Colbert’s Prep Playbook: Setting the stage for the rest of the winter season
Don’t get me wrong — the extra time off during the holiday break was nice. I certainly felt like I spent more of it snowboarding than actually working (don’t tell my boss).
However, I’m mostly one of those people who are immensely glad when the holidays are over. For one, having to wait in the gondola line (like, for any amount of time), at Aspen Mountain is ludicrous. Secondly, I tend to get really bored with too much free time.
So, let me be the first to welcome back the high school sports season. The Aspen High School hockey team officially got the winter season re-rolling with a pair of games over the weekend, while the rest of the teams get cranking over the coming days. With that, here’s a fresh reminder of where each team sits with the heart of the season upon us.
Since they’ve already played in 2019, we’ll start with the hockey team. AHS is 4-3-2 overall and currently on a three-game win streak after a Friday win over Glenwood Springs and a Saturday win over Steamboat Springs. Based off points, they are currently tied with Crested Butte atop the Peak Conference standings.
This Friday, the Skiers will host Glenwood at Lewis Ice Arena for their second meeting in a week (7:45 p.m.). AHS rallied for a 3-2 win the first time. This could be the beginning of a good rivalry with GSHS having a hockey team for the first time this winter. On Saturday, AHS will host No. 6 Fort Collins in a big non-conference game (4 p.m.).
The Aspen boys have certainly been scrappy, but at 2-5 overall they have a lot of work to do. Their wins came in back-to-back games over Dolores (43-35) and Soroco (53-35), but lost three straight going into the break. The toughest defeat came at home against Basalt, 44-40.
The Skiers have one more non-league game to go, a Friday trip to Cedaredge (4-3). Then, a week later, AHS will host Gunnison to get league play going.
The AHS girls are 1-4 in their first season with coaches James and Lindsey Aldridge. They’ve been more competitive this season than in the past few, but learning how to win is still a work in progress. Still, there is plenty to be optimistic about. On top of Friday’s trip to Cedaredge (5-2), the AHS girls will host Ouray (3-2) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a non-league game.
Outside of beating Aspen, the Basalt High School boys basketball team hasn’t had a lot to cheer about, either. The Longhorns are 2-6 overall entering 2019 and lost 50-33 to Rifle to close out 2018. Next up? That would be a trip to league-favorite Coal Ridge on Wednesday. The Titans, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A in the latest CHSAANow.com poll (Jan. 7), are 9-0 and led by the 14.6 points per game of senior Kevin DiMarco, a Division II Chadron State signee. BHS will also host Delta (5-2) on Saturday.
The BHS girls are 1-7 under first-year coach Amy Contini. After losing their first six games, the Longhorns got on the board with a 44-42 win over Rifle before a 50-34 loss at Class 4A Battle Mountain on Dec. 20. Wednesday’s league opener at Coal Ridge won’t be easy, either, as the Titans are 6-3 overall and winners of three straight.
The Aspen girls swim team has been solid, finishing no worse that third in a meet so far this season. A small roster makes it difficult for them to win many of them, especially when going up against 4A and 5A teams.
This is somewhat of a rebuilding season for the Skiers, although they will certainly factor into the mix for the 3A state title come February. Don’t forget, the AHS girls swim team won the 3A title only two seasons ago. With the incoming talent, they have high hopes of winning another banner in the next few years.
The final team to start each year, AHS skiing (a combined alpine/Nordic endeavor) also brings in the most state championships. As is the norm, the AHS alpine team gets its season going at Aspen Highlands on Friday. The first run for the girls will start at 9:15 a.m., with the boys to follow. The second and final runs begin around 12:30 p.m. Spectating is free at the bottom of the course.
The AHS Nordic team gets its season started on Saturday downvalley at Spring Gulch, hosted by Colorado Rocky Mountain School. They host their home meet Feb. 2 on the AVSC trails.
Last winter, the AHS girls won their eighth state championship (second to only Summit’s 21), while the boys also won their eighth state title (third to Durango’s nine and Summit’s 18).
The 2019 state skiing championships are Feb. 21-22 at Purgatory Resort, hosted by Durango High School.
Wrestling season is so much about building toward the regional tournament, which will be Feb. 15 and 16 for the Basalt. It’s been an up-and-down start for the Longhorns so far, but there are still a few wrestlers to keep an eye on.
According to the trackwrestling.com stats, junior Ernesto Lopez is 9-1 at 220 pounds, while sophomore Jose Castorena is 7-3 at 152 pounds. Basalt sent three to the state tournament last year — William Rivera, Oswaldo Morales and Thomas Wirth — but lost all due to graduation.
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Tahoe’s Lila Lapanja was able to navigate the quickly disappearing snow — which is hardly ideal for racing — on Wednesday to claim her first national title, winning the two-day combined at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Aspen.