Lebron earns third first-place finish this season

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The Moffat County High School varsity cross-country team’s individual results from Sept. 16 at the Liberty Bell Invitational in Littleton:

Boys team

(Name — place — time)

• Alfredo Lebron — 1 — 15:36

• Johnny Landa — 10 — 16:39

• Dale Nakai — 20 ¬— 17:01

• Rene Molina — 33 — 17:27

• Matt Hulstine — 64 — 18:21

• Wyatt Villa — 69 — 18:34

• Taft Cleverly — 82 — 18:49

— The boys team finished fifth out of 22 teams.

Girls team

(Name — place — time)

• Eryn Leonard — 7 — 19:18

• Brenna Ciesco — 29 — 20:41

• Bailey Hellander — 31 — 20:45

• Savannah Williams — 52 — 21:18

• Sassy Murray — 56 — 21:27

• Katherine Keiss — 61 — 21:35

• Kelly Ciesco — 72 — 22:10

— The girls team finished fifth out of 21 teams.

Alfredo Lebron has become accustomed to running by himself during the 2011 cross-country season.

The Moffat County High School senior, the top returning 4A runner from a year ago, said entering his final season his goal was to come out on top in every race.

After Friday’s race in the Liberty Bell Invitational in Littleton, Lebron is three for four in first-place finishes.

Lebron clocked in at a personal-best 15 minutes, 36 seconds to lead the pack.

“Going into the race, I try to find the kids that will push hard in the beginning,” Lebron said Tuesday. “I try to hang on with them, but once they slow down that is when I take off and take (the lead).”

The MCHS varsity cross-country boys and girls teams both finished in fifth place.

The girls team was led by a seventh-place finish from junior Eryn Leonard.

Lebron took second in the season’s first race Sept. 2 before finishing first Sept. 3 at pre-state and Sept. 9 at the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction.

However, the Liberty Bell presented a unique opportunity for runners — half the race was on pebbles while the other half was on pavement and a majority of the race was downhill.

The combination, Lebron said, makes for fast times.

“The course is hardly uphill, with only two gradual inclines, so the times are much quicker,” he said. “But, when we did get the hills, that is where our team was able to make up time on opposing runners.”

Since every course is different, Lebron said he tries to compare his times from previous races to see how he has progressed.

Last season, he ran just over 16 minutes in the Liberty Bell, cutting almost 30 seconds in a year.

“(Fifteen minutes and 36 seconds) was not easy to get, but my goal is to get under 15:20 by the end of the season,” Lebron said. “I am really happy with the way I have been running this season and I still have a lot of time to get better. I ran faster at pre-state than I ever ran last year, so I think I am doing what is expected.”

Both teams will compete at 10 a.m. Saturday in the MCHS Invitational at Loudy-Simpson Park.

Unlike football and basketball, head coach Todd Trapp said a home-course advantage doesn’t really exist in cross-country.

“The kids know the course very well because we practice on it,” he said. “They know where it slows down and where they can make up time, but really they are just going to have to keep pushing to get the times they want.”

Trapp said the meet would consist of about eight teams.

Because of the small event, Lebron said his focus would be to help his teammates so they have a better chance of winning a 4A regional title for a third year in a row.

“I don’t think there is going to be big competition, so I really want to run with the other guys and help them,” he said. “We have a good team and we just need to work a little bit more.”

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