Alpine Christian girls second at Liberty Bell |

Alpine Christian girls second at Liberty Bell

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Size doesn’t matter.

The girls cross country team from Basalt’s Alpine Christian Academy (high school enrollment: 25) outran much larger schools, once again, at the 25th annual Liberty Bell race Saturday in Littleton, the biggest meet in the state.

Competing at the 3A level with 26 other schools (enrollment: 600 or less), the Alpine Christian girls finished second overall, behind Denver Christian and ahead of Holy Family.

“Having our full team there, I thought maybe we had a chance to go top-10, top-5 if we got lucky,” said Alpine Christian coach Ron Lund. “I was as surprised as anybody. They just ran a great race.”

Alpine Christian’s Ashley Eaton and March Thompson were fourth and fifth overall, respectively, in the field of 135 girls in the 3A varsity 5K. Eaton finished in 20 minutes, 18 seconds, while Thompson was a yawn behind in 20:27. La Junta’s Ashlee Velez won the race (19:34).

Alpine Christian’s Deanna Spracher was 21st, followed by Whitney Lund (39th), Samantha Hoffman (60th), Heather Conder (85th), Ukare Sano (88th), Stephanie Morley (107th) and Meagan Goodwin (126th).

“I think it was a personal record for everybody but Ashley,” Lund said. “And you’d expect that because it’s a flat course and we’ve been running up in the mountains.”

Last weekend, in fact, the Alpine Christian team raced Friday at Palisade, then Saturday at Leadville. It was an ambitious plan that Lund termed a “character-builder.”

“A couple of the kids are new to that kind of training, back-to-back races,” Lund said. “And having just run at Leadville, where it’s hard enough to walk, this seemed easy. I think they felt a lot better and it showed.”

Success at the Liberty Bell meet, however, is nothing new for Alpine Christian. The Class 3A state champion runnersup in 2000 and third-place finisher at the state meet last year won the last two 3A Liberty Bell titles, a meet that drew over 2,000 runners this year.

On the boys side, Alpine Christian’s John Tucker was 31st (18:06) in the 3A field of 159 runners. Collin Stewart was 55th and Keane Karnan was 80th. (Alpine Christian did not record a boys team finish because four runners must finish to score; Lund hopes to have his fourth runner healthy by next week.)

Meanwhile, the Aspen High boys and girls teams raced at the annual “Sufferfest” meet in Steamboat Saturday, though results were not available Sunday. Both Aspen and Alpine Christian will race Tuesday afternoon at the Georgetown Invitational.

“This will be the first time we’ll see Aspen with our full team,” Lund said. “And that’ll give us a good indication of where we’re at because they’ve got a very good team.”