BROOMFIELD -- It is not so much an embarrassment of riches for Mark Roberts and his Lyons cross country teams.

It is more a testament to the work his kids put in on a daily basis. And often times the work of the guys that you don't really hear about becomes the glue of the team.

"We go as our fourth and fifth guys go," Roberts said. "Those guys labor in obscurity and they need and deserve to be rewarded."

Thursday's Class 2A Region 1 meet was the ideal place to reward one of their own. Junior Matt Dillon will forever be known as a regional champion as he was at the forefront of an impressive Lions sweep. The Lyons foursome of Dillon, Joel Such, Marcel Such and 2A defending champion Paul Roberts crossed the line single-file from 17 minutes, 8 seconds through 17:10.

Lyons’ Miriam Roberts (right) holds off Ginger Hutton of Shining Mountain to win the girls’ race at the 2A Region 1 finals on Friday.
Lyons' Miriam Roberts (right) holds off Ginger Hutton of Shining Mountain to win the girls' race at the 2A Region 1 finals on Friday. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

All the glory will go to Dillon, who was reluctant to accept what his hard work had done for him.

"I'm not going to lie, I like winning and I'd be foolish to tell you otherwise," said Dillon, an accomplished pianist as well. "Mostly I just trust our coach and whatever he tells us to do. Obviously his skills in being able to coach us have shined through."

Said Mark Roberts: "As a team, the kids talked about it and what a neat opportunity to reward him for all his hard work. Matt Dillon is a great kid and he deserved that."

What makes things more special for Mark Roberts and both of his teams at Lyons is the balance they have found in the wake of the terrible flooding that ravaged their town just over a month ago. The tight-knit group has come together and become a rallying point for not only the school, but the community as well.


"I think we all appreciate everything a little bit more. We appreciate our homes we have, we appreciate the fact that we have a place to be together as a school and we appreciate the opportunity to come out here and do stuff like this," Mark Roberts said. "We saw a lot of those opportunities potentially go away a little over a month ago.

"It's been a really good experience for our kids, it's been a really hard experience, but I really think they have grown from it, so I am really proud of them."

It was just as successful a run on the girls side for Lyons. Defending state runner-up Miriam Roberts and Shining Mountain's Ginger Hutton ran together for a majority of the race before Roberts eventually turned it up a notch to win by 16 seconds in a time of 19:33.

"My goal was to go out and run with my teammates for as long as I could and one of them was trying to PR today, so I was trying to run with her and then when the pace started slacking off with about a mile to go I started picking up the pace," Miriam Roberts said. "They went with me for a while, and I was proud of my teammates for doing that."

Hutton, who didn't run cross country last year, is excited about the chance to return to the state course where she recorded a victory in August at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede -- otherwise known as the pre-state meet.

"The course was hard and is definitely what you would call a true cross country course with its huge hills," said Hutton, who has benefited from the coaching of Colorado running legend Melody Fairchild at Shining Mountain this season. The Lions finished fourth as a team and qualified for state as a team for the first time.

So too did the Nederland girls team. Bailey Kuechenmeister (4th in 20:24) and Sophia Lindenberger (5th in 20:25) helped the Panthers to a second-place team finish.

Other teams in the area that will get to go to state include the Dawson School boys. The Mustangs finished fourth overall and were led by Chris Slade's ninth-place finish in 18:01.

Maybe the best story of the day was first-year Twin Peaks Charter and Jaen Chavez. The Timberwolves junior earned an automatic state berth when he finished 10th -- the top 15 qualify -- in a time of 18:10. Chavez's team finished seventh out of nine teams, but he hopes that his trailblazing efforts will inspire the growth of the sport at the new Longmont school.

"It feels good to me, like a founding father, something to make everybody run more, because right now we only have six runners," Chavez said. "This will help us get a better pack, you know, because we are the Timberwolves."

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Class 2A, Region 1

At Broomfield Commons Park



Team scores (top four teams qualify for state) -- Lyons 6, Liberty Common 35, Wiggins 37, Dawson School 47, Resurrection Christian 49, Yuma 65, Twin Peaks 68, Highland 76, Shining Mountain 90.

State qualifiers -- 1. Matt Dillon, Lyons, 17:08; 2. Joel Such, Lyons, 17:09; 3. Marcel Such, Lyons, 17:10; 4. Paul Roberts, Lyons, 17:10; 5. Trevor Dye, Wiggins, 17:23; 6. Christopher Martinez, Liberty Common, 17:35; 7. Heath Fesenmeyer, Lyons, 17:54; 8. Sawyer Pehkonen, Resurrection Christian, 18:00; 9. Chris Slade, Dawson School, 18:01; 10. Jaen Chavez, Twin Peaks, 18:10; 11. Levi Shutts, Wiggins, 18:14; 12. Joe Caraway, Liberty Common, 18:21; 13. James McNamara, Nederland, 18:23; 14. Jordan Cherin, Shining Mountain, 18:30; 15. Alexander Timple, Dawson School, 18:30.

Other Lyons results -- 18. Stephen Roberts 18:49; 23. Owen George 19:17.

Other Dawson School results -- 28. Edward Altman 19:59; 35. Conner O'Grady 20:28; 38. Nicholas Timpe 20:42.

Other Twin Peaks results -- 32. Kaelin Blair 20:18; 34. Michael Erickson 20:25; 55. Robert Chamberlain 23:58; 56. Michael Jones 24:03.

Other Shining Mountain results -- 43. Jonah Baca 20:59; 51. Gavin Edwards 23:38; 57. Finn Beruldsen 25:00.

Other Nederland result -- 27. Kiernan McClish 19:55.



Team scores (top four teams qualify for state) -- Lyons 10, Nederland 24, Resurrection Christian 28, Shining Mountain 36, Yuma 51, Dawson School 57, Highland 58, Liberty Common 77, Wiggins 90.

State qualifiers -- 1. Miriam Roberts, Lyons, 19:33; 2. Ginger Hutton, Shining Mountain, 19:49; 3. Jenna Anderson, Lyons, 20:18; 4. Bailey Kuechenmeister, Nederland, 20:24; 5. Sophia Lindenberger, Nederland, 20:25; 6. Bailey Walser, Merino, 20:26; 7. Sierra Tucker, Lyons, 20:31; 8. Rachel Meyers, Resurrection Christian, 20:48; 9. MacKenzie Dill, Highland, 21:10; 10. Kyra Hanson, Resurrection Christian, 21:17; 11. Maggie Berry, Dawson School, 21:26; 12. Maggie Allen, Wiggins, 21:47; 13. Hannah Hart, Resurrection Christian, 21:48; 14. Paisley Sheehan, Shining Mountain, 22:03; 15. Olivia Couch, Liberty Common, 22:08.

Other Lyons results -- 23. Kate Berreman 23:34; 25. Faith Myers 23:34; 33. Savannah Drotar 24:47; 48. Johanna Beam 29:46.

Other Nederland results -- 16. MacKenzie Radandt 22:13; 24. Rosemary Pineau 23:34.

Other Shining Mountain results -- 22. Ella Baca 23:24; 44. Inaya Shore 28:22.

Other Dawson School results -- 20. Faith Rankin 22:55; 29. Claire McPeak 24:31; 32. Fiona Bell 24:45; 41. Forest-Amber Borealis 26:27