Basalt’s Carly Robinson, Sierra Bower headed to state cross country meet |

Basalt’s Carly Robinson, Sierra Bower headed to state cross country meet

Basalt High School freshman Sierra Bower, left, and senior Carly Robinson will represent the Longhorns at Saturday's state cross country meet in Colorado Springs.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Toward the end of last week’s regional in Delta, Carly Robinson still had work to do if she wanted her Basalt High School cross country career to continue. While she didn’t know it at the time, the Longhorns would finish two points shy of qualifying for the state meet as a team, meaning the BHS senior had to finish in the top 15 to qualify individually or her season would be over.

“She really came through. She was 14th with a half mile to go and ran down five kids. She definitely made her mark at the finish,” Basalt coach Ron Lund said. “I was glad to see she qualified, because going in we knew it would be close.”

Robinson finished ninth at the regional meet, allowing her to join freshman teammate Sierra Bower on Saturday at the Class 3A state cross country meet at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

This will be Robinson’s second time competing at state. She also went as a sophomore.

“It feels good to get to run the course one more time before I’m done with my cross country season,” Robinson said. “I knew it was a really close race between me and a lot of the other girls that were in the race. I knew it wasn’t going to be a ‘take it easy’ kind of thing.”

Robinson did not run cross country as a freshman before finishing 37th at state as a sophomore with a time of 21 minutes, 23.8 seconds. As a junior, she came up just short of qualifying for state, as did the rest of her teammates.

“It was kind of disappointing. So I wanted to make sure this year I really pushed myself and got it,” Robinson said. “I want to go out with a bang. I want to have a good race for myself. I know I won’t PR because it’s not as fast a course as Delta is, but I just want to have a good, solid race and maybe make top 30, top 20 in the state.”

Bower, on the other hand, is just getting started.

“She’s really running like a veteran, not like a freshman. So it’s good to see,” Lund said. “It’s good for her to get the experience while she’s young. We got a couple of the younger kids on the team that are going to watch. Hopefully they’ll get inspired to want to get back there and be in the race.”

Bower, while among the team’s top runners much of the season, was the big surprise at the regional meet. She finished fifth in the girls’ race in 19:57.7, beating her veteran teammate by nearly 35 seconds.

“I wasn’t really expecting it because it was kind of intimidating coming in as a freshman,” Bower said. “There was a big group of girls and I was trying to get around them and I just kind of kept that pace through the whole race.”

Bower said she doesn’t know what to expect Saturday afternoon in Colorado Springs. Up to now, the regional is the largest race she’s seen and can only imagine what state will be like.

Although, on her side is Robinson, who realizes the future of BHS cross country is likely on Bower’s feet.

“She had a heck of a season. I’m really happy to pass the baton to her when I leave,” Robinson said. “(I would tell her) just to run her own race and don’t let anyone pressure her into thinking she’s not good enough to run because she’s a freshman.”

The girls’ Class 3A state cross country race is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, the final race of the day.

For the Aspen High School state preview, click here.