Five ‘Horns runners heading to state |

Five ‘Horns runners heading to state

Jon MaletzAspen, CO Colorado

Basalt distance runner Chiara Del Piccolo didn’t need to compete in Friday’s 3,200 at the regional meet in Grand Junction. She had already qualified for state in the distance and sitting out would have given sister, Nuala, a better chance to qualify.Still, Longhorns coach Ron Lund told the sophomore that the race presented a great opportunity to win a regional championship. The prospect was ultimately too enticing to pass up.Del Piccolo dominated the field, winning by nearly 50 seconds with a time of 12 minutes, 11 seconds. Nuala Del Piccolo wound up third.The sisters are two of five Basalt runners to qualify for next week’s state meet at Pueblo’s Dutch Clark Stadium. The team sent the same number in 2007, when they walked away with two state titles.”The girls came through these past two days and ran really well,” Lund said Saturday night. “For our little team, I’m real happy to be sending five.”Four of those runners will be competing in two events in Pueblo. Chiara Del Piccolo also qualified in the 1,600 after posting a time of 5:30 on Saturday – good for second place and a new school record.Sprinter Taylor Allmon will compete in the 100 and 200 at state for a second straight season. The junior finished first in the 100 on Saturday with a time of 13.5, and second in the 200. She took sixth in both distances in Pueblo last season. Allmon’s 27.3 in the 200 was nearly two seconds off the pace set by Middle Park super-sophomore Sam Berggren, who left Grand Junction with wins in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,600. Her 200 and 400 times are currently the fastest in the state. “To have a range like that, from 200 up to 5K, she’s unbelievable,” Lund said of Berggren, who finished second at the 3A state cross country championship in October. “She put on quite a show. Taylor got to see what’s she’s going to see at state. It doesn’t get any better than that.”Brennan Roper will compete in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at state after strong results this weekend. After taking third in Friday’s 3,200, the senior, who has battled illness for much of this season, finished second in the mile with a time of 4:55. Roper missed nearly a month of training because of mono, then, after returning to the track for two weeks, he came down with the flu. Since he’s returned to running full time, Roper has developed shin splints.”He wasn’t happy with his race [Friday],” Lund said. “He came back today and wanted to redeem himself. It was a good race to get second.”Teammate Tyler Wilson took third in the 1,600, finishing in 4:56. He also took second in Friday’s 800. A sixth Longhorn was close to earning a trip to Pueblo. Roper’s brother, Connor, finished fourth in the 800, posting a six-second personal best, and was seventh in the mile.”He ran two remarkable races,” Lund said. “He got some great experience and dropped his times down. It was a good meet for him.”Noticeably absent from Basalt’s list of state qualifiers is sprinter Cody Russell. The senior, who burst onto the state scene last season with wins in the 100 and 200 – the first Longhorns athlete to win an individual state title since the early 1990s – was ruled ineligible this season.”It’s unfortunate to see talent go to waste,” Lund said. “And he had a lot of talent.”


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