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Basalt football skirts Rifle rally to win in overtime; Skiers roll over Coal Ridge

Basalt’s Cooper Crawford braces for a Rifle tackle during the game on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The Basalt High School football team overcame a Rifle rally to hold on for a 29-28 overtime win over the Bears on the BHS field, keeping its playoff hopes alive and well with a week to go.

“Credit to them. They got a lot of their offense going in the fourth quarter and we had a really hard time and were on our heels,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said after Friday’s game. “Really, really proud of Basalt football and I really feel like we are in a good place.”

Rifle, the defending spring state champion in the one-off 3A pandemic season, trailed 21-7 after three quarters but managed to force the extra session. In the alternating possession OT period, Rifle had first go and scored on a 7-yard TD pass from quarterback Trey Caldwell to Gavin Peterson to take a 28-21 lead.

A pass interference call on the Rifle defense on the first play of Basalt’s possession led to an easy TD run by Basalt’s Cooper Crawford to make it 28-27. After a couple of timeouts, BHS coach Carl Frerichs elected to try for the 2-point conversion and Crawford again ran it in to give the Longhorns the win.

“We just felt like defensively we were hanging on and we are on the 3-yard line and we got some big running backs and an offensive line that was playing pretty well,” Frerichs said of the decision to go for the 2-point conversion in overtime, “so we just felt like percentages, that was our best opportunity to pull off the win. Cooper ran extremely hard and actually broke a tackle before he got in the end zone.”

Basalt had a chance to win the game in regulation, but a 28-yard field goal attempt by Carlos Palomares was blocked with 14 seconds to play and to overtime the teams went.

The Longhorns controlled most of the first half. After a scoreless first quarter, BHS would take a 7-0 lead into the halftime break after Crawford scored on a 4-yard run set up by a Rifle fumble when trying to field a punt.

Basalt’s lead grew to 14-0 early in the third quarter, a 44-yard TD run by Sam Sherry on a reverse extending the advantage.

Rifle got back into the game later in the third quarter when Caldwell broke free for a 77-yard TD run, but Basalt answered just minutes later with another long Sherry scoring run, this time from 58 yards.

Down 21-7, the Bears had all the answers in the fourth quarter. Toto Fletchall scored on a short run to make it 21-14 with just over 10 minutes to play, and it was Caldwell who tied the game on another short TD run with four and a half minutes to go.

This led to Basalt’s blocked field goal attempt in the final seconds and then the dramatic overtime period.

“They started to figure out some things that worked and we started to get on our heels a little bit,” Frerichs said. “We knew they were going to be a physical team because we really felt like all season they played well on the defensive side of the ball, so we knew offensively we were going to have our work cut out for us. Defensively we thought we played really, really well for three quarters and then once that quarterback started to get a little loose we had some problems with him for sure.”

The loss dropped Rifle to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in Class 2A Western Slope League play and likely eliminated the Bears from any chance at the postseason, as slim as it was entering Friday’s game. They play Delta next week in the regular-season finale.

Basalt, ranked No. 10 in 2A this week, bounced back from a 42-14 loss to Delta last week to improve to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in league play. The win should have the Longhorns feeling good about making the 16-team playoff field with only a home game with Aspen remaining on the schedule next week.

“We knew going in, even if we were to win or lose, it’s more we are playing for playoff seeding,” Frerichs said. “All you want is to be in the playoff bracket, but then your seeding does make a difference. We have an outside shot at even a home playoff game. That’s exciting for our kids.”

The Skiers hosted winless Coal Ridge on Friday, rolling to a 48-7 victory on the AHS turf. Aspen improved to 3-5 overall and 2-2 in WSL play, its other league win having come 34-19 over Rifle on Oct. 1. While certainly not eliminated from playoff contention, AHS faces an uphill climb and almost certainly would have to upset Basalt next week to get in.

In the league’s biggest game on Friday, No. 5 Delta held on for a 17-14 home win over No. 4 Moffat County to essentially lock up the league championship. The Panthers are now 7-1 and 4-0 in the WSL, while Moffat lost for the first time, falling to 7-1 and 3-1 in league play.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Maley, Basalt girls cross country second at regionals; Aspen girls also qualify

Basalt High School's Katelyn Maley, left, battles with Alamosa’s Sarah Delacerda during Friday's Class 3A Region 1 cross country meet at VIX Park in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The Basalt High School girls cross country team finished second behind juniors Katelyn Maley and Ava Lane in Friday’s Class 3A Region 1 race in New Castle. The state qualifier, held at VIX Park, was dominated by the Alamosa girls, who won with 31 points to Basalt’s 68 points.

Alamosa sophomore Sarah Delacerda won the girls race in 19 minutes, 18.2 seconds, holding off Maley (19:23.8), who is the defending 3A state champion. Gunnison freshman Madelyn Stice was third (19:41.9) and Lane was fourth (19:44.1).

Also showing well for the Longhorns were freshman Isabella Moon (16th, 21:06.4) and junior Sarah Levy (17th, 21:09.4).

Like Basalt, the Aspen girls will send the entire team to the state meet after finishing third at regionals with 90 team points, while Gunnison was fourth with 105 points.

Aspen’s top female runner in the regional race was junior Michaela Kenny, who was ninth in 20:29.9. AHS junior Elsie Weiss was 13th in 20:50.7 and freshman Julia Diaz was 19th in 21:31.2.

Other notable finishers in the girls race included Coal Ridge junior standout Mikayla Cheney finishing sixth (19:55.9) and Coal Ridge senior Araceli Ayala coming in 11th (20:42.7).

Limited by numbers, neither the Aspen nor Basalt boys will compete at state as a team, but the Skiers did qualify two runners individually. AHS sophomore Edwin Ryerson finished 13th in 18:29.3, and junior Eske Roennau was 15th in 18:36.3. The BHS boys did not have any state qualifiers.

Matching the girls, Alamosa won the boys race with 44 points, followed by Gunnison (96), Moffat County (104) and North Fork (137). Aspen finished ninth with 245 points.

Alamosa junior Santiago Trujillo won the boys race in 17:09.5, well ahead of Gunnison senior Jackson Baker, who was second in 17:22.7.

The state championship races are scheduled for next Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Preps: Aspen volleyball sweeps Basalt to maintain playoff push, AHS soccer wins

Aspen blocks the shot of BHS in a game at Basalt High School on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School volleyball team continued its playoff push on Thursday with a crucial 3-0 sweep of rival Basalt inside the BHS gymnasium. The Skiers won by scores of 25-17, 25-16 and 25-18 to avenge a five-set non-league loss to the Longhorns back on Aug. 26 in Aspen.

Basalt fell to 10-6 overall and 5-3 in league play. The loss to the Skiers is a critical blow to the team’s postseason chances. BHS still has two regular season games remaining, next being a home game on Tuesday against North Fork. They finish with a home game against Moffat County on Oct. 30.

Aspen improved to 12-5 overall and 6-1 in league play. This is already the Skiers’ best season since going 18-7 in 2018, the last time they made the postseason.

AHS still has four games to play in the regular season. The Skiers’ final home game is Saturday against non-league foe Steamboat Springs. They’ll then play at Moffat County on Tuesday, at Grand Valley on Thursday and at North Fork next weekend, all league games.

Regional play is made up of 12 three-team pods, meaning 36 teams will advance past the regular season. Aspen is sitting just inside that mark in terms of RPI as of Thursday night, while Basalt was No. 40.

Aspen soccer beats CRMS to close out regular season

The Aspen High School boys soccer team wrapped up its regular season with its fourth straight win, taking care of Colorado Rocky Mountain School on Thursday with a 3-0 win in Carbondale.

The Skiers finish with a 9-5-1 overall record, the most wins for the program since going 11-6 in 2014. Next, AHS will await the release of the Class 3A state tournament bracket, expected out no later than Monday. Aspen’s RPI was just inside the top 20 as of Thursday night, making it a safe bet to make the 32-team field.

On Wednesday, Basalt earned its third win of the season with a 7-0 rout of Moffat County in Craig. This came only a day after playing to a competitive 3-1 loss in Aspen on Tuesday.

Now 3-11 overall, the Longhorns will close out the regular season on Saturday with a game at Glenwood Springs. With an RPI just inside the top 50 as of Thursday night, BHS is unlikely to make the postseason.

Playoff lives at stake for Basalt, Aspen football

The Basalt High School football team hopes to keep its playoff hopes alive on Friday with a home game against defending spring state champion Rifle, while Aspen is slated to host Coal Ridge in its penultimate game.

The No. 10-ranked Longhorns are 5-2 overall and 1-2 in Class 2A Western Slope League play and are coming of a tough 42-14 loss at Delta. The No. 5-ranked Panthers (6-1, 3-0) play Friday at home against No. 4 Moffat County (7-0, 3-0) in what is essentially the league championship game.

Aspen (2-5, 1-2) has likely seen its postseason hopes set sail and will look to finish strong. The Skiers will have a good chance at a third win on Friday against the struggling Titans (0-7, 0-3) before traveling to Basalt next week in hopes of ruining their rival’s playoff bid.

Despite last week’s blowout loss, BHS is still No. 8 in RPI this week, two spots ahead of Delta, while Moffat County is No. 3. Down but not quite out, Aspen is No. 21 and Rifle is No. 23, with 16 teams making the state playoffs.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Preps: Aspen soccer holds on against Basalt; Longhorn volleyball beats Rams

The Aspen High School boys soccer team hosts Basalt on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, on the AHS turf.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The postseason got one step closer for the Aspen High School boys soccer team on Tuesday after a 3-1 senior night win over rival Basalt on the AHS turf.

Unlike their first meeting, way back on Sept. 15 when the Skiers won, 8-1, the Longhorns kept the rematch close. Aspen led 1-0 with a goal just shy of 15 minutes in, but Basalt managed to get the equalizer only four minutes later.

The eventual game-winner came with about 13 minutes to play in the first half, a successful penalty kick by AHS senior Brody Taylor. Aspen added an insurance goal with 15 minutes remaining in the second half.

Basalt dropped to 2-11 overall and will close out its regular season with trips to Moffat County on Wednesday and Glenwood Springs on Saturday.

Aspen improved to 8-5-1 overall with its third straight win. The only game remaining on the AHS schedule is a Thursday trip to Carbondale against Colorado Rocky Mountain School.

Barring any major fluctuations in the standings, Aspen looks like a lock for the 32-team Class 3A state tournament, which will be announced at the end of the weekend. As of late Tuesday, the Skiers had an RPI of 18, which largely determines seeding. AHS last made the postseason in 2018.

Basalt had an RPI of 47 and looks to be well outside of playoff contention.

Basalt volleyball beats Roaring Fork, Aspen next

The Basalt High School volleyball team once again got by rival Roaring Fork, winning 3-1 on Tuesday in Carbondale. After losing the first set, 25-16, the Longhorns won the next three by scores of 25-20, 25-22 and 25-17. It was their third win over the Rams this season.

Roaring Fork fell to 3-18 overall, while Basalt improved to 10-5 this fall.

Next up, BHS has a critical home league game against Aspen on Thursday evening. The Skiers (11-5) are virtually neck-and-neck with the Longhorns in terms of RPI, with both sitting inside the top 40 as of Tuesday evening.

The outcome of Thursday’s game could go a long way in deciding if either team makes it into the 36-team regional field. The regular season goes through the end of the month.

Cross country teams head to regionals

Area cross country teams will head to the regional meet on Friday, held at VIX Ranch Park in New Castle and hosted by Coal Ridge High School. The girls race is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the boys race to follow at 1:30 p.m.

Both the Aspen and Basalt girls should be among the contenders for the team title, while BHS comes in with defending Class 3A state champion Katelyn Maley, a logical favorite in Friday’s regional race.

The rest of the regional field includes Bayfield, Delta, Gunnison, Middle Park, Moffat County, Montezuma-Cortez, North Fork, Pagosa Springs and Rifle.

The state meet is Oct. 30 in Colorado Springs.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Football: Basalt loses big showdown to Delta, Aspen gets torched by Moffat

The Aspen High School football team plays at Moffat County on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Craig.
Photo by Andy Bockelman

The battle for the Class 2A Western Slope League in football is essentially down to two teams after Friday night, with Basalt High School failing to keep pace with Delta and Aspen losing a wild game at Moffat County.

In the penultimate game of the regular season next week, Delta will host Moffat County with the winner claiming the league title.

As for Basalt, one of the preseason frontrunners in the WSL, Friday’s loss puts its playoff hopes in jeopardy, while Aspen’s loss to the Bulldogs all but eliminates it from postseason contention.

Delta 42, Basalt 14

Separated by only a spot in this week’s CHSAANow.com poll — Delta at No. 6 and Basalt at No. 7 — the teams didn’t look nearly as equal Friday night on the Panthers’ field. Delta led 7-0 after a quarter and 14-0 early in the second quarter before a long touchdown pass from BHS quarterback Kade Schneider to senior receiver Sam Sherry made it 14-7 with just over five minutes to play in the half.

However, a long Delta touchdown not even two minutes later made it 21-7 at halftime and any momentum BHS may have had was gone. The Longhorns recovered an onside kick to start the second half but failed to score from it, and Delta led 28-7 after three quarters.

A Cooper Crawford touchdown run made it 28-14 with a solid 10 minutes to play, giving Basalt a chance, but the Panthers didn’t allow the game to get any closer and they finished it off with a pair of short TD runs late.

Delta improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the WSL. The Panthers have Moffat and Rifle still to go in the regular season.

Basalt dropped to 5-2 and 1-2, its only other loss coming against Moffat. BHS will likely need to beat both Rifle next week and Aspen the week after in the finale to make the playoffs. Both of those games will be at home for the Longhorns.

The Aspen High School football team plays at Moffat County on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Craig.
Photo by Andy Bockelman

Moffat 62, Aspen 35

The Skiers fell into a big hole against No. 4-ranked Moffat on Friday in Craig, trailing 21-0 after a quarter and 27-0 early in the second quarter. An AHS touchdown with just over eight minutes to play until the half cut it to 27-7, but by the break Moffat’s lead had swollen to 36-7.

The second half was wild, with both teams making big plays to stretch out the game. Still, Aspen never truly threatened and trailed 49-21 after three quarters.

The Skiers had no answer for a Moffat rushing attack that saw three different players rush for more than 100 yards. This included junior Evan Atkin, who surpassed 1,000 yards rushing on the season against Aspen.

The Bulldogs improved to a perfect 7-0 overall and 3-0 in league. After Delta next week, they have lowly Coal Ridge to finish out the season. The Titans are 0-7 (0-3) after Friday’s 28-7 loss to Rifle (3-4, 1-2).

Aspen dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in WSL play. The Skiers host Coal Ridge next week in their home finale before a trip to Basalt on Oct. 29 will close out their season.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Preps: Basalt XC wins in Rifle, volleyball and tennis both have good showings

Basalt High School’s Katelyn Maley, left, runs alongside Summit’s Ella Hagen during Wednesday’s cross country race in Rifle. Courtesy photo.

The Basalt High School cross country team competed Wednesday in Rifle, rolling to the girls team title at Rifle Creek Golf Course. The Longhorns finished with a score of 38 points, holding off runner-up Summit (41 points) and third-place Coal Ridge (63 points).

Defending 3A state champion Katelyn Maley won the girls race, with the BHS junior finishing in 18 minutes, 22.3 seconds to narrowly hold off Summit freshman Ella Hagen at the line (18:22.4). Coal Ridge junior Mikayla Cheney was third (19:33.9) and Basalt junior Ava Lane was fourth (19:35.6).

BHS freshman Isabella Moon also recorded a top-10 finish, coming in seventh (21:03.2), while another Longhorn freshman, Juniper Anderson, was 15th (22:18.9).

Grand Junction won the boys team title with 52 points, followed by Rifle with 76 points and Coal Ridge with 77 points.

Summit junior Dominykas Remeikis won the boys race in 16:54.6, a decisive win over his freshman teammate, Joshua Shriver (17:12.2).

It was likely the final significant race of the regular season for the Longhorns, who will now look toward the Oct. 22 regional hosted by Coal Ridge. Aspen, which did not compete in Rifle, plans to run at the laid-back Montrose Relays this weekend before also heading to New Castle for regionals.

Runners take off from the start of Wednesday’s cross country race in Rifle. Courtesy photo.

BHS tennis goes 1-1 at state tournament

Basalt High School’s lone state qualifiers went 1-1 on the first day of the Class 4A boys tennis tournament on Thursday in Pueblo.

Playing at No. 4 doubles, freshmen Taylor Hays and Elias Schendler — the first state qualifiers in BHS tennis history — won their first-round match over Pueblo West’s Jesus Ildefonso and Zion Spear, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6.

In the quarterfinals, the Longhorn duo bowed out of the championship push in a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Hank Walsh and Zack Sartain of Cheyenne Mountain.

Kent Denver was holding a slight edge over Cheyenne Mountain in the team standings after Day 1.

Aspen does not have anyone competing in the state tournament this fall.

BHS volleyball takes down Rifle

The Basalt High School volleyball team won a critical league contest over Rifle on Thursday, taking a 3-1 match inside the BHS gymnasium. BHS won the first set, 25-18, lost the second set, 25-15, and then closed out the match with set wins of 25-9 and 25-21.

Rifle fell to 10-6 overall and 4-5 in WSL play. Basalt improved to 9-5 overall and 4-2 in league play.

The Longhorns are off this weekend before games against Roaring Fork and Aspen next week.

The Skiers (8-4) play Friday and Saturday at a tournament hosted by Battle Mountain.

Rams bounce back, beat Basalt soccer

The Basalt High School boys soccer team hosted Roaring Fork on Thursday, losing 5-0 on the BHS field. It was a needed bounce back for the No. 6-ranked Rams (11-2 overall), who lost 3-2 on Tuesday in Aspen.

Basalt dropped to 2-10 on the season. BHS is scheduled to next play Saturday at Glenwood Springs, with games next week at Aspen and Moffat County to close out the regular season.

Roaring Fork’s final two games include a Tuesday trip to Vail Mountain and a Thursday home bout with Glenwood Springs.

Aspen (6-5-1) plays Saturday at Delta before closing out the regular season with games next week against Basalt and Colorado Rocky Mountain School.

Basalt football plays Delta in crucial league game

The Basalt High School football team travels to Delta on Friday in a critical Class 2A Western Slope League contest. Both teams are 5-1 overall, although No. 7 BHS is 1-1 in league play with the No. 6-ranked Panthers coming in at 2-0.

Delta has wins over Aspen (56-0) and Coal Ridge (63-0) so far in WSL contests, and is outscoring opponents 254-36 through its six games with four shutouts this season.

Basalt bounced back from a 19-6 home loss to Moffat County in the league opener two weeks ago to win 48-12 at Coal Ridge last week. The Longhorns likely need to beat the Panthers on Friday to stay in the WSL title hunt.

Moffat County (6-0), No. 4 in 2A this week, hosts unranked Aspen (2-4) on Friday. The Skiers are on thin ice in terms of a possible playoff spot with an RPI of 22 as of Thursday night. The Bulldogs hold down the top RPI spot, which largely determines seeding.

Aspen opened WSL play with an impressive 34-19 home win over Rifle, the defending spring state champion, on Oct. 1, before last week’s blowout homecoming loss to Delta.

Coal Ridge at Rifle is the other 2A WSL game this week. Up in 3A, Glenwood Springs (3-3) heads to Steamboat Springs (5-1) and in 1A Roaring Fork (1-5) will host North Fork (4-2).

Aspen’s Woulfe named coach of the year

Longtime Aspen High School boys golf coach Mary Woulfe was named Class 3A’s coach of the year, it was announced Wednesday by CHSSANow.com. Woulfe led the Skiers to their second state championship in boys golf last week in Elizabeth, the first having come under Woulfe back in 2018.

AHS senior Nic Pevny, who won the 2020 individual state championship before taking third this fall, and junior Sky Sosna each earned first-team all-state honors in 3A. Aspen senior Will Stiller was named a second-team selection, while Basalt sophomore Garrett Exelbert was named honorable mention.

Vail Christian senior Connor Downey, who won the individual state championship, was named the 3A player of the year.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Freshmen doubles duo of Schendler, Hays first Basalt tennis players to make state

Basalt High School freshmen tennis players Elias Schendler, right, and Taylor Hays are headed to the state tournament, a first for the BHS program. Courtesy photo.

Longtime friends, Taylor Hays and Elias Schendler had never played competitive tennis prior to joining the Basalt High School team this fall. The freshmen landed together at No. 4 doubles and little did they know would end up making history for a program still in its infancy.

By qualifying for this week’s Class 4A boys state tournament in Pueblo, the Longhorn duo is the first in the four years of BHS tennis to be able to play in the season’s finale.

“It was a little surprising since it was both of our first years playing tennis,” Hays said. “It’s a pretty great accomplishment that we are the first to ever go to state from this program. Hopefully there will be more.”

Basalt boys tennis started with five players as a club in 2017. It was the capstone project of then-junior Dane Elliott, who was a senior a year later when the club became an official varsity program. Dane’s mother, Diana Elliott, had started the BHS girls tennis team, which played its first varsity matches in the spring of 2017 and is still looking for its first state qualifier.

Diana Elliott stepped away from coaching after the 2021 spring season, which was the final semester for her daughter, Mari Elliott, the team’s No. 1 singles player and last year’s class valedictorian. Taking over BHS tennis this fall was Chris Kilgore, a local teacher who grew up in Atlanta and has lived in the valley since last summer.

“I really am just thankful to Jason Santo, the AD, and to Diana Elliott, the coach who built the programs, for entrusting me with it,” Kilgore said. “Having these guys around for three more years, they can hopefully step up and recruit some guys who are younger coming in and build up some excitement for the program. That’s the whole idea.”

The BHS boys program has continued to grow each year, beginning with those five club players in 2017 to the 19 players this season, most of those being freshmen. However, entering the fourth season of varsity, one thing the Basalt program was still missing was its first state qualifier — regionals had always proved too much of a challenge for the upstart team.

But thanks to a rally last week at regionals in Grand Junction, Hays and Schendler find themselves as Longhorn pioneers who will represent the school at the state tournament beginning Thursday.

“It’s awesome. Tennis isn’t our main sport. We both play other sports and our main focus is on that. So it came out of nowhere,” said Schendler, who like Hays also plays basketball and baseball. “A lot of stuff had to go right for us to make state. After we had lost a match the first day, our chances were pretty low. So when we did, it was insane.”

Players qualify for state by finishing as one of the top two at regionals. As the No. 4 seed of six teams competing at No. 4 doubles last week in Grand Junction, Hays and Schendler looked strong early on, rolling to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Vail Christian in the first round. But they lost in the semifinal, 6-1, 6-1, to a duo from Grand Junction Central, who went on to win the regional over Durango.

Basalt High School freshmen tennis players Elias Schendler, left, and Taylor Hays are headed to the state tournament, a first for the BHS program. Courtesy photo.

This was key, as it meant Basalt’s duo was able to battle back through the underside of the bracket and still qualify. They beat a pair from Grand Junction in the third-place match before getting to play Durango for second place, the winner qualifying for state.

It took three sets, but the Longhorns eventually prevailed to make history for the program.

“It was a great way to earn their spot at state by playing the best tennis match they’ve ever played,” Kilgore said. “These guys went out and won the first set, but then things went south during the second set and Durango evened it up. Elias and Taylor stayed composed and kept their cool and just made it happen in the third set.”

They are the only state qualifiers out of the valley this fall, as perennial regional powerhouse Aspen did not have any players finish in the top two in Grand Junction. The Skiers did have a couple of doubles teams finish third and therefore are state alternates, but they won’t compete without any other teams dropping out.

Hays and Schendler will open play Thursday against the Pueblo West pair of Jesus Ildefonso and Zion Spear. The tournament runs through the championship matches on Saturday.

“One thing that’s great about Elias and Taylor is they are incredibly coachable,” Kilgore said. “They keep their cool. They kind of just take every step as the next step. We are not making a big fuss about going to state. It’s just the next thing. We are going to go in there, they are going to keep having fun and keep playing tennis.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Preps: Aspen boys soccer upsets No. 6 Roaring Fork, likely secures playoff spot

The Aspen High School boys soccer team hosts Roaring Fork on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, on the AHS turf. The Skiers won, 3-2, against the No. 6-ranked Rams.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Brody Taylor’s free kick found net not even 10 minutes into the second half and was enough for the Aspen High School boys soccer team to upset No. 6 Roaring Fork on Tuesday.

The 3-2 win on the AHS turf should go a long way in locking down a playoff spot for the Skiers and it ended a six-game losing streak to their downvalley rivals, dating back to the 2017 season.

It also snapped a two-game slide this season.

“It does feel good. This team has always had that performance in them,” Aspen coach Dave Francis said. “When you lose that momentum it’s really difficult to regain it in that moment. But we’ve had a chance to regroup and talk. They went out there today and showed exactly what they are capable of.”

The teams went to halftime tied 2-2, with AHS goals coming from Sergio Ruiz Zuniga and Micah Sanders-Silva. Francis said he thought the Rams started to take control of the game toward the end of the first half but asked nothing more of his players at that point than to continue battling against one of Class 3A’s recent powerhouse programs.

That approach paid off with Taylor’s goal early in the second half. No goals were added over the final 30 minutes, which included a long stretch played in a mix of snow and sleet as the light faded.

“Shut them down — don’t give them any space and time to play,” Francis said of what he told the Skiers at halftime. “We felt like Roaring Fork had started to figure out the field. They were finding their range of passes. They were moving the ball. And they were starting to take some control of the game. Just told the guys to keep working hard. If they did and closed them down, then we’ll take whatever chances come our way.”

Roaring Fork, which entered the week having received a couple of votes to be ranked No. 1 in the classification, dropped to 10-2 overall and 7-1 in Western Slope League play. The Rams’ only other loss this season came 2-0 on Sept. 18 at Liberty Common, a team that is ranked No. 7 in 3A this week.

Unranked Aspen improved to 6-5-1 overall and 3-2-1 in league play. With an RPI in the top 20 as of Tuesday evening, the Skiers are in position to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2018, when they made the state playoffs despite a losing record. The last time AHS finished the season with a winning record was a 7-5-3 campaign in 2017, which included its last win over the Rams.

The Skiers are off until playing Saturday at winless Delta. They close out the regular season next week with a Tuesday home game with Basalt and a Thursday road trip to Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale.

“It’s a great time for it,” Francis said of Tuesday’s upset, “and this will do us a lot of good as far as securing a playoff spot, first of all, and then finding a spot that gets us higher up in the numbers.”

Basalt (2-9) had been scheduled to play Tuesday at Moffat, but had that game postponed to Oct. 20, which now is the Longhorns’ regular-season finale. BHS next plays host to Roaring Fork on Thursday.

Aspen volleyball beats Coal Ridge, BHS falls to Delta

The Aspen High School volleyball team won for the fourth time in five matches on Tuesday, beating Coal Ridge in four sets inside the AHS gymnasium. After taking the first two sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-18, the Skiers let the third one slip away in a 25-20 loss but closed out the match with a 25-19 win in the fourth set.

According to MaxPreps, this was Aspen’s first win over Coal Ridge since at least 2008, which is as far back as the website’s records go. That stretch included at least 21 games between the teams. How far the losing streak goes back prior to 2008 wasn’t immediately known.

The Titans, a perennial league frontrunner, dropped to 5-8 overall, while Aspen improved to 8-4 with a 5-1 league mark. The Skiers are next scheduled to compete in a tournament hosted by Battle Mountain on Friday and Saturday.

Also Tuesday, Basalt played at league-leading Delta, losing 3-1. After losing 25-9 in the first set, the Longhorns answered by winning the second set, 27-25, but couldn’t maintain that momentum, losing the final two sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-13.

BHS coach David Chadbourne said Delta was the “best team we’ve played” this season. With only Rifle remaining in WSL play, the Panthers are all but assured the league title with all tiebreakers being in their favor.

Basalt fell to 8-5 overall and next will host Rifle on Thursday.

Softball season ends for Aspen, Basalt

The softball season came to a close for both Aspen and Basalt on Monday with the release of the Class 3A regional field, which left both teams off the 32-team bracket.

The Skiers finished 0-17, while the Longhorns ended 5-15 overall.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Preps: Weiss wins, AHS cross country teams place second in home races

Runners take off from the start of the varsity girls high school cross country race of the Chris Severy Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, near Aspen High School.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

A dedicated cross-country skier, Anders Weiss took to the non-snow version of the sport on Saturday and Aspen High School cross country coach Chris Keleher hopes the AHS senior sticks it out through the rest of the fall, before skiing pulls him back in.

It was Weiss, competing for the first time this season as an AHS runner, who stood out by winning the boys’ race of the Chris Severy Invitational, hosted by the Skiers near the high school.

“Anders, he is just incredibly fit,” Keleher said. “That was really good to see him out there. He ran a smartly paced race, especially for not having a ton of running experience. He did a great job.”

Weiss finished with a time of 19 minutes, 56.2 seconds, easily outdistancing Battle Mountain juniors Alessandro Cantele (20:11.2) and Bergen Drummet (20:14.2), who finished second and third, respectively. AHS sophomore Edwin Ryerson was sixth (20:28.1) and junior Eske Roennau was 10th (20:57.3) for a trio of Skiers in the top 10.

The Aspen boys finished second as a team with 123 points. Battle Mountain easily won with 41 points, while North Fork was third with 133 points.

The Aspen girls also finished second, their 61 points not quite enough to get by Glenwood Springs, who won with 56 points. Kent Denver was third with 62 points.

The Skiers had four in the top 15 of the girls’ race, led by junior Michaela Kenny’s fourth-place finish in 22:57.6. Junior Elsie Weiss, Anders’ sister, was eighth in 23:22; freshman Julia Diaz was 11th in 24:03.2; and freshman Darienne Kenny, Michaela’s sister, was 15th in 24:38.10.

“They just ran so solidly,” Keleher said. “Elsie didn’t have her greatest day today, but Michaela stepped right up. Julia ran an excellent race.”

Junior Natalie Wesner (34th, 27:33.3) and sophomore Yasmine Khan-Farooqi (35th, 27:39.3) stood out to Keleher and were key in helping the AHS girls finish second.

“They filled a gap,” Keleher said. “We’ve got a couple of injured girls and they jumped right in and did not let off the gas. That was a lot of fun to watch them move throughout the race.”

Glenwood Springs finished 1-2 in the girls’ race, with senior Ella Johnson winning in 22:07.3 and junior Sophia Connerton-Nevin placing second in 22:25.9. Coal Ridge junior standout Mikayla Cheney was third in 22:52.6.

Basalt High School and its reigning state champion Katelyn Maley did not compete Saturday in Aspen. The Longhorns have a Wednesday trip to Rifle next on their schedule. Aspen will head to the laid-back Montrose Relays next weekend, the final event before the Oct. 22 regional race in New Castle.

“The kids ran well and it was a good, hard course. It was fun,” Keleher said. “It seems things are coming together pretty well. We’ve got a couple of pieces to put together over the next couple of weeks and hope some kids get back healthy.”

Basalt tennis qualifies first players for state

The Basalt High School boys tennis team qualified a pair of players to the Class 4A state tournament, a first for the program that started as a club in 2017. Taylor Hays and Elias Schendler finished second at No. 4 doubles on Friday in their Region 8 tournament in Grand Junction and will be the first BHS tennis players to represent at state this coming week in Pueblo.

Aspen, normally a dominant force in regional play, did not have any players qualify. However, the No. 1 doubles team of Robert Holton and Micky Terkun, and the No. 2 doubles team of Alex Schlosser and Beckett Brennan, each finished third at regionals and will be state alternates.

Aspen volleyball falls in five sets to Huskies

The Aspen High School volleyball team had its three-match win streak snapped on Saturday in a five-set loss to visiting Battle Mountain inside the AHS gymnasium.

After losing the first set, 27-25, the Skiers answered back by winning the second set, 25-18. Battle Mountain won the third, 25-20, and AHS the fourth, 29-27, before the Huskies won the deciding fifth set, 15-10, for the non-league win.

Battle Mountain, which plays in the larger Class 4A, improved to 3-8 overall. Aspen, a 3A team, dropped to 7-4 overall. The Skiers next host Coal Ridge on Tuesday in a critical league match.

Basalt (8-4) was off this past weekend and next plays Tuesday at league-leading Delta.

Aspen soccer loses to Ridgway

The Aspen High School boys soccer team played a non-league game on Saturday against Ridgway, losing 2-1. The game was played in Grand Junction. The Demons, No. 5 in Class 2A, improved to 8-2 overall, their only losses both coming against 2A No. 1 Crested Butte.

Aspen fell to 5-5-1 overall and will host Roaring Fork on Tuesday. The Rams are No. 6 in 3A. Basalt (2-9) was off this past weekend and plays Tuesday at Moffat County.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Delta rains over Aspen’s homecoming parade, Basalt football beats Titans

Delta quarterback Ty Reed throws against Aspen on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, on the AHS turf.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Coming off a surprising upset of Rifle, the Aspen High School football team couldn’t maintain that magic into its homecoming game on Friday night against Delta, losing 56-0 on the wet AHS turf.

The Skiers looked outmatched from the start against the No. 6-ranked team in Class 2A and trailed 14-0 after a quarter and 35-0 by halftime. A Panther touchdown early in the third quarter pushed the lead over the 40-point threshold and the remainder of the game was played with a running clock.

Most of the contest also was played in a steady rain, conditions that certainly favored Delta’s run game as opposed to Aspen’s pass-first spread offense.

It was the first time AHS had been shutout since the finale this past spring, a 57-0 loss to The Classical Academy in the first round of the state playoffs.

With the win, Delta improved to 5-1 overall — its only loss to a good 3A Palisade team — and 2-0 in 2A Western Slope League Play.

Aspen fell to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in league play.

Basalt pulls away against Coal Ridge

The Basalt High School football team started strong and ended strong, with some sloppy play in between, during Friday’s 48-12 win at Coal Ridge.

The Longhorns led 21-0, scoring on their first three possessions, after a quarter, but had the offense stall for a while and took that same score into the halftime break. The Titans briefly got back into the game with an 80-yard Brandon Short touchdown run that made it 21-6 only seconds into the third quarter, but BHS answered with its own score and led 28-6 going into the fourth.

Basalt pulled away from there, scoring 20 points in the final frame to eventually win by 30 points over the still winless Titans.

BHS, ranked No. 7 in 2A this week, improved to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in WSL play. It was a needed victory coming off last week’s 19-6 homecoming loss to Moffat County. Coal Ridge fell to 0-6 overall and 0-2 in WSL play; the Titans lost 63-0 to Delta last week.

Also Friday, No. 4 Moffat County stayed perfect with a 46-13 rout of Rifle. The Bears are now 2-4 (0-2), while the Bulldogs are 6-0 and 2-0.

Next week’s WSL schedule includes Aspen traveling to Moffat County, Basalt traveling to Delta, and Rifle hosting Coal Ridge.

acolbert@aspentimes.com