Conner Roper crossed the finish line in 17 minutes, 49 seconds to lead the Basalt boys cross country team to a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Longhorn Invitational at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.
Sophomore Giulio Del Piccolo (19:11) wound up 12th, Jason Ingram (20:09) 29th and Jacob Besser (20:22) 32nd for Basalt, which finished behind Glenwood Springs, Rifle and Montrose. Glenwood’s Ryan Buchanan took first with a time of 17:29.
The Longhorns boys were fifth out 10 in last week’s season-opening meet at Delta.
“I’m real pleased. The schools that beat us were 4A,” Basalt head coach Ron Lund said Saturday. “The improvement from last week to this week, on a tougher course … is good to see.”
On the girls side, Annette Stenstadvold, the lone Basalt girl in the field, wound up fourth, posting a time of 21:52. She was eighth in Delta.
“She’s running really smart,” Lund said. “She had a really consistent last half mile last week and this week, and made a move past some people. She’s running into shape just fine.”
Lund expects top runner Chiara Del Piccolo to be in the field at Friday’s Liberty Bell Invitational on the Front Range.
Aspen head coach Chris Keleher did not return calls seeking comment.
An inconsistent showing at the Peach Fuzz Tournament in Grand Junction led Basalt head softball coach Bruce Matherly to say “We’re slowly improving but still not playing well enough to beat really good teams.”
Things sure have changed in a week. After parlaying a strong outing from starter Alexa Aitken into a win over 4A power Delta in Friday’s Eagle Valley Invitational opener, the Longhorns exploded for six runs in the third inning of Saturday’s 6-3 win against Palisade – a team they have dropped two games to this season – and closed with a 15-6 rout of host Eagle Valley.
Basalt is 5-1 since its 0-2 showing at the season-opening tournament in Aspen. They open league play this week with a visit to rival Aspen at 4 p.m. Thursday.
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