AHS runners bring fleet feet to state meet
The Aspen High School girls and boys cross country teams ran to fourth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively, at Saturday’s State Cross Country Championships in Denver.
“It was awesome,” said Chris Keleher, coach of the boys and girls teams. “We shocked a lot of people.”
Aspen’s Michael Otte and Conor Flynn earned all-state honors by running to fifth- and eighth-place finishes overall. Jenny Hamilton of Aspen also earned all-state recognition with an eighth-place finish in the girls race.
The girls team, comprised of Hamilton, who covered the 5K course in 20 minutes, 33.7 seconds, Besha Deane (24th, 21:21.2), Dylan Braun (25th, 21:22.7), Korry Johnson (67th, 22:30.7) and Erin Keirnan (95th, 23:25.2), finished fourth among 23 of the best Class 3A teams in Colorado.
Denver Christian won the meet by just one point over Basalt’s Alpine Christian Academy. D’Evelyn was third, just one point ahead of Aspen in fourth.
“This group of girls continued to inspire and impress me,” Keleher said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a tougher group of girls.”
“Jenny [Hamilton] had a great race,” he continued. “I knew she was capable of running with the leaders; now she knows she can too.”
On the boys side, Denver Christian won the team standings as well, followed by Gunnison, Colorado Springs Christian, Lyons and then Aspen.
Otte led the boys team over the 5K course with a time of 16:54.9 to take fifth place, followed by Flynn (eighth, 17:21.6), Franko Peters (56th, 18:35.3), Nick Cortez (93rd, 19:13.9) and Weston Paas (106th, 19:23.4).
“Michael Otte ran another impressive race,” Keleher said. “I told him all year long that he could be all-state [with a top-ten finish at state]. He led our team all year and ran the best time of his career at the state championships.
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