Preps: The top storylines to remember from the fall season for Aspen and Basalt
State championships and resurgent teams defined season
And just like that, the fall season is behind us. In less than two weeks, the local ski areas will be spinning their lifts and the high school sports calendar will turn toward those winter stalwarts like basketball and hockey.
With official practices getting underway Monday for those winter teams, this seems like a good time to bid adieu to the fall prep season by looking back on the top five things to remember from the past few months between Aspen and Basalt high schools.
Katelyn Maley repeats in cross country
Winning back-to-back titles is difficult, especially when you have a giant target on your back. But Basalt junior Katelyn Maley certainly made it look easy, winning her second straight Class 3A girls state championship in cross country on Oct. 30 in Colorado Springs.
Following in the footsteps of former teammate and 2019 state champion Sierra Bower — who now runs for Furman — Maley has already cemented her status as one of the best runners the valley has likely ever seen. The fun part is she still has a year to go. In fact, the BHS girls cross country team didn’t have a single senior and should be a viable threat for a team title next fall. That group includes current junior Ava Lane, who finished eighth at the state meet this year.
Aspen boys golf wins another state title
When Aspen won its first state championship in boys golf back in 2018, it wasn’t much of a surprise. That team was loaded with talent and experience and was favored by many to win. But this year’s team came into the season with little expectation of success outside of star senior Nic Pevny, who won the program’s first individual state title as a junior. While Pevny’s quest for a repeat title came up just short, he remained the catalyst in the Skiers’ surprising run to the 3A team championship on Oct. 5 in Elizabeth.
Will Stiller, Sky Sosna and Lucas Lee joined Pevny as the group that gave coach Mary Woulfe a second team championship in four years. Pevny, who will play collegiately at the University of Denver, has likely cemented his status as the program’s greatest ever player in terms of what he accomplished in high school competition.
Aspen boys soccer rallies to make postseason
The Aspen boys soccer team hadn’t been to the postseason since 2018 before putting together a strong finish to the regular season this fall. A program seemingly mired in mediocrity in recent years, the Skiers had a breakthrough season to finish 9-6-1 overall and third in the Western Slope League and proved it could hang with the state’s best. The season ended with a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to DSST: Green Valley Ranch in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.
However, that late-season push included a 3-2 win over rival Roaring Fork, the league champion. Of course, the Rams went on to even bigger things, like a shocking run as the No. 11 seed to win the 3A state championship on Friday, a first for the Rams’ soccer. It was a much-deserved title for one of the valley’s best programs.
Aspen volleyball springs back to life
Brittany Zanin’s first two seasons leading her alma mater were challenging, to say the least, especially with the 3-11 pandemic spring season only a few months ago.
But the young AHS coach finally saw the team have its breakthrough on the volleyball court this fall, finishing 17-6 overall and second in the Western Slope League. The Skiers made the postseason for the first time since the 2018 season, when Zanin was an assistant, and even won a game at regionals before losing to eventual state runner-up Lamar.
Basalt boys tennis makes program history
A few seasons in and the Basalt boys tennis program finally got a major monkey off its back this fall. The Longhorns made their varsity debut in 2018 and since then had failed to qualify anyone through to the state tournament until Elias Schendler and Taylor Hays showed up.
The freshmen, playing together at No. 4 doubles, did enough at regionals to qualify for the state tournament and will forever be the first players to do so for the program as it moves forward. Not only did they qualify, but they even won their first-round match at state and they give Basalt tennis something to build around over the next few years.
The Aspen High School boys golf team scratched its way to a fifth-place finish in the Class 3A state tournament on Tuesday at Pinehurst Country Club in Denver, while Basalt finished eighth in the season finale.