Basalt sophomore Sierra Bower breaks school track records in mile, 2 mile
In the words of Basalt High School track and field coach Allyson Decatur, sophomore Sierra Bower came into the season with some “aggressive” goals.
She had a strong freshman season, but Bower has turned her intensity up a notch this year.
“She has a God-given talent coupled with her extreme determination and year-round training. We knew something special was in store for her this season,” Decatur said. “Last season it was fun for her. She wasn’t as serious as she is this year. This year her seriousness is to a whole new level. She is a different person.”
Bower added to her growing stardom this past weekend at the Class 3A Western Slope League championship meet in Grand Junction, where she broke the school record in both the mile and 2-mile races, winning each event. For this, Bower was named the 2019 3A WSL Outstanding Female Athlete after the meet.
The school records had previously been held by Chiara Del Piccolo, who had set both records in 2009.
“It was definitely something I was thinking about for a long time,” Bower said Sunday. “It’s been a big goal of mine. So it was really fun to get to break those records over the weekend.”
Bower had a respectable freshman season in track, finishing 11th in the 3,200-meter run (2-mile) at the state meet with a time of 12 minutes, 8.85 seconds. She also ran in the girls 4×800-meter relay that finished sixth in 9:57.17, a school record. She did not compete in the mile at state last year.
Her prowess really began to come forth as a sophomore this past fall, when she won the 3A cross country regional meet that Aspen hosted. She seems to have carried that same drive into the track season.
“Ron and I both saw it this past cross country season, so our excitement has grown into the track season,” Decatur said, mentioning BHS cross country coach Ron Lund, who also helps coach the distance events in track. “Sierra truly deserves her accolades, as she’s been on the hunt for the BHS records in the mile and the 2-mile since last year.”
Bower, who prefers the longer races, won the 3A WSL championship in the 3,200-meter race over the weekend with a school-record time of 11:15.63, nearly two minutes ahead of second place. She won the 1,600-meter race (or mile) with a school-record time of 5:14.32, more than 30 seconds ahead of second place.
That mile time would have been good for fifth place at state last year, while her 2-mile time would have won the 3A state championship in 2018. Peak to Peak senior Quinn McConnell, who was fourth at state last year with a time of 11:39.83, has 3A’s best time this season at 11:09.93.
A reason for Bower’s success this year has been more consistent training and bigger races. She’s been attending Nike running camps, trains all 12 months, and has competed in some high-profile events, like November’s NXR Southwest Regional Championships in Arizona, where she won her division’s race. She also competed at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in California last month, taking ninth in the 3,200-meter race with a time of 10:54.21 at sea level.
“It was definitely cool to get to compete with a bunch of girls who are super fast. It was super fun to be a part of that,” Bower said. “I’m super excited for where I’m at. I’m looking forward to state coming up here in two weeks. I’m really excited.”
The Longhorns have one final regular-season meet this weekend in Grand Junction, a final opportunity for athletes to qualify for the state track and field meet, scheduled for May 16 through 18 in Lakewood.
ROUNDING UP THE WSL MEET
Basalt had plenty of other athletes finish with solid results at the WSL meet in Grand Junction this past weekend. Megan Maley finished second in the 800-meter run, Ben Williams second in the 110-meter hurdles, Rulbe Alvarado second in the 200-meter dash, and Nathan Rivera second in the pole vault. Third-place finishes included Ryan Zheng in the high jump, Brady Lemke in the triple jump and the girls in the 4×400-meter relay.
For Aspen High School, Nicholas Galambos had one of the best meets by taking third in the 1,600-meter race and fourth in both the 800- and the 3,200-meter races. Paige Quist was third in the shot put, Kendall Clark third in the 800, and Julisa Ruiz-Vega fourth in the 100-meter dash. The Aspen girls also finished third in the 800-meter sprint medley relay and second in the 4×400-meter relay.
Neither Aspen nor Basalt finished better than seventh in the team standings.
The long drives to Denver to play competitive club softball and fine-tune her skills during the offseason are paying off for Glenwood Springs High School senior Kiera Larson.