Central’s Jerome runs wire-to-wire to win Anna Banana

The start boys race at the Anna Banana Invitational at Connected Lakes

Central’s David Jerome got out of the gates fast during Saturday’s Anna Banana Invitational at Connected Lakes State Park.

It was just the opposite of the way he had performed in most of his races this season, when Jerome ran farther back in the pack and made a late push to finish well.

Jerome’s quick start put him ahead of the pack, a position held until he crossed the finish line first in 16 minutes, 31 seconds.

“I started a little too fast and I didn’t think I would have the energy to keep going,” Jerome said. “I didn’t know how close everyone else was, but I could hear them and they sounded pretty close.”

One of the biggest challenges when running ahead of the pack is not losing focus and letting the other runners catch up. It’s something Jerome’s coach Derek Brown said he did well.

“I am glad he didn’t fall asleep. It is hard to run in front and not let your guard down,” Brown said. “I was happy he kept pressing because when he had three guys behind him at the 2-mile mark maybe 10 seconds behind, they are racing and he is out there in no-man’s land, so it was nice to see him finish.”

Pushing Jerome were Fruita Monument’s Woody Seagren and Grand Junction’s Wyatt Colloty, who finished second and third, respectively, at 16:39 and 16:53.

“The second mile, me and Wyatt tried to speed up and catch him, but it was hard because of the gravel,” Seagren said of the half-paved and half-gravel course at Connected Lakes.

“The last mile I tried to catch him but I just didn’t have it. He had a good race today.”

Although Seagren wasn’t able to catch Jerome for the top spot, he helped the Wildcats achieve their big goal, which was to win the team title in their home race.

Five Wildcats finished in the top 10, including Tyler McDermott, James Mauch, Jordan Potterton and John Zamora, propelling the Fruita team score to a solid 31.

Grand Junction finished second on the boys side with consistent performances outside of the top 10 from Levi Hamer (14th, 18:08), Kevin Martin (16th, 18:18) and Cyrus Pearo (18th, 18:24).

Palisade’s top runner was Dustin Martin, who finished 24th at 18:39.

After the boys race was the girls race, with Hotchkiss’s Johanna Reed completing a three-peat of the Anna Banana, finishing first at 19:20 for the third straight year.

Reed, who is only a junior, shaved about 20 seconds off her winning time from 2007, which is something she was happy about.

“I am really excited,” Reed said. “I had been struggling this season, so it feels good to come back and race well.”

It was Reed’s first win of the season.

Just behind Reed were Fruita’s top runners. Olivia Daniels finished second at 19:37 and Kasey Mortensen came in third at 19:50.

“(Reed) is a tough, smart runner,” Mortensen said. “She gets out quick and holds her pace. Olivia and I couldn’t keep up with her.”

Just as the boys runners had done, consistency from Fruita girls earned them the team title with a score of 35.

Grand Junction’s top runner, Kelsey Slauson, finished fourth at 19:59. Central’s Cory Swim was sixth with a 20:55 and Palisade’s Auelicia Guzman finished 25th at 22:59.

“There were three great races today,” Fruita Monument coach Herb Huskey said. “The citizen’s race is always a great start with all the support and everyone had a great time.”


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