Basalt girls take first at Liberty Bell | AspenTimes.com

Basalt girls take first at Liberty Bell

Nate Peterson

The top four runners from the Basalt girls cross-country team propelled the Longhorns to a team title at the Liberty Bell Invite in Denver on Friday. (Courtesy Ron Lund)

The Longhorns harriers surprised in Denver on Friday, winning the girls team title in the lower schools division at the Liberty Bell Invite in Denver.The Liberty Bell has a reputation for being the biggest regular season meet in the state, attracting all the best schools from every classification. Considering those circumstances, head coach Ron Lund was thrilled to see his girls win. He was also pleasantly surprised to see his boys team finish second, after finishing no higher than ninth in previous trips to the Denver meet.”To see our boys run as strong as they did when we were facing the top teams in our classification is very exciting,” Lund said. “We’ve got some work to do, but it’s a good result. For the girls, I think they were a little shocked. There were more than 140 runners there, and it’s always a tough field.”

Lund’s junior daughter, Amy, turned in the fastest five kilometers for the girls, finishing seventh with a time of 20 minutes, 18 seconds.Senior Kate Wilson finished 11th in 20:54, followed by senior Emily Taets in 25th in 21:34 and sophomore Nuala Del Piccolo in 36th place in 22:26.Basalt’s team score of 79 points nipped Machebauf and its second-place tally of 83. Brush was right behind in third, with 84. The Aspen girls team finished ninth.

Lund said running at a lower elevation was possibly a psychological advantage, as was the flat course. Half of the race was on roads in a Denver neighborhood.”It’s more of a road race than a cross-country course,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we go there every year. The kids like to feel like they’re running a fast race.”For the boys, Basalt finished second with 64 points, behind preseason 3A favorite Colorado Springs Christian, which placed four runners in the top 12 for a score of 35 points.

Senior Collin Stewart turned in a strong fifth-place finish, completing the 5K course in 17:18. Sophomore Casey Weaver was 13th in 17:42, followed by junior Duncan McDaniel in 15th place 17:53 and senior Theo Pulver, 31st in 18:43. Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com.