Rico, Brown, Bisbee working hard for Fruita Monument cross country team

Fruita Monument cross country runners Kyler Brown, right,  Chuck Bisbee, middle, and Alex Rico, left, finished first, second and fifth, respectively, at the Grand Junction Invitational. Brown’s personal best time of 16:08 is 17th best in Class 5A and sixth best in Region 3.

Fruita Monument runner Kyler Brown.

Alex Rico knows he has to push harder if he is going to accomplish his goals and run at the next level.

He’s getting close.

The Fruita Monument High School senior set a personal best time of 17 minutes flat two weeks ago.

“(Training has) been hurting lately,” Rico said. “This is the most intense year we’ve had for sure. I’ve never felt so much pain in my life as this year.”

For the past year, Kyler Brown and Chuck Bisbee have set the tempo and pulled away from their teammates, but Rico is closing the gap, making the Fruita Monument High School boys cross country team even better.

“After the second or third race this year, his time has come off a lot,” Fruita coach Herb Huskey said. “He closed 30 seconds on Kyler and Chuck.”

The three will lead the Wildcats in the annual Anna Banana Invitational at 10 a.m. Saturday at Connected Lakes State Park.

Huskey said 13 teams will compete this weekend in the Anna Banana Invitational.

The four District 51 schools, Montrose, Rifle, Delta, Eagle Valley, Crested Butte and Telluride are among the teams racing.

The citizen’s 5K race takes place at 8 a.m. Proceeds from the race will go to the Anna Lee Foundation and this year Colorado Mesa University will match all scholarships awarded to CMU students by the Anna Lee Foundation for the first time.

The Anna Lee Foundation was established to honor the memory of Anna Lee Janowitz, who was a Fruita cross country runner when she died in a traffic accident on her way to practice in August 2002.

The foundation provides scholarships to Western Colorado students attending college who are in track and field or cross country.

Rico could be a possible recipient.

“My dad has always talked to me about it,” Rico said. “He said there’s nothing after this. Colleges aren’t going to want you if you’re not fast this year. I definitely want to run in college. That gives me incentive to run harder than ever.”

The possibility of running cross country in college motivates Brown and Bisbee, even though, they have a couple years of high school left. Brown is a junior and Bisbee is a sophomore.

“My main motivation is probably college,” Brown said. “I really want to go to Oregon. That would be cool just to make it.”

Oregon is regarded as one of the top running programs in the country.

The three have proved their motivation with their work in the summer.

Brown and Bisbee trained and competed together in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics.

“Kyler and I are like brothers,” Bisbee said. “I probably spent at least one month with that kid this summer. We spent a lot of time motivating each other. I know he can get me to do my best and I can get him to do his best.”

Bisbee placed sixth in the 2,000-meter steeplechase in the Junior Olympics national championships and Smith placed ninth in the 3,000-meter run.

“There is a saying that championships aren’t won in the fall, they’re won in the summer,” Bisbee said. “A big part of what you do in cross country is done in the summer. I knew it would be hard to stay motivated and consistent with my workouts if I didn’t have something to shoot for.”

Brown and Bisbee each had a personal best two weeks ago in the Grand Junction Invitational. Brown ran a 16:08 and Bisbee ran a 16:20. Brown’s time is 17th best in Class 5A.

“(Rico) has been there,” Bisbee said. “As of late, you can tell he’s definitely committed to this team. He motivates us.”

“Chuck, Kyler and I are sticking together on the workouts,” Rico said. “They pull me along.”


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