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Young AHS track team looking tothe future

Steve Benson

Nerves and inexperience weighed heavily on the feet of the Aspen High girls track team in the Class 3A state championships in Pueblo over the weekend.

The Skiers returned home without a medal, but coach Chris Keleher could see a silver lining in the girls’ performance, particularly in the potential the future may hold.

“For as nervous as they were, and it was easy to get nervous at a race like that, they all ran really well,” Keleher said. “The whole team has just two seniors – we have such a good thing going.”

Five AHS girls qualified for states, and four of them were either sophomores or freshmen. Erin Kiernan, the lone senior, was joined by sophomores Christy Severy, Jessica Andrews and Brittany Fortier, and freshman Sophie Ben-Hamoo. Kiernan and Severy were the only members with state experience, both having qualified for their second consecutive year.

Severy qualified for both the one-mile and two-mile races. The other four comprised the 4X800 meter relay team.

Keleher guessed the team finished in about 12th place out of 18 teams.

“They did really well. A couple ran much faster than they did at the regional race – which is good to see,” he said. “They’re all really excited.”

While Keleher said the girls got “pretty much soundly trounced,” he said that was to be expected with such a young group.

“We knew that was going to happen, there were no delusions that we could win this thing,” he said. “But we’re just building.”

Severy had an up-and-down meet, finishing in a disappointing sixth place in the two-mile race with a time of 12 minutes, 13 seconds, before rebounding with a personal best time of 5:29 in the mile, and a seventh-place finish.

“She did not have the best race ever,” Keleher said about Severy in the two-mile. “It was kind of a frustrating day for her – she knows she can run better than that, we know she can run better than that.

“That was unfortunate.”

Keleher said Severy, who has gained notoriety as an impressive cross-country runner and nordic skier, has run the two-mile in 11:32, more than 40 seconds faster than her time in states.

In the regional meet May 14-15, Severy broke a school record in the two-mile with a time of 11:43.

“But she’s just a sophomore,” Keleher said. “To expect her to go out and win everything just because she’s Christy Severy is not realistic and not fair.”

But Severy redeemed herself in the mile.

“She ran beautifully,” Keleher said. “That was a little bit of vindication. It was an excellent showing.”

Hotchkiss won the overall girls title for the third consecutive year.

No members of Aspen’s boys team qualified for states.

Basalt High brought down a team of 13 – eight girls and five boys. Longhorn senior Hank Kindell placed third in the state in the discus with a throw of 152 feet, 10 inches. Kindell was the only member of the Basalt team to place in the top eight.

“It was exciting,” BHS coach Ron Lund said about Kindell’s bronze-medal throw. “It’s the highest finish I’ve had in the five years I’ve been [at Basalt].”

Like Aspen, Basalt is young, with only three seniors making the trip to Pueblo, and the future looks bright.

“For all the underclassmen, it was a great experience for them,” Lund said. “I expect almost all of them to be back next year. They could do really well and actually start getting into the finals.”

Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com


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