Sports briefs: Alpine team, other local athletes prep for weekend

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If you go

What: Alpine skiing slalom race

When: First run at 10 a.m. today

Where: Howelsen Hill

There might not be a better way for the Steamboat Springs High School Alpine team to open its season and prep for the holiday break at the same time.

The Sailors host a slalom race with the first run starting at 10 a.m. today at Howelsen Hill. The second run should take place between 1 and 1:30 p.m.

Including Steamboat, 10 teams are expected to attend the race, which is often considered the toughest in the high school season.

“It’s great for our kids because we train here,” coach Kate Warner said. “Other schools might be a little intimidated because of how steep it is.”

Warner said the snow at Howelsen has held up well and remained firm for most of the week.

The race will be the first chance for skiers to qualify for the state meet, which Warner said is a goal of all the skiers.

“I’d like to see them do well,” she said. “We want to get as many of them as we can to state.”

Soroco basketball to face North Park today on road

The Soroco High School boys basketball team enters a 7:30 p.m. contest today at North Park, finally healthy for the first time all year.

The Rams get back 6-foot-5-inch post player Matt Watwood, who was recovering from a leg injury suffered during the football season.

With Watwood back in the lineup, Soroco coach Sam McLeod said the primary goal for the Rams’ last game before the holiday break is to find some continuity on the roster.

“That is a pretty big deal, seeing where we are,” McLeod said. “Then we start playing league games. We have been in a position where we haven’t had all our players.”

The boys team also will try to find an identity. Whereas in years past, the Rams have been an up-tempo team, McLeod said with the addition of Watwood, Soroco is changing its offensive plan to cater to its size. 

“We’re retooling what we do to meet our strengths,” he said.

The girls team, which plays at 6 p.m. today, will be trying to get off a losing streak against North Park. The Soroco girls have struggled in sports against North Park for the past few years, and girls coach David Bruner said that has been a topic of conversation in practice this week.

“We’d like to go on to break on a winning note,” Bruner said. “That’s key. Our girls understand that we haven’t beat North Park for a long time in basketball or volleyball. They’ve talked about that some this week. We want to get that monkey off our back.”

Steamboat high school hockey set for 2 games

Although many winter sports teams have the luxury of starting their league or conference season after the holiday break, the Steamboat Springs High School hockey team is already in the midst of conference play.

Steamboat plays at Peak Conference foe Palmer at 4 p.m. today and then plays at 8 p.m. Saturday against Chatfield. The Chatfield game isn’t a conference game.

Conference games are all the more important when playoff seeding is considered because teams are placed in the bracket according to how they finished in their conference.

“Certainly, the conference games are more important because that’s where the seeding goes,” coach Jeff Ruff said. “The guys are real focused on the Palmer game. They’ve worked hard this week.”

Steamboat, at 2-1-2, is coming off an undefeated weekend where it got contributions from all over its top two lines. Ruff said that will have to continue this weekend so Steamboat can build momentum going toward the holiday break.

“It goes a long way to having a better attitude into working out over the break,” he said.

“If we keep getting scoring from different lines, we’ll be hard to play against.”

Regional wrestlers to compete in West Grand

The Hayden, Soroco and Steamboat Springs High School wrestling teams compete Saturday at the West Grand Tournament in Kremmling. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. and often brings in some of the top small school teams in the state. It will be the last tournament before the holiday break. Each school resumes competition in early January.

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