Prep diary: State skiing starts Thursday and basketball ends regular season

Branden Vigil lets fly a 3-point field Tuesday against Rifle.
Connie Melzer/Courtesy Photo

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

“Our number one goal this season was to win the conference. We gave ourselves a chance to win, which is great,” said Brandt.

If the Devils mind business on the road, they’ll share the league title with Palisade, provided the Bulldogs win their last game against Glenwood Springs, or have sole possession of the honor, which they don’t. have not done since. 2012.

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

The Eagle Valley girls lost to Rifle 34-28 on Tuesday before picking up a big 60-49 win over Steamboat Springs on Thursday to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Sailors sit 48th and last in the playoffs in the CHSSA RPI standings, with the Devils in 49th.

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

Jasmine Fontana led the way with 22 points, with Josie Fitzsimmons and Anna Gill adding 15 each. Defensive play from Alyssa Jones, Alexa Alderete and Cedar Fitzsimmons helped kick off a 19-10 third-quarter run that culminated in a half-court buzzer beater from Fontana.

“It put us in double digits, and we never looked back,” Cisneros said of the team’s final regular season game.

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

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

Bryan Martinez skis for two against Rifle Tuesday at Gypsum.
Connie Melzer/Courtesy Photo

Ski Notes: State starts at 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 uses both Nordic and Alpine results to crown Colorado’s top skier.
Erik Gilbert/Courtesy Photo

At the 2021 State Meet, Aspen won both the girls’ and boys’ tag team titles on the Nordic side. With many athletes migrating to the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, skiers have been thinner than normal in the discipline this season. Eagle Valley placed second last year, with Vail Mountain School third and Battle Mountain sixth. On the girls’ side, the Gore Rangers finished fifth, Battle Mountain eighth and Eagle Valley 10th.

Boys’ Nordic CHSSL Team Scores for League Awards (Before State Meet)
Invitation to the summit Classic Maloit Maloit skate Leadville Relay Invite a steamer Total
battle mountain 168 155 146 335 157 961
Eagle Valley 171 162 159 310 159 961
Powder 145 130 127 320 142 864
middle park 117 158 154 165 162 756
Vail Mountain School 150 143 155 155 84 687
Lake County 106 127 125 140 135 633
Mountain peak 145 161 165 0 153 624
Steamboat 121 108 113 145 118 605
Colorado Rockies 113 97 105 120 39 474
Evergreen 109 69 73 135 77 463
Clear Creek 80 83 60 115 62 400
aspen 26 26 27 0 30 109

Based on their aggregate team point totals, all teams in the region had good reason to be optimistic going into the two-day affair.

Senior Ferguson St. John led favored Eagle Valley in Thursday’s opener, continuing his unbeaten streak in individual races by winning the classic crown in style. He finished 41 seconds ahead of Sullivan Middaugh of Battle Mountain, who trailed Cyrus Creasy of Vail Mountain School by 20 seconds. Jake Drever used his powerful aero engine to drive fourth for the Devils, with Brody Nielsen finishing fifth overall to round out the ever-important third and final scoring spot. Miles McKenzie also scored a top ten finish for the Huskies, who entered state competition perfectly matched on the season’s point total with the Devils at 961.

Friday’s individual races will make ski enthusiasts salivate. St. John and Middaugh will return to it once again in their last chance 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, taking ninth place. Meanwhile, Seamus Farrelll is ranked 12th, but is currently the no. 1 ranked skimeister (combined alpine and nordic long season competition).

On the girls’ side, Lake County entered the competition with the potential to be dominant, depending on who showed up. Defending Lake County State Champion Rose Horning, who has won most of her Ski and Snowboard Club Vail races this year, is preparing for the U.S. Junior Nationals in March. Luckily for the Panthers, Thursday’s skate race fit into her peak plan, where she demonstrated her dominance with a 71-second win over teammate Ella Bullock, who finished second. Sophia Bertonneau and Ella Hagen paired behind the Lake County duo for third and fourth place, and Sam Blair was Eagle Valley’s best skier in eighth place.

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

CHSSL Nordic Women’s Team Scores for League Awards (Before State Meet)
Mountain peak Classic Maloit Maloit skate Leadville Relay Steamboat Total
battle mountain 159 144 145 350 157 955
Powder 139 155 126 295 144 859
Steamboat 158 116 134 305 125 838
Eagle Valley 148 114 109 280 134 785
Lake County 130 162 174 150 166 782
middle park 139 160 145 175 162 781
Netherlands 131 108 111 145 111 606
Mountain peak 94 160 167 0 132 553
Colorado Rockies 96 120 119 120 58 513
aspen 98 121 131 0 137 487
Clear Creek 59 78 76 110 87 410
Vail Mountain School 67 60 61 130 34 352

Heading into Friday’s classic, Bullock has been building momentum in the discipline, having won last weekend’s 5-kilometre classic at Steamboat Springs by nine seconds.

The women’s 5km classic starts Friday at 3:00 p.m., followed by the boys at 4:00 p.m. in the same discipline and the same distance. The results will be available on

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

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

Though perhaps best 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 was fourth after the first run, moved into first place for Summit with a blistering 1:06.21, 1.76 seconds faster than second best race, which belonged to Robin of Battle Mountain. Pavelich. The senior Husky finished in silver medal position, with Vail Mountain School’s Ava Crowley in sixth as the only two local skiers to place in the top 10.

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