Cross country: Preps open at Basalt meet
The Aspen Times
EL JEBEL — The high school runners took out a week’s worth of frustrations Saturday morning at the annual Longhorn Stampede at Crown Mountain Park.
After a week of early alarms, new classes, new teachers, new passwords, new friends, messed-up locker combinations and cross country practice, the preps officially stepped into the new season on the circuituous 3-mile course around the expansive midvalley park.
The Summit High School girls team and the Glenwood Springs boys team controlled the opening cross country meet of the season, winning titles on a sunny and warm morning.
The Aspen girls kicked off the season with a second-place team finish, led by eighth-place individual finisher Dara Schenck.
Senior Ruthie Boyd of Summit, a top cross country ski racer, won the girls race to lead the Tigers. She finished in 19 minutes, 57 seconds — the only runner under 20 minutes.
Claudia Hirons of Glenwood Springs finished second in 20:42. Rifle’s Sarah Wagler was third in 20:46.
Fourth was Mae Anderson of Hotchkiss, and Chloe Veiller of Soroco was fifth.
Eight high schools fielded teams for the inaugural meet Saturday. The Summit girls won with a total of 23 points. Aspen, at 83, was second.
The Glenwood Springs girls were third at 89, followed by Rifle (115) and Basalt (147).
Boyd said that she and Hirons ran together early in the race.
“The first mile or so, she was either right ahead of me or right on my heels,” Boyd said of Glenwood’s Hirons, who had won the stampede a year ago. “It was good to have somebody there to push me.”
As the race headed into Mile 3, Boyd said she felt like she could pick up the pace.
And she did.
“This was a good opportunity to go run a race … see where we are,” Boyd said as she cheered teammates crossing the line. “I think our team can be really strong this year.”
Aspen’s strong opening performance on the girls side was bolstered by McKenna Woodrow’s 14th place finish Saturday.
Kelsey Fitzgerald came across in 18th, and teammate Adair Pattillo was 19th. Melody Lemke was 24th for coach Chris Keleher’s Skiers.
Last weekend, Keleher and the AHS prep runners hosted the annual Aspen Mountain Summer Uphill.
The host Basalt girls were led by Carly Robinson in 12th place.
Soroco’s Ben Kelley pulled away from the lead pack of five runners on the third mile and cruised to a 15-second victory in the boys race.
He finished in 17 minutes, 15 seconds.
Meeker’s Austin Russell was second in 17:30.
Freshman Henry Barth of Glenwood Springs was third in 17:36. He won the middle school race last year at the Longhorns Stampede.
Gabe Marbus of Rifle was fourth (17:38) with Gavin Harden of Glenwood Springs fifth in 17:44.
The Glenwood Springs boys won with 37 points.
Rifle was second with 98, followed by Meeker at 113.
Summit and Hotchkiss rounded out the boys field.
The host Longhorns were led by seventh-place finisher Lyle Luckett (18:10).
“It was fun,” Soroco’s Kelley said after his win Saturday morning. “I did a lot of running over the summer, so I was ready.”
He said he hopes to be more prepared for future meets but was satisfied with his opening race Saturday.
“I did a lot of cross training on bikes this summer, too” said Kelley, who lives outside Oak Creek. He and his friends watched the USA Pro Challenge as it came through Oak Creek twice last week on the opening Steamboat Circuit Race.
“We saw those guys a couple times. Man, they are fast.”
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.