State track Day 1: Basalt girls set school record in 4×800 relay
The first day of the Colorado high school state track and field meet included a new school record and a couple of surprise finals qualifiers for Aspen and Basalt in Class 3A.
In the only final of the day for area athletes Thursday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, the Basalt girls 4×800-meter relay team finished fifth, a spot ahead of its seed time. That group, comprised of senior Megan Maley, senior Maddie Ellison, junior Lily Gillis and sophomore Sierra Bower, ran it in 9 minutes, 52.99 seconds, a new school record. They broke the old record by more than four seconds and beat their seed time by nearly 10 seconds.
It was only the second and final time that group has run the 4×800 relay together.
“It would have been nice to compete again, but it was fun,” Maley said. “It was nice to end it with a school record and a podium finish. We are all happy.”
Peak to Peak won the relay in a blistering 9:17.96, about 16 seconds ahead of runner-up D’Evelyn. Aspen also competed in the 4×800, but struggled out of the blocks to finish last with a time of 11:16.58.
“I’m still trying to piece that one together,” AHS coach James Aldridge said. “We didn’t get out too hot and it was just kind of a domino effect.”
The Skiers did have a great result in their other relay of the day. The girls 800-meter sprint medley took sixth in prelims (1:52.68) to qualify for Friday’s 11:55 a.m. final. That group is made of senior Lexi Ferlisi, junior Julisa Ruiz-Vega, sophomore Kendall Clark and sophomore Zuleika Hanson.
Elizabeth had the best time in the sprint medley prelim at 1:49.72.
Ruiz-Vega was the only individual to compete Thursday for Aspen, where she finished ninth in the girls 100-meter dash prelim to sneak into the finals with a time of 13.14 seconds. It was a touch slower than her seed time of 12.87 seconds, which was in the middle of the pack entering prelims.
Avery Wright of Montezuma-Cortez, the pre-race favorite, led the prelim with a time of 12.48 seconds. Finals are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
“It wasn’t her best race — more so the environment. It was new to her,” Aldridge said of Ruiz-Vega, a first-time state qualifier. “It’s hard to get into a zone in a super fresh environment as far as athletic performance. When she gets another chance on Saturday she’ll be well into the zone and past the pre-race jitters.”
Basalt junior Ben Williams had arguably the most surprising result for the Longhorns. Seeded toward the bottom of the pack entering prelims, he finished ninth in the boys 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.25 seconds to make finals, scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Saturday.
“It feels so great. I definitely did get a little lucky,” Williams said, noting one of the top qualifiers false started and was disqualified. “That’s just another opportunity for me to get better, so I’ll absolutely take it.”
BHS sophomore Rulbe Alvarado came up a bit unlucky, finishing 10th in the boys 200-meter dash prelim in 23.47 seconds to miss out on making finals by a single spot. The ninth-place finisher had a time of 23.21. Alvarado entered with a seed time of 23.09.
Still, the young sprinter found reason for optimism.
“I was just happy that I got to come but a little disappointed that I didn’t get in by a spot, but it’s just a learning experience for the next couple of years,” Alvarado said. “I was so nervous because it was a big competition and I wasn’t used to it, but I feel I’ll be better prepared for next year.”
Maley was the only other to compete as an individual Thursday, finishing 15th in the girls 400-meter dash prelim in 1:01.42 to miss out on making finals. The senior still has the 800-meter run finals at 12:50 p.m. Friday, where she is seeded third.
“My legs were definitely a little tired, but I had fun,” Maley said of the 400, which she ran about two hours after the record-setting 4×800 relay. “I’m just happy that I got to compete again and end on a happy note. Not my best, but it was good for me.”
Friday’s lineup is pretty busy for both teams, highlighted by the girls 3,200-meter run at 8:20 a.m. Basalt’s Bower enters with the top seed time (11:15.63) and will be in the mix for a state championship.
The long drives to Denver to play competitive club softball and fine-tune her skills during the offseason are paying off for Glenwood Springs High School senior Kiera Larson.