LONGMONT — With a razor-sharp competitive edge, Lyons junior cross country runner Isaac Roberts hates being told to hold back — like, always.

And, there was a point at this past Saturday's St. Vrain Invite that Roberts wanted to vault ahead of those he was running against on his home course, only to be advised by head coach and father, Mark Roberts, to think about Wednesday and what a win at the RE-1J would mean.

Turns out, Roberts needed that little bit of reserved energy to hold off Erie's Jamison Cartwright and claim the RE-1J boys varsity race for a second consecutive season. In many respects, the run around Sunset Golf Course in Longmont has a state-championship course feel, and with the temperatures logging in the low 90s, there was a sense of being grateful on Roberts's part that he heeded the advice.

"I felt pretty terrible today as it is because of the heat, but yeah, I'm definitely glad I saved something for today because it could have been way worse," Roberts said, after turning in a time of 17 minutes, 19.7 seconds against runners from the likes of Niwot, Silver Creek, Longmont, Mead, Erie, Skyline, Frederick, and Twin Peaks Charter Academy. "It was a good start and I feel a little disappointed with the way I finished it, but the heat was definitely a problem. Still happy overall, with how hot it was. This is a race that's closer to what state is like, so it's a good (preview)."


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While Niwot elected not to run its top four guys coming off a great showing at the Liberty Bell — that list includes Cruz Culpepper, who placed second at the RE-1J Meet last year — it was Cartwright who gave Roberts all he could handle, as the EHS senior finished at 17:26.7 just four days after running 11th in the 5A/4A portion of the St. Vrain Invite.

"(Cartwright) was right with me the first lap and second lap, he was just behind me every time I looked around a corner," Isaac Roberts said. "It was like, 'ah, shoot, he's not going away and I have to keep pushing.' He had a great race, too."

"I was pretty conservative this time because I did not want to get passed like last year," Cartwright added. "I had the same thing last year but there was a pack behind me at the finish, and I went from second to eighth or something like that. I wanted to finish a lot stronger this time."

The Cougars proved their incomparable depth, within the district at the very least, by still managing to win the team race despite not having Culpepper, Ares Reading, Benjamin Bi and Jack Volf in the mix. Instead, juniors Caleb Bishop, Luke Robinson, Jack Kenkel and freshman Zane Bergen all placed top-8 and another trio rounded out the top 13. Niwot scored 33 points, while Erie scored 44 points for second place.

Niwot's group continued to run after the meet, as head coach Kelly Christensen said the course and the conditions provided a rough-but-beneficial training day for a group looking to compete near the top of Class 4A at state.

"It was definitely an opportunity for some other people and to see who steps up, and they ran great," Christensen said. "I'm kind of glad it was hot because sometimes it can be good to practice to hurt in the heat, the heavy grass and running uphill. It's a little bit of everything to contend with."

Mead sophomore Keegan Caldwell placed fourth with a time of 18:18, while Timothy Fritsche, Alex Walker and Luke Fritsche all finished within the top 10 for Erie.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

RE-1J District Cross Country Meet

At Sunset Golf Course

Boys

Team scores — Niwot 33, Erie 44, Lyons 73, Mead 98, Longmont 152, Skyline 155, Frederick 181, Twin Peaks Charter 248, Silver Creek 274.

Top 25 individuals — 1. Isaac Roberts, Lyons, 17:19; 2. Jamison Cartwright, Erie, 17:26; 3. Caleb Bishop, Niwot, 18:12; 4. Keegan Caldwell, Mead, 18:18; 5. Luke Robinson, Niwot, 18:26; 6. Jack Kenkel, Niwot, 18:30; 7. Timothy Fritsche, Erie, 18:30; 8. Zane Bergen, Niwot, 18:31; 9. Alexander Walker, Erie, 18:32; 10. Luke Fritsche, Erie, 18:37; 11. Ben Klingbeil, Niwot, 18:47; 12. Ethan Jiang, Niwot, 18:53; 13. Simon Saia, Niwot, 18:54; 14. Colton Jonjak-Plahn, Lyons, 18:56; 15. Nathan Hoffman, Mead, 18:57; 16. Adam Garcia, Erie, 19:16; 17. Nick Boggess, Lyons, 19:18; 18. Simon Stone, Lyons, 19:21; 19. Jonathan Powell, Erie, 19:24; 20. Hunter Payne, Mead, 19:34; 21. Rayan Elahi, Niwot, 19:41; 22. Joaquin Herrera, Niwot, 19:45; 23. Leon Engle, Longmont, 19:47; 24. Dominic Warner, Longmont, 19:52; 25. Jordan Shackelford, Lyons, 19:54.