Severy, Eaton pace Aspen, Alpine runners
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The defending Class 3A state cross-country champion, Aspen High sophomore Christy Severy, and the defending 3A state champion Aspen High girls team opened the 2003 season with solid performances at the Harrison Invitational in Colorado Springs last Thursday.
Severy finished fourth overall, in 19 minutes and 50 seconds, in the Class 3 and 4A girls 5K race, which included a field of 171 runners. Basalt High senior Ashley Eaton, who runs for the Alpine Christian Academy team of Basalt, was the top Alpine runner in 12th overall (21:06).
The Aspen girls finished eighth among 27 teams in attendance, just behind the Alpine girls in seventh place. Mullen won the girls team title, followed by Holy Family and Pagosa Springs.
The race attracted several hundred runners from around the state primarily because Harrison is hosting the 2003 state championships on the very same course in late October.
“That’s the main reason we went down there, and I’d guess the main reason everybody went down there,” said Ron Lund, coach of the Alpine Christian Academy girls and boys cross-country teams. “It’s not as challenging as the Kent Denver course [host of the last two state championships] terrainwise, but they liked it.”
Buena Vista’s Rachel Gioscia won the 3 and 4A girls race in 19:16, about a half minute faster than Severy.
Severy was running in a lead pack with three other girls, including Gioscia, but dropped off the pace in the last mile, according Aspen cross-country coach Chris Keleher.
“It was early season and she was just trying to get back into racing. I don’t think she was real happy with it, but I am,” Keleher said. “Plus, it’s a real flat course and we tend to do better on the hilly tracks.
“And for me, looking at a kid I coach who’s a state champ, to be running top five and in the lead pack, that tells me she’s been working hard all summer and she’s still willing to run hard too,” Keleher continued. “Three of the top four finishers from the state championships last year were top four in this race, so all these girls are running hard, nobody’s backing off and they all know who each other now.
“I think they’re feeding off that and pushing each other to run better and faster. And everybody was there for the same reason, to run the upcoming state championship course and see how they stacked up.”
For the Alpine Christian girls, freshman Amy Lund was the second finisher in 27th place (21:06), followed by sophomore Kate Wilson in 55th (21:55) and senior Whitney Lund in 66th (22:20).
The Alpine Christian Academy boys did not record a team score, because four runners must finish, but two of its boys did race and finish. Sophomore Collin Stewart finished 43rd (18:09) and freshman Duncan McDaniel was 135th (20:40).
For the Aspen girls, senior Erin Kiernan was the top finisher behind Severy, coming in 41st (21:35). Sophomore Jessica Andrews was 61st (22:15) followed by freshman Laura Hatanaka in 68th (22:21).
The AHS boys claimed 11th place as a team at Harrison out of 24 teams that competed in the 3 and 4A division race. D’Evelyn won the team event behind individual winner John McGuire’s blazing time of 15:56.
“D’Evelyn won it easily,” Keleher said, “going first, sixth, ninth and 24th. They’re just awesome.”
Aspen’s top boy was senior Scott Evans, who shaved about 30 seconds off his personal best to finish 62nd in 18:50, Keleher said. Senior John Hatanaka was 64th (18:52), freshman Noah Hoffman was 65th (18:53) and junior Brandon Cooper was 80th (19:14). Other AHS finishers included sophomore R.J. Jensen (150th, 22:04) and juniors Andrew Pruesch (151st, 22:14) and Weston Boyles (155th, 22:31).
The Alpine Christian Academy team also ran Saturday at Delta, with the girls team finishing sixth against a field of 13 schools.
Amy Lund was Alpine’s top finisher Saturday with a seventh-place result, followed by Kate Wilson (15th), Whitney Lund (17th), junior Meagan Goodwin (53rd) and senior Meghan Stewart (55th).
Alpine plans to race on Friday in Palisade at the Warrior Invitational, hosted by Grand Junction Central. Aspen, meanwhile, will race Saturday at the Lake County Invitational in Leadville.
“I like what I see,” said Lund, the Alpine coach. “I think we’re off to a good start and you can see that the kids worked hard over the summer. If they stick with it, I definitely like our chances of getting back to state.”
Last year, while the Aspen girls claimed their first-ever state title in cross country, Alpine finished eighth.
“The girls are looking to be right in there again,” Lund said, “though Hotchkiss and Aspen are looking pretty strong once again, too.”
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