Cross country: Aspen High girls qualify for state
The Aspen High School girls cross country team is heading to the State Cross Country Championships.
The Skiers raced to a third-place team finish Friday in the Class 3A Regional Championships at Confluence Park in Delta to earn the state bid.
Moffat County from Craig won the girls title with 34 points. Pagosa Springs was second at 39.
Aspen was third with 75 points. Gunnison was fourth (118) with Coal Ridge (141) fifth.
Kelsey Fitzgerald led the Aspen state qualifiers with an 11th-place finish in 21 minutes, 21 seconds. Basalt’s Hailey Swirbul, a national champion cross country ski racer, won the 5-kilometer race in 19:19.
Sophie Dasaro of Aspen was 14th in 21:37 with teammate Nina Beidleman right behind in 15th place at 21:30.
At No. 26 was Aspen’s Tierney Sutton (22:26) with teammate Megan Hanson in 27th (22:30) as the Skiers grouped their times together.
Mackenzie Conner of Aspen was 35th with Jozie Wille 37th.
The Skiers also qualified one individual for the boys state championships.
Taggart Solomon finished sixth for the Skiers on Friday to earn a trip to Colorado Springs next week and a slot in the Class 3A state field at the Penrose Equestrian Center.
Basalt senior Zach Walsh won the race in 16:26. Solomon was timed in 17:07.
Gunnison won the boys team title with 58 points.
Pagosa Springs was second with 88. Moffat County was third with 111. Basalt’s boys were fourth at 115 points.
Coal Ridge was fifth and Aspen sixth.
Other AHS boys finishers at regionals included:
25 Jack Wells, Aspen, 18:22
35 Graham Houtsma, Aspen, 18:40
45 James Bantis, Aspen, 19:29
54 Coen Needell, Aspen, 20:14
58 Chris Hopkins, Aspen, 20:23
63 Reece Johnson, Aspen, 21:02
64 Will Chesner, Aspen, 21:03
67 Ricky Wojcik, Aspen, 21:49.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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