Five valley players earn all-state nods
A run to the state semifinals is the gift that keeps on giving for Basalt’s girls soccer team. At Sunday’s Colorado High School Activities Association all-state meeting in Monument, opposing coaches named Longhorns junior Kat Fitzpatrick – the Western Slope player of the year – to 3A’s first team and senior Katie Staerkel to the second team. Longhorns defenders Amy Brumet and Emily Birk, Aspen senior defender Haley Ortmann and Roaring Fork’s Taylor Wagner received honorable mentions.Basalt coach Chris Woods was the lone Western Slope representative at the meeting and nominated all six players in the order that they finished in all-league voting.All six players were Western Slope first teamers, but faced stiffer competition for spots on the two all-state teams.”The caliber of players the coaches select from, it’s phenomenal,” Woods said. “There’s only 11 players who make the first team – that’s not even two players from each league.”The 3A Metro – widely regarded as the best in the state, with two teams in the final four, including repeat state champion Kent Denver – had three first teamers. That left eight first-team spots for players from the remaining seven leagues.”You’ve really got to fight for your girls with the nominations,” Woods said. “It’s very competitive.”Fitzpatrick, startled by her player of the year selection from Western Slope coaches, had a similar reaction to Sunday’s voting.”She was pretty ecstatic,” Woods said of the dynamic midfielder and forward who finished the season with 18 goals and 13 assists.Staerkel, a first-team all-state selection in 2006, led the Longhorns in goals (21) and tied for fourth in assists (nine), in spite of drawing double-teams for most of the season.Birk, Brumet and Ortmann all excelled at shutting down opposing forwards and were the unquestioned leaders of their teams’ back lines.Birk and Ortmann also provided additional offense for their teams, each finishing the season with two goals.More honors are likely on the way for the Slope’s best. The Rocky Mountain News is expected to release its all-state selections later this week – picked by the state’s coaches and prep writers – and the Denver Post has yet to release its selections.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Under bluebird skies with 160 acres under their boots, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders took to Aspen Mountain for opening day Wednesday.