Preps: Looking back on the abbreviated 2020-2021 winter high school seasons
The winter prep season is upon us. But before we look toward this year, let’s flashback to last winter and recap what happened between the Aspen and Basalt teams. The 2020-21 winter seasons were overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, with shortened schedules and plenty of cancellations.
In what would ultimately be the final year for the Aspen boys under coach Alex Schrempf, the Skiers had a breakthrough season in the COVID-shortened campaign, finishing 13-2 overall. Aspen made the Class 3A state quarterfinals as the No. 6 seed, losing to No. 3 seed Sterling, 54-52. The Skiers’ only other loss came early in the season, a 57-47 league loss to Coal Ridge.
The Basalt boys, which dealt with some COVID-19 issues during the season, finished 5-4 overall and did not make the postseason. Still, BHS went 3-1 in league play and won three out of four to finish.
The Basalt girls were solid as well, going 9-4 overall. The Longhorns started the season on fire, reaching 8-0, but stumbled a bit down the stretch. They made the 3A state tournament as the No. 17 seed, losing in the first round to No. 16 Lamar, 37-23.
The Aspen girls did not field a varsity team last winter, playing only at the JV level in an attempt to rebuild the program.
It was another rough season for Aspen hockey, with the Skiers going 3-9 overall. Two of those wins came over Summit, with the third coming over Glenwood Springs. Only four teams made the Class 4A state tournament because of a shortened format due to the pandemic, with Battle Mountain beating Crested Butte in the championship game, 5-4.
The Aspen ski team dominated last year much as it’s been doing. The AHS boys won their fourth straight state championship, while the AHS girls won it all for the third time in four years. Freshman Chase Kelly stood out, winning both the boys slalom and giant slalom races at state, while senior Taiga Moore and sophomore Elsie Weiss cleaned up in the Nordic races. The state championship is a combination of Alpine and Nordic events.
Basalt only had one wrestler qualify for the condensed state tournament, and that was Roaring Fork student Ruben Samuelson. The senior capped off a stellar career with BHS — he tallied more than 100 varsity wins — by finishing fourth in the 195-pound bracket in the 3A tournament.
The Aspen girls swim team finished second in Class 3A, led by the classification’s swimmer of the year in junior Kayla Tehrani. She was part of two state championship wins for the Skiers, winning the 100-yard butterfly as an individual and sharing the 200-yard medley relay title with her teammates in Lilly Huggard, Emily Kinney and Bennett Jones. All this despite Aspen again having one of the smaller rosters in the state.
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Spectators can still cheer on Aspen School District athletes so long as they wear a mask and follow current pandemic health and safety protocols, Superintendent David Baugh wrote in a Jan. 18 update on COVID-19 policies and school sports.