LAKEWOOD — The Lyons boys track and field team has won four of the last five Class 2A team championships but entered the 2016 state meet knowing that everything would have to go perfectly if the Lions wanted to keep the streak alive.
Those outside hopes took a hit on Day 1 at Jefferson County Stadium.
Though the Lions boys 3,200-meter relay team entered the state meet with the top seed time, with several of the state's top distance runners and legitimate designs on a school record, their hopes of a perfect race disintegrated quickly into disappointment. The Lions fell behind early and finished third, with a time of 8 minutes, 22.03 seconds, behind Byers and champion Mancos.
"It did not go well," Lions senior relay runner Cameron Cross said. "We felt that, as a team, each of us did not race as well as we were able to. We were hoping to get about 10 seconds slower than we did and ended up with a third-place medal instead of the first. It's kind of disappointing."
The Lions girls 3,200-meter relay didn't fare any better than Cross and his teammates Colton Jonjak-Plahn, Joel Such and Paul Roberts.
Entering the girls race with a seed time that was a full 15 seconds faster than the second-place team, the Lions girls team of Madeleine Seifert, Ceann Udovich, Georgia Barone and Sierra Tucker also fell behind early in the race. They ended up finishing fourth in 10:02.93, 15 seconds behind champion Paonia.
"It wasn't our best," Seifert said. "We probably ran our best at the St. Vrain a week ago but all of us have a few little injuries and we just didn't feel great today. Sometimes those little things add up and take a toll, and I think we all might have gone out a little too fast. We wanted to break 10 minutes, which we did last time. We were close."
Considering the narrow margin the boys had, unexpectedly falling several spots will hurt their team titles chances quite a bit. But the Lions have plenty events remaining, including several distance runners with high potential to score still left to run, and head coach Mark Roberts said the Lions boys and girls will just keep charging forward.
"We were expecting to do much better today and those were a couple of events we were counting on, coming in as the top seed," Roberts said. "Everybody just seemed to be off by two or three percent today and that cost everyone a couple seconds in the relays. It's a bummer but we'll keep competing and trying to stick our nose in there in the end."