Basalt’s Morgan Ash leads Longhorn track and field team to state meet

Basalt High School junior Morgan Ash is qualified to compete in four events this week at the state track and field meet in Lakewood.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Morgan Ash might need a secretary at the state track and field meet this week in Denver.

The Basalt High School junior is qualified for a team-high four events, and it will be enough of an accomplishment simply to make it from one event to the other in time.

“It will be hectic and crazy,” Ash said. “It will definitely be tough and maybe a little stressful, but I look forward to trying to keep it all together.”

The state track and field meet gets underway Thursday and runs through Saturday at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood. Ash, who is going to state for the third time in three years, will compete in the high jump, 100-meter hurdles, 4×100-meter relay and 800-meter sprint medley.

“She is prepared. She is ready for it,” Basalt track coach Allyson Decatur said. “She’s had a really good season leading up to it, so I know she can handle it and she is determined to go get it.”

Ash will have competed in the high jump all three years at state, taking 10th in Class 3A as a sophomore with a height of 4 feet, 10 inches. She was eighth in 3A as a freshman, jumping 4-10.5.

Everyone knows she has the ability to beat both of those marks this week. She did it earlier this month at the Western Slope League meet in Grand Junction, where she set a school record in the high jump with a height of 5-1. That record had been in place since 1988.

“It’s been kind of hectic to try and beat my own school record. I definitely want to keep improving — not really set my mind on records or a certain height, and just do my best and beat my best,” Ash said. “If you go into it saying I’m going to give this everything I have and I’m going to do my very best in it, then it will come eventually. I kind of tried to change my mindset from this is the record to this is going to be my PR.”

Ash enters the state meet ranked No. 11 in 3A in the girls’ high jump. The finals are 4 p.m. Thursday.

Hurdling has been a different journey for Ash. She competed in the event as a freshman, but did not qualify for state. Between injuries and other setbacks, she dropped the event as a sophomore before getting back into it this season.

It’s been nothing but steady improvement for Ash in the hurdles. She started the season by running one of her career-worst times, but enters the state meet this week ranked 12th in 3A with a seed time of 16.80 seconds. The girls’ 100-meter hurdle prelims are Thursday at 3:50 p.m., a full 10 minutes before Ash is scheduled to compete in the high jump finals.

“Hurdles were kind of my baby freshman year. They were kind of the thing I coddled the most and I kind of pushed aside high jumps sometime to just focus on hurdles,” Ash said. “But I really set my mind on it this year, trying to build up my courage and build up the strength. It really did pay off toward the end of the season and my time showed it.”

The 3A sprint medley prelims are at 2:10 p.m. Thursday, while the 4×100-meter relay prelims are at 9:35 a.m. Friday. The finals would be 12:10 p.m. Friday and 3:35 p.m. Saturday, respectively.

Also qualified for Basalt are the girls’ 4×800-meter relay team, sophomore Megan Maley in the girls’ 400-meter dash, junior Noah Williams in the boys’ 100- and 200-meter dashes, and senior Miles Levy in the boys’ high jump.

Aspen High School’s state qualifiers include senior Sunday Abarca, who will be among the favorites to win the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races. Abarca is the two-time reigning state champion in the 400-meter dash. Also qualified for AHS is the boys’ 4×200-meter relay team, of which Abarca is a part of.

For more state previews, see Thursday’s edition of The Aspen Times.