Aspen girls win 3A state x-county crown; Glenwood 11th in 4A
CHERRY HILLS ESTATES – Marco Salmen and March Thompson left Saturday’s state high school cross country meet with smiles on their faces, and a legacy for which future runners at Glenwood Springs and Alpine Christian High Schools can strive.
The two runners, both seniors, finished among the top 15 runners in the boys 4A and girls 3A state championships, respectively.
Salmen, who finished fourth at last year’s event at Kent Denver High School, couldn’t repeat his effort in 2002, but, he was pleased about finishing in 13th place finish time of 16 minutes, 48.4 seconds, after spending most of the season unable to compete due to a leg injury.
“It feels pretty good, because its always tough to comeback from an injury,” said Salmen.
What surprised him at Saturday’s race was the speed of the runners ahead of him.
“It was an awesome field out there today. I thought I was going fast, but there were 15 guys ahead of me at the first mile,” said Salmen.
“I was where I wanted to be after the first turn,” he continued. “But after we came back through the main towers, I knew it was going to be a struggle because there were so many guys up there.”
Alex Clayton of Liberty was the head guy of the field. He won the individual 4A title in 16:02.1. Montrose’s Ben Tobler was second, fellow Western regional qualifiers Glen Randall of Palisade, and Gabe Aufderheide finished in fifth and ninth-place, respectively.
As a team, Glenwood took 11th place. Liberty won the team championship with 129 points. Evergreen was second with 166 points, followed by Sterling and Cheyenne Mountain.
Chris Coddington, the Demons’ other senior, reached his goal of finishing among the top 40 and then some.
He raced to a 26th-place finish with a time of 17:13.5. Sophomore Alex Tiernan, a Roaring Fork High School student was 65th. Alec Littler and German Gill concluded the race in 117th and 153rd place.
Thompson ended her cross country career at Alpine Christian in 11th place in the girls’ 3A race. She clocked in at 20:27.1, and has already abdicated her throne as the Lions’ top runner to junior Ashley Eaton.
Eaton, a junior, ran the fastest individual time for the eighth-place Lions. Her 20:23.7 time earned her ninth-place among individuals.
Aspen, led by freshman Christy Severy’s first-place time of 19:49.8, earned the Skiers’ its first-ever girls’ state championship.
Severy is also the first Aspen girl to earn an individual state title since Annie Farris won the 3A championship in 1984.
Alpine Christian’s three other runners in the girls’ meet, Whitney Lund, Deanne Spracher and Samantha Hoffman finished 78th, 79th and 100th, respectively.
The Lion boys’ team was 23rd among 29, 3A teams who scored points.
John Tucker posted the best time, a 17:43.6 for Alpine Christian. The mark was 32nd among 163 participating runners.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.