Teamwork proved successful for the Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team Sept. 9 at the Warrior Classic Invitational in Grand Junction. The girls team, led by junior Eryn Leonard, finished first overall, and the boys team finished second with help from a first-place finish by senior Alfredo Lebron. Above, senior Dale Nakai, left, runs against a competitor during a meet earlier this month.

Photo by David Pressgrove

Teamwork proved successful for the Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team Sept. 9 at the Warrior Classic Invitational in Grand Junction. The girls team, led by junior Eryn Leonard, finished first overall, and the boys team finished second with help from a first-place finish by senior Alfredo Lebron. Above, senior Dale Nakai, left, runs against a competitor during a meet earlier this month.

Cross-country girls finish first, boys second at Warrior Invitational

The Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team’s top finishers Sept. 9 at the Warrior Classic Invitational in Grand Junction:

Boys:

(Name — place — time)

• Alfredo Lebron — 1 — 16:25

• Dale Nakai — 8 ¬— 17:37

• Rene Molina — 9 — 17:44

— The boys team finished in second place overall.

Girls:

• Eryn Leonard — 2 — 20:36

• Brenna Ciesco — 4 — 21:41

• Bailey Hellander — 6 — 21:52

• Katherine Keiss — 7 — 21:53

— The girls team finished in first place overall.

By JOSHUA GORDON

Daily Press writer

Todd Trapp said the depth of the Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team would result in success sooner or later this season.

“When you are able to run with a teammate, you can encourage each other to keep pushing,” said Trapp, head coach of the cross-country team. “All the runners practice together every day, so during the race, if one person pulls and is ready to push forward, the others know it is time to go.”

The success the coach anticipated came in the third meet of the year.

At the Warrior Classic Invitational on Sept. 9 in Grand Junction, the girls team finished first overall and the boys team second.

Both teams placed multiple runners in the top 10.

Junior Eryn Leonard was the top runner for the girls, finishing in second place with a time of 20 minutes and 36 seconds.

Sophomore Brenna Ciesco, junior Bailey Hellander and senior Katherine Keiss all finished within 12 seconds of each other, finishing fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

“Our girls have stepped up a lot of this year,” Leonard said. “We get into the packs and stay with each other until the end.”

During her freshman and sophomore years, Leonard said she usually finished somewhere around 21 minutes.

In her third year, she said she did not expect to be running the times she is early this season.

“I can’t really explain why my times are low, but I am running good,” she said. “I put in a lot of hard work during the summer and it is paying off.”

Trapp said Leonard’s work ethic so far this season is paying dividends for her and the team.

“Eryn came into this season mentally focused and confident,” he said. “Through her confidence, she has been a good leader and more than anything she works hard every day.”

Senior Alfredo Lebron led the way for the boys, earning his second first-place finish in three races this season. Lebron clocked in at 16 minutes and 25 seconds.

Fellow seniors Dale Nakai and Rene Molina took eighth place and ninth place, respectively.

Trapp said his team’s ability to have numerous competitive runners helps make each individual run harder.

“Eryn and Alfredo ran up front, but we focused on keeping a pack during the race,” he said of the Warrior Classic. “They all work together and move up together so the team can finish in a really good position.”

The team competes today in Denver and Sept. 24 in the MCHS Invitational.

Trapp said both teams are pushing to repeat as regional champions Oct. 19 in Delta.

“There are good teams on both sides, but the way our runners are running, we have a shot,” he said. “We have depth on both teams and if every kid can put it all together on the same day, it is possible.”

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