Aspen to host cross country meet Saturday | AspenTimes.com

Aspen to host cross country meet Saturday

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The showcase event of the Aspen High School cross country season will return Saturday.

The annual Chris Severy Invitational will attract some 22 high school cross country teams to the challenging 5-kilometer trail course that winds along the trails around the school campus.

More than 470 high school and middle school runners will participate.

A citizens 5K on the same trail course will kick off the festivities Saturday morning. The citizens 5K will start at 8 a.m.

The start/finish for the races is on the Lower Moore Field adjacent to Aspen High School. The trails include many of the cross country ski trails in the area.

"This is a really spectator-friendly cross country course," said meet director Chris Keleher, the Aspen High School cross country coach. "This is one of the most spectator-friendly courses that we will run on all year."

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He said spectators can climb to the high point of the course and watch the runners pass through four different times.

"The course is on the Nordic trails and runs through a bunch of open fields," Keleher said, adding that spectators will have a great view of the finish stretch at the Lower Moore Field.

He said the course is challenging because it is entirely on trails — no pavement at all.

The runners will have to pay close attention to their footing at the annual Chris Severy Invitational, Keleher said.

He invited citizen runners to come out for the 8 a.m. race.

"Anybody who wants to stick around and volunteer is invited to do so," he said.

Entry fee for the citizens race is $20.

Coaches will run for free in the early race.

The racing will move to the middle school runners after the citizens race.

At 9 a.m., the middle school girls will run a 2-mile course.

At 9:15 a.m., the middle school boys will tackle the approximately 2-mile course.

At 9:30 a.m., the high school junior varsity girls will race on the 5K course.

The high school junior varisty boys will race at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The featured high school varsity races will follow.

The high school girls will race at 10:45 a.m.

The boy varsity runners will take off at 11:30 a.m.

Keleher said the teams entered range from small to medium to large.

"Basalt will be there. Basalt is good," Keleher said, adding that other area schools including Glenwood Springs will participate.

"Eagle Valley's coming. They have a good team," the Aspen coach said.

Small schools like Ouray will race in Aspen.

"Meeker, Rangely … and Kent Denver will be here," Keleher said. "Kent Denver has a very good team."

He said Denver North will make the trip from the Front Range.

A number of Colorado Springs schools also will participate.

Grand Junction Central will race along with a team representing the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.

Keleher invited the public out to cheer on the high school and middle school runners.

"It should be a good race. The colors are perfect," Keleher said. "No one can complain about the views."

The Chris Severy Invitational is held each year in memory of Chris Severy, an Aspen High School honors graduate and state high school track and cross country champion.

He went on to run for the University of Colorado where he was an All-American.

Severy was killed in a cycling accident in the Boulder area just as he was scheduled to enter medical school.

dstrode@aspentimes.com