Basalt, Aspen cross country teams qualify for state
The Aspen Times
High school cross country teams from Basalt and Aspen qualified for the State Cross Country Championships with their showings this week at the Class 3A Regionals in Pagosa Springs.
The Aspen High School girls team finished tied for fourth at the state-qualifying race, edging the Basalt girls in a tiebreaker that amounted to mere seconds.
The top five of the 10 teams competing earned trips to the state meet next weekend at the Penrose Equestrian Center in Colorado Springs.
The Basalt High School boys team also qualified for state with a fourth-place finish in Pagosa Springs.
Gunnison won the boys regional team title with a low of 32 points. The Longhorns were fourth with 128 points.
Moffat County won the girls title, also with a low of 32 points, led by individual winner Emily Womble (20:26).
The Aspen and Basalt girls both totaled 106, with the Skiers taking fourth in the tiebreaker.
“Both Basalt teams are going to state (together) for the first time in 10 years,” said veteran BHS coach Ron Lund, adding that the Longhorns are excited to take a large contingent to state.
The Basalt boys ran a solid race at regionals, Lund said, after dealing with a uniform issue.
Officials ruled that the Longhorns’ black shorts were not matching, forcing a last-second wardrobe change – courtesy of the Aspen Skiers.
“The Basalt boys ran in tights borrowed from Aspen,” Lund said, adding that the running tights were identical and the Longhorns were allowed to race.
The Basalt boys were led by Lyle Luckett in seventh place individually with a time of 17 minutes, 23 seconds for the wide-open 3-mile course at Pagosa Springs.
Robbie Thompson finished No. 24 for Basalt (19:12) with teammate J.D. Glenn No. 33 (19:40).
Basalt’s Leighton Albright was 37th (19:57) with Ashton Albright at 39 (20:06).
Carly Robinson, a sophomore running in her first season of cross country, led the Basalt girls with a fifth-place finish at regionals. She was timed in 21:08.
The Longhorns packed in at 23-24-27 behind Megan Maley, Stehanie Anglin and Becca White. Maley is a freshman; Anglin and White are sophomores.
Jenna Curnow, another BHS sophomore, finished 31st for the Longhorns.
Aspen High School longtime head coach Chris Keleher said the Skiers were ecstatic with their races at the regionals in Pagosa Springs.
“The girls came through,” Keleher said after the Skiers finished tied for fourth with the tiebreaker edge over Basalt. “Both girls teams are going to state, which is really cool.”
He said Dara Schenck led the balanced AHS girls team with a 12th-place finish in 21:40.
Teammate Nina Beidleman finished 16th in 22:33.
Kelsey Fitzgerald was 19th for Aspen in 22:39.
McKenna Woodrow was at No. 29 in 23:18.
Aspen’s Adair Pattillo was 34th (23:43).
And the Skiers also posted Chelsea Moore in 39th and Tierney Sutton in 49th.
Kimmie Sandbach and Anna Belinski raced across in 54th and 55th, respectively.
The Aspen boys finished seventh at regionals with 184 points. Middle Park senior Mark Simmons won the race in 16:40.
Jack Wells and Everett Olson paced the Skiers in 27th and 28th, respectively. Olson’s a freshman; Wells is a senior.
Will Chesner, an AHS sophomore, finished 32nd. Classmate Owen Ramberg was No. 46.
Nicholas Galambos and Phillip Psaledakis, Aspen freshman, also ran for the Skiers at the regional meet.
“The kids really ran well,” Keleher said, adding that the seven-hour road trip to Pagosa Springs for the 3A Regionals was a challenging element for the Skiers and the Longhorns.
Turns out, it was just a warmup for this week.
The annual State Cross Country Championship will be held Saturday in Colorado Springs on the hilly and challenging course at the equestrian center.
The state meet will feature all classifications competing in their respective divisions. Class 4A will feature one of the nation’s top prep runners in Katie Rainsberger of Air Academy. A senior, she won her Class 4A regional title at Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs in 17:41.
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.