Colbert’s Prep Playbook: Some final thoughts on the fall sports season
With the Basalt High School football team being the exception, the fall prep season is officially a wrap for the Skiers and Longhorns. Before long, we’ll be playing basketball, hockey and, most importantly, taking laps on the mountain.
As we await winter’s arrival, let’s take a second to look back on the fall season and highlight what needs to be highlighted. It was an all around solid few months for area teams and athletes, and here are a few notes to be remembered.
Basalt had another strong season, one that isn’t yet over. BHS plays Saturday at The Classical Academy in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs in the 8 vs. 9 game, which are more often than not coin flips. I had some doubts about this group considering the key losses at quarterback and running back last year, but they just kept moving forward. They’ll have a shot at beating TCA, and believe it or not, could host No. 1 Rifle in the second round. Wouldn’t that be something?
Aspen might have been the unluckiest of my 14 teams this fall. Numerous injuries early in the season cost them at least one or two games, and that’s all that kept them out of the playoffs. AHS finished 4-5 overall after going 6-4 in 2018, but I think this was still a darn good football team. Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, it can all go wrong and that’s kind of how the Skiers’ season went.
If you made me name my top athlete of the fall, I feel I’m obligated to choose Sierra Bower. After all, the Basalt junior did win the girls Class 3A state championship in cross country, and she did it in dominating fashion. The state meet was a blowout, with Bower coming within a stride of breaking the 18-minute barrier, which only a handful of girls have ever done in the state’s history.
Bower’s season was simply perfection and should be remembered as such. Her running future looks bright and should carry on long after high school. Both the Aspen and Basalt girls should be among the state title favorites in 2020.
Basalt senior Zoe Vozick was right there with Bower as far as being the best player this fall. I’m still picking Bower, but I will award (there are no real trophies anyway) Basalt softball — led by Vozick — as the best team. The Longhorns went 23-2 overall, did not lose a single league game, and made the state tournament as the No. 2 seed. The season ended earlier than hoped with a 10-0 loss to No. 7 Sterling in the quarterfinals, but that doesn’t diminish an amazing year. And Vozick, well, she ended the fall batting .667 with 59 RBI and 57 runs and was named the league’s player of the year.
Maybe one of the more under-appreciated teams, the Aspen boys were pretty dominant on the tennis courts yet again, qualifying all 11 players to state — finishing sixth as a team — after cruising through regionals. Admittedly, they don’t get enough attention for being as solid as they are. Considering all three singles players should return for 2020, expect more big things from them a year from now.
Yes, this season was a bit of a step back from 2018, but they did win the program’s first state championship last fall, so it was expected. You couldn’t really take a step forward from there, could you? The team’s streak of 10 straight regional championships ended, but AHS was still a factor at state. They just couldn’t quite close the deal on the second day, finishing fourth in Class 3A. Saying goodbye to senior Jack Pevny, one of the most accomplished golfers in school history, will be tough, but AHS should have plenty of talent to build around next season, including Jack’s younger brother, Nic Pevny, who should be a state title contender in 2020.
No, this wasn’t the best fall for boys soccer, with Aspen going a mere 2-13 and Basalt only sneaking into the 3A state playoffs before a 4-1 first-round loss to Aurora West Prep. But, there were enough young players out there to think 2020 will include a step forward again. I’d be remiss if I didn’t shout out the Roaring Fork soccer team, though. The Rams are still alive as the No. 5 seed and face No. 12 Fort Lupton in the second round Tuesday evening in Carbondale. Roaring Fork made the state semis a year ago and is two wins away from returning.
The volleyball season officially ended Monday for Aspen and Basalt when the regional brackets were released. As expected, neither team made one of the 12 three-team regionals, so that’s that. Aspen finished well below .500, although Basalt did sneak out an 11-11 overall record. Honestly, BHS was only a few wins away from making regional play and with so much youth still, maybe it’ll happen a year from now.
Note: This is the final Prep Playbook of the fall. I’ll return before the end of the month to chat about winter sports, which officially start practice Nov. 18. In the meantime, let’s see how far Basalt football can go and please, please, work on your snow dance. I just bought a new snowboard and I am ready to shred.
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Pitkin County residents are coming out in droves to apply for financial assistance through a local relief fund. Almost 60 percent of the 800-plus applicants are Aspen residents.