The important games begin after the winter break in high school sports. For basketball and hockey, the few weeks in December before breaking for the end of the semester can be seen as a preseason of sorts, loading up on tough opponents to test their skill and squeeze out some bonus points in the RPI index that’s used to rank playoff teams at season’s end.
The turn of the calendar brings around the games against league opponents and the chance to compete for league titles. Elsewhere, it also means the beginning of the season in proper, as high school Alpine and Nordic skiing got underway Friday.
Here are results from the first events following the holiday school break:
The preps ski season kicked off for both Alpine and Nordic disciplines on Friday.
At Keystone, Aspen High came away with giant slalom wins for both the boys and girls Alpine teams. For AHS, senior Stella Sherlock took the overall win, nearly a full second ahead of Summit’s Luci Brady in second place. Senior Chloe Smith, junior Sienna Hendrickson and senior Cate Simpson claimed second through fourth, respectively, as the Skiers claimed 175 team points ahead of Summit’s 164.
On the boys side, Summit claimed the top two individual spots, but the third through fifth finishes by junior Sasha Forman, senior Kenny McPhee and freshman Luka Smalls were enough to push the Skiers over the top. Aspen scored 171 points to second-place Summit’s 162.
At Vail Golf Club in Nordic competition, the Skiers finished second of four on the girls side and fourth of five on the boys side. Michaela Kenny and Julia Diaz took third and fourth, followed by Colby Vanderaa in 11th, Stella Lodge in 15th and Eleanor Carroll in 20th.
Henry Braudis took fourth for Aspen in the boys race, with Luka Smalls also competing, finishing in 14th.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School took fourth in the girls race on Lucy Ingram’s 17th place and third in the boys, led by Tieman Pittz’s seventh place and Tristan Trantow’s ninth.
After a hot 7-2 start to the season entering winter break, the Glenwood Springs Demons stumbled out of the gate with a 61-31 loss at Green Mountain, ranked No. 8 in 5A by MaxPreps, on Wednesday before coming out on the tail end of a tightly-contested 55-51 overtime contest hosting Berthoud on Friday.
In Friday’s game, no team was able to pull away, with the score being separated at most by three points at each buzzer, with Glenwood carrying a 27-24 lead into the half.
The Demons travel to Fruita Monument on Thursday before returning to host Montrose on Jan. 17. They’re currently ranked ninth in 5A in the state.
Aspen is the only other local team with action in the new year, falling 36-11 against Steamboat Springs on Saturday to drop to 0-8 on the season. The Skiers host Grand Valley on Thursday, seeking their first league win since rebooting their varsity program this year. The Cardinals are 2-3 on the season.
Basalt’s comeback bid on Friday against Grand Junction Central came up just short — one point, to be exact.
The Longhorns entered the fourth quarter trailing 37-31, held back by a second quarter that saw them score only four points. In the final frame, they held Central to single-digit points for the first time in the game while rallying for 14 of their own, coming up just shy of completing the bid and falling 46-45. The loss dropped the Longhorns to 4-5 on the season ahead of their league opener on Tuesday night hosting Summit. The game started after press time.
Following a loss to the school’s alumni in the inaugural Lucas Lee Game on Friday night, Aspen kicked off its league championship defense on Saturday with a loss to Steamboat Springs, 43-29. The Skiers fell to 4-3 overall and host Moffat County on Friday, seeking to get back to .500 in the 4A Western Slope League.
Glenwood Springs’ dreams of an undefeated season were snuffed out, but the Demons were still able to take positives from their post-new year play, going 3-1 since the turn of the calendar.
The Demons dealt defending state champion Cheyenne Mountain its first shutout since the 2019-20 playoffs on Jan. 3, 5-0. But with a second game dropping the puck the next day, around 14 hours later, the Red-Tailed Hawks earned some redemption with a dominant 6-1 win, Glenwood’s first loss of the season.
GSHS rebounded to top Mullen 9-1 on Saturday and Standley Lake 4-1 on Monday to move to 6-1 on the season and 2-0 in league play. Across the state, 4A coaches are still ranking Glenwood Springs No. 3 in the classification, receiving a first-place vote in polling released on Jan. 3.
The Demons host Durango on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Glenwood won its sixth consecutive meet to start the season, placing first of seven at the Montrose Invitational on Saturday. The Demons didn’t have an individual event winner but took five second places: Anna Thornton in the 50-meter free; and Sadie Hoiland in the 100-meter free and the 200-meter free, 200-meter medley and 400-meter free relay races.
Aspen finished sixth in the meet, led by Lilly Huggard’s win in the 200-meter individual medley.
The Demons were ranked fourth in the 3A classification in the last posting by CHSAA with 265 points, six behind third-place St. Mary’s.
Basalt finished seventh and Glenwood Springs finished ninth in the Eagle Valley Invitational on Saturday.
For Basalt, Brady Samuelson took first in the varsity 190-pound bracket with Dayton Schenk taking second in the 175. In junior varsity, Towler Scott won the 113, Rooney Requeno took second in the 120 and Herberth Requeno took second in the 157.
The Demons got a gold medal from Kodiak Kellog in the varsity 215 and a silver from Leobardo Meraz in the 138. In JV, Sora Hess’ third in the 138 led the way.