Basalt’s Ava Lane reaches goal, finds herself in top 10 at state cross country
Basalt High School’s Ava Lane finished a single spot off the 10-runner podium last year at the state cross country meet, and making that top 10 this fall was her primary goal.
Mission accomplished for the junior, who finished eighth on Saturday in the Class 3A girls race in Colorado Springs with a time of 19 minutes, 16.1 seconds.
“That was incredibly exciting to watch Ava crack the top 10. She really wanted it last year,” BHS assistant coach Amy Rollins said. “First day of practice this year she is like, ‘No, I’m getting top 10.’”
Lane finished with a time of 19:44.2 last fall, third among the Longhorn runners behind then-senior Sierra Bower (fifth), the 2019 state champion, and then-sophomore Katelyn Maley, who won the state championship a year ago in 18:39.
Maley repeated as the 3A champion on Saturday, winning by 10 seconds with a time of 18:37.1 to help lead Basalt to a sixth-place team finish. The champ said watching Lane finish inside the top 10 at the Norris Penrose Event Center was nearly as good as winning the race.
“That is honestly more exciting than anything,” Maley said. “When I saw her come in eighth, it was such a cool feeling because we worked so hard together so to know all of our workouts, all of our stretching and everything paid off.”
Behind Maley and Lane, junior Sarah Levy was third among Longhorns, finishing 32nd in 20:51.9. She only returned to the team a few weeks ago because of injury.
Freshman Isabella Moon was 42nd in 21:16.9, freshman Juniper Anderson was 86th in 22:55.7, junior Lacey Lindberg was 96th in 23:19.1, and junior Payton Barill was 99th in 23:26 to round out the Longhorn runners.
Basalt did not have any boys qualify for the state championship.
Next, Lane and Maley will be among four BHS runners planning to compete in the NXR Southwest Regional in Arizona in November, while Lane and Maley also plan to race in the RunningLane Cross Country Championships in Alabama in December.
Saturday’s state championship performance was validation that Lane is ready to handle the bigger national meets outside of Colorado.
“She just continues to improve by leaps and bounds,” Rollins said. “She put herself in a great position from the beginning. She went to the front of the pack knowing if she was going to be in the top 10 with this field she had to go early on. And the pack did pull away from her mid-race, but she held her spot pretty consistently.”
U.S. Ski & Snowboard on Tuesday announced the final U.S. World Cup schedule, a lineup that includes the Aspen World Cup from March 3 to 5 on Aspen Mountain. Those races will include a men’s super-G and two men’s downhills.