Longhorns harriers at home in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Longhorns harriers at home in Aspen

Nate PetersonAspen, CO Colorado
Basalt's Brennan Roper crosses the finish line in second at Saturday's Chris Severy Invitational at Aspen School. Teammate Casey Weaver took third and the Longhorns boys took third overall with 63 points. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN For Aspen’s home race, there sure was a lot of purple near the front of the pack.Basalt’s best runners turned in strong showings at Saturday’s Chris Severy Cross-Country Invitational, with seniors Brennan Roper and Casey Weaver logging a 2-3 finish in the boys race and freshman Annette Stenstadvold and sophomore Chiara Del Piccolo finishing 2-4 for the girls.The 36-second gap between Stenstadvold and winner Sam Berggren of Middle Park (22 minutes, 6 seconds) would have been much closer if Stenstadvold hadn’t slid out on a patch of mud on a downhill turn near the race’s midway point.”Do I have mud in my teeth?” an upbeat Stenstadvold said afterward, smiling. “It was a tight turn, and I didn’t really compensate for it. I just didn’t see it coming.”Roper (19:13) was slowed by tight legs and finished nearly 50 yards back of Durango’s Rogan Brown (19:02). The Basalt senior was still pleased with his result, considering Brown runs for a 5A school and excels on hills. The 3.1-mile course above Aspen High School is one of the toughest in the state, with numerous climbs and a track that differentiates between short native grasses, uneven dirt and, as Stenstadvold discovered Saturday, a bit of mud.

“I didn’t feel like I warmed up and stretched really well,” Roper said. “I think I could have done a little better. Staying close was what I first thought of, but he got away from me a bit.”Weaver finished just four seconds behind Roper, a better-than expected result, he said.”This kind of course plays to my strengths,” he said. “Brennan’s been running further ahead of me lately, but I felt pretty good today. The hills definitely helped out. I was able to narrow the gap.”The results propelled the Longhorns boys to 63 points, good for third place. Junior Tyler Wilson and freshman Connor Roper finished 23rd and 41st, respectively.Durango had its top four runners go 1-6-9-15 to cruise to the team win with 31 points, followed by 4A Fruita Monument with 34.

Aspen’s boys were led by junior Scott Lacy, in seventh. Whit Parker (75th), Taylor Preusch (82nd) and Chris Bright (107th) were the Skiers’ other scoring runners. Aspen tied for ninth with 187 points.Aspen’s top girls runner, Natalie Obermeyer, took her SATs on Saturday morning, leaving senior Brittany Marrs (12th) to lead the way.”I tried to stay slow at the first mile, then pushed it all the way after that,” Marrs said. “The second mile was pretty downhill, so I took it fast. The last mile I just took it as hard as I could. I usually pace off Natalie. It was a little difficult today without her, but some girls I nordic ski with are here, so I just tried to keep up with them.”Aspen’s other scoring runners were Brianna Morse (22nd), Keaton Doyle (38th) and Kelsey Tofany (44th), propelling the Skiers to a fifth-place finish with 91 points.Basalt’s girls finished fourth with 81 points. The Longhorns might have challenged for a top-three finish had senior Nuala Del Piccolo not been missing, also because of Saturday’s standardized tests.

Noel Chiarelli was 40th, while Lyss Rousseve finished 56th.Fruita Monument won with 31 points, followed by Durango (43) and Middle Park (54).Basalt and Aspen both run Saturday at the Montrose Relays, the final meet before Basalt hosts the 3A Western Slope regional at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel on Oct. 20.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com.