Gents sink Steamboat
The Gents still can’t believe it.Even after Saturday’s 56-19 rout of Steamboat Springs at Wagner Park, some players were still talking about the frustrating 3-0 loss to Vail the week before in the final of the Ski Town Rugby Tournament in Breckenridge.”We’re absolutely disgusted with it,” said captain Jeremy Takirau. “They had a couple of new players from England and Kenya, but that shouldn’t stop us from playing our match. We were sore about it all week.”Players on Steamboat Springs’ side will certainly be sore today after the pounding the Gents gave them. Looking to rebound from their first loss against a Mountain League team this season, Aspen wasted no time taking control of the game. Takirau himself converted two tries, as did Spencer Scott. Robbie Castillo, a first-year Gents player who played wide receiver at Division II New Mexico Highlands, darted through the Steamboat Springs’ defense for three tries. Fullback Merritt Johnson added another.The match immediately ended after Steamboat Springs’ final try and conversion – which was set up by a few missed tackles from the Gents.Gents coach Steve Blair, unlike Takirau, preferred not to discuss the Vail loss, only mentioning that it was a “nightmare” and that his players “couldn’t put it together.” In previous matches this summer, Blair and his players had dominated his former side, including a 55-5 stomping in early July.Despite the rout, Blair still said he saw things Saturday that he didn’t like – including a number of sloppy passes and a couple of defensive breakdowns. “We have a fair bit of talent, but we can be better,” he said. “Steamboat put on a good performance. It was nice to get the win, but there’s still a lot of little things we need to work on”Blair has his work cut out for him already. Most of the young players on the Gents summer side will be leaving Aspen in the next two weeks to head back to college. That leaves him with the task of restocking his team for Ruggerfest in September.”It’s kind of a headache, but that’s the way it goes,” Blair said. “We’ll rebuild.”One player who was looking forward to heading off to college was Zach Baker, a recent Basalt High School graduate who will be a freshman at Colorado State University in Fort Collins this fall. Baker said his summer playing with the Gents has prepared him well for club rugby.”This is a lot different than high school rugby, that’s for sure,” said Baker, who played hooker for Aspen on Saturday. “It’s a lot faster-paced and a lot more physical. It’s really helped me get my skills fine-tuned.”Baker has yet to convert a try this summer, though he came close on Saturday.”I’m usually not the one with the best chance,” he said. “I do more of the dirty work.” The Gents host the Mountain Select Tournament next weekend, followed by a weekend off. A rematch at Vail looms on Aug. 26th.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
Since winning her first X Games medal in 2019 — slopestyle gold — the now 21-year-old Kiwi has become the most dominant force in the discipline.