Younger runners get their chance to shine on sunny day at the Glenwood Invitational
Glenwood Springs Post Independent correspondent
With the Glenwood Springs Golf Course serving as host on Thursday morning, distance runners from Basalt, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Coal Ridge and Glenwood lined up to test their fitness on the 9-hole layout that is aptly nicknamed, “The Hill.”
The 3.1-mile course, which has also served for many years as the Thanksgiving Turkey Day 5K course, is run almost entirely on up-and-down grassy fairways. That gives runners the opportunity to showcase climbing skills, as well as their ability to gain time while cruising the downhill sections.
A recent change in area meet schedules presented an opportunity to enter some of the top runners in a meet at Grand Junction’s Connected Lakes State Park this Saturday.
So, it was predominantly junior varsity runners who were on display Thursday morning under bright sunshine and perfect running conditions.
“The opportunity to run in Grand Junction on one of the fastest courses around just came up in the last 10 days or so,” Glenwood assistant coach Blake Risner said. “It was an opportunity that was too good to pass up for our varsity runners.”
In the girls’ race Thursday, Glenwood junior Maria Carlson made the most of her opportunity to shine, winning in a time of 23 minutes, 37 seconds. Basalt’s Avery Smith was second in 23:59, and Elle MacPherson of Glenwood rounded out the top three by finishing in 24:18.
The Glenwood girls won the team competition with 22 points, followed by Basalt with 34 points and Coal Ridge at 85 points. CRMS did not have enough runners to qualify for a team score.
The boys’ race saw Basalt’s Ross Barlow, a student at Roaring Fork High School, cross the line first in 19:07. He was followed by CRMS runner Bryn Peterson in second (19:10) and Basalt’s Talon Carballiera, also a Roaring Fork student, in third (19:12). Basalt also won the team competition with 20 points, over Glenwood’s 37.
Glenwood head coach Justin Baum was happy with the experience his team gained at the home meet and the strong showing they put forth.
“I love that we got the opportunity for the JV’s to run on a tough course like this one. The results today show how deep we are as a team this year,” Baum said.
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Katelyn Maley was the first across the finish line on Saturday at the Norris-Penrose Event Center, winning the Class 3A girls state championship in 18 minutes, 39 seconds. She came in more than 34 seconds ahead of second place.