State track Day 3: Basalt’s Maley closes strong with 3A championship in the mile |

State track Day 3: Basalt’s Maley closes strong with 3A championship in the mile

BHS senior Rulbe Alvarado was second in the 400-meter dash

Basalt High School sophomore Katelyn Maley raises her hands as she crosses the finish line first to win the Class 3A girls' 1,600-meter run at the state track and field championships on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Photo by Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

After finishing short in a couple of races on Friday, Katelyn Maley figured out she needed to find that extra gear to reach the very top of the podium.

The Basalt High School sophomore did just that on Saturday, the final day of the state track and field championships, where she paced the competition to win the Class 3A girls’ 1,600-meter run for her first state title on the Jefferson County Stadium track in Lakewood.

“She came in hungry,” BHS track coach Allyson Decatur said Saturday evening. “Having the time last night and this morning to digest what happened yesterday, she knew, ‘OK, now I have to step up. This is real. I’ve got one last chance to go after this.’ And she did that the moment the gun fired. She went out and said, ‘This is my race to win.’”

Maley, who also won the state cross country championship this past fall, won Saturday’s mile in 5 minutes, 1.10 seconds, holding off Coal Ridge sophomore Mikayla Cheney (5:04.29) and Peak to Peak senior Allison Beasley (5:06.79) for the title. Cheney had won the 800-meter race on Friday, which Maley finished sixth in, while Beasley had won the 3,200-meter race on Friday, with Maley finishing in second.

Basalt High School sophomore Katelyn Maley, right, hugs her sister, BHS graduate Megan Maley, after she won the Class 3A girls' 1,600-meter race at the state track and field championships on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Photo by Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

In Saturday’s 1,600-meter race, it was Maley who was the aggressor and took the lead around the midway point and refused to relinquish it the rest of the way.

“The first lap no one was really taking the lead, so I kind of jumped in. Then me and Mikayla were right in the front,” Maley said later Saturday. “I wasn’t feeling quite 100% (on Friday). I just wanted to come into this race with an open mindset and really be ready to lay it all out there. Mikayla is an amazing athlete, so to be able to have her there pushing me … was a really cool feeling.”

Also pushing her in Saturday’s mile was her senior teammate Sierra Bower, another former state cross country champion who finished sixth with a time of 5:09.79 in her final high school race. The Furman University signee came into the 1,600-meter run with the top seed time of 5:00.07, with Maley entering second and Cheney third on the heat sheet.

BHS sophomore Ava Lane also competed in the mile on Saturday, finishing 11th in 5:18.74.

Among the people to greet Maley at the finish line was her sister, Megan Maley, a BHS graduate and former standout runner who now runs for Scripps College in Claremont, California. Katelyn said Megan is “my rock and she is my support system.”

“It was such a beautiful moment in time,” Decatur said of Katelyn Maley’s win. “Around the 500, Katelyn was like, ‘OK, here I go.’ It was a beautifully executed race. It was steady and strong and I’m really proud of her. And that’s what we as coaches work for. You got to peak at the end. We are just beyond proud.”

Maley’s victory was part of a larger showcase for the Western Slope over the past three days in Lakewood. Cheney was a key piece in helping the Coal Ridge girls to the overall 3A team title — Basalt finished fourth — and with both only being sophomores, their dominance on the track likely isn’t going to slow down.

“I wasn’t really sure because Mikayla, she has such an amazing kick and she’s an amazing runner,” Maley said of when she knew she had won. “Before the race, we were just talking and representing the Western Slope and it’s really fun to be out there and show what we can do. Because you don’t really get to race against the really fast girls over here that often, so when we do we have to make it special and I think we definitely did that.”

Rulbe’s photo finish

Maley’s victory was the cherry on top of an overall strong showing for the Basalt track and field team. The other main highlight was BHS senior Rulbe Alvarado, who finished second in the 3A boys’ 400-meter dash on Saturday, losing by a mere one one-hundredth of a second.

His time of 50.02 seconds was bested by only the 50.01 posted by champion Drew Morton of The Classical Academy.

“That was amazing,” Decatur said. “If you see him coming off the curve, he’s actually behind slightly. Maybe a stride and a half. Then he just pulls into overdrive. And it was a true photo finish.”

Alvarado also finished ninth in the 200-meter dash on Saturday in 23 seconds flat. Also Saturday, BHS junior Ryan Zheng finished 17th in the 3A boys’ high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 6 inches, not quite the 5-9 that was his qualifying mark.

Rise and shine

Decatur said the team was awoken around 7:30 a.m. on Saturday after the fire alarms went off at the hotel they were staying at. It remained a popular topic during conversation throughout the day.

“The kids were asking me, ‘What do you think caused the fire alarm to go off?’” Decatur said. “Well, now we know the answer to the question. Because Rulbe and Katelyn were on fire today.”

All in the family

Like the Maley sisters, Alvarado was following in the footsteps of a sibling. His sister, Nicole Alvarado, was a standout BHS runner who graduated in 2018 and had held the school’s 400-meter run record until Maley broke it this year.

“It’s really neat for me as a coach to be able to coach the older siblings and watch their younger siblings just thrive,” Decatur said. “It’s an honor.”

More records fall

On Friday, BHS senior Katie Bohannan broke the school’s pole vault record by hitting a mark of 9 feet. She finished seventh in the 3A girls’ competition at state.

Bohannan also set a personal record in the high jump at state at 5 feet, which was just shy of the school record. She finished fourth at state in high jump, a surprising result considering she was seeded in the bottom half of the 21-athlete field.

“That girl has a heart of gold and will do anything to be on that podium,” Decatur said.

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