• David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    The 4A-5A pack rounds a corner in the 16th Annual St. Vrain Invitational Cross Country Meet at Lyons High.

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Peak to Peak freshman Quinn McConnell runs to a first-place finish at the 16th Annual St. Vrain Invitational Cross Country Meet at Lyons High Saturday morning. For more photos go to BoCoPreps.com.

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Nederland's Sarah Davidson runs in the 16th Annual St. Vrain Invitational Cross Country Meet at Lyons High.

  • David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer

    Lyon's Paul Roberts runs to the finish line ahead of SkyView Academy's Ben Butler during the 16th Annual St. Vrain Invitational Cross Country Meet at Lyons High Saturday.

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LYONS — Just because Quinn McConnell is a freshman, it doesn’t mean that she’s a rookie. In fact, in this early cross country season, she might be one of the most impactful girls runners on the scene right now.

The Peak to Peak athlete stormed to a sixth place finish at the Centaurus Invite last week, and added to her resume with a victory in the Class 3A/2A Division of Saturday’s St. Vrain Invitational at Lyons High School.

McConnell finished just ahead of teammate Anna Shults, while Lyons’ Sierra Tucker placed seventh on her home course. The Pumas finished first in the team race, too.

With many of the best runners from the larger schools migrating to the Liberty Bell at Heritage High — an event that took place Friday — the St. Vrain still holds serve as the premier race of the season for the smaller schools. That was evident in both the boys and girls races, as Paul Roberts (Lyons) held off Ben Butler of SkyView Academy and Taylor Stack (Salida) in a heavy-duty showdown.

For McConnell, the start to the season has been everything she has hoped for. She finished Saturday’s race with a time of 18 minutes, 57 seconds.

“I just put in a good summer in hopes that I’d have a strong season, and last weekend I really surprised myself with my time against some of the (Class 4A and 5A) girls,” said McConnell who was last year’s state middle school champion. “This week, I knew some really fast girls were going to be here. I’m happy with it.”

Shults and McConnell were neck-and-neck for most of the race and pulled ahead of the rest of the pack late. Shults, also a freshman, finished in 19:10.

“Our regionals course is this one, and it’s a fun course you can enjoy,” McConnell said.

“Our coach has been talking to us about how running should be a team thing, and that every point counts,” added Shults. “We need to work together. Quinn and I pace off each other, and we want to work together to get a better score. We were focused on the team perspective of this race.”

Peak to Peak’s top-notch effort was buoyed by Rachael Metzler, (11th place) and Christina Hamerly (19th). The Pumas were so good, Alice Oveson’s 22nd place finish did not even score.

Lyons finished fourth overall with a team that was battling sickness this week. Tucker’s time was 20:24, and CeAnn Udovich — who finished second at state last year — finished just outside the top 20 as she is battling injury.

Tucker was hoping to be just a little bit better but was glad to have faced off against some of the girls she’ll be battling at state again this year.

“More than half our team was sick this week, and I know CeAnn didn’t have the race she would have liked,” Tucker said. “I felt pretty strong, but I wasn’t as competitive as I wanted to be. My regret from the race was not trying to stick up front from the beginning.

“I’m proud and exciting for the rest of my team, because we had girls breaking 22 (minutes) and getting personal bests.”

On the boys side, Roberts challenged the course record he tied last year, finishing in 15:18 (the record is 15:15). Joel Such finished fifth overall with a time of 16:40.

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

St. Vrain Cross Country Invitational

At Lyons HS

Class 2A/3A Boys

Team scores — Salida 57, SkyView Academy 79, Lyons 83, Mancos 114, Ouray 130, Rocky Ford 143, The Vanguard School 149, Telluride 156, Estes Park 160, Jefferson Academy 175, St. Mary’s 208, Eaton 240, Middle Park 240, Resurrection Christian 246, Liberty Common 251, Peak to Peak 254, Heritage Christian 276, Platte Valley 284, Byers 306, Machebeuf 307, Yuma 363, Wiggins 407, Highland 456, Brush 457, Nederland 485, Dawson School 510, Twin Peaks Charter 548, West Grand 551.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Paul Roberts, Lyons, 15:18; 2. Ben Butler, SkyView Academy, 15:29; 3. Taylor Stack, Salida, 15:50; 4. Cody Danley, Rocky Ford, 16:28; 5. Joel Such, Lyons, 16:40; 6. Ro Paschal, Mancos, 16:49; 7. Tyler Scholl, Middle Park, 16:54; 8. Jack Plantz, Telluride, 17:02; 9. Nate Fedel, Ouray, 17:20; 10. Mark Simmons, Middle Park, 17:24.

Other Lyons scorers — 38. Cameron Cross 18:21; 39. Landon Milbrath 18:21.

Top Jefferson Academy finishers — 24. Christian Van Cleave 18:05; 28. Ryan Lemuth 18:15; 37. Nathan Moore 18:21;

Top Peak to Peak finishers — 19. Isaac Ruble 17:47; 41. Brandon Ries 18:32; 73. Benjamin Cunningham 19:32.

Top Nederland finisher — 121. Kiernan McClish 20:37.

Top Dawson School finisher — 123. Edward Altman 20:39.

Top Twin Peaks finisher — 145. Michael Erickson 21:00.

Class 2A/3A Girls

Team scores — Peak to Peak 33, Salida 39, Heritage Christian 63, Lyons 106, Telluride 124, Eaton 129, SkyView Academy 150, The Vanguard School 162, Resurrection Christian 169, Colorado Academy 176, St. Mary’s 186, Rocky Ford 194, Brush 222, Mancos 226, Dawson School 228, Middle Park 240, Yuma 268, Highland 310.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Quinn McConnell, Peak to Peak, 18:57; 2. Anna Shults, Peak to Peak, 19:10; 3. Taryn Ceglowski, Salida, 19:30; 4. Rebekah Rairdon, Heritage Christian, 19:50; 5. Rachel Rairdon, Heritage Christian, 19:51; 6. Hannah McReavy, St. Mary’s 20:06; 7. Sierra Tucker, Lyons, 20:24; 8. Sydney Fesenmeyer, Salida, 20:30; 9. Soliel Gaylord, Telluride, 20:31; 10. Kyra Hanson, Resurrection Christian, 20:36.

Other Peak to Peak scorers — 11. Rachael Metzler 20:39; 20. Christina Hamerly 21:02.

Other Lyons scorers — 22. CeAnn Udovich 21:12; 43. Madeline Siefert 22:00; 45. Georgia Barone 22:01.

Top Dawson School finishers — 40. Margaret Berry 21:54; 71. Emma Grizack 23:14; 75. Claire McPeak 23:23; 91. Katelyn Taylor 24:24.

Top Jefferson Academy finishers — 14. Mariah Archuleta 20:44; 64. Bridget Lynch 23:01.

Top Shining Mountain finishers — 34. Emma Schaefer 21:45; 46. Abby Leuchten 22:04.

Top Nederland finishers — 32. Sarah Davidson 21:39; 49. Sophia Lindenberger 22:18.

Class 4A/5A Boys

Team scores — Mountain Vista 42, Palmer Ridge 90, Lamar 131, Rampart 157, Legend 184, Air Academy 188, Widefield 192, Classical Academy 209, Dakota Ridge 261, Poudre 308, Erie 317, Grand Junction Central 346, Regis Jesuit 350, Niwot 356, Castle View 399, Liberty 452, Greeley Central 501, Denver South 522, Pueblo Centennial 553, Mead 567, Windsor 571, Longmont 611, Monarch 618, Fort Morgan 652, Mountain Range 663, Northridge 688, Denver East 757, Harrison 786.

Top 5 individuals — 1. Tanner Norman, The Classical Academy, 15:54; 2. Luc Hagen, Air Academy, 15:59; 3. Ben Dingman, Rampart, 16:02; 4. Max Martinez, Widefield, 16:04; 5. Paxton Smith, Mountain Vista, 16:06.

Top Niwot finisher — 32, Isaac Norwood, 17:25.

Top Erie finisher — 43. Matt Sease, 17:38; 44. Taylor Johnson, 17:39; 58. Anthony Willert, 18:02.

Top Mead finisher — 59. Hayden, DeBuse, 18:04.

Top Longmont finisher — 88. Cade Bickmore, 18:48.

Top Monarch finisher — 100. Paxton Hansburg, 18:59.

Class 4A/5A Girls

Team scores — Mountain Vista 44, The Classical Academy 96, Palmer Ridge 101, Regis Jesuit 179, Air Academy 208, Rampart 221, Poudre 246, Mead 269, Liberty 284, Longmont 319, Windsor 349, Castle View 363, Mountain Range 375, Denver South 377, Fort Morgan 448, Denver East 469, Estes Park 473, Widefield 490, Erie 501, Greeley Central 520, Monarch 521, Legend 545, Lamar 613, Pueblo Centennial 623.

Top 10 individuals — 1. Allie Chapman, Mountain Vista, 17:55 (Division course record)*; 2. Lily Tomasula-Martin, Estes Park, 18:43; 3. Chantae Steele, The Classical Academy, 19:00; 4. Caroline Eck, Mountain Vista, 19:09; 5. Luna Slater, Poudre, 19:10; 6. Hannah Capek, Palmer Ridge, 19:45; 7. Julia Vitella, Regis Jesuit, 19:48; 8. Kayla Wiltala, Air Academy, 19:55; 9. Allison Mann, Liberty, 20:01; 10. Madison Easton, Mountain Vista, 20:11.

Top Mead finishers — 20. Sophia Maeda 20:35; 48. Camilla Lee 21:52.

Top Longmont finishers — 49. Lizzi Frothingham 21:52; 53. Jayci Johnson 21:57; 56. Verena O’Malley 22:00.

Top Erie finisher — 64. Jamie Hogan 22:09

Top Monarch finisher — 91. Katy Kilcoyne 22:56.