Lyons graduate Paul Roberts just returned from Africa with yet another impressive mark to add to his distance running resume.

At the IAAF U20 World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, on Sunday, Roberts finished as the top American runner and 33rd overall. Currently a freshman at Colorado State University-Pueblo, Roberts finished the 8K race in 25 minutes, 31 seconds.

"It was a really good trip," Roberts said. "I went out pretty smart in about 60th and ended up moving up to 33rd by the end. I was really happy with how it went, especially in the humidity and with all the great runners in the race. It's always a great experience to represent the USA."

Named a captain for the junior team before Sunday's race, Roberts made his way to the national team by winning the USATF Cross Country Junior Championship on Feb. 4 in Bend, Ore. Sunday's 8K time was 34 seconds better than his February mark. The U20 USA men's team finished ninth.

Having graduated from Lyons after last school year as Colorado's first prep runner to ever win four state cross country titles, running has taken Roberts all over the world. In the past several years, he has raced in China, Scotland and now Uganda.

"Going to Uganda just made it pretty cool to start with," Roberts said. "All the guys on the team are super cool and I got to hang out with the professional runners, which was really awesome."


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Roberts placed 14th at the NCAA II Indoor Championships this past season and was named all-region and all-conference at the end of his first collegiate cross country season.

Trevor Dunbar of Boulder did not race because of an illness. The American men finished fifth in the senior team competition.

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi