Led by Maley, Basalt girls cross country team wins season-opening home meet | PostIndependent.com

Led by Maley, Basalt girls cross country team wins season-opening home meet

Glenwood junior Sophia Connerton-Nevin takes second at Crown Mountain Park, Coal Ridge’s Parker second in boys race

Basalt High School junior Katelyn Maley smiles after receiving her medal for winning the Longhorn Invitational cross country meet on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Gone but not forgotten, Sierra Bower’s legacy is still making an impact on the Basalt High School cross country team this season. The former state champion is now a freshman at Furman, but her old Longhorn teammates continued to channel her spirit on race day.

“She definitely left a lasting imprint of working hard. We still do her cheer that she used to do with us and all the other girls,” said BHS junior Katelyn Maley, who took over Bower’s throne when she won the state championship herself last fall. “I’m definitely missing Sierra right now. It’s kind of weird without her, not doing the warm-up with her, because we would just do what Sierra did, because we look up to her. So I hope we can be that for someone else.”

Maley and company kickstarted the season on Saturday with their own Longhorn Invitational at Crown Mountain Park in El Jebel. It was Maley’s first time competing in a high school cross country race since winning the state championship as a sophomore, and the team’s first go since last season without Bower, who won the 2019 state title as a junior.

All things considered, it was a pretty good start for the Longhorns, who won the girls’ team title on Saturday behind another strong performance by Maley.

“This was just a fact-finding mission today. I’m sure she is going to be pretty focused when the time comes and she needs to be,” longtime Basalt coach Ron Lund said of Maley’s chances at a repeat championship this fall. “We had a couple of freshmen that had a good go today. We didn’t have our full squad, but good first meet. We are really pleased with what we saw out there.”

Maley won the race — the first time in three tries she’s won her home event — in 19 minutes, 10.7 seconds.

Runner-up was Sophia Connerton-Nevin of Glenwood Springs (19:29.6) and Coal Ridge superstar Mikayla Cheney (third, 20:33.7) was third. BHS junior Ava Lane was next in line for the Longhorns, finishing seventh in 21:11.2. Freshman Juniper Anderson was third among Basalt runners, finishing 19th in 22:58.4.

Glenwood’s other top-20 finisher was senior Alexa Helms in 13th (22:11.7), and for Coal Ridge it was senior Araceli Ayala taking 10th (21:41).

The Basalt girls finished with 89 points to take the team title over Coal Ridge and Aspen, who each had 113 points. Glenwood Springs was fourth with 147 points.

“We’ve all been training hard together, so it’s fun to have a really solid girls team,” Maley said. “I’m really excited for this season. Going in as a team, I’m excited to work with everyone and train with them. I’m feeling strong going in. We had a good summer of training, so I feel good.”

Titans’ Paker takes 2nd

In the boys race, Jonas Graff of Montrose won in 17:13.3, followed by Coal Ridge junior Tyler Parker in 17:28.3.

Other area top-20 finishers for the boys were Rifle senior Patrick Whitt (13th, 19:01.4); Coal Ridge sophomore Dallin Karen (15th, 19:07.10); and Rifle senior Jace Collier (19th, 19:29).

Montrose won the boys team title with 69 points, followed by Moffat County with 87 points and Coal Ridge in third with 112 points.

Complete race results can be found here.

acolbert@aspentimes.com. The Post Independent’s John Stroud contributed to this report.

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