Track and field: Lyons’ Isaac Roberts claims first individual title with 3,200 gold

Lyons junior is fifth sibling in his family to win an individual event at state

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Isaac Roberts relishes in his first-place finish in the 2A 3,200-meter run during Thursday's state track and field championships held at Jefferson County Stadium. It was the first individual title for the Lions' junior. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Isaac Roberts, right, shakes hands with Telluride's Jaden Evans after the two battled it out during the 2A 3,200-meter run Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyon's Quin Gregg finished second in the 2A girls 3,200-meter run Thursday at the state track and field championships. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Katie Fankhouser, left, begins her leg of the 2A girls 3,200 relay Thursday after getting the baton from teammate Quin Gregg. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Colton Jonjak-Plahn, right, takes the baton handoff from Isaac Roberts during the 3,200 relay Thursday at the state track and field championships in Lakewood. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Colton Jonjak-Plahn finishes up his anchor leg of the 2A boys 3,200 relay on Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. The Lions won the race as part of a strong first day of the state track and field championships. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Peak to Peak's Jenna Howard, right, hands off the baton to Quinn McConnell during the 3A girls 3,200 relay race Thursday at the state track and field championships in Lakewood. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Peak to Peak's Anna Shults holds off an unidentified runner from The Classical Academy as part of the 3A girls 3,200 relay at the state track and field championships in Lakewood on Thursday. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Holy Family's Amanda Ward takes a handoff during the 3A girls 3,200 relay at the state track and field championships held at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood on Thursday. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Shining Mountain's Max Saliman, left, finished second in the 1A boys 3,200-meter run on the first day of the state track and field championships Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    Shining Mountain's Bohdi Mills crossed the finish line in the 1A girls 3,200 run in third place. (Brad Cochi/ BoCoPreps.com)

  • Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com

    From left, Holy Family's 3,200 relay foursome of Christian Montoya, Rasce Engelhardt, Braden Bartlett and Alex Martinez celebrate together after winning the 3A boys race Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

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LAKEWOOD – Isaac Roberts has left Jeffco Stadium and the Colorado track and field championships with plenty of medals already in his decorated prep career.

He’s had fourths, thirds, runner-up finishes, and even a few relay titles. But the Lyons junior has spent his first few years in high school chasing an elusive gold in an individual event and would be the first to admit that his confidence in it ever coming to pass had, at times, begun to waver.

Roberts no longer has to worry.

On Thursday’s opening day of the 2019 state championships, Roberts broke through and won the Class 2A 3,200-meter race in a time of 9 minutes, 57.63 seconds to claim his first individual state championship. Even for the invariably reserved distance runner, it was impossible for Roberts to contain his joy at what he had accomplished with his own strength and spirit alone.

“The crowd was all cheering down the stretch and that scared me because I was like, ‘Ah, someone’s coming,’” Roberts said. “I really wanted to win so I just didn’t look back and I just kept going as hard as I could. My main goal was to just get 10 points so our team can hopefully go for the team title, but winning that race was pretty great.”

Incredibly, Roberts is now the fifth of his siblings to win a track and field state championship in an individual event and his is the 12th individual title between them.

Going into his title-winning race, Roberts knew he would be a bit tired from running the 3,200-meter relay two hours prior. With Roberts planning to sit behind the leader, which turned out to be Jaden Evans when the Telluride senior went out early, and make his move in the last 800 meters. It worked perfectly, and Roberts ended up passing Evans on the sixth lap and winning by six seconds.

Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com
Lyons’ Colton Jonjak-Plahn, right, takes the baton handoff from Isaac Roberts during the 3,200 relay Thursday at the state track and field championships in Lakewood. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

Being that it followed the aforementioned relay, it was the second gold for the Lyons boys on Thursday. In the 3,200-meter relay, the Lions defended their 2018 state title with a win in 8:20.83.

“It brings us a lot of pride in our school,” relay anchor Colton Jonjak-Plahn said. “We’ve obviously been working really hard all year and everyone else has too, so there’s a sense of reward. Upholding the legacy’s of the two seniors from last year who graduated was important to us and it feels good to have done that.”

With 27 team points, the Lyons boys held a two-point edge over Yuma at the end of Day 1. The Lyons girls also led the team scoring with 18 points, one point ahead of Highland at the end of an ultra-successful opening day effort that left Lyons head coach Mark Roberts, “pinching himself.”

The big win for the Lyons girls was a state championship in the 3,200-meter relay, and it came with a bit of intrigue.

Seeded first but not leading after the first 800 meters, the Lions girls swapped their second and third runners at the last minute, a pre-planned decision that depended on where they stood with their first-leg runner coming down the home stretch. The move to run a more aggressively attacking runner earlier in the race paid off and the Lions crossed the finish line first in 10:03.73.

“That was kind of an adrenaline rush,” Lyons senior anchor Katie Fankhouser said. “It was really exciting and a little stressful all at the same time. But all these ladies pulled it off. It meant a lot to us.”

Fankhouser and freshman teammate Quin Gregg, who placed first and second, respectively, at the cross country state championships in the fall, ran the final two legs. Later that evening, Gregg finished runner-up in the open 3,200 with a time of 12:01.38 despite entering the event seeded fourth.

Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com
Lyon’s Quin Gregg finished second in the 2A girls 3,200-meter run Thursday at the state track and field championships. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

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