Preps: Area teams back in action
The Aspen Times
Back to school.
Back to the court.
And back to the ice.
High school sports launch into the 2014 schedules en masse this week.
Some teams, including the Aspen High School hockey team, started play last weekend before school resumed from the holiday break.
The Skiers kicked off their 2014 schedule with a resounding 8-4 victory over Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch on Saturday, led by three goals from Victor Dunn.
Dunn and his teammates (3-3-0 overall) will hit the road for games today and Saturday.
The Skiers will play at Chatfield (3-5-0) in Littleton in a late game tonight.
Then, on Saturday, the Aspen High hockey team will play Colorado Springs Liberty (2-6-0) at the Air Force Academy.
Aspen’s scheduled game against Battle Mountain on Wednesday night was postponed. It will be rescheduled later in the season.
The Aspen High School basketball teams will be back in action tonight, hosting Coal Ridge.
The Aspen girls (0-4) will be looking for their first win of the season. They will take on the Coal Ridge girls (5-1, 3-0 in league play) at 5:30 p.m. today.
The Aspen boys (3-2 overall, 2-0 in the Western Slope League) will play the Coal Ridge boys (2-4, 2-1) at 7 p.m. today.
And the Aspen boys will face more than the normal challenge of returning to the court after a holiday break — a injury challenge.
“Parker Johnson, a senior forward, tore his ACL this past Saturday in a scrimmage,” Aspen head coach Steve Ketchum said. “He is out for the rest of the season. I feel horrible for Parker.”
But there’s more.
“Junior starter Evan Patzoldt severely sprained his ankle on Tuesday and has not practiced since,” Ketchum said. “He’s doubtful for this weekend.”
Ketchum said the injuries present an opportunity for other players to step up.
“It’s a great opportunity for some of the other players,” Ketchum said.
He said sophomore Jack Rosenthal will see more court time this weekend along with Patrick Martin and J.J. Ready.
Returning all-staters Clayton Crawford and Trent Lichtenwalter will be on the court to lead the Skiers tonight and Saturday afternoon (4 p.m.) when the Aspen boys take on powerhouse Moffat County (Craig).
“Coal Ridge is really improved,” Ketchum said of tonight’s opponent. He said the Titans have changed from a fast attack, 3-point style to an inside offensive team behind 6-6 Andy Bowles and 6-4 Richie Winkler, a pair of Coal Ridge seniors.
“I’m told Winker might be the most improved player in the league this year,” Kethcum said.
Senior point guard Alec Herrera is back as a Coal Ridge starter.
“They have lots of experience,” Ketchum said.
On Saturday, he said the Aspen boys will face another tough challenge in the state-ranked Moffat County Bulldogs (4-1 overall, 2-0 in the Western Slope League).
“Everybody knows how good they are,” Kethum said. “They are loaded with talent.”
They are led by 6-7 sophomore Javen Gumber.
“He dominated us at the district tournament last year,” the Aspen boys coach said, adding that Moffat County has a legion of talented guards again this year.
“We’’ll see if we are ready,” Ketchum said.
The Aspen girls will play the Moffat County girls (3-2 overall, 1-1 in league) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Basalt basketball teams jump back into action with home games against Cedaredge tonight.
The Longhorns will travel to New Castle/Silt to play Coal Ridge on Saturday.
“The kids are fired up. They are hoping to play better,” Basalt boys coach Danny Martinez said.
He’ll have a more complete roster to work with after struggling with numbers early in the season.
“I’ve got a few more pieces to work with,” he said of the 0-4 Longhorns.
He said the Longhorns will face a pair of tough challenges, including tonight’s matchup against the Cedaredge Bruins.
The Basalt girls also are looking for their first win of the season. They are 0-3 and 0-1 in the Western Slope League.
Girls High school swimming
The Aspen High School girls swim team will host the Aspen Invitational this afternoon at the pool at the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC). Events will begin at 4 p.m.
High school ski RACING
The Aspen High School cross country ski team will compete in a classic race at Gold Run in Breckenridge today.
The cross country skiers will compete in a skate race at the Frisco Nordic Center on Saturday. The events are hosted by Summit High School.
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Sophomore Ava Lane is a flourishing star in her own right, but spends a lot of her time trying to chase down senior Sierra Bower and sophomore Katelyn Maley, both in practice and in races. This, however, is only making her stronger down the line and it’s not a task she will shy away from.