Youth movement for Basalt harriers
Basalt cross-country coach Ron Lund hasn’t sat down with his boys and girls teams yet to go over goals for the season.He’d rather wait until his young runners get a few races under their belts before making prognostications.”I want to see how the teams come together,” Lund said Tuesday. “Test the waters to see what’s out there competition-wise and then make a goal. I want them to make a realistic goal. You can always re-evaluate, but I’d like them to make a good realistic goal and go from there.”It seems like a sound strategy, considering the Longhorns return only a senior apiece from the boys and girls teams that finished fourth at last year’s state meet in Colorado Springs.Lund’s senior daughter, Amy, who placed 32nd at state, is the top returner for the Longhorns girls. The team lost its top runner, Kate Wilson, to graduation, as well as Emily Taets, whose 39th-place state finish was third best on the team.Juniors Annie Tempest and Nuala Del Piccolo, who finished 65th and 75th, respectively, last year at state are also back. Del Piccolo’s freshman sister, Chiara, has been running well in preseason training, and could be the team’s fourth-best runner, Lund said.Amy Lund said the losses of Wilson and Taets have pushed her into a leadership role, one she fully embraces. While the team is young, she believes it can sneak up on a few teams this fall.”I was a little nervous losing [Emily and Kate],” Amy Lund said. “I was like, I don’t know if the charisma is still going to be there. But I’m excited to step up and see how I can motivate and encourage people. That’s always been my goal, to make it fun for everyone and encourage them. … I’ve got no worries after seeing the girls that came in. All of them came in really good shape and I’m just really excited for this season. I think we’re going to do really well.”On an individual level, Lund’s daughter has aspirations of making the all-state team, and running well enough to attract the attention of some college coaches.”Secretly, I’d like to be top five at state, but whatever I can get, I’ll take,” she said. On the boys side, there are even more questions.Noticeably gone from this year’s team is Collin Stewart, last year’s lone senior who finished on a high note at the state meet with a time of 17 minutes, 20 seconds, good for 10th overall.Junior Casey Weaver, who was only 10 seconds off Weaver’s pace, isn’t expected to start practicing until Saturday. Lund didn’t go into specifics as to why Weaver hasn’t been running, noting it was a “personal issue.””We’ll just have to see how he progresses, but I hope to have him by midseason,” Lund said. Duncan McDaniel is the lone senior on the team, but isn’t expected to compete in every race because he is also playing on Basalt’s soccer team this fall. McDaniel was Basalt’s third finisher at state last year, finishing 61st. Lund said there aren’t many conflicts between the soccer and cross-country schedules, and that Basalt’s new soccer coach, John McDermott, has been receptive to the idea of McDaniel doing both sports.As of right now, Lund said his top runner is Brennan Roper, a junior who didn’t run cross-country last fall. Roper starred in track in the spring, where he finished 14th at the state meet in the 3,200 meters.Basalt’s fourth state finisher from last year’s team, junior Andrew Galemore, didn’t come out this fall. That leaves junior Tyler Wilson, who consistently finished between fifth and sixth place on the team last fall, to pick up the slack, as well as sophomore Preston McKelvey. After that, there are a number of unproven freshmen, Lund said.”We’re obviously not going to be the same team without Duncan,” Lund said. “With the boys it’s going to be wait and see. If everything works out great by October, we could be in good shape. … Obviously, with a lot of young kids, there’s some unknowns out there, but, you know, I’m hoping with the kids who have been here that their example and leadership will help bring these kids along.”Lund again picked a schedule for his teams that he feels will prepare them best for the regional meet, which this year is being held in Delta. The Longhorns and the Skiers will get a preview of the Delta course this Saturday when they both travel there for the first meet of the season.Last year’s regional was run at the Aspen Golf Club, where the Basalt girls finished second to Gunnison and the Basalt boys won.The Longhorns will run at two big meets on the Front Range – the Liberty Bell Invite in Littleton and the Holy Family Invite in Denver – to gauge some of the state’s best teams. They’ll also run at a number of high-altitude meets (Lake County, Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Buena Vista) on courses of varying difficulty.”It’s pretty much the same schedule as last year, but the regional course this year is a lot different from the course at Aspen,” Lund said. “The Aspen course is hilly, and at high altitude. The Delta course isn’t as tough.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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