Grand Junction’s Slauson unexpectedly crowned valley’s best runner
Kelsey Slauson didn’t expect to win the District 51 Cross Country Championships or make a mark in history.
The Grand Junction High School freshman did both, however, Thursday at Canyon View Park.
Slauson passed Fruita Monument’s Olivia Daniels to win the individual girls title in 19 minutes, 17 seconds, cracking the top 10 times in school history, according to coach Clay Keithley.
“I was pretty sure I would not get first,” Slauson said. “There are a lot of Fruita girls that are really good.
Just before the second mile, I got in front of (Daniels) and pulled away. I can’t believe it. It’s so exciting.
“To know I had a top 10 (time in school history) is crazy.”
Daniels took second in 19:25, Central’s Cory Swim placed third and Grand Junction’s Mary Steel placed fourth. Fruita Monument placed fifth through 10th to clinch the team title.
Central High School senior David Jerome won the boys race in 16:18.
“The Fruita Monument kid (Woody Seagren) is a good competitor,” he said. “It was a tough race. It felt good. I had a lot of help from my coaches.”
Jerome finished ahead of Seagren, who finished in 16:36. The Wildcats’ Tyler McDermott, Robin Bisbee and Jordan Potterton took third through fifth place. Grand Junction’s Wyatt Colloty took sixth.
Fruita Monument won the boys team title with 21 points and the girls team title with 28 points.
“Obviously, it went very well,” Fruita coach Bear Huskey said. “We have some very talented runners, and young too. I’m pleased with both sides. We’ve knocked down all our gaols except the main one and that is next week (regionals).”
Jerome is so focused on regionals and qualifying for his first state championships, he didn’t think much about being the fastest runner in the Grand Valley.
“I didn’t think about it,” said Jerome of being the fastest runner in the Grand Valley. “It’s neat, but I want to see what state’s like.
“I really looked up to the Medinas (Richard and Martin). Their success gives me a lot of motivation.”
That focus had driven him to succeed, Central coach Derek Brown said.
“When he is focused, he can be focused almost to a fault,” Brown said. “I was a little nervous. He’s gone out hard the past couple of races, but he maintained it. That’s what he’ll have to do at regionals.
“Since the beginning of the third race, he’s run like I know he would. He had a good summer training.
There was questions about his heart, but he had such a good base, he was where I hoped he’d be. He’s very resilient.”
Slauson has been inspired to run well since she’s been running in the Girls on the Run program.
“I loved it, especially coach Ruth Ness,” Slauson said. “She inspired me to make it happen.”
Last week, she discovered her potential, placing in the top 10 in the Pat Amato Invitational in Northglenn.
“She’s been training and working hard all summer,” Keithley said. “Last week, I think she found something inside her. We’ve got two more meets to get better and better.”
“She showed a lot of maturity to stay with (Daniels). She could’ve got satisfied, but she didn’t. She hasn’t beat her all year until today.”