Kylie Kenny leads Aspen girls to fifth-place team finish at state cross country
Led by juniors Kylie Kenny and Kendall Clark, the Aspen High School girls cross country team has seen a steady rise over the past three seasons. And their latest state finish only has them eyeing even more down the line.
“They are already thinking next year and hopefully they will put into action what they need to as in running over the summer and show up super fit next year,” AHS coach Chris Keleher said Saturday after the state meet. “They ran well.”
The AHS girls finished fifth as a team with 183 points in the Class 3A state cross country championship on Saturday at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. The Classical Academy won the state title with 50 points, followed by Faith Christian (88 points), Basalt (119) and Frontier Academy (178).
After not competing at state in 2016, before any of the current girls were in high school, the Skiers finished 12th as a team in 2017 and then finished seventh a year ago. Saturday was Aspen’s first top-five finish as a team since taking fourth in 2011. AHS does have a state championship in girls cross country, having won it all in 2002.
It was Kenny who again paved the way for the Skiers on Saturday. She finished eighth overall in 19 minutes, 31.1 seconds, a race won by Basalt junior Sierra Bower in a 3A girls course record time of 18:00.1. Clark was second among AHS runners, finishing 27th in 20:36.6, with freshman Elsie Weiss coming in 43rd in 21:10.7.
Kenny continues to improve each season at state. She was 29th as a freshman in 20:18.4, and finished 17th as a sophomore last fall in 19:55.2.
“Kylie was just cooked at the end. She left it all out there — nothing in the tank,” Keleher said. “The rest of the girls ran really well. Elsie had another good race. Kendall ran really well.”
Also competing Saturday for Aspen were junior Eva McDonough (60th, 21:40.1), sophomore Bronwyn Chesner (76th, 22:01.9), freshman Michaela Kenny (82nd, 22:09.9) and junior Edie Sherlock (92nd, 22:27.7). There were 153 finishers in the 3A girls race. AHS did not have any boys qualify for state.
“We don’t lose anybody and hopefully we can pack them in there again for next year and move everybody up another 10 spots or so,” Keleher said. “In the back of their mind they are thinking about a little bit of unfinished business for next year. They are happy with the way they ran, but there is sort of a sense of, ‘We’re not done yet.’”
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Spectators can still cheer on Aspen School District athletes so long as they wear a mask and follow current pandemic health and safety protocols, Superintendent David Baugh wrote in a Jan. 18 update on COVID-19 policies and school sports.