The Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team’s top individual finishers Thursday at the Rifle Cross-Country Invitational:
(Name — place — time)
• Alfredo Lebron — 1 — 16:26.86
• Rene Molina — 5 — 17:47.95
— The boys team finished first out of nine teams.
• Eryn Leonard — 1 — 20:32.03
• Bailey Hellander — 2 — 21:23.75
• Kelly Ciesco — 4 — 21:38.15
• Katharine Keiss — 5 — 21:46.42
• Savannah Williams — 6 — 21:49.5
• Sassy Murray — 7 — 21:52.01
— The girls team finished first out of eight teams.
In the last competition before the 4A regional meet, the Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team was looking for improvement, head coach Todd Trapp said.
On Thursday at the Rifle Cross-Country Invitational, senior Alfredo Lebron and junior Eryn Leonard won their respective races to lead the boys and girls teams to first-place finishes.
“The competition level wasn’t as high as the regional tournament or as we have seen this season, but the runners all came out and performed,” Trapp said. “Because it was a low-key meet, we were able to pack up and help each other with teamwork and help build confidence.”
Lebron clocked in at 16 minutes, 26.86 seconds while fellow senior Rene Molina came in fifth at 17 minutes, 47.95 seconds.
Trapp said Thursday’s race wasn’t too challenging for Lebron, but the coach feels his runner is ready for Wednesday’s regional meet in Delta.
“Alfredo has been running strong all year and it is really the last two meets (regionals and state) that count the most for him,” Trapp said. “There will be some kids from the Western Slope who will challenge him, such as Andrew Mansfield of Glenwood (Springs), but Alfredo knows he has to give it his all.”
MCHS placed six girls in the top 10 in Rifle, led by Leonard, who finished in 20 minutes, 32.03 seconds.
Junior Bailey Hellander finished second while seniors Kelly Ciesco and Katharine Keiss and juniors Savannah Williams and Sassy Murray finished fourth through seventh, respectively.
“All the girls are running really solid right now,” Trapp said. “Eryn has been the leader every race, but Bailey really had a strong showing and Kelly, who is usually our fifth or sixth runner, ran a great race to take third on our team.”
Trapp said the Delta track would be “flat and fast” for regionals.
The goal, he said, is to see the boys win a third straight regional title and the girls win back-to-back titles.
While the girls have a strong middle pack, Trapp said the boys might need a few runners to step up.
“Having a pack of guys is huge if they are in the right spot,” he said. “If they are all together in the back, it doesn’t help you. But, if they are up front and in good positions and come within 20 seconds of each other, that puts the team in a good position to win.”
The girls will run at 3 p.m. Wednesday and the boys will run at 3:30 p.m.
If the teams fail to qualify for state, the top 15 individuals will advance.
“The kids are running well and look strong heading into regionals,” Trapp said. “They are where they should be at this time of year and look good heading into our championship races.”
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