The ‘small but mighty’ Basalt track and field team ready to play superhero at state |

The ‘small but mighty’ Basalt track and field team ready to play superhero at state

State runs Thursday through Saturday in Lakewood

Basalt High School senior Rulbe Alvarado explodes off the blocks in a sprint during practice on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Basalt. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Basalt High School’s “small but mighty” track and field team is ready to save the day. Well, the Longhorns will train hard and probably break a few school records at least, although coach Allyson Decatur does liken the athletes to superheroes from time to time.

“The team is basically like the ‘Justice League’ where each athlete or superhero brings a unique and refined superpower to our track and field program,” she said. “It’s really not one powerful athlete dominating the entire team. There is so much depth on our team.”

A squad of only 13 students and three coaches — Decatur, Ron Lund and Kat Lewis — this season, Basalt will likely see nine of those athletes compete at the track and field state championships, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Lakewood. This is the first state meet since 2019, as the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic.

While the Longhorns are led by their star distance runners in senior Sierra Bower and sophomore Katelyn Maley, they don’t operate in a way where they need a single superhero to save them. With such a high percentage of the team having qualified for state and school records having fallen on both the track and the field, they truly embrace the team aspect.

“It’s really cool to watch everyone work so hard every day,” BHS sophomore distance runner Ava Lane said. “It’s really inspiring, and as a whole we are a very tight-knit group and we all care a lot about each other and how everyone succeeds on a day-to-day basis.”

Lane will join Bower and Maley in the Class 3A girls’ 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races at state, while the latter two will also compete in the 800-meter run. That trio, along with senior Kaitlin Boothe, will comprise the team’s 4×800-meter relay.

The BHS girls will also have a sprint medley relay team, comprised of Boothe, Willow Bower — Sierra’s freshman sister — and the senior twins in Katie and Chandra Bohannan. The medley has a unique story as it was tossed together somewhat randomly late in the season and managed to break the school record. And this was with Katie Bohannan, who isn’t a runner per se, having been asked to run 100 meters of the race on a whim.

The Basalt High School track and field team poses for a photo ahead of the state championship meet on Tuesday, June, 22, 2021, in Basalt. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

“I’ve never ran a race in my whole high school career. Last week was my first time,” she said. “I had my whole team supporting me because I was really nervous about actually running on the track, but it was really fun.”

The Basalt boys will be represented on the track by senior Rulbe Alvarado, who will compete in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes.

He prefers the shorter sprints, but unfortunately discovered he’s pretty strong in the 400 and enters the state meet with one of the better seed times (50.96 seconds). The Class 3A boys’ 400-meter dash prelims are Thursday evening.

“I’m hoping to get at least a top-three finish in one of them. But I’m just there to enjoy it,” Alvarado said. “The (400) is a hard race. Then I ran it at Montrose and had a really good time and was qualified for states, so I was like, ‘I’ll just do it then. Might as well.’”

In the field events, it will be BHS junior Ryan Zheng in the boys’ high jump, where he enters with a top mark of 5 feet, 9 inches. He’ll need another foot to catch up with the mark of event favorite Sonny Ciccarelli of Woodland Park.

Basalt High School senior Katie Bohannan prepares to take part in sprinting drills during track practice on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in Basalt. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Katie Bohannan also is qualified in three field events: high jump, pole vault and long jump. She said breaking the school record in the long jump (15-11.25) earlier this season was the biggest surprise of her season, outside of maybe being tossed into the medley relay.

“There is only one meet this year where a school record was not broken. That’s pretty tremendous,” Decatur said. “I’m really proud of the team we’ve created as coaches. We are extremely collaborative. We talk all the time and it’s really proven to be effective that the three of us work extremely well together and have each other’s backs.”

Of note, the Aspen High School track and field team will not have any athletes competing at the state meet this spring.

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