Coach Ron Lund gives course directions to the Basalt High School girls team at the start of the Rifle XC Invitational on Oct. 10 at Rifle Creek Golf Course, as assistant coach Amy Rollins, left, looks on. Photo by John Stroud

Two student bodies are better than one when it comes to fielding the Basalt High School co-ed cross country team, but in the end it’s all for one, one for all.

That’s also pretty much how team cross country running works. 

As with a few other Colorado High School Activities Association-sanctioned sports, like track and field, swimming, tennis, skiing, wrestling and golf, cross country is as much an individual endeavor as it is a team sport.

The more successful the individuals are on the team, the better the team when it comes to scoring at meets.

And, since its founding by coach Ron Lund in 2004, the Basalt program has combined student-athletes from both Basalt High and Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale to help boost its numbers.

Lund’s daughter, Amy Rollins, was a sophomore member of that 2004 team, and for 10 years now has been the team’s assistant coach. She’s also the BHS Track and Field coach.

“I’m still friends with some of the people I met from Roaring Fork, so it’s really special to be able to form those relationships with people you might not cross paths with otherwise,” Rollins said. “It’s mostly about the friendships, but it also strengthens the team.”

Coach Lund said it changes from year to year, but this season a majority of the girls on the team are from Roaring Fork, while the boys team is made up of all Basalt students.

“We’ve always had somebody representing Roaring Fork,” Lund said. “It’s just good to see that there’s no animosity, and it doesn’t matter what school you’re from.”

Last season, then-Roaring Fork senior Misha Logan helped the Basalt boys qualify for the 3A State Championships as a team, placing 12th at the 3A Regionals behind then-freshman Towler Scott (fourth) and junior Owen Lambert (seventh). Basalt took second as a team.

Now a senior and sophomore, respectively, Lambert and Scott both hope to qualify for state individually at the 3A Regional meet in Denver (Oct. 19).

“It was pretty amazing to be able to have that team experience last year, and have seven boys go and run at state,” Lambert said while awaiting results to be posted at the finish line for the Oct. 10 Rifle Invitational XC meet.

“Having as many as 10 more people really helps with team morale, and it’s just nice to have that extra support,” he said. 

Roaring Fork junior Isabella Moon and sophomore Caroline Cole agree.

“We’re so much more successful than we would be if we were separate teams,” Moon said after last week’s race. “It’s so much fun. We get all glammed before the races with glitter, and everyone is just so fun. We love it.”

Added Cole, “This way, you get to be part of two schools, and it’s fun to watch everyone interact like that.”

Ready for Regionals

Scott led the pack for about half of the 5-kilometer race at Rifle, before Summit’s Jay McDonald and Carter Niemkiewicz edged past him, and Grand Junction’s Albert Booth nipped him at the finish line.

Still, Scott said it was a good tune-up for the Regional meet and a good gauge of where he is compared to the 3A competition. He was the top 3A finisher in the Rifle race with a time of 17 minutes, 27.7 seconds.

His top time at a Colorado meet this year was 17:17.3, but his season best came at a meet in Irvine, California, on Sept. 15, where he ran the 5K course in 16:20.7.

Regarding his race at Rifle, “I saw the seeds before the race, and that the two Summit runners were up there. So, I was just trying to see if I could stay up in the front and make this my race.”

That’s the mindset he’s taking to Regionals, which features a different mix of teams than the Basalt program is used to. Re-classification of schools after last season lumped Basalt, Coal Ridge and Aspen in with several Front Range schools for regionals. Meet time is 11 am Thursday at Fehringer Ranch Park in Denver.

The Basalt girls will be looking to qualify for state as a team, after six top-25 finishes at the Rifle meet last week, led by Moon in eighth (21:16.2), Morgan Fink in 13th (21:51.1), Cole in 17th (22:17.6), Addison Raymond in 22nd (23:30.5), Juniper Anderson in 24th (23:40.7) and Ana Cabrera in 25th (23:41.2).