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Briefs: AHS soccer loses to Ridgway

Aspen boys soccer loses fourth straight

The Aspen High School boys soccer team fell 2-0 at host Ridgway on Friday. The Demons improved to 3-3-1 overall while the Skiers fell to 2-4 overall. Aspen is scheduled to next play Tuesday at Moffat County (0-5).

The Skiers' next home game is slated to be next Saturday, Sept. 29, when it hosts rival Basalt under the lights on the AHS turf. Basalt (2-5) is off until it plays at Coal Ridge on Tuesday.

Coal Ridge volleyball too much for Longhorns

Thursday in New Castle, the Basalt High School volleyball team lost 3-0 to the perennially powerful Coal Ridge. Set scores were 25-12, 25-11 and 25-11.

The Titans improved to 7-4 overall and 3-0 in WSL play, while the Longhorns fell to 3-8 overall. Basalt next plays Saturday, Sept. 29 at Cedaredge.

Delta softball rolls over Aspen

The Aspen High School softball team lost a pair of games Thursday at Delta, falling 18-0 and 20-0 against one of the stronger 3A teams on the Western Slope.

The Panthers improved to 13-2 overall and 6-0 in league play. Aspen fell to 1-11 overall and 1-9 in league play. The Skiers are scheduled to host Cedaredge on Tuesday. Basalt softball (8-2-1 overall) plays a doubleheader Saturday at Rifle. BHS will host Delta on Tuesday.


The sports and disciplines were announced earlier this week for January's X Games Aspen, with things staying relatively as they have been. Returning will be contests in big air, slopestyle and the superpipe for both skiing and snowboarding. The annual snowboarding Special Olympics unified race is also set to make a return.

The only snowmobile event on tap for 2019 is the freestyle competition. There also will be a snow bikecross and snow bike best trick competition. Not returning is snowmobile speed and style.

Athletes who medaled in last year's competitions were recently sent invitations to return for the 2019 event. The rest of the athlete lineup will be announced at a later date.

X Games Aspen is scheduled for Jan. 24 to 27 at Buttermilk Ski Area. This will be the 18th year in a row Aspen has hosted the Winter X Games.


Rifle football beats Glenwood Springs, gets to 4-0 entering league play

Playing in front of a standing-room only gathering at Bears Stadium in Rifle, the Glenwood Springs Demons and Rifle Bears got together for their annual clash on the gridiron. For the 8th straight year, the Bears came away with bragging rights, toppling the Demons 27-14 in a hard-fought affair.

Both teams were unable to move the football on their initial possessions of the game, but the second time the Demons touched the ball proved to be a charm. With 5:37 showing on the first quarter clock, senior running back Miguel Herrera broke free through the right side of the Rifle line and out-raced defensive back Levi Warfel to the end zone on a 79-yard touchdown burst that gave the visitors a 7-0 advantage after the PAT by senior Sebastian Torres.

Rifle took the ball following the kickoff on their own 10 yard line, and what was to follow could have been a big momentum swing for the Demons. Deep in Bear territory, Glenwood linebacker Sam Fitzwilliams pounced on a fumble by Rifle running back Warfel, setting the Demons up with a golden opportunity to go ahead by two scores. But the scoring hopes slipped through Glenwood's fingers like grains of sand as they fumbled the ball right back to the Bears a couple plays later.

"There are some plays that the momentum of the game can turn on, and that could very well have been one of them," said Glenwood Head Coach Pat Engle. "Rifle took the ball down and scored after the fumble, so it's a possible 14-point swing."

Rifle capitalized on the turn of a friendly card when running back Tanner Vines rambled 52 yards down to the Glenwood 11 yard line. Warfel cleaned things up from there with a 10-yard scoring run. The PAT by Eddie Ruiz was good, and the rivalry game was knotted at 7-7 as the opening quarter came to a close.

Rifle went up on the scoreboard with 6:47 showing on the clock before halftime. With their misdirection running game grinding out impressive chunks of yardage, the Bears methodically marched down the field toward the west end zone before Vines broke several Demon tackles en route to a 30-yard score for a 14-7 lead.

With coach Engle inserting junior quarterback Dylan Albright into the backfield, the Demons caught a big break when Albright's pass near the right sideline opportunistically popped out of the arms of one Glenwood receiver and into the waiting arms of senior Wyatt Ewer, who promptly out-raced all Bear pursuers 60 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 14-all.

Rifle took the lead rior to halftime as quarterback Holden Stutsman and fellow junior Talon Cordova would pop 20 yard runs on the Demons. From 11 yards out, Warfel cashed in a touchdown for the Bears and the score stood at 21-14 in favor of Rifle on a beautiful Homecoming night.

Rifle got the ball to start the second half and ate up nearly six minutes of the clock behind the rushing of Vines, Warfel, Cordova, and Dalton Pruett. There were no points to show for the effort though, as the drive stalled on downs at the Glenwood 39 yard line.

Glenwood then put together a similar drive of its own, only to see things end on a failed fourth down attempt at the Rifle 33 yard line.

Next Friday night, both Glenwood and Rifle will take to the road. For the Bears (4-0), another rivalry game is on tap as they travel just up the interstate to take on the Coal Ridge Titans in a 2A Western Slope League tilt. Glenwood (1-3), heads over the mountains to take on the always formidable Roosevelt Roughriders.

Stirling Cup returns with 1998 women’s Olympic hockey team

The 1998 U.S. women's hockey team broke new ground when it won Olympic gold at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. That was the first time women's ice hockey had been an Olympic sport, and that team inspired a whole generation of girls.

Now, 20 years later, the majority of that same team will be in Aspen Saturday night for the 18th annual Stirling Cup, a fundraiser for Aspen Junior Hockey.

"It's going to be great," AJH executive director Shaun Hathaway said. "That group of women paved the way for girls hockey and the growth of girls hockey, there is no doubt about it. That gold medal was a game changer. It literally changed the complexion of hockey in the United States for girls."

The '98 team will play the University of Colorado women's hockey team at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 inside Lewis Ice Arena. General admission tickets are $5.

In past years, the annual all-star game as part of the Stirling Cup has featured alumni of various National Hockey League franchises. But, considering the milestone anniversary for the Olympic team and the recent success of girls' hockey here in the valley, Hathaway pitched the idea to USA Hockey about bringing in the women's national team.

The original idea was to have the '98 team play the 2018 Olympic team, which also won gold this past winter, the first since that original team. Alas, a scheduling conflict kept that from happening.

"There is actually a young lady on the '18 team getting married this weekend, so all the players on the '18 team are going and I didn't have the guts to call her and ask to change her wedding date," Hathaway laughed. "It's time. It's time to really give the girls the credit they deserve, and what better way to do it than through the Stirling Cup."

After the first period of Saturday’s game, AJH will recognize its girls 16U AA team that competed in the national championships in April. After the second period, it will recognize Aspen's longstanding Mother Puckers women's hockey team, part of an exciting night celebrating the success of female hockey players, both in the valley and abroad.

"For what we've accomplished on the girls' side of the game, it's the right time," Hathaway said. "Hopefully we can pack the house here. I think with the CU women's team, it will have an exciting feel to it."

The Stirling Cup weekend, which includes Sunday's golf tournament at Aspen Golf Club, raises money toward AJH's scholarship fund. Hathaway said they hope to give out around $25,000 in scholarships to get local kids on the ice.

The organization's largest fundraiser is its Fall Faceoff, which includes three straight weekends of tournaments. That gets underway Oct. 12.


Aspen football wins big at Grand Valley; Basalt shuts down Paonia to reach 4-0

The Aspen High School football team overcame a slow offensive start to put together its best performance of the season on that side of the ball in a 54-16 rout of Grand Valley on Friday night in Parachute.

In what was homecoming for the Cardinals, Aspen clung to a 12-7 lead late into the second quarter before a wild final few minutes gave the Skiers a 30-7 lead at halftime and Grand Valley wasn't able to mount a comeback in the second half.

"That was a good one. The boys played well," AHS coach Travis Benson said. "The guys impressed me with their effort and their resiliency and it was nice to see the offense clicking and a lot of people getting touches and making things happen."

After a couple of empty possessions, Aspen got on the board with a 42-yard Trey Fabrocini touchdown run. The teams traded a couple of quick scores after that before AHS slammed on the pedal.

After taking an 18-7 lead, Aspen’s Noah Hollander got an interception and one play later quarterback Tyler Ward connected with Max Ufkes on a 69-yard score to suddenly make it 24-7. Ward again found Ufkes not long after another interception, this time by Noah Akin, for the commanding halftime lead.

"A lot of credit goes to Bayfield. They were an incredible defense. But we've made our adjustments and got things rolling again," Benson said, referring to the team's lone loss of the season at the then No. 1-ranked Wolverines. "A big part of it is the O-line and our running backs establishing the run and getting the run game going. That builds the rest of the offense."

Aspen continued to pile it on in the second half. The Skiers' first score in the third quarter came when the defense recovered a bad snap in the end zone, and before the quarter ended it was a 30-yard run by Jonathan Woodrow that made it 42-13.

About the only negative for the AHS offense came on the 2-point conversions, where it finished 0 for 9.

With the loss, Class 1A Grand Valley fell to 1-3 on the season.

Aspen, now 3-1 overall, next heads into 2A Western Slope League play with a trip to Delta (3-1) on Friday.

"We are excited to head into league play," Benson said. "It's definitely going to be a situation where we have to get better each week, but we look forward to the challenge."

Basalt gets third shutout in win at Paonia

It was a defensive grind, but the No. 5-ranked Basalt High School football team won 16-0 Friday at Paonia in what was homecoming for the Eagles. BHS led 6-0 before a crucial field goal by Chace Maytham late in the second quarter gave the Longhorns a 9-0 halftime edge.

"Really, hats off to Paonia," Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. "They are a physical, strong team. Their linebackers and D-line are just real physical. They brought it to us tonight."

Basalt senior Jake Reardon still managed to rush for more than 100 yards and the BHS defense recorded its third shutout in four games. Only Battle Mountain has scored on Basalt this season, a 47-6 loss for the Huskies in Edwards.

"The first series they had the ball we were on our heels a little bit, but the rest of the night I really think we played well defensively," Frerichs said.

Basalt, 4-0, will open 2A WSL play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Moffat County.


US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame announces eight new members

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 was announced on Sept. 14 in Ishpeming, Michigan, featuring ski legends Bode Miller and Andrew Weibrecht as well as Bill Jensen, of Vail.

A formal induction will be held for the group of eight noted skiing and snowboarding pioneers, athletes and sport builders on April 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Park City will host the Snowsport History Celebration April 4-6 with several events to welcome the class of 2018 to Utah. This three-day celebration will culminate with the induction ceremony in Salt Lake City at Little America. The annual induction honors not only athletes, but industry icons, innovators and inventors with lifelong national and international achievements in all facets of snowsport.

The eight inductees are:

  • Bode Miller, 5-time Alpine Skiing Olympian
  • Andrew Weibrecht, 2-time Alpine Skiing Olympian
  • Kristen Ulmer, known as the first female extreme skier
  • Hilary Engisch-Klein, a world dominating freestyle skier
  • The late Tom Sims, inventor of the "skiboard"
  • William Jensen, nationally renowned resort operator
  • The late Don Henderson, a pioneer of ski racing
  • Tom Kelly, the leading spokesperson for U.S. Ski & Snowboard

The new inductees will bring the total to 433 National Hall of Fame honored members, of which 125 are still living.

"I was honored when I heard the news about my hall of fame nomination," Miller said. "I always tried to ski in a way that inspired myself and ski racing fans and I appreciate this support from the industry."

For more information, visit http://www.snowsporthistory.com. Tickets for the event in Park City will be available online in October.


Aspen football wraps up non-league play at Grand Valley, BHS at Paonia

The Aspen High School football team needed a strong bounce back game after a loss at Bayfield, and it got that last week in a 48-12 rout of Cedaredge in its home opener. Now, the Skiers head back on the road for the third time in four games to face Grand Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 in Parachute.

"I continue to stress to them that you are only as good as your last game, so it feels good coming off Cedaredge," AHS coach Travis Benson said. "But at the same token, you got to definitely prepare and grind and work and they did that this week. They showed up and there was a hunger with them still and that's all we ask for."

Aspen (2-1) is off to a better start than some may have predicted considering it lost its coach and quarterback from a year ago. But three games into the season and the Skiers have mostly picked up where they left off from an 8-2 season in 2017.

Class 1A Grand Valley (1-2) has faced some elite competition this season, although it didn't fare well. The Cardinals have losses to Kent Denver, currently No. 10 in 2A, 49-6, and to current No. 4 in 2A, Rifle, 49-0. Their lone win came last week in a 42-0 rout of Lake County.

Regardless of where each team stands, they have played each other incredibly close the past three seasons.

"They always play us strong and always play well at home," Benson said. "We go in knowing that we are going to get their best game, for sure. They are tough kids and they like to fight and they definitely like to run the ball."

A year ago at Grand Valley, the Skiers escaped with a 30-26 win. In 2016, Aspen lost 48-34 at home. In 2015, Aspen left Parachute with a 12-6 win. Benson said seeing another close game Friday night isn't out of the question.

"It would not surprise me at all," Benson said. "Our kids' preparation was good this week. Our execution was great this week. We are starting to get our rhythm back in the passing game. It's just a tough place to play."

This will be the final non-league game for the unranked Skiers. Aspen opens 2A Western Slope League play next week at Delta. AHS only has two of its five league games at home this season, making that three homes games in nine total contests.

"It probably started last year. They became road warriors then," Benson said. "We definitely have played well on the road. Going down to Parachute is not a huge haul, but at the same token it's always fun playing in a different atmosphere."

Longhorns head to Paonia looking to stay IN driver's seat

Even Basalt High School football coach Carl Frerichs believes it's way too early in the season to put too much stock into the rankings. Yet, he still believes his players should take some pride in where they currently sit.

Heading into Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Paonia, Basalt (3-0) is ranked No. 5 in Class 2A by CHSAANow.com and has the No. 1 RPI in the classification, ahead of powerhouses like La Junta (RPI No. 2), Bayfield (RPI No. 5) and WSL foe Rifle (RPI No. 6). Aspen is No. 11 in RPI.

"Even though in the long run it doesn't mean anything, it is something these kids should be proud of with how they started and where they are being recognized in the state in 2A football," Frerichs said Thursday afternoon. "We want to make sure we control our own destiny and I think tomorrow night's game will really decide that at the end."

The Longhorns have looked every bit a legitimate championship contender through three games, shutting out both Olathe and Pagosa Springs, with a 47-6 rout of host Battle Mountain in the middle. Class 1A Paonia (2-1) comes into Friday’s game with back-to-back wins, a 41-0 rout of Monte Vista and a 19-0 win at Coal Ridge, one of Basalt's league opponents.

The Eagles' lone loss came in the season opener, 38-0 to Centauri. Paonia is effectively ranked No. 11 in 1A this week, with an RPI of 18 in 1A.

"They are not real deep, so I think that's one of our biggest advantages. We play a lot more kids," Frerichs said of Friday’s matchup. "They are pretty strong up front; they are pretty aggressive up front. So we just got to make sure we are matching that aggressive play back, which I think we will."

Basalt will face Coal Ridge next week for its WSL opener.


AVSC brings back XC youth rec program named after Olympic skier Bill Koch

Before Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall reset the bar last winter on what American cross-country skiers were capable of, it was Vermont's Bill Koch who blazed the trail for the sport in the United States.

Koch, who won Olympic silver in 1976 to become the first American to win an Olympic medal in cross-country skiing, is the name behind the Bill Koch Youth Ski League, a nation-wide recreational program for children.

It was a program Aspen native August Teague grew up with.

"We had this phenomenal American who was shaking up the European ranks and in an attempt to ride out some of that enthusiasm, the U.S. Ski Team rolled out the Bill Koch Youth Ski League," Teague said of the program's start. "It was a recreational, learn to ski, fun program that really tried to capitalize on Bill's spirit."

The program disappeared over the past decade-plus in the Roaring Fork Valley as the AVSC's recreational programs were all rolled into the Base Camp program. But, with the alpine Base Camp program going back to its old name — Aspen Supports Kids — in honor of the late Bob Beattie, it seemed like a good time to bring back the Bill Koch Youth Ski League, as well, replacing the Nordic Base Camp program.

"The theme this year at AVSC seems to be going back to our roots a little bit," said Teague, the club's Nordic program director. "Our return to the Bill Koch Ski League is embracing going back to our roots. It's bringing back some of that fun, free spirit aspect of the program."

Meant for children ages 5 to 11, the program strives to provide a fun avenue to get youth interested in cross-country skiing. The non-competitive league is still big in the Northeast, Koch's native home, but has lost ground in the Rockies. Aspen will be only the third area club to currently provide the league to children, joining the clubs in Leadville and Summit County.

"The hope is we can grow it and actually create a festival in the spring that celebrates 'Kochie' and celebrates the fun-loving enthusiasm," Teague said. "It's to have fun outside on snow. It's a lot of games. It's a lot of play on snow."

There are one- and two-day options for the Bill Koch League in the valley. In Aspen, sessions are held either Monday or Wednesday, taking advantage of the district's early release. The two-day option, which is typically for the older kids, will be Mondays and Thursdays.

The Spring Gulch (Carbondale) programming will be Tuesdays and Thursdays. The AVSC is putting more emphasis on transportation and scholarships for downvalley kids to get them involved in the program this winter.

The days won't conflict with the Aspen Supports Kids alpine programs, meaning children can enjoy both gravity-fed sports as well as cross-country ski, if they so choose.

Registration is open, with the scholarship deadline and early-pricing deadline set for Nov. 2. Programming begins in late November.

Much like with Koch in the late 1970s and early '80s, Teague is seeing in increased interest in cross-country skiing after Diggins and Randall won Olympic gold in February during the Pyeongchang Games. Their medal was the first for the U.S. in the sport since Koch's silver.

"Absolutely unbelievable to see what they did," Teague said. "We are seeing the excitement in the athletes we have. We are seeing excitement in new athletes and new participants."

For more on the program, visit http://www.teamavsc.org. Registration is currently open.


Colbert: What a wacky Monday

Rarely does a Monday produce so much high school sports news. So, yesterday seemed as good a day as any to write my first Prep Playbook column (maybe it's not the most original name…), which I intend to run each Tuesday going forward during the high school season.

Going back to Monday, hopefully you saw the Aspen High School softball team won its first game since 2009. These current seniors, who make up the majority of the roster, would have been in the third grade then. So, kudos to them for the persistence, and to coach Dave Fuentes for continuing to keep things positive.

While the AHS softball team's win was a good surprise, there was nothing surprising about the other part of Monday's news. For the 10th straight year, the AHS boys golf team won a regional championship. I don't care what sport you are playing, that's a long time to maintain championship form.

So, kudos to coach Mary Woulfe and to the boys for their continued success. This team, however, really is something special. I truly believed going into the season that this year's group could win the state championship, and they've done nothing this past month to make me go back on that belief.

The state tournament is Oct. 1 and 2 (with my birthday being Oct. 3, in case you wanted to know) in Boulder. It's a tall task to put together two good rounds in two days to win the thing, but I have a difficult time believing there is a more experienced or more talented team in the state than what the Skiers will put on the golf course those two days.

Now, some more ramblings from the sports editor.


What stood out about last week's competition? At the top of that list is probably how good both the Aspen and Basalt football teams look. Yes, I doubted AHS football coming into the season without coach Karson Pike and longtime quarterback R.J. Peshek, who graduated. Most everyone else did, as well, including the returning players.

Obviously, there is nothing to worry about. Led by Travis Benson, the coaching staff remained mostly intact and has continued what Pike started. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Ward, while a completely different mold of player than Peshek, looks just fine under center after three games.

The Skiers' offense is every bit as dangerous as it was a season ago.

Basalt, led by a defense that has given up all of six points in three games, might be better than it's been. Like, ever. The Longhorns could and should roll through their next three opponents before facing a challenging final three games — Delta, Rifle and senior day against Aspen. Rifle is still my pick to win the Class 2A Western Slope League, but Aspen and Basalt have both given me reason to believe they more than have a chance.

This Friday, Aspen football will be at Grand Valley while Basalt heads to Paonia.


This is a quiet week for area teams, and there isn't much to offer at home. Basalt volleyball has a couple of big games to keep an eye on, beginning Tuesday night at Roaring Fork. On Thursday, the Longhorns host Coal Ridge, which hasn't finished a season with less than 17 wins since going a meager 14-8 in 2011. Long story short, the Titans have terrorized the Western Slope for a long time and you can see them up close and personal when they visit Basalt on Thursday.

BHS is way too young to likely stand a chance against Coal Ridge, but this is a team that is building toward a bright future over the next few years. Win or lose, it'll provide them with a great foundation to build upon.

Regarding Coal Ridge's reign of terror, I really think Aspen has a chance to bring it to an end this season. The 3-0 Skiers are in Arizona on Friday and Saturday at a tournament. Aspen's next home game? That would be Oct. 2 against Coal Ridge.


Let's start by saying the rankings released each Monday by CHSAANow.com mean absolutely nothing. They are mostly the opinions of journalists like myself and, unlike the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), have no bearing on who makes the postseason.

Still, the polls give us something to talk about during the week, so let's talk.

Most noteworthy ranking? Aspen volleyball is No. 10 in 3A this week. I can't tell you the last time they were ranked, but it's probably been a while. Is this really a top-10 team? I have no doubt. There needs to be more people at Aspen volleyball games going forward.

In football, Basalt is up to No. 5 (from No. 8 last week) in 2A, while Aspen is getting a couple of votes to be ranked. Rifle is No. 4 and getting a couple of first-place votes. Basalt travels to Rifle Oct. 19 in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Aspen is at Rifle on Oct. 12. Dream scenario? Aspen vs. Basalt in the regular-season finale for the 2A WSL crown. Not impossible.

By the way, mighty Bayfield lost to Class 3A Durango last week, ending a streak of 16 straight wins (No. 16 being a 20-8 win over Aspen on Sept. 8). Bayfield, the defending 2A state champs, dropped to No. 3 this week behind No. 1 La Junta and No. 2 Platte Valley.


Aspen softball gets first win since 2009, beats Gunnison in shootout

The streak is finally over, and that's a good thing.

For the first time since the 2009 season, the Aspen High School softball team came out on top in a game, beating Gunnison 19-18 on Monday in Delta. The teams split the doubleheader, with Gunnison winning 18-2 in the second game.

In that Game 1 win, Aspen scored five runs in the first inning only to have Gunnison answer with six of its own in the bottom of the inning. Down 7-5 after two, AHS scored three runs in the third to take an 8-7 lead. The Skiers scored a combined 11 runs in the fifth and sixth innings, while Gunnison scored 10 over that same span.

According to MaxPreps, Aspen's last win came on Sept. 12, 2009, a 13-1 win over Cedaredge at the Eagle Valley Tournament. AHS did not field a softball team in either 2010 or 2011 before returning to the field in 2012. This is the third season under coach Dave Fuentes.

Now 1-7 overall, the Skiers next play Thursday at Meeker.

Also Monday, the No. 9-ranked Basalt High School softball team played at Cedaredge, losing 14-6. The Bruins jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings, with BHS scoring all six of its runs in the third. Cedaredge answered with three more in the bottom of the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

The teams had played as recently as Saturday in Basalt, the Longhorns winning that one 14-4.

The Bruins improved to 6-9 overall, while Basalt fell to 8-2. The Longhorns' only other loss this season came Saturday to Faith Christian, which is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A this week. Basalt will play Saturday at Rifle.


Aspen boys golf wins regional title for 10th straight year; BHS takes second

Make it a decade of regional dominance for the Aspen High School boys golf team. Monday at Dos Rios Golf Club in Gunnison, the Skiers once again won their regional tournament to qualify for state, and it wasn't much of a competition. Aspen shot a collective 1-over-par to beat runner-up Basalt by 23 strokes.

This makes it 10 straight regional titles for the Skiers, a run that dates back to the 2009 season.

"It's really awesome. I was part of it freshman, sophomore and now senior year," AHS senior Jack Hughes said. "We had a real solid day today. All four of our guys played really well. It's really fun when that happens. It makes it a lot more enjoyable."

Hughes, who did not compete for the Skiers last fall as he was attending a golf academy in Florida, won his first regional championship as an individual on Monday. He shot 1-under 70 at Dos Rios to beat senior teammate Dominic Lanese by a stroke. Lanese was the 2015 regional champion during his freshman year.

"I played very solid," Hughes said of his round at Dos Rios. "It was a golf course that required a lot of course management. You could not make stupid mistakes. Had to play smart golf, and that's what we discussed (Sunday) in our practice round as a team."

Hughes was 4-under after nine holes, but like his teammates struggled a little down the stretch. He ended his round going bogey, double bogey.

"Jack is ecstatic to grab this win, but already is thinking about the state championship and what we need to do better, both individually and as a team," AHS coach Mary Woulfe wrote in an email. "The truth is, these guys push one another to raise the level of play constantly."

AHS senior Dawson Holmes and Telluride senior Carlo Pine each shot 2-over to tie for third on Monday. Aspen junior Jack Pevny was another shot back at 3-over to finish in fifth place.

Basalt had a strong showing in the top 10, as well. Senior Tyler Dollahan led the Longhorns by finishing 7-over and in sixth place. BHS senior Holden Kleager, who won the 2016 regional championship as a sophomore, was seventh at 8-over and senior Blake Exelbert was 9-over and in a tie for eighth.

BHS sophomore Tyler Sims also competed, tying for 16th at 15-over.

By finishing 1-2 at regionals, both Aspen and Basalt will get to send their full teams to the Class 3A state tournament, held Oct. 1 and 2 at Boulder Country Club.

The Skiers look to be on a short list of teams with a legitimate chance at the state championship. Aspen finished third in 2017, seven strokes behind both Peak to Peak and Kent Denver. Peak to Peak won the state title a year ago in a playoff.

Aspen has never won the state championship in boys golf as a team.

"Confidence is really good right now," Hughes said. "We are all confident in our game. We are going to be practicing a lot in the next two weeks to get ready for Boulder."