Skier boys surprise by winning home cross country meet
It’s been so long since the Aspen High School boys cross country team won its own invite, not even coach Chris Keleher could tell you how long it’s been.
“It’s a long time. I would have to go back and check,” Keleher said. “I don’t even remember the last time the boys team won this race. It’s been a while.”
Guesses were as much as 20 years ago. Regardless, that dry spell was washed away Saturday when the Aspen boys won the overall team title of the Chris Severy Invitational, hosted by Aspen High School at the Lower Moore Field.
The win was particularly surprising considering the overall struggles for the Skier boys this season.
“It was the mentality here. We were already very confident on this course, and this is definitely the course to have the home-field advantage,” Aspen senior Liam Locke said. “It’s so cool to win a race with these guys. We have a five-person team, and we need five people to score. So everyone just put their all in today, and I’m so proud of all the other guys on the Aspen team.”
Down a racer because of family obligations, Aspen needed a strong performance from all five runners to have a chance. They got it, led by Locke’s time of 21 minutes, 28.4 seconds, good for 11th overall. Aspen sophomore Everett Olson was 12th in 21:45, junior Will Chesner 14th in 21:59.5, sophomore Nicholas Galambos 20th in 23:10.2 and freshman Conner Chesner 46th in 25:27.5.
The Skiers finished with 103 points, beating second-place Grand Valley by five points for the boys’ team title. Ouray High School was third with 119 points.
“Last year, I really didn’t push myself enough on the uphills, and I felt that was the key to this course this year,” Locke said of the difficult terrain. “The toughest part about this course is in addition to the rigorous ups and downs, there is horrible footing. But it makes it a true cross country race. (Keleher) does a great job with this course.”
The best part about the surprising victory for both Keleher and the racers is the timing. Aspen still has one more meet remaining in the regular season — the Montrose Relays next weekend — before regionals get going in Delta on Oct. 21.
“Perfect timing. They ran well two weeks ago in Ouray. They’ve run hard all season long, just haven’t put everything together,” Keleher said. “It was good to have that pack time really tight. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in two weeks.”
The boys race was won by Rangely’s Patrick Scoggins in 18:52.4.
Basalt High School’s top finisher on the boys’ side was William Luckett, who took 28th in 23:39.4. Teammate Leighton Albright was hot on his heels, taking 30th in 23:42.3.
Battling injuries, the Aspen girls still had a respectable outing, taking fourth as a team with 168 points. The girls meet was dominated by Battle Mountain, which finished with 31 points. The Huskies had five runners finish in the top 10. Telluride took second with 76 points and Kent Denver third with 82 points.
“Battle Mountain had its second string here and they are just so deep that they ran away with the women’s title,” Keleher said. “The girls ran well. We are struggling with some injuries and some poorly timed sicknesses and that sort of thing.”
Aspen’s top female finisher was senior Melody Lemke, who took 28th overall in 27:33. Basalt sophomore Megan Maley led the Longhorns, finishing 19th in 26:44.1. Soroco High School sophomore Chloe Veilleux won the girls race in 21:21.
The Basalt High School cross country team also competed Friday at Delta. The girls team finished third overall and the boys team seventh. Maley again led Basalt with a 10th-place finish at Delta.
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