Cross country: Basalt girls strong at home |

Cross country: Basalt girls strong at home

Basalt junior Carly Robinson, right, competes in Saturday's Longhorn Invitational at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. Robinson led the Basalt girls by finising 14th overall in the season-opening cross country meet.
Austin Colbert/Aspen Times |

Basalt High School’s Carly Robinson took her first steps — literally — this weekend in pursuit of surpassing the runner she was a year ago. The junior, who ran cross country for the first time as a sophomore, found she had a knack for the sport when she finished 37th overall in the Class 3A state meet last fall.

The 2016 cross country season started Saturday with Basalt hosting the Longhorn Invitational at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel, and Robinson looked solid by taking 14th overall in the girls race with a time of 22 minutes and 43 seconds.

“I started off pretty relaxed and then I started picking off girls as I went,” Robinson said. “Toward the end, I felt like I could have done a little bit better, but it’s the first race. There is room to improve and keep moving forward.”

Robinson was the catalyst to a third-place team finish for the Basalt girls. Basalt’s 75 points was behind only Gunnison’s 44 and meet champion Glenwood Springs’ 36.

Rifle’s Sarah Wagler won the girls race in 19:50, followed by Soroco’s Chloe Veilleux in 20:30 and Gunnison’s Hannah Mueller in 21:08.

“I’m ecstatic. It’s early in the season — we really haven’t done much speed work,” said race organizer and Basalt coach Ron Lund. “The exciting thing is I’ve got five girls within a minute of each other. And when you have big races like this, it makes a huge difference. I think if they can all progress and keep getting their time down and stay close to one another, that’s what we need to qualify for state.”

Basalt junior Becca White was second among Longhorn runners, finishing 16th in 22:53, one spot short of medaling. Three others finished in the top 25, including sophomore Megan Maley (22nd, 23:33), junior Stephanie Anglin (23rd, 23:34) and junior Jenna Curnow (25th, 23:42).

The Aspen High School girls cross country team finished seventh.

The Skiers were without one of their top female runners in senior Adair Pattillo, who sat out due to a dislocated knee. She is expected to return within the next few weeks.

“It was a good, sort of initial fact-finding mission to see where the kids are,” Aspen High School coach Chris Keleher said. “We still have a lot of work to do, a lot of miles to run and a lot of fun to have.”

Senior Dara Schenck, who finished 50th at state a year ago, carried the Aspen girls by finishing 27th overall on Saturday in 23:47. Schenck looks to be the leader in what is otherwise a very young Aspen team this season.

“After this first race, I was kind of disappointed. I thought I was going to be able to kick a little bit harder, but that’s just speed training at this point,” Schenck said. “We have a great group of girls, and I think we are going to become a really, really great team. I think we have the capability to really push hard and make it and place at regionals.”

The boys race was dominated by Soroco junior Ben Kelley, who set a personal record by finishing in 16:00. Glenwood Springs’ Henry Barth was second and Gunnison’s Colton Stice third, both with a time of 16:59.

Neither Aspen nor Basalt had a medalist in the boys race.

Glenwood Springs completed the team sweep by winning the boys team title, followed by Gunnison and Fruita. The Aspen boys finished ninth and Basalt 11th.

Basalt is next scheduled to compete at Delta on Friday, with Aspen headed to Battle Mountain on Saturday. The Skiers host their lone home meet Oct. 8.

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