Area runners shine in Delta | AspenTimes.com

Area runners shine in Delta

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Tamie Meck/Courtesy photoAspen's Ben Moscona crosses the finish line in 10th at Wednesday's 3A Region 1 meet in Delta.

Aspen cross-country coach Chris Keleher said his squad performs better on hillier, challenging terrain.

In Wednesday’s 3A Region 1 cross-country meet at Delta’s Confluence Park, the Skiers proved they could adapt and excel.

“Delta is a track meet,” Keleher said. “It’s totally flat and all crushed gravel. It’s fun, though. The kids like to run fast. There’s nothing wrong with running fast.”

A year after securing what is believed to be their first regional crown since 2001 on the same Delta course, the Skiers girls logged three top-15 finishes and wound up third overall. Their male counterparts took fourth, one spot ahead of Basalt, which had two in the top five.

All three teams will be heading to state Oct. 27 at Colorado Springs’ Norris-Penrose Event Center.

“I did (expect this),” Keleher said. “We knew coming in that anything could happen. I was pretty sure that if they ran as hard and consistently as they did all season, good things were going to happen.”

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Basalt’s Zach Walsh matched his third-place effort at last week’s Rifle Invitational, crossing the finish line in 16 minutes 53 seconds. Jacob Besser (16:59), Lyle Luckett (18:43) and Gordon Murphy (18:58) wound up fifth, 35th and 43rd for the Longhorns, who tallied 85 points.

Bayfield (41), Pagosa Springs (43) and Gunnison (65) captured the top three spots. Ben Moscona (17:20) and Hudson McNamee (17:32) finished 10th and 13th for the Skiers, who took fourth with 79 points. Teammates Taggart Sullivan (18:12) and Mikey George (18:41) wound up 22nd and 34th.

“The kids knew the course, for the most part, and that definitely helps,” Keleher said. “We had a good week leading up to this, and the kids were psyched.

“It was good weather for running. It was a little breezy, and it was nice that a cold front moved in because we were worried it was going to be really hot.”

Megan Woodrow (20:44) paced the Aspen girls in ninth. Lily Isaacson (20:52), Megan Hanson (21:02) and Nina Beidleman (21:23) scored valuable points with 12th-, 15th- and 20th-place finishes.

“That’s a pretty small gap in time at the top. Any time you can do that, you can have some pretty good results,” Keleher said. “It shows that they’ve all been working hard, enjoy running with one another and have fun.”

Keleher is hoping that formula yields more success in Colorado Springs.

“They think of this as a big load off their back, and now they can go run well at state,” Keleher said. “They’re excited to all get a chance to run at a big meet. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com