Led by Sierra Bower, Basalt sending seven to state track meet
BHS STATE TRACK QUALIFIERS
Ben Williams, 110-meter hurdles (Thursday, 4:15 p.m.)
Girls 4x800-meter relay (Thursday, 5 p.m.)
Rulbe Alvarado, 200-meter dash (Thursday, 6:20 p.m.)
Megan Maley, 400-meter dash (Thursday, 7:20 p.m.)
Sierra Bower, 3,200-meter run (Friday, 8:20 a.m.)
Katie Bohannan, pole vault (Friday, 11 a.m.)
Megan Maley, 800-meter run (Friday, 12:50 p.m.)
Sierra Bower, 1,600-meter run (Saturday, 11:10 a.m.)
There certainly are expectations for Basalt High School sophomore standout Sierra Bower this week at the state track and field meet, but she insists most of them were put there herself.
With the top time among Class 3A girls in the 3,200-meter run (or 2 mile) ahead of Friday morning’s race in Lakewood, the state title is there for the taking.
“The first seed in any race has a target on their back. Just going to try and channel those nerves into my race,” Bower said. “I’m feeling pretty good. Just trying to stay calm and relaxed. Last year everything was very new and there were really no expectations. This year I feel it’s a little bit different.”
Bower’s school-record time of 11 minutes, 15.63 seconds in the 3,200 is about five seconds faster than the second-best seed time entering the race. It wasn’t the fastest time on the season, however, but Peak to Peak’s Quinn McConnell has decided not to race in the event, seemingly to focus on the mile.
This means Bower will certainly have that target on her back, but the belief is she is ready for it.
“She has had her eye on this prize since the beginning of the season,” Basalt track coach Allyson Decatur said. “What we saw last year with her being a bit timid and shy, those days are gone. She is willing to fight. You are going to see her with a new kick she is not used to throwing out there.”
Bower finished 11th in the 2 mile last spring as a freshman with a time of 12:08.85. Frontier Academy’s Hannah Ellis, who was a senior, won the race in 11:19.39, a few seconds slower than Bower’s seed time this year.
“It would be so exciting. That’s definitely been the goal this whole season,” Bower said of possibly winning the state title. “I’m still definitely going to have a lot of competition. There are a lot of strong, fast girls in my race. So it’s definitely not going to be something easy.”
Bower also will compete in the 1,600-meter run (or mile), where she enters with the sixth best time (5:14.32, a school record). She did not compete in the event as a freshman.
Bower is part of a strong 4×800-meter relay team, which also is seeded sixth. That relay, which also includes senior Megan Maley, junior Lily Gillis and senior Maddie Ellison, qualified despite only competing once this season and finished only five seconds off the school record.
Maley will be one to watch in the 800-meter run. Her time of 2:19.13 is a school record and is the third best time entering the Friday afternoon race.
She also snuck into the 400-meter dash, where she’ll be looking to sneak onto the podium. She competed in the 400 last year, as well, finishing 17th in prelims. She did not qualify for state in the 800 last spring.
“I’m not really nervous. I’m just going to go into it with no expectations and have fun in my last race,” said Maley, who is competing at state for the third time. “It’s really surreal, and it’s also very humbling. I’m just grateful that I can compete again.”
Basalt is sending a lone field athlete in sophomore Katie Bohannan, who will compete in the pole vault. Her mark of 8 feet is a school record as this season she became the first BHS female to ever set a mark in the event.
The Longhorns have two boys going in junior Ben Williams and sophomore Rulbe Alvarado, both first time state qualifiers.
Alvarado’s time of 23.09 seconds got him into the 200-meter dash, which he ran at the final meet of the regular season after being on the qualifying bubble all spring.
“I was just really excited at first,” he said. “I was nervous the whole season because at times I was in and then I got bumped out. Just that final meet I got in there and was really happy.”
Williams made the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.16 seconds. He also needed a strong performance late in the season to sneak in.
“It feels pretty incredible,” Williams said. “It’s just something I’ve been working toward since about seventh grade when my sister (2018 BHS graduate Kaylin Williams) went. Being able to compete at such a high level is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Of the 10 players listed on the varsity roster ahead of Tuesday’s home game with Summit, two were juniors, seven were sophomores and one was a freshman. It’s a far cry from the class of 10 seniors who last season led the Skiers to a perfect 27-0 mark and the Class 3A state championship.