Slauson, Moffat County runners shine
FORT COLLINS — The sun was bright and warm. The breeze was slightly cool. It was a perfect day for running.
Grand Junction High School’s Kelsey Slauson, who easily finished in the top third of the pack, sure thought so. The freshman was all smiles and barely breathing hard as she crossed the finish line 52nd in a time of 20 minutes, 2.73 seconds.
“I didn’t get as good as my (personal record), but did good just to get to state and to run it,” she said.
Slauson credits speed work for her success.
“Because I love to run so much, I used to just go out and run, and not do speed work, but my coaches helped me get to the point of liking it,” she said. “I’ve really improved.”
Slauson won the District 51 title and placed seventh in the Region 1 meet to qualify for state.
Moffat County’s Alicia Nelson and Maddy Jourgensen also thought it was a great day for running.
Nelson, a senior, was crowned the Class 4A champion, crossing the finish line in 18:13.70. Her teammate, Jourgensen, finished sixth in 19:04.00.
“It’s always been my goal, and I had the confidence to push through the pain and earn it,” she said, draped in the finish line banner.
Nelson was greeted by a large contingency of cheering fans as she exited the finish area. Waiting for her were her mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and many friends.
“This is so awesome,” Nelson’s mom, Annie Nelson, exclaimed. “She’s worked so hard and we’re so proud of her.”
Jourgensen went into the state competition not knowing what to expect.
“I was shooting for the top, so came pretty close,” the sophomore said. “I hope to be back next year.”
Moffat County coach Todd Trapp was thrilled with his runners.
“It was a great day for both of them. It’s so hard to win a state title and sixth place is a great finish for Maddy.”
In the 3A race, three of the top 10 individual places went to Western Slope girls. Basalt’s Chiara Del Piccolo took eighth (19:08.4), Hotchkiss’ Johanna Reed ninth (19:15.6) and Grand Valley’s Brandi Krieg 10th (19:19.5). The threesome finished together at regionals, too, when Del Piccolo took first, Krieg second and Reed third.
Gunnison and Hotchkiss placed 10th and 14th, respectively, in Class 3A.
Crested Butte made a good showing when the Titans’ Erin Kelly finished second in the 2A race in 19:16.
The Titans also finished second out of 12 teams.
“My plan was to go out fast and I’m glad I tried that, but I didn’t have much for the end,” Kelly said.
Apparently, she had just enough.