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Wolford hits Greene for TD in Rams’ 10-6 win over Broncos

LOS ANGELES — Brandon Allen passed for 162 yards, and Jalen Greene caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from John Wolford with 12:38 to play in the Los Angeles Rams’ 10-6 preseason victory over the Denver Broncos on Saturday night.

Both coaches sat nearly all of their starters for the final NFL preseason game at the 96-year-old Coliseum, and neither team managed a touchdown before Wolford led a 52-yard drive spanning the final two quarters and capped it with a sharp pass to Greene.

Wolford, who went 6 of 12 for 64 yards, is competing for the Rams’ No. 3 quarterback spot with Allen, who had the job last season. Allen went 12 of 19 and mostly looked sharp while Jared Goff and backup Blake Bortles watched from the sideline.

Almost every Rams player expected to make a significant contribution this season skipped this game in keeping with coach Sean McVay’s total disinterest in risking his starters’ health for meaningless exhibitions. McVay also followed the strategy last August, and the Rams matched the NFL’s best regular-season record at 13-3 before reaching their first Super Bowl in 17 years.

Kevin Hogan went 8 of 12 for 69 yards in the Broncos’ fourth of five preseason games.

Hogan and undrafted rookie Brett Rypien ran the Broncos’ offense with rookie Drew Lock sidelined by a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. Hogan is expected to back up Joe Flacco this season.

Rypien went 14 of 23 for 80 yards with an interception in his first preseason action since the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1. He led the Broncos to the Rams 25 in the final minutes, but Los Angeles stopped them on downs with 1:08 to play.

BIG TACKLE

Kieshawn Bierria started for the Broncos as an inside linebacker, and his bid for playing time this season got a boost when he made a huge defensive play in the third quarter. Bierria wrapped up Rams tight end Johnny Mundt at the goal line and forced him out of bounds before Mundt could get his short reception over the goal line on fourth down.

BUTT BACK

Denver tight end Jake Butt had two catches for 17 yards while playing for the first time since the third game of last season, when he tore a knee ligament and required his third knee surgery. Butt also missed the entire 2017 season due to knee problems after the Broncos chose him in the fifth round out of Michigan, but his continued health could be a boost for an offense that likes to use tight ends.

NOT SPECIAL

Most of the Rams’ few remaining positional competitions revolve around the players’ roles on special teams, and those weren’t all great: Los Angeles committed penalties on each of its first two punt returns.

Hudson pitches 6 scoreless, Cardinals beat Rockies 6-0

ST. LOUIS — Dakota Hudson wasn’t going to let another quality start slip away.

Hudson allowed just two hits over six innings, Harrison Bader and Paul Goldschmidt homered, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-0 on Saturday night.

Hudson (13-6) extended his scoreless streak to a career-high 18 2/3 innings as the Cardinals won their third straight and sixth in their last seven games. Daniel Murphy’s leadoff double in the second snapped Hudson’s streak of 8 2/3 innings not allowing a hit.

“I actually felt like I was kind of loosening up as the game went and starting to get in a little bit of a groove,” Hudson said.

The key to Hudson’s performance was a visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux to the mound after the 24-year-old walked two straight batters in the fourth. Hudson responded by getting Ian Desmond to hit into a 1-4-3 double play to snuff out the rally.

“Just reset and start attacking again,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “When Dak’s doing that, getting ahead and controlling counts, he’s in a great spot.”

The Cardinals moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs, who lost earlier to Washington, for first place in the National League Central. St. Louis improved to a season-high 12 games over .500.

Hudson struck out two and walked three before being lifted for a pinch hitter after throwing 95 pitches. His 13 wins are the most among all rookies and Hudson is the first rookie to lead St. Louis in wins since Matt Morris in 1997.

“A lot of it is making the hitter adjust to you a little bit,” Hudson said. “You obviously see things as the game goes on, which I’m very fortunate to have (Yadier Molina) to make those adjustments with me. You’ve kind of got to just be aggressive with what you do and just try to work through as quick of innings as you can.”

Tyler Webb, Giovanny Gallegos and Dominic Leone completed the four-hit shutout.

Marcell Ozuna’s two-run single gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first. Ozuna, who reached three times, has seven RBIs in his last three games and is hitting .455 (5 for 11) during that span.

“Ozuna is hitting missiles everywhere, all over the ballpark,” Shildt said.

Bader doubled the Cardinals’ lead with a two-run homer in the second. It was Bader’s first home run in 45 games going back to June 8.

Goldschmidt’s 29th home run of the season capped the scoring in the seventh.

Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez walked the lead-off man in the first, second and fifth innings and each one turned into a run for the Cardinals. Gonzalez (0-5) walked six and allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings as the Rockies lost their third straight and their fifth in the last six.

“Just couldn’t get the ball in the strike zone,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He was around the zone, they weren’t big misses it looked like from our vantage point. It looked as though he just couldn’t get the ball on the corner inside the strike zone.”

Colorado center fielder Yonathan Daza was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Emmel after slamming down his bat after a called third strike to end the seventh inning.

“Here’s a young guy trying to get a big hit for us and the call didn’t go his way and he reacted,” Black said.

MOLINA MILESTONE

It was the 150th time Molina caught a shutout, which is the fourth-most among catchers since 1900.

“He’s a good shepherd at getting guys through it man,” Shildt said. “He’s the smartest guy I’ve seen on a baseball field.”

REDBIRDS ROYALTY

The Cardinals inducted third baseman Scott Rolen (who played in St. Louis from 2002-07), right-hander Jason Isringhausen (2002-08) and right-hander Mort Cooper (1938-45) into the team’s Hall of Fame before the game. Each year, fans vote for two modern-era players and a panel selects a veteran player.

TRAINING ROOM

Rockies: OF David Dahl (right high ankle sprain) is at least a week to 10 days away from resuming baseball activities.

Cardinals: OF Jose Martinez (right A/C joint sprain) will leave tomorrow to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Springfield. 2B Kolten Wong left the game in the seventh after fouling a ball off of his right foot. X-rays were negative and Wong is considered day-to-day.

“I’ve fouled ball off my toes hundreds of times, but God this one takes the cake man,” Wong said. “That was a lot of pain. I’m glad no fracture. I’ll be back in a couple of days.”

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Emilee Hope Gonzales-Dean (July 30, 2019–August 14, 2019)

On the evening of August 14, 2019, while in her mother’s arms and her brothers at her side, Emilee Hope gracefully gained her wings and took her place in heaven amongst the angels.

At 15 days old Emilee passed away from complications of her lungs due to being born with Trisomy 18 or Edwards Syndrome. Born in Denver, CO at 3lbs 1oz, Little “Em” was a miracle, with a bright spirit, lighting up the room with her mere presence. So many were inspired by her courage and strength. She gave others hope, joy, love and peace. She left all in awe in her tiny doll clothes, her precious smile and bright eyes. She is survived by her mother Laura K Raymond, father Patrick Arthur Kentopp. Siblings Matthew Gonzales, Paul Dean and Keirah Dean.

Contact Robbie Fullard on messenger about Emilee’s Celebration of Life.

Will column: Trade war shows reality of ‘America First’ in action

WASHINGTON — In a trade war, as in a real one, people are wounded by friendly fire from their side. Consider some casualties in Donald Trump’s “easy to win” — his promise — trade war. Begin with the company whose green machines bear the name of the blacksmith who, in the 1830s in Grand Detour, Illinois, invented a self-scouring plow that could turn the Midwest’s heavy black topsoil.

Is the John Deere corporation “tired of winning,” as Trump promised that all Americans soon would be? Not exactly. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. farmers are purchasing fewer farm machines — Deere’s profits from this business are down 24% from a year ago — partly because farmers’ incomes have suffered as a result of the tit-for-tat trade spat that Trump started with China, which has included China canceling the purchase of almost 500,000 metric tons of soybeans. Some good news for John Deere might be ominous news for U.S. farmers: Equipment sales to Brazil and Argentina are up, perhaps partly because China has increased purchases from those nations’ farmers, who are American farmers’ competitors.

Nowadays, even sensible government actions injure some farmers. Many of them have come to depend on government’s misguided mandate regarding ethanol in gasoline, and the Journal reports that 31 refineries have been given ethanol waivers from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Iowa Corn Growers Association says the exemptions could eliminate “nearly one billion bushels of corn demand.” Whether ethanol would have achieved sacramental status in Washington if Iowa did not have presidential caucuses is a subject for another day.

Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer (more than 2,000 stores in North America), partly blames the trade war for its lowered growth expectations. The tariffs, which The Financial Times accurately refers to as “import taxes,” will, according to a JPMorgan estimate, cost the average U.S. household “around $1,000 a year.” If so, this Trump tax increase — it is his alone — is more important to the average American than his (actually Congress’) tax cut.

The Financial Times recalls that “hundreds of U.S. companies and trade associations said in a joint communique in June that the proposed duties would cause the loss of two million jobs and reduce U.S. economic output by 1%.” The losses and reduction are related to the fact that, as Allan Golombek of the White House Writers Group notes, “Over 60% of U.S. imports are used by businesses in their products and production processes.” Hence Trump’s tariffs make U.S. goods more expensive, thereby dampening U.S. consumer activity. And exacerbating trade deficits, which do not matter other than as irritants to Trump, who thinks they indicate foreigners taking advantage of Americans by selling them things they want.

Uncertainties infused into the global economy by the trade war between the world’s two largest national economies probably have helped to produce a global slowdown and fears, perhaps somewhat self-fulfilling, of an approaching recession. The fourth-largest economy, that of heavily export-dependent Germany, is already shrinking. There, as The Economist reports, “interest rates are negative all the way from overnight deposits to 30-year bonds. Investors who buy and hold bonds to maturity will make a guaranteed cash loss.”

This does not suggest economic health but might produce something pleasing to the president whose macroeconomic theory makes up in brevity what it lacks in nuance: “Low interest rates are good.” He is forever hectoring the Federal Reserve to lower rates, which it might again do if it sees a recession tiptoeing toward us. So, a recession would be an interestingly injurious carom — a win, of a perverse sort — from his trade war.

From May 1937 to June 1938, there occurred the “recession within [the] Depression,” America’s third-worst 20th-century contraction. About the causes of this, as about so many economic events, intelligent and informed people disagree. However, one theory is that capital went “on strike.” Rattled and exasperated by the New Dealers’ regulatory fidgets, investors flinched from economic activity. If so, this episode contains a warning for protectionists who seem oblivious.

They fiddle with global supply chains, as though the world economy is a Tinkertoy that they can pull apart and reassemble with impunity. Actually, it is analogous to an Alexander Calder mobile: jiggle something here, things wiggle way over there, and there, and there. So: Tariffs on Apple (headquarters: Cupertino, California) iPhones that are made (actually, just assembled) in China might help Samsung (headquarters: near Seoul, South Korea) Galaxy phones sell in America. This is “America First” in practice.

George Will’s email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

Funt column: Litter to the auditor

MARINA, Calif. – Lawmakers in California have littered their desks with measures designed to eliminate plastic products, such as bags and even straws. But in failing to provide an adequate system for recycling these items – along with glass, metal and paper – they have created an environmental mess and a socio-economic dilemma.

At the public park I frequent several times a week for baseball practice, I can pretty much set my watch by the arrival of Samuel, toting two or three bulging trash bags. He deftly lifts the lids on garbage bins and rummages a bit, looking for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. He also picks up what’s on the ground, leaving the park considerably tidier than he found it.

His scavenging brings him roughly $60 a week he told me, or at least it used to. Locating a recycling center where he can sell his scrap for cash has become increasingly difficult. This month California’s largest recycling operator, RePlanet, closed all of its 284 locations, pushing the state’s deeply flawed recycling system closer to chaos.

Redemption and recycling of bottles and cans, which came on the scene some 50 years ago, is based on a beautifully simple system. Consumers pay a nickel deposit – a dime for larger items – at the time of purchase, and get the money back when they return the empties. For consumers who can’t be bothered, most municipalities offer curbside collections of recyclables. California also has subsidized redemption depots, where folks like Samuel trade trash for cash.

Today, every aspect of California’s system is in disarray. Many stores simply ignore their obligation to take back empties; others prefer to pay a daily fine of $100 to be spared the hassle. Curbside collections, in which various recyclable products are commingled in a single truck, are yielding contaminated trash that increasingly winds up in landfills. Meanwhile, the global market for recyclables is shrinking, with buyers such as China paying less and demanding cleaner materials.

State auditors have repeatedly identified fraud in California’s system among retailers and recycling companies. And, when it comes to cash deposits, there’s the fact that a nickel doesn’t incentivize today’s consumers as it did half a century ago.

The nonprofit Consumer Watchdog organization notes that more than 40 percent of California’s redemption centers have closed in the last five years. Without changes in how the state subsidizes and regulates these businesses, the group concludes, “the recycling centers that are the centerpiece of the state’s bottle deposit law are doomed.”

Only 10 states have redemption programs for bottles and cans, with no states added to the list since Hawaii launched its program in 2005. However, six other state legislatures are now considering “Bottle Bills,” which is a hopeful sign, despite California’s recent struggles.

Here on the Monterey Peninsula in Central California, there is only one remaining redemption facility to serve seven cities and towns, with a combined population of 170,000, spread over 853 square miles. This “Buy Back Center,” operated by local government, was built years ago near the municipal dump. “It was designed to serve 10 or 20 customers a day,” explains Tim Flanagan, the general manager. “Today, we’re getting eight times that many people, some of whom arrive on bicycles or by foot on a road that wasn’t designed for public access, it was designed for garbage trucks. It was never intended that people would walk to get here.”

Flanagan says all of California faces “a total disconnect with recycling. The cost of labor and transportation are up, while state subsidies for recycling facilities have not kept pace.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to take immediate action to clean this up. Requirements for retailers to participate in recycling must be enforced. Recycling centers must be adequately subsidized to reflect fluctuations in the world scrap market. Residents should be educated about which materials are appropriate for curbside collections. Deposits paid by consumers should be raised to 10 cents for smaller bottles and cans – as is the case in Michigan, where the results are impressive.

Because of its size, California’s failures – as well as its achievements – are magnified. With a vast coastline and natural wonders it should be a model for efficient recycling, not the poster state for environmental mismanagement and malfeasance.

Recycling empty bottles and cans isn’t rocket science. It’s actually one of the simplest things we can do to keep the planet clean, as explained to me at the park the other day by the guy with bags of bottles and cans, who was willing to stoop to conquer.

Sunday Profile: From waves to caves for longtime Glenwood Caverns employee Paul Pristas

After spending 35 years in the waters of Panama City, Florida as a fish biologist, Paul Pristas is spending his golden years of retirement in the cool, winding tunnels of the Glenwood Caverns.

Pristas, at age 83, is a cave tour guide at the Caverns, and he has been doing so since before the idea of today’s mountain-top adventure park was even conceptualized.

It was August of 1999, and the only way to the top of the mountain was via a bumpy bus ride over a meandering dirt road.

Bob Koper, another long-time employee and a fishing buddy of Pristas, brought up the idea of a part-time gig at the caverns. Koper was in charge of hiring the guides and bus drivers at the time.

“Back then, we didn’t have the tram. Our retail store was in the Hotel Colorado and we were just bus people,” Pristas said. “The BLM closed the road in the winter so we only worked during the summer.”

During the bus ride up, tourists would be filled with the information and history of the area and the caves. Still, some people just didn’t know what to expect.

“People would ask questions like, ‘Are the caves underground? Do you drive through the caves?’ You know, all sorts of crazy things like that,” Pristas said.

Through the years, Pristas has taken on the titles of bus driver, tram operator, amusement ride operator, and currently as a cave tour guide. His favorite by far is cave guide.

“That’s what the park all started on, was the cave tours,” he said. “I like the history that comes with the caves.”

Pristas rides the Glenwood Gondola back down to town after a day cave guiding at Glenwood Caverns.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Along the seashores

He imagines that being a long-time biologist also may have a little bit to do with his fascination for the underground world.

Pristas graduated from Michigan State University as an ichthyologist, also known as a fishery biologist. Shortly after graduating, he got a job studying Lamprey Eels in the upper Michigan Peninsula. 

“I had a terrific job,” Pristas said. “One day, though, I went back to the lab from the field and was expecting a paycheck. But what I got was a draft notice instead.”

He then spent two years working for the United States Department of the Army in Frederick, Maryland doing biological warfare studies producing preventative medicine against certain disease.

After being discharged, he went on to spend three decades working on big-game fishing studies with the National Marine Fisheries Service on the Florida Coast and along the Gulf of Mexico.

He worked with big-game fishing clubs and tournaments and helped set some of the first rules and regulations for fishing tournaments.

“I would interview sport fishermen during contests and find out where they fished, how long, what the water conditions were like and so on,” Pristas said. “There were a lot of unknowns about big-game fish in the Gulf of Mexico during this time.”

He worked for the NMFS for 35 years before retiring and finding his way to Colorado to be closer to his sister.

Why caves?

“There’s so much to see in the caves, you can’t cover everything; you’d be in there for days,” Pristas said. “So we pick out certain things and each guide has their favorite features.”

As a guide, Pristas loves and prefers when people ask questions; it shows that the crowd is interested. However, in all his years there’s only been one question he couldn’t quite answer.

The question came from a young boy who raised his hand and asked ‘Can we go home now?’

“I thought, boy, this must be a good tour!,” he said with a laugh.

Pristas knows his limits and recognizes that some days are harder than others, but still he loves his job.

“Age catches up with you, but it’s just walking and talking,” he said. “I can’t say if I quit I wont have anything to do, because there’s always something to do at the house. But I didn’t retire to just sit around and stop life.

“I retired to do the things I couldn’t do when I was working; and this was one of those things.”

cself@postindependent.com

Letter: Hunters support efforts to protect migrating wildlife

Hunters know from boots on the ground experience that big-game animals often use the same migration corridors year after year. Mule deer, in particular, tend to follow specific migration routes. Our elk herds also have seasonal migration patterns and routes. Antelope migrate too.

However, Colorado’s wildlife populations are all facing the growing threat of habitat fragmentation. Fences, roads, houses, proliferation of motorized/mechanized trails and energy development can all fragment habitat and pose a threat to migration routes. Recent polling (April 2019) shows that 85% of Coloradans support actions that protect migrating wildlife.

Which is why it was good to hear about a recent Executive Order (EO) issued by Governor Polis addressing migration corridors. The EO directs Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to gather the best available science and to lead public outreach and education efforts around seasonal habitat and migration corridors. It directs the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to identify opportunities to ensure the ongoing conservation of seasonal habitat and migration corridors.

In addition, it directs CDOT to incorporate the maintenance of wildlife migration into all levels of their planning process, to help enable safe wildlife passage and to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. This comprehensive approach to wildlife corridor conservation will benefit big game and, hence, hunting in Colorado.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) members look forward to working with Gov. Polis and our state agencies to accomplish the objectives identified in the EO. As my friend (now deceased), World War II veteran and BHA Life member, Bill Sustrich, once said: “In the simplest terms, without suitable habitat we will have no game; without game, we will have no hunting; without hunting, a precious heritage of our past will be lost forever.”

David A. Lien
(Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Co-Chair)
Colorado Springs

Letter: Getting tired of the blame America first crowd

I’m tired. Not physically, I’m quite healthy, thank God. No, I’m mentally exhausted from the polarization of America. Tired of the liberal main stream media. Tired of “progressive” educators indoctrinating our children in Social Globalism. Tired of the never ending search for victimhood. Tired of the blame America first crowd.

I am a legal immigrant and naturalized citizen of this great country. I believe the USA has more opportunity and freedom for the individual than anywhere on Earth. Here in Colorado, I feel especially blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

When I dwell on that last thought for a bit, I don’t feel tired anymore. Just thankful and very lucky.

Bruno Kirchenwirz,
Rifle

Aspen girls, Basalt’s Bower open cross country season with wins at Longhorn Invite

If Basalt High School junior Sierra Bower plans to compete for the state cross country championship — and it seems she does — she needed to put in a lot of extra work over the offseason. The standout distance runner claims she did just that, and backed it up by winning the season-opening Longhorn Invitational on Saturday at Crown Mountain Park.

“I did some good, hard work over the summer and I’m happy with it,” Bower said. “I wasn’t really going for time today, just placement, just because it’s such an early meet in the season. I wasn’t too focused on that, but I’m happy with that time for sure.”

Bower won Saturday’s race with a time of 19 minutes, 21.6 seconds, holding off Glenwood Springs freshman Sophia Connerton-Nevin (19:38.6), who forced Bower to keep the pedal down over the final stretch. Those two finished a good distance ahead of Aspen junior Kylie Kenny, who took third in 21:06.8.

It was Bower’s first win on her home course. She was about four minutes slower when she competed in the race as a freshman and had to sit out the Longhorn Invite as a sophomore because of injury. She’s been plenty strong since, having won the regional hosted by Aspen last fall before finishing 24th at the state meet in 20:12. Bower also finished second in the 2-mile race at the state track meet in the spring.

“I liked what I saw. Sierra’s got a compliment of kids with her and we are hoping we can ride this for a while,” BHS coach Ron Lund said of Saturday’s meet. “She had a solid summer and I think she is excited for what’s ahead. We’ve got some meets where hopefully she will butt heads with some of the upper runners in the state.”

Bower likely will need to shred even more time to have a chance at the state championship this fall. Four runners finished in less than 19 minutes in the girls’ 3A race at state a year ago, with Kaylee Thompson of The Classical Academy winning in 18:19.2. The good news is that all four of those girls were seniors, which could open the door for someone like Bower to step in.

If confidence is a factor, Bower looks to be in good shape.

“I’m definitely feeling very confident going into the season just with all this training that I’ve been doing,” she said. “I’m super thankful for my team. We are looking very strong this year, which I’m super excited about. It’s so motivating to watch everyone work so hard in practice. It’s been super nice having an awesome team this year.”

The Basalt girls finished second as a team on Saturday with 45 points, falling only a point short of Aspen. Glenwood Springs was third with 70 points, followed by Gunnison (110) and Soroco (153).

Missing a couple of veteran runners, the Longhorns relied on their youth on Saturday. Three other BHS runners finished in the top 12 of the girls’ race, and all three are freshmen: Katelyn Maley was sixth (21:19.1), Sarah Levy was seventh (21:34.5) and Ava Lane was 12th (22:05.3).

ASPEN GIRLS SHOW OFF YOUTH, DEPTH IN WIN

While Aspen may lack the singular star power that is Bower, the girls do have plenty of options. Also missing many key runners because of experiential education or college visits, the Skiers still landed five in the top 18 of Saturday’s race.

“It just speaks to our depth,” Kenny said. “We have a team where we all lift each other up and try hard from first to last to everywhere in between, so I think the fact that we are running strong as a team right from the beginning is good.”

Behind Kenny’s third-place finish was junior Kendall Clark, who was fourth in 21:14.7. AHS freshman Elsie Weiss was ninth (21:49.8) in her high school debut, while junior Eva McDonough was 10th (21:57.2) and freshman Michaela Kenny was 18th (23:23).

“Without a full squad it’s really encouraging to be able to win with a lot of the freshman really stepping up and picking up a lot of slack for the girls who weren’t here,” AHS coach Chris Keleher said. “They know they are going to be good and they know it’s all going to come from their own hard work. Kind of untapped potential, I hope.”

Kylie Kenny is Aspen’s top returning runner based off last year’s state results, where she finished 17th in 3A with a time of 19:55.2, ahead of even Bower. Clark was 33rd at state in 20:30.4. The Skiers finished seventh at state in 2018 and return essentially their entire team in 2019, not to mention the influx of talented freshmen.

THE BOYS TRY TO REBUILD

Neither Aspen nor Basalt have much to offer in terms of boys’ team results early this season. In fact, neither had enough to even post a team score. Both found something to grasp onto in terms of individuals results, however, with Basalt senior Tucker Bruce finish fourth in 18:53.3. BHS junior Noah Allen was 14th in 19:47.9.

“Tucker is focused this year,” Lund said. “He really wants to go to state and I think he’s running the way he needs to, or at least heading in the ride direction to get that top-15 individual spot. So that’s the focus for him. And Noah could be right there too. He had a great summer and he’s only a junior.”

Aspen’s top finisher on the boys’ side was sophomore Brenon Reed, who was 15th in 20:13.5. AHS freshman Eske Roennau was 18th in 20:52.8.

The Aspen boys finished 17th at state in 2018, but lost their top three runners because of graduation. BHS did not qualify any boys to state last fall.

“Certainly not as strong or as deep as we were last year. But we’ve got some good potential,” Keleher said of the AHS boys, who also did not have a full squad competing Saturday. “What do they say? We don’t rebuild, we reload? Well, we are rebuilding. Which is fine. They are all fun to run with and hopefully we scan shock some people like we did last year.”

Gunnison junior Alex Baca won Saturday’s Longhorn Invite in 16:52.4. Baca, who finished 14th at state last fall, won by nearly two minutes over Coal Ridge freshman Tyler Parker (18:43.7). Soroco junior Alex Colby was third in 18:47.9.

Glenwood Springs, led by a fifth-place finish by sophomore Quinn MacPherson (18:58.6), won the boys’ team title with 59 points. Gunnison was second with 62 points and Rifle was third with 80 points.

THEY’LL BE BACK

While Basalt’s home meet has been the season opener in recent years, this one meant a bit more, as it will also be where regionals are held on Oct. 19. Some of the schools that competed Saturday, such as Glenwood Springs and Soroco, compete in a different classification. Others, like Aspen, Coal Ridge and Rifle, will return to the Crown Mountain Park course vying for a spot at the state meet.

“It’s good because we get a bit of the home town advantage because it’s down here. But it’s also a little nerve-wracking because it’s flat and we are used to running the hills a lot,” Kylie Kenny said of the course. “It’s different to push through the flat than to go up and down.”

The start and finish lines were a bit different on Saturday than in the past because that area will need to accommodate more runners at regionals and they were using the meet as a bit of a trial before the bigger show in October. Otherwise,

Lund said the course was about 90% the same as it had been.

“I’m super excited to have it on that course. I’m obviously very familiar with it,” Bower said of regionals. “That makes it so much more exciting and people from my school can come and watch if they want to. It’s super nice having it here.”

Aspen will host its annual home race on Oct. 5, two weeks before regionals. The state cross country meet is Oct. 19 in Colorado Springs.

acolbert@aspentimes.com