State track: Basalt’s Zach Walsh 2nd in 3,200
The Aspen Times
LAKEWOOD — Basalt High School senior Zach Walsh knows his way up the steps on the podium at the State Track and Field Championships.
Walsh, a four-year state qualifier, stepped off the familiar track at Jeffco Stadium and climbed all the way up to the silver-medal step in the Class 3A boys 3,200-meter run early Friday morning in Lakewood.
He broke away from a midrace duel with Salida’s Taylor Stack to secure second place.
Skyview Academy junio Ben Butler won the 3A race in 9 minutes, 25.39 seconds.
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Walsh, who had finished fourth in the 3,200 one year ago, finished second Friday in 9:41.41.
Alamosa sophomore Isaiah Delacerda closed for third place in 9:43.41. Gunnison junior Cooper Wines was fourth (9:51.45).
The trio of Butler, Walsh and Stack sprinted to an early lead on the first lap, with Butler leading the runners across in a blazing 62 seconds — after the distraction of a race restart. They covered 60 meters before they were summoned back to the starting line.
“Actually, that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me,” Walsh said. “But it didn’t bother me.”
Walsh immediately broke with the leaders on the restart.
“Ben (Butler) took it out pretty hard, … 62 seconds,” Walsh said. “That was a fun first lap.”
And a first lap that split the 18-runner field.
“But I stayed on, … felt pretty good,” Walsh said. “I wanted to go try to catch Ben, but he had too much. It was a fun race.”
With Butler out front, Walsh made his decisive move on the fifth lap when he positioned himself for another state track medal at the close of his career — one that included four trips to the State Cross Country Championships.
On each of the eight laps Friday morning, the Basalt senior was serenaded by a chorus of cheers from the purple-clad Longhorn nation in the grandstands at Jeffco Stadium.
“I could hear my coaches, family, everyone,” said the smiling Walsh, who has committed to run track and cross country at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison next year – an NCAA Division II national power.
“I am going to Western State,” he said. “I signed with their team, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Walsh will compete in two more high school events at the 2015 state track championships.
The Basalt High School senior is scheduled to race in the Class 3A finals in the 800 meters and 1,600 meters today.
And he can’t wait.
“I’ve been running happy,” Walsh said, smiling.
Senior teammate Jake Levy also made the state podium Friday, finishing eighth in the 3A discus (136 feet, 5 inches). Garrett Coalson of Eaton won at 163-3.
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Herman is the freestyle skiing winner of the Summit Daily’s Peak Performers project, which honors the greatest athletes and most influential figures in Summit county ski and snowboard history.