Basalt’s dynamic trio among the favorites to take home distance gold at state track
Bower, Maley and Lane have “their moment to shine”
Ava Lane is one of the better distance runners in the state, although it can be difficult to remember when her teammates take most of the headlines.
The Basalt High School sophomore is a flourishing star in her own right, but spends a lot of her time trying to chase down Sierra Bower and Katelyn Maley, both in practice and in races.
This, however, is only making her stronger and it’s not a task she will shy away from.
“It’s so, so helpful, because you get to see them when they are so focused and if I can keep them in sight it feels like a win already,” Lane said. “They are both outstanding runners and they set such a high expectation for themselves, but they care a lot about the team and they create a really good dynamic. And then once it’s on the track, they have their game face on. It’s a good standard to set.”
Lane is very much part of the dynamic trio that includes Bower and Maley on the BHS track and field team, which will compete in the state championships beginning Thursday in Lakewood. This will be the first state meet since 2019, after the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic.
Bower, a senior, and Maley, another sophomore, will be among the favorites in the Class 3A girls’ distance races over the next few days at Jefferson County Stadium.
“Not having it last year made everyone a lot more motivated and I think we are all very prepared and ready for this weekend,” Bower said of state. “It’s good preparation going into the college life. I think it’s been a good opportunity for me to have people like that to run with.”
Bower, who is signed to run for Furman in college, enters the state meet with the fastest qualifying time ahead of Saturday afternoon’s 1,600-meter run, or the mile, in 5 minutes, 00.07 seconds. Maley has the second-fastest qualifying time in 3A at 5:03.30, with Coal Ridge standout sophomore Mikayla Cheney third in 5:05. Lane qualified 15th in the 18-runner field in 5:25.44.
Maley has the top qualifying time for Friday’s 3A girls’ 800-meter run in 2:15.53, while Cheney is second in 2:16.40 and Bower is fifth in 2:17.98. Lane will not compete in the 800.
For Friday’s 3A girls’ 3,200-meter run (or 2-mile), Alamosa freshman Sarah Delacerda has the top qualifying time of 11:19.57, while Maley is second in 11:23.93, Bower is sixth (11:31.18) and Lane is eighth (11:39.76).
“It’s definitely helped,” Maley said of having such elite talent to run with. “Every day we get to train together, so it helps with the confidence and getting to know each other’s running styles. It just makes it fun. Running by myself in the winter is not fun, so being out here with the team and Ava and Sierra is just awesome.”
Bower and Maley are no strangers to winning. In 2019, when Bower was only a sophomore, she finished second at state in a sprint finish in the 3,200-meter race. Then, the following fall as a junior, she dominated the 3A girls’ state cross country race for the championship. A year later — as in, this past fall — Maley announced her arrival by blowing by everyone to win the state championship herself, while Bower was fifth in her title defense.
“Ava, she gets to chase two state champions every day in practice. And she knows that’s going to make her a much better runner,” said Ron Lund, Basalt’s longtime head cross country coach who also mentors the distance runners during the track season. “Once they hit the line all bets are off. They are best friends until the gun goes off and then it’s another competitor, which I think is the way it should be. They both just really love to compete, as well as Ava. They manage it and they compliment each other and make each other better.”
The trio also will be part of the Basalt girls’ 4×800-meter relay team, along with senior — or should we say recent graduate — Kaitlin Boothe. Their qualifying time of 10:08.09 ranks them fifth entering Thursday’s 5 p.m. race. Berthoud comes in as the favorite with a seed time of 9:35.41.
“I know both of them — and Ava, actually — are going to push each other,” BHS head track and field coach Allyson Decatur said of Maley and Bower. “The hunger is there. And Katelyn Maley, this is her first year and she is extremely hungry coming off the cross country season as a state champion. I just know they’ve been working extremely hard and this is their moment to shine.”
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