Running with a purpose: Lebron, Anderson win Central Invitational

Anderson, Lebron win Central Invitational titles

Runners stay in the pack during the girls race Friday in the Central Invitational.

Natalie Anderson from Hotchkiss High School wins the girls title at the Central Invitational at Long Family Memorial Park with a time of 20 minutes, 11 seconds.

Moffat County senior Alfredo Lebron and Hotchkiss sophomore Natalie Anderson won the individual boys and girls titles, respectively, Friday at the Central Invitational cross country meet at Long Family Memorial Park.

Lebron claimed his second straight first-place finish with a time of 16 minutes, 25 seconds. The senior won the Lori Fitzgerald Pre-State Invitational Class 4A race in 16:12 last weekend.

“We had a really good weekend last week in Denver,” Moffat County coach Todd Tramp said. “We ran really well against some tough competition, so coming in today we were trying to work some other things, try to work the pack.

“We sat back with those guys for quite some time and then once we got to the one-mile mark, the plan was to try to go after them and get the win.”

After floating around fifth place for the first two miles, Lebron made his move just as planned. He passed Fruita’s Kyler Brown and Chuck Bisbee, the early leaders, and held on to win.

“For Alfredo, and the level he is at, he was definitely looking to win today,” Tramp said. “He’s looking to win whenever he has the chance, in every race he runs.”

Brown was second in 16:49 and Bisbee third in 16:53. A pair of Grand Junction runners rounded out the top five boys as Greg Eccher finished in 17:16.28 and Charlie Medina came in at 17:16.56.

The seven-team meet featured Grand Junction, Fruita Monument, Central, Moffat County, Hotchkiss, Olathe and De Beque.

Anderson won her first title of the season, taking the girls race in 20:11. She was second in 20:24 at last week’s Delta Invitational.

Anderson begins her sophomore season after a successful freshman campaign, during which she took third (19:30) in the Class 3A state meet.

She also earned all-state honors after winning the 3,200-meter race at the 3A state track and field meet.

“Her times are a little bit behind what they were (last year), but she is running really well,” Hotchkiss coach Kelly Cowan said.

Anderson and Moffat County’s Eryn Leonard paced the 5,000-meter race, leading the field from start to finish. Leonard took second in 20:36.

“I think the second mile was where we noticed they were fairly close, but then when they came back on the side, Natalie was 30 or 40 yards ahead,” Cowan said. “She’s learning that part now, how to be a little more tactical, so it will pay off for her.”

Led by Anderson and Leonard, Hotchkiss and Moffat County both placed four runners in the top 10. Hotchkiss’ Jenni Celis (21:26), Moffat County’s Brenna Ciesco (21:41) and Grand Junction’s Trinity Simmons (21:49) completed the top five.

“Our girls had a really good race today,” Tramp said. “Hotchkiss is a very good team, and they have ran really well the last couple years. They have some good individuals. Our goal today was to come in and try to compete with them.”


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