COLORADO SPRINGS -- Before each race, Lyons runner Miriam Roberts writes a quote on her arm in black sharpie.
Today, at the Class 2A girls cross country state meet, Roberts chose the same inspiration she penned from her first race of this season: "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us": Hebrews 12:1.
Roberts took first place at the meet at Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs with a time of 19:44.
"It was my teammates and coaches who pushed me to be the best I can be," Roberts said.
Lyons’ coaches challenged their runners to perform in the most important race of the year.
“My coaches told us were going to go out and run the best race we have ever run,” said Roberts. "They have pushed us all year long and this was the goal to run as fast as possible.”
The most challenging section of the course was between the first and second mile markers where the runners have to surmount a large hill. The hill can make or break a race.
“I took the lead on the uphill,” Roberts said. "My goal was to go out more relaxed, and then go harder on the downhill. You don’t want to go crazy on the uphill and kill yourself.”
Hotchkiss took the team honors at the state championships for the second year in row. They finished three runners within the top 10. Natalie Anderson, Jennifer Celis and Mae Anderson combined to take home the state title.
The 2A boys took the course later in the morning. Roberts’ brother, Paul, set a course record 16:19 en route to earning his own, and Lyons', second-consecutive state title.
The Lyons community was devastated this past summer from the flooding in Colorado. However, the flooding didn't hinder the team’s dominance.
“We are really a family right now,” Paul Roberts said. “We’ve been working our butts off together this summer. Even after the flood, we all got together and take care of business. When it’s time for races, we give it our all and put our best out there.”
The sophomore faced a different challenge this year at state.
“If you start overthinking a little bit, you need to relax,” he said. “In last year’s race, I knew I had to just get out there. There were some really good kids out there.”
Marcel and Joel Such, of Lyons, rounded out the top-three runners overall -- the exact same finish from last year’s state meet.
“We all run for our teammate and families,” Marcel Such said. “Our coaches put all of our training together. Coach Roberts also puts life into perspective.”
Marcel Such, a senior, finished eight seconds behind Paul and 24 seconds ahead of Joel Such. With only three runners that score in 2A, Lyons knew they won the team championship as soon as Joel finished the finish line.
“I got out really good today,” said Marcel. "I got out leading the pack. ... I was in second at the top of the hill and chased Paul. I beat him in a (race) last year and knew I had it in me, but Paul is such an incredible runner. I’m so blessed to have him -- he’s like a brother.”