Basalt runners to host cross country races Saturday
The Aspen Times
BASALT — The cross country runners will kick off the fall season for Basalt High School, hosting the annual Longhorn Stampede on Saturday.
The prep cross country meet, with a field of eight teams from around the Western Slope, will be staged at Crown Mountain Park — considered one of the most spectator-friendly courses on the fall schedule.
“We’ve had a good turnout,” veteran Basalt cross country coach Ron Lund said. “We’re definitely in a rebuilding mode with the boys. But we have lots of girls out running together.”
After a time trial earlier in the week, Lund said the Longhorns are excited about their home meet Saturday, on a course they know well.
The Longhorns also will have state-qualifier and national cross country ski champion Hailey Swirbul on the fall cross country roster. Training under the tutelage of the U.S.Ski Team Nordic staff, Swirbul will be able to race in several of the meets this fall, wearing the colors of Basalt High School.
She won’t race this week, Lund said. But she will be on course soon.
Lund said there are three major races Saturday, and the public is invited to view the events.
The middle school race will start at 9:30 a.m. at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.
The girls high school race will go off at 10 a.m.
The boys high school race will start at 10:45 a.m.
For the first time in five years, Zach Walsh of Basalt will not race in the Longhorn Stampede, also known as the Basalt Invitational. Walsh, a four-time state qualifier for Basalt, is running this fall at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, one of the nation’s top NCAA Division II programs.
Lund said eight teams are set for the high school races. Glenwood Springs, Summit and Rifle all should field large teams this week, he said.
“We’ve got some freshmen and sophomore girls who should have a big improvement curve,” Lund said. “I’m excited to see it.”
The Basalt cross country team will race at the Delta Invitational at Confluence Park on Sept. 4.
The Longhorns are set for the Eagle Valley Invitational in Gypsum on Sept. 19.
The Glenwood Springs Invitational will follow on Sept. 25.
The annual Chris Severy Memorial race in Aspen will be run on Oct. 10.
Rifle is next on Oct. 15, followed by the Montrose Invitational on Oct. 17.
The cross country regionals are set for Oct. 23 with the annual State Cross Country Championships scheduled for Oct. 31 in Colorado Springs.
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.