Strong showings for Basalt runners at state title meet |

Strong showings for Basalt runners at state title meet

Jon Maletz The Aspen Times Aspen, CO Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily NewsBasalts Chiara Del Piccolo, right, keeps up the pace on her way to a sixth-place finish in Saturdays girls 1,600 meters race at the Colorado State Track & Field Championships in Lakewood.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. Shortly after walking off the track in Pueblo at last years Colorado State Track & Field Championships, Basalt coach Ron Lund was already pondering 2009. This should give her some confidence, the coach told The Aspen Times then, referring to distance runner Chiara Del Piccolos second-place finish in the 3,2000 meters coupled with a sixth in the mile. This proved she can run with the best of them. Im sure shell be ready to go at it again. He was right. Del Piccolo shattered two previous school records in the 3,200 and the mile and logged two top-10 finishes at this seasons biggest meet, held Thursday through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. Teammates Conner Roper and Taylor Allmon each picked up a top-10 result in the 800 and 100, respectively. Aspens Luke Hemming, the lone Skier at the meet, wound up 11th in the 200 and 12th in the 100 and did not advance out of the preliminaries. Chiara had a great weekend, Lund said Saturday. She kind of just ran every thing pretty much to plan, and she ran smart. She knew what she was capable of and just executed it beautifully. Del Piccolo opened with Thursdays 3,200 and crossed the line in 11 minutes, 18.07 seconds. The time topped the juniors previous best by eight seconds, and was good enough for fourth place. Classical Academy standout Kaitlin Hanenburg paced the field for a second straight year, claiming the title with a time of 10:52. That mark was the fourth-fastest posted in any classification. [Del Piccolo] was 12 seconds faster in the 3,200 [at state] this year, and was fourth instead of second that tells you how stiff the competition is getting, Lund said. She was only three seconds back after the first mile. [The leaders] picked it up on lap five and slowly started stretch ing it out. After taking 14th in Fridays 800 We werent expecting a lot out of that race. The further she goes, the better she is, Lund said Del Piccolo was again in the mix in Saturdays mile. Seeded seventh going in, she dropped another eight seconds off her school record, one set last May in Pueblo, and finished in 5:17. The effort was good enough to match 2008s sixth-place finish. There were some fast times ran this weekend, Lund said. Allmon finished seventh (12.87) in Thursdays 100 prelims, nabbing a spot in the nine-runner final. Organizers did her few favors, however, giving her the ninth lane in Saturdays final. Consequently, she finished 0.13 seconds slower and wound up ninth. Being away from the other kids she was competing against, who were in lanes one and two, didnt help her, Lund said. Of course, one and two were battling it out side by side and pushing each other. The tough breaks followed Allmon in Thursdays 200 prelims. She finished 10th, missing out on advancing by nine hundredths of a second. She finished in 26.87 seconds. Both prelims were the best times of the year for her, and thats what you want, Lund said. She still came away from the weekend with a medal. So, too, did Roper. The sophomore, seeded 11th in Fridays 800, posted a one-second personal best and finished in 2:01.41, good for eighth. He wound up 14th (4:42.36) in Saturdays mile and was 2 seconds slower than the time he posted at regionals the previous week in Grand Junction. That was likely the result of a nagging leg injury that has plagued him in recent weeks, Lund said. He really hasnt run the last two weeks. He had a bad shin problem, and we had him on the bike, the coach added. That third lap of the [mile], you could tell that not having run for two weeks kind of kicked in. He lost a little bit of steam. Hes only a sophomore. Hell be back. Hemming, also a sophomore, will be looking forward to his return trip to state. So is Aspen coach Chris Keleher. It wasnt his greatest race of the season, but he got excellent experience learning what it was like to run at state, Keleher said. We left with a good idea of Hey, look, theres tons of room for improvement.


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