SHS winter teams off to mostly good starts
FARMER’S KORNER – It has been a season of success thus far for Summit High School’s winter sports teams, in most cases, with the majority of the action still to come.All seven Tiger squads have completed their early season schedules and are currently on holiday breaks, but the first month of competition seemed a good indicator for what can be expected over the final six weeks.Here’s a look at each individual team, its record so far, some individual names to keep an eye on as the season wears on, and what to expect team-wise as we head toward late February.Alpine skiingThe team’s only race thus far was a giant slalom on Vail’s Golden Peak last weekend, and despite the absence of some of its top racers, Summit fared well. The girls won the team portion of the race, led by senior all-stater Shelly Miller, who took fourth.Junior Katie Hartman, the defending state champ in slalom, missed last week’s race but will likely play a primary role in defending the girls state title the Tigers won last year. Freshmen Chelsey Fretz and Laurel Broten posted top-10 results at the season-opening GS, their first career high school race, and could factor into coach Tory Hauser’s plans at Keystone for the state races Feb. 18-19.On the boys side, Hauser was without all six of his seeded skiers (six are seeded; the top three seeds score team points), but freshman Mark Miller made a good first impression at Vail, finishing 15th. Expect to see all-state skiers Taggert Spenst and Josh Stuhr near the top of the standings in February.
Nordic skiingTraditionally the stronger half of Summit’s ski dynasty, first-year head coach Tom Sain’s Nordic skiers fared quite well in their only race thus far, an interval start classic at Steamboat.Junior Brittany Perkins, the defending state champ in freestyle, finished a team-best third in the girls race, followed closely by her younger sister, freshman Briana, in fourth. It should be an interesting – and beneficial, for the team – sibling rivalry between the two as the season goes on.Also watch for Leah Venturoni, Shannon Sonnett, Lauren Jefferson and Ali Kreamelmeyer to contribute points.Veteran Patrick Neel, in seventh, was the top boys finisher at Steamboat, and was followed by four other returning Tigers in the top 15 – Kevin Soller, Isaac Phillips, Matt Bowers and Marshall Snead.As evidenced by the graduated Pete Richmond’s surprise win in last year’s state classic race, any of Summit’s skiers is capable of pulling out a victory – especially this year, with the state titles being decided at Gold Run in Breckenridge – so don’t be fooled by the five SHS skiers in places seven through 15.
Boys basketballThe Tigers enter the break at 5-2, a good mark but not as good as they were shooting for. They’ve shown potential to beat the good teams (see the convincing win over Moffat County), yet have fallen short on other nights against teams they might usually beat.Coach Mike Rathgeber has plenty of individual talent in his five senior starters – Kylor Dossett, Mike Holloway, Garrison Green, Aaron George and Ben Clark – any of whom is capable of leading the team in scoring on a given night. Also watch for the production from talented sophomore Clint Hamilton to increase once he gets more comfortable at the varsity level and learns to stay out of foul trouble.The key for this group will be finding a way to put its best effort on the floor on a consistent enough basis to get the Tigers into the state tournament with a decent seed. Then, the fun begins.Girls basketballIt’s been a one-two punch from senior Shannon Buhler and freshman Samantha Neal that has carried Summit to its surprising 5-2 start. Under the guidance of first-year players coach Jeff Neal, the Tigers have shown an ability to not only win the games they should, but also beat teams that might have been out of their league in years past.Returning first team all-Jeffco selection Amanda Neal, a junior, still hasn’t fully recovered from a shoulder injury, and whether she can regain her strength and dominate the low post like last year might prove key to how far this team goes.
HockeyThings haven’t gone as smoothly as can be so far for the Tigers on skates, as first-year coach Colin Smith’s team has struggled to a 1-3 record thus far. Summit has been outscored 18-8 in that time, but beat a decent Steamboat squad, 3-2, along the way for its one win. Cam Carlson scored a hat trick against the Sailors to key the win, and is a talented scorer who can be the go-to guy. Billy Barto continues to lead the blue-liners, and sophomore Seth Wickham always has shut-down potential in goal.Making noise in the playoffs is a long shot, but Summit, as Smith molds the team to his liking, could certainly make the postseason with a strong push beginning in January.Girls swimming and divingThe Tigers are 0-2 in dual meets, and have competed in five meets overall. Theirs is a young team, void of superstars, but the continued progress and improvement has been a bright spot for first-year coach Laura Graf.
Individually, sophomore Kylie Nilson qualified for the state 50-yard freestyle race her first meet, against Golden, and she should make it in the 100 free (if not more events) by the end of the year, as well.The divers have been another bright spot, consistently putting together good combinations and landing on or near the podium.WrestlingThe season took a turn for the better with the recent return of last year’s top wrestler, Andrew Vawter-Beaird, who had missed the first few meets because he didn’t have enough practices under his belt. Along with solid teammates Charles Keeling and Scott Campbell, Vawter-Beaird has given new coach Jim Melvin reason to be optimistic for the season’s later stretches.Winning as a team continues to be a long shot for the undermanned Tigers, but qualifying a wrestler or two for regionals is a definite possibility.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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