Two Alpine runners in top 10 at Palisade
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Senior Ashley Eaton ran to a fourth-place finish and Basalt’s Alpine Christian Academy girls cross-country team tied for third overall at the Warrior Invitational 5K in Palisade last Friday.
Clocked at 21 minutes, 11 seconds, Eaton crossed the finish line 59 seconds after winner Shauna Murry of Fruita. Alpine freshman Amy Lund was 10th (22:03) in the field of 66 girls, followed by older sister Whitney Lund in 20th (23:14) and Kate Wilson in 22nd (23:21).
Ukare Sano (41st, 24:51) and Meagan Goodwin (63rd, 29:02) rounded out Alpine’s runners.
Six schools competed at the Warrior Invitational, including Class 5A schools Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central, Durango and Fruita, as well as the 4A Moffat County.
“I told our kids that we were there to get a quality workout because I didn’t anticipate we’d stand much of a chance in the team race,” said Alpine coach Ron Lund. “And it definitely served its purpose in that regard, but we also put two kids in the top 10 and we tied for third as a team, which I thought was fantastic.”
Alpine Christian Academy has an enrollment of 25 students at the high school level, though the team also draws runners from Basalt High, like Eaton, because it’s the only cross-country team in the midvalley.
“The kids were joking that half of the runners were from Durango, and that Durango has more kids on their cross-country team than we do in our whole school,” Lund said.
Durango won the girls meet as a team, followed by Fruita and Alpine and Moffat County tied for third, ahead of 5A schools Grand Junction and GJ Central. “You’ve got to be pretty pleased that you can be competitive against 5A schools,” Lund said. “That gives them some encouragement.”
The race was Alpine’s third of the season, and third of the season in muddy, wet conditions. “They’ve learned to embrace it by now,” Lund said, “and actually I think it takes the edge off. They realize it’s going to be sloppy and and they just go out and have fun.”
Two boys raced for Alpine at Palisade (not enough to record a team finish). Collin Stewart finished 18th (18:37) and Duncan McDaniel was 53rd (21:25).
On Friday, Alpine travels to the Liberty Bell Invitational in Littleton, one of the biggest meets in the state every season. Lund said Alpine’s division will be packed with 25 other teams.
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After falling through a trapdoor in his Telluride home a couple of weeks ago, Chris Busbee wasn’t sure if he’d be able to keep his streak going. He had run in every New York City Marathon since 1998 and was going to run it virtually this year in Aspen before his spill put all that in jeopardy.