LYONS — During his time at Lyons High School, Paul Roberts has gotten used to winning during the cross country season.
A lot of winning, like, all the time.
In October, the Lions senior cruised to a victory at the Colorado cross country state championships, becoming the first male runner in state history to win four individual championships. While leading the Lions, he has also won four boys team titles in Class 2A.
Also for the fourth straight year, Roberts is the BoCoPreps.com Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
"To go off on a high note is great," said Roberts, whose winning time this year was 15 minutes, 33.7 seconds. "Winning individually and as a team was awesome. Now it's off to nationals where there's more great runners to compete with"
Like many distance runners with his type of next-level ability, the cross country season starts to pick up even after the Colorado state tournament is in the books. Last week, Roberts placed third at the Nike Southwest Regional, qualifying him for Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 5 in Portland, Ore.
Finishing in 14 minutes, 52 seconds, Roberts finished just ahead of Monarch High School's Isaac Green, who won his first 5A state championship in October. Green cross the finish line in 14:55 for fourth.
"I'm excited that I learned some things and I'm looking forward to trying to do better against some more great runners," Roberts said.
On Saturday, Roberts will race in the Foot Locker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wisc. If he places top 10 in that race, he will qualify for the Foot Locker Cross Country National Finals in San Diego, Calif., on Dec. 12.
For Roberts, this winter is all about adding to his already impressive list of accolades, which includes a 59th-place finish at the IAFF World Cross Country Championships in China last year. But his fondest running memories are of his running with his teammates and with his siblings and father Mark Roberts, who has coached the Lions for the past 20 years.
"It's nice to win races but the part he and I have appreciated most along the way is his teammates stepping up too and all the great friendships he has developed while winning as a team," Mark Roberts said. "The winning piece is always enjoyable but you need a little luck too and Paul has been very blessed. There's something pure about cross country that really makes it like a family and Paul loves that."
On Nov. 11, Paul Roberts signed his national letter of intent to run for CSU-Pueblo next season. There, he will join his older sister Miriam Roberts and an emerging Division-II men's team that also feature's last year's Colorado 5A state champion Marcelo Laguera.