Custer County's Corey Lewenkamp has demonstrated an eagerness to mix it up with the state's top talent all fall. He seeks to reap the rewards of those effort on Saturday. Colorado Track XC file photo.
Let's be blunt. Lyons rates as a favorite of the highest order here. All season long, Lyons has held it's own against 4A and 5A competition, and that after September's flooding dismembered the town. Lyons High School students are now attending school in Longmont. Life is far from normal for any of the Lions, though you'd never guess it from their performances.
Paul Roberts, Marcel Such, Joel Such, and Matt Dillon made it a point to go through the entire race together at regionals. The assembled competition was helpless to forestall the 1-2-3-4 finish.
But Lyons won't be the only strong team at state. Crested Butte and Vanguard bring solid teams as well. Although Crested Butte and Vanguard are likely locked in a battle for second, it's worth noting that the quality of the 2A field continues to rise. And, that's good news for high school cross country in Colorado. Telluride, Rocky Ford, and Rye also had nice regional races but will need to step up another level to take a shot at running down Crested Butte or Vanguard.
Individually, Paul Roberts ran the second-fastest time at state last year of any individual, regardless of classification. We probably haven't seen quite the full extent of what he's capable of yet this season, but he comes in as the favorite nevertheless, and with good reason. Given a fast course, Ben Butler, Marcel Such, Corey Lewenkamp, Jack Plantz, and Forrest Smith have each run times close to (or, in one case, even better) than Roberts' best time of the season, though state most definitely does not fall under the "fast course" category heading.
It will be headline kind of news if anyone beats Roberts.