summit with a blazing 1:06.21 second, 1.76 seconds faster than the second-best run, which belonged to Battle Mountain’s Robin Pavelich. The Husky senior finished in the silver medal position, with Ava Crowley of Vail Mountain School in sixth as the only two local skiers to crack the top 10.

CHSSL State Alpine Giant Slalom Top 10 – Thursday

Boys

1. Toby Scarpella, DUR, 2:02.20

2. David Conners, ASP, 2:04.39

3. Dylan Smith, SUM, 2:04.89

4. Will Bettenhausen, BMH, 2:07.07

5. Zackary Niedzwiecki, MID, 2:08.07

6. Turner Estock, ASP, 2:08.16

6. Michael Cheek, SUM, 2:08.16

8. Micah Byrum, MID, 2:08.66

9. Andrew Conley, BMH, 2:09.01

10. Cole Pattison, VMS, 2:09.60

Girls

1. Paige Petersen, SUM, 2:12.66

2. Robin Pavelich, BMH, 2:13.96

3. Lexi Ornstein, EVG, 2:16.48

4. Gwen Ramsey, LCO, 2:17.04

5. Hannah Search, PCH, 2:17.26

6. Ava Crowley, VMS, 2:18.12

7. Luci Brady, SUm, 2:18.44

8. Audra Gowdy, SSP, 2:18.81

9. Marley Farrior, NED, 2:18.97

10. Keira Horvath, SUM, 2:19.02

 

Husky wrestlers head to region meet with high hopes

Ignacio Velasco, Grady Devins and Matthew Marshall each won their weight class at the Western Slope tournament last weekend.
Angelo Vasquez/Courtesy photo

There are plenty of storylines heading into this weekend’s 4A Region 1 wrestling tournament, and some have been brewing for multiple years.

When Angelo Vasquez leads his Battle Mountain team to Broomfield on Friday for the two day tournament, it is hard to imagine he won’t be reminded of how last year his son, Jeremiah, then ranked No. 1 in Colorado’s heavyweight division, was prevented from competing at state his senior year because of a positive COVID-19 test. As a junior, his upset of Broomfield’s prima donna heavyweight at the state meet en route to a third place finish sparked a mini-rivalry with the two teams that has the coach excited about heading east.

“We’re looking forward to wrestling the No. 3 Falcon and No. 6 Broomfield teams,” Vasquez said of the weekend’s team aspect.

The Huskies also have myriad intriguing individuals to keep an eye on. Grady Devins, Ignacio Velasco and Matthew Marshall all won their district championships last weekend, with the latter two having eclipsed 100 career wins in their final campaigns to move to No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, on the Battle Mountain all-time list, which is topped by Jesus Morales’s 145 victories. In addition, 113-pound Chris Ortiz, who jumped up to varsity mid-season, could surprise.

“He has wrestled tough for us all year; I think he has a great opportunity to shock a couple kids and make it to the final third and fourth place match and maybe take a state spot,” Vasquez praised.

Even though Velasco — “Iggy” — has had a brilliant season, posting a 40-3 record, he won’t enter as the 145-pound favorite. Broomfield’s undefeated Ryan Vigil holds that honor. “(He’s a) really sharp wrestler,” Vasquez described the No. 2 ranked wrestler in all of 4A. The coach has phrased Ignacio’s task as “taking the head off the dragon.”

Eagle Valley’s Cody Raper will be formidable as well. “They’ve wrestled each other pretty tough since middle school,” Vasquez said of the rivalry. Velasco has gotten the better of the Devil twice this year.

Battle Mountain’s coach had good seats to view Iggy’s progression. He lives down the street and has wrestled his sons since middle school.

“He’s a great kid; he’s one heck of an athlete,” Vasquez said of his neighbor.

“It’s just been fun watching him grow in this sport every year. He’s definitely made the whole coaching staff, his family and the school proud.”

Marshall is the other Husky senior. He’s been accepted at Northern Colorado and hopes to compete at the next level.

“He’s just a go-getter,” the coach said of the 182-pound dual-sport athlete. “Marshall’s one of those kids — I like to tell him, ‘I’m just going to tell you I doubt you right now, and you’re going to go pull it off.’” The football player has a knack for rising to the challenge, each and every time.

“He’s just one of those kids that shows up for practice every day, works as hard as he possibly can, and then goes home with the goofiest look on his face,” Vasquez chuckled.

The final layer of the weekend’s drama involves pioneer Kim Gardea, who was featured in December for being the first female wrestler in the Lady Husky program. Gardea will wrestle for a top-5 state-clinching spot at Grand Junction Central while her comrades are in Broomfield.

Kim Gardea place third at the Tri-Peaks League Championship last weekend.
Angelo Vasquez/Courtesy photo

“She’s sitting in a really good spot where if she gets one or two big wins, she has a shot at going and wrestling with us at Ball Arena,” Vasquez said of her state chances.

Vasquez described his pupil as a sponge. The intensity of daily competitions between Velasco and Marshall is starting to rub off on her.

“She’s started to develop that attitude of what it takes to be competitive in a bigger tournament,” the coach said, noting that his senior rookie has given the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the state increasing fits in each of their three matches.

“She’s definitely in there to make as much as she possibly can of the short time she has in the wrestling room,” Vasquez lauded, noting his staff is searching for a place at the next level for Gardea. “She’s got more want for the sport than most.”

The theme of this year’s crew, through the eyes of Vasquez, doubles nicely as a send-off message for his hungry team: “Never give up, believe in yourself, and go after it.”