By Renée Haip
After a successful spring on the track and a summer of consistent work putting in miles and building core strength, the boys’ cross country team returns stronger than ever. In Colorado 2A division’s run five, score three format, the defending state champion Lions are once again expected to crush their small school competition all through the season. They figure to be so dominant that they are unanimously ranked number one in Colorado Milesplit’s preseason coaches’ poll.
Beyond a goal of defending their 2012 league, regional, and state titles, the Lions hope to earn one of the few coveted team spots at the Nike Southwest Regionals’ post-season championship race in Mesa, Arizona. Here, each team position through five (better yet seven) is critical, as the best teams from across Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah face off in this all-classification race. It’s a big aspiration for a small school, and any injuries through the season could quickly derail their dreams. Towards meeting this post season goal, expect to see the Lyons’ boys battling “David and Goliath style” at competitive, key meets throughout the season, beginning with their running up in the 4A-5A division of the prestigious Saint Vrain Invitational on their home course.
From their 2012 state championship team, the Lions bring back their top four runners. Paul Roberts returns for his sophomore year as the defending individual 2A state cross country champion, as well as the 1600M state champion from the spring track season. Roberts made his mark last year as the first freshman boy in Colorado history to win a cross country state title. Senior Marcel Such competes in his final high school cross country season after placing fourth at the 2012 state cross country meet and winning the 3200M title at the state track meet. Joel Such was the other fast freshman from Lyons last year, finishing 8th at the cross country state meet and finishing the track season as the fourth ranked freshmen in the state across all classifications in both the 1600M and 3200M.
Junior Matt Dillon had an excellent sophomore campaign with his fifteenth place finish at last year’s state cross country meet. Dillon easily maintains his position as Lyons’ vital fourth runner and will be aiming for a top-ten finish at state this year. Vying for the fifth spot will be senior Heath Fesenmeyer and junior Brian Flynn. While Fesenmeyer plays baseball in the spring, he has made great strides in his running over the course of the year and comes into the season with a solid summer of training behind him. Flynn focused on middle distances during the spring track season, however his strong suit is longer distances and should never be counted out as a worthy competitor. Another boy to watch is senior Stephen Roberts, who has traveled from his home in Cambodia to live with his Uncle Mark Roberts’ family and attend Lyons High School for the fall semester. Stephen Roberts has been running well, adding yet another talented young man to the Lion’s roster.
The Lady Lions return as the runner up team from last year’s state cross country meet and will again be chasing a strong Hotchkiss team, which not only took the 2013 state team title, but is back with all five of last year’s state participants. Lyons brings back three of their five state participants, and these girls have diligently trained all through the summer in hopes of challenging the defending state champions. While they go into the season ranked second in Colorado Milesplit’s preseason poll, the Lyons girls should never be underestimated, as they work together towards a common goal.
Leading the girls will be senior Miriam Roberts, who placed second at last year’s state meet and is a favorite to take this year’s state title. Roberts had a fabulous track season placing second in both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs. If all falls into place, Miriam and Paul Roberts may become the first ever siblings to take duo state championship titles at the Colorado State Cross Country Championship. Last year’s freshman standout, Sierra Tucker, returns for her sophomore year and is positioned to be a key contributor. Tucker was the Lions’ third scorer with a fifteenth place finish at last year’s state meet; she also finished ninth in the 1600M at the state track meet last spring. Junior Faith Myers was Lyons’ fourth finisher at last year’s state cross country meet with a twenty-second place finish and will be aiming to improve her position this year. Talented middle distance runner, junior Jenna Anderson, found herself watching her teammates from the sideline last year, as she sustained an injury, which ended her season prematurely. Anderson came back to run well last spring, placing 6th in the 800M at the state track meet, and is posed to make a substantial contribution to this year’s team efforts. A fifth competitive state runner was thought to be coming up from the middle school ranks in Ceann Udovich. Though currently serving as team manager, a serious injury sustained on the soccer field has postponed her debut cross country season of actual competition. Look forward to watching Udovich on the track next spring.
Best of luck to Coach Roberts, Coach Boelé, and all the athletes for a healthy and successful season!