Aspen boys, girls cross country sweeps home meet with regionals approaching
1. Aspen, 42
2. Ouray, 67
3. Kent Denver, 89
1. Cooper Rondinelli, Ouray 19:05
2. Everett Olson, Aspen 19:37.9
3. Jonathan Hernandez, Rifle 20:05.2
4. Nicholas Galambos, Aspen 20:23.9
5. Colt Whitley, Aspen 20:30.5
1. Aspen, 29
2. Grand Junction, 46
3. Basalt, 85
1. Chloe Veilleux, Soroco 22:43.2
2. Mandy Moran, Grand Junction 23:10.2
3. Kylie Kenny, Aspen 23:27.8
4. Kendall Clark, Aspen 23:30.3
5. Sierra Bower, Basalt 23:49
About three seconds is all that separated Kylie Kenny and Kendall Clark on Saturday, which is hardly surprising considering the Aspen High School sophomores pretty much run in tandem most races. Things tend to go haywire when they don’t have each other to lean on.
“It helps us a lot, actually,” Kenny said of running together. “The one race when Kendall was on Ex-Ed and I was by myself, my pace was all messed up because I didn’t have my teammate to pace off of.”
They were there for each other on Saturday, when Kenny finished third and Clark fourth in the annual Chris Severy Invitational, Aspen’s lone regular-season home cross country meet each fall. The pair led a group of four AHS girls to finish in the top 10 of the race, which ended with Aspen winning its home meet for the second year in a row.
“We all worked hard and ran together as a team in the week leading up to it,” Kenny said. “We were super excited going into this race. I think, for us, it was kind of an opportunity to see how we stacked up as a team before regionals coming up in two weeks.”
The Aspen boys also took the team title, winning for the third year in a row. Longtime coach Chris Keleher believes last year’s AHS sweep was the first for the Skiers in this meet, so to get a boys and girls sweep in back-to-back seasons is quite the feat.
“It’s always good to win two weeks out from regionals,” Keleher said. “There is definitely some momentum to build on going into the next week and the regional meet.”
Soroco senior Chloe Veilleux, who won the Class 2A state championship as a sophomore, won Saturday’s race in Aspen with a time of 22 minutes, 43.2 seconds. Grand Junction sophomore Mandy Moran was second in 23:10.2. Kenny was third in 23:27.8 and Clark fourth in 23:30.3. Basalt sophomore Sierra Bower led the Longhorns, taking fifth in 23:49.
Aspen sophomores Edie Sherlock (7th, 24:22.7) and Macy Hopkinson (9th, 24:36.8) also finished top 10 in the girls race. Basalt junior Lily Gillis was just outside, finishing 12th in 25:30.3.
“I thought it was really fun for us to win the home meet for the second year in a row. I love running with Kylie,” Clark said. “I kind of let her go in the end, there. She can kick it when I can’t.”
The Aspen girls finished with 29 points. Grand Junction was second with 46 points and Basalt third with 85 points.
Ouray senior Cooper Rondinelli won the boys race in 19:05, while Aspen senior Everett Olson came in second with a time of 19:37.9. Rifle’s Jonathan Hernandez was third in 20:05.2, with Aspen seniors Nicholas Galambos (4th, 20:23.9) and Colt Whitley (5th, 20:30.5) rounding out the top five.
The Aspen boys finished with 42 points for the win, followed by Ouray’s 67 points and Kent Denver’s 89 points. The Basalt boys were eighth with 168 points. Senior Leighton Albright led the Longhorns, finishing 23rd.
Complete results can be found through MileSplit.
Tentatively, Basalt is scheduled to close out its regular season Thursday at a meet in Rifle, while Aspen will compete Saturday at the laid-back Montrose relays. Then, both teams will head to Aspen Golf Club for the regional meet.
Teams only get to host regionals roughly every 14 years, with each of the teams getting to take a turn, so the Skiers want to take advantage of having the state qualifier in their own backyard.
“It’s kind of scary, but at the same time I’m glad,” Clark said. “I’m glad regionals is at home while I’m coming through here so I can get a good nights rest and know the course beforehand.”
The regional meet is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 19, with races scheduled for 11 and 11:45 a.m. on the golf course.
Let’s make some skiing predictions. I made my X Games snowboarding predictions a day earlier and remain only mildly lukewarm in terms of confidence, but maybe I’ll feel better about the skiers.