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Track teams struggle at state

Aspen’s Jacob O’Connor was primed for a pass. The junior, running the second leg in the 4×800 at state Saturday in Pueblo, found himself in a pack of four after 700 meters and was looking for space. During his move to the outside, O’Connor’s spikes tangled with one of his competitors, and he fell. Had his move been successful, O’Connor would have propelled Aspen into fifth place and within 20 meters of the lead. The Skiers couldn’t catch up, and failed to advance.”The four kids were moving fast and were in a spot where really only three could fit,” Aspen coach Chris Keleher said. “It could just as easily been one of the other kids. It’s funny how one of those things happen so fast, and yet seem like there in slow motion. “We saw what could’ve been, what might’ve been and what we hope can happen next year.”That sentiment rang true on both the track and infield Saturday. Aspen’s Tucker Eason set a personal best by four inches in the long jump with a 19-foot, 5-inch effort on his final jump. While he did not advance to the finals, Eason – a sophomore – caught a glimpse of the competition and a mark to shoot for in coming years.”He saw a kid make finals who jumped 6 inches farther,” Keleher said. “He knows that’s what he has to do the next time. For him to be jumping like that as a sophomore is really exciting.” The Skiers’ 4×800 team of seniors Christy Severy and Brittany Fortier, sophomore Natalie Obermeyer and freshman Lindsey Wilkinson finished 10th. The effort was strong for a group that ran only four times this season and had little practice as a unit, Keleher said. Wilkinson, seeded 14th in the mile, did not factor in the final results.”I think the heat and the competition got to her a little bit,” Keleher said. “She’s a mature freshman when it comes to her approach to races, but she just wasn’t as strong as she is capable of. But hey, she’s a freshman and was second in our region.”The younger kids really got an idea about what state is all about and where they want to be next year.” Basalt, who experienced both the highs – senior Allison Brumet’s third-place in the shot put – and the disappointments – senior sprinter Felipe Sanchez finished 10th in both 100- and 200-meter qualifying (the top eight advance) – had just one member of its team compete Saturday. Junior Duncan McDaniel posted a personal best with his 4 minutes, 45.2 seconds in the mile, but had to settle for 12th place. The Longhorns’ 4×200 team of Emily Taets, Emily Gustafson, Taylor Allmon and Kate Wilson also had a personal best with a 1:53.1 but managed to beat only one of 21 teams during qualifying. “Every time you run a PR or a school record, you think you should place,” Basalt coach Ron Lund said. “It doesn’t work out that way here. It’s tough to crack the top eight. “I thought everybody performed about as well as expected. No one was hanging their heads.”While the results were far from “glowing,” Keleher said the experience is sure to pay dividends. And, O’Connor and the rest of the 4×800 contingent – juniors Whit Fuller, Barton Tofany and sophomore Adam Huber – are already formulating goals for next season.”One said the goal next year is to not be in the pack of four, but to have everybody chase us. They’ll work as hard as they need to,” Keleher said. “There was definitely a lot of experience gained for the whole team, and it was a ton of fun to watch. “I would’ve liked to see what happened had Jacob not gone down.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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