There certainly are expectations for Basalt High School sophomore Sierra Bower this week at the state track and field meet, but she insists most of them are put there herself.
With the top time among Class 3A girls in the 3,200-meter run (or 2 mile) ahead of Friday morning’s race in Lakewood, the state title is there for the taking.
“The first seed in any race has a target on their back. Just going to try and channel those nerves into my race,” Bower said. “I’m feeling pretty good. Just trying to stay calm and relaxed. Last year everything was very new and there were really no expectations. This year I feel it’s a little bit different.”
Bower’s school-record time of 11 minutes, 15.63 seconds in the 3,200 is about five seconds faster than the second-best seed time entering the race. It wasn’t the fastest time on the season, however, but Peak to Peak’s Quinn McConnell has decided not to race in the event, seemingly to focus on the mile.
This means Bower will certainly have that target on her back, but the belief is she is ready for it.
“She has had her eye on this prize since the beginning of the season,” Basalt track coach Allyson Decatur said. “What we saw last year with her being a bit timid and shy, those days are gone. She is willing to fight. You are going to see her with a new kick she is not used to throwing out there.”
Bower also will compete in the 1,600-meter run (or mile), where she enters with the sixth best time (5:14.32), and is part of a strong 4×800-meter relay team, which also is seeded sixth. That relay, which also includes senior Megan Maley, junior Lily Gillis and senior Maddie Ellison, qualified despite only competing once this season and finished only five seconds off the school record.
Maley will be one to watch in the 800-meter run. Her time of 2:19.13 is a school record and is the third best time entering the Friday afternoon race. She also snuck into the 400-meter dash, where she’ll be looking to sneak onto the podium.
“I’m not really nervous. I’m just going to go into it with no expectations and have fun in my last race,” said Maley, who is competing at state for the third time. “It’s really surreal, and it’s also very humbling. I’m just grateful that I can compete again.”
Basalt is sending a lone field athlete in sophomore Katie Bohannan, who will compete in the pole vault. Her mark of 8 feet is a school record as this season she became the first BHS female to ever set a mark in the event.
The Longhorns have two boys going in junior Ben Williams and sophomore Rulbe Alvarado. Alvarado’s time of 23.09 seconds got him into the 200-meter dash, while Williams made the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.16 seconds. Both needed strong performances late in the season to sneak in.
“It feels pretty incredible,” Williams said. “It’s just something I’ve been working toward since about seventh grade when my sister went. Being able to compete at such a high level is something I’ve always wanted to do.”