Led by Maley, Basalt’s six-member track and field team shines at state meet
Maley won the 3A girls 800-meter title on Saturday
Katelyn Maley could have led the charge from start to finish, but sometimes waiting to make your move is a better strategy. The Basalt High School junior did just that on Saturday when she won the Class 3A girls 800-meter race at the state meet at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
“Katelyn loves to lead, but I was happy with her patience yesterday. She let somebody else do the work for the first lap and then charged ahead,” said first-year BHS head coach Amy Rollins on Sunday after the CHSAA championships had concluded. “She was very, very stubborn on that back stretch. She had a bunch of girls nipping at her heels, but she didn’t give an inch and pushed it all the way to the very, very end.”
Maley’s time of 2 minutes, 13.27 seconds broke her own school record in the 800 and was enough to hold off Berthoud’s Jaycee Williams (2:13.48) and Liberty Common’s Isabel Allori (2:14.45). Maley’s junior teammate Ava Lane was fourth in 2:14.82, which also would have beaten Maley’s old school record.
The win capped off another stellar season for Maley and added to her championship haul. She’s already the two-time defending 3A champion in cross country and won the state title in the 1,600-meter run, or mile, as a sophomore last spring.
“It started out a little slow, I would say. Early on she wasn’t performing the way she wanted to, but she put her head down and did all the work and slowly we put the pieces together and really in the last three weeks it all clicked,” Rollins said of Maley’s track season. “So fun to watch her continue to stack up league titles and state titles and just add to her resume. She is a very, very impressive competitor, and that’s what she does best. When she steps on the track, she is a competitor first and foremost. She is not going to make it easy for anyone.”
Maley wasn’t able to defend her title in the mile on Sunday — a later finish for the state meet than usual after Friday’s action was canceled due to a winter storm — taking fourth in 5:00.06. Allori won in 4:55.12, which is a new 3A meet record. Coal Ridge’s Mikayla Cheney was seventh in the mile (5:04.44) and Lane was 10th (5:10.49).
“Ava is exceptional. She knows if it weren’t for Katelyn, she would be one of the top runners in the state and one of the top runners our school has ever seen, for sure. But she has not allowed herself to get callous about that,” Rollins said of Lane, the team’s somewhat unheralded No. 2 runner who is a star in her own right.
“Her attitude is unparalleled. She is an extremely hard worker. She is an extremely focused competitor, but knows how to keep it fun, knows how to make everyone laugh and lighten up the energy when things are getting a little stiff. It does so much for our whole program, and I know it does so much for Katelyn, too. Katelyn is a fierce and focused competitor, but when Ava can come in and get her laughing, that’s when they both compete the best.”
Maley finished third in the 3,200-meter run on Thursday (11:14.65), a race Allori also won, while Cheney was sixth.
Both Maley and Lane also made up half of Basalt’s relay foursome, the others being junior Vanessa Bryant and sophomore Jacey Read. The highlight was a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s 4×200-meter relay (1:46.22), won by Liberty Common (1:44.78).
Read had an impressive finish to her state meet, taking fourth in the 3A girls 100-meter dash final on Sunday. Her time of 13.02 seconds was right there with third-place finisher Aani Hardesty of Alamosa (13.01), while Coal Ridge superstar Peyton Garrison won in 12.41.
“She had a coming out party this weekend. She is also a fierce competitor,” Rollins said of Read. “We had her anchoring our 4×2 and she was running those girls down like nobody’s business. It was really fun to watch her get a taste of that competition this weekend and she is certainly hungry for more. She was fourth in the 100 final and third was only a hundredth of a second ahead of her and she is already saying that girl is going down next year. Really fun to see that competitiveness come out and manifest in a big way.”
Bryant, another newcomer to track and field, also competed in the 3A girls long jump on Sunday, finishing 14th with a distance of 15 feet, 8.5 inches. Aspen’s Natalie Wesner was in that same event, taking 18th in 14-7.5.
“She stayed poised and didn’t let the hype of state get to her and performed very, very well,” Rollins said of Bryant.
Despite having only four athletes, the Basalt girls finished sixth as a team in Class 3A, which was won by Liberty Common with Coal Ridge finishing second.
Basalt boys go out strong
After sitting around for three days, BHS senior Gavin Webb finally competed Sunday, finishing 14th in the 3A boys long jump (19-2) and tying for ninth in the high jump (5-9), an event he broke the school record in earlier this season (6-2).
Fellow senior Marlon Nelson competed for the Longhorns on Thursday, taking ninth in the discus throw (127-1).
“I was very proud of both of them,” Rollins said of Webb and Nelson. “Marlon is an exceptional young man who is very dedicated. It was his goal all year to make it to state and finish in the top nine and he took care of business, for sure. He didn’t have his best throw — he finished with a 127 and the winner only threw four feet better than his PR. So, I think he was wishing he could get one more big one out there, but he competed and it was really exciting.”
Rollins looks back and ahead
The weekend’s meet capped off the first season in charge for Rollins, a 2007 BHS graduate whose father is longtime cross country coach Ron Lund, who also serves as a track assistant.
“Everyone who participated had a trip to the podium, which was pretty exciting. I was thrilled with how they performed as a team,” she said of the Longhorns at the state championships.
While the boys will have to reset with the graduation of Webb and Nelson, the Basalt girls look likely to return strong next spring and contend for more titles.
“This season was a blast getting to watch these kids improve and work hard and compete,” Rollins said. “Week after week I was in heaven. I have the absolute best assistant coaches. They all know their craft and their discipline so well that I really get to sit back and delegate and watch everyone perform, which is so, so fun. It’s such a treat.”
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