Running runs in the family for Lyons' Paul Roberts

Lyons junior Paul Roberts performance last year at the Class 2A cross country meet should have come to the surprise of no one.

Running to the Roberts family is first nature.

"I've ran since I was 2," Paul said. "I remember running a Turkey Trot. Then a mile in or 20 minutes. The thing in the family is to go out and run. We were home schooled so it was our PE. I was always interested in it a little. Then I can remember being 7 or 8 and liking it a lot. I started racing  my older sister in lots of races. Then all I wanted to do was beat her."

Paul, and the rest of the Roberts clan, have certainly shown that they are a running family.

Paul won the boys Class 2A meet last year, setting a course record last at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, finishing in 16 minutes, 19 seconds.

Paul's sister, Miriam, won the girls meet.

"We've been blessed with great kids," said Mark, the Roberts' father and Lyons head cross country coach. "I feel like it's a culture of kids that want to get better, and just enjoy hanging out with each other. It's helped out with my own children getting involved with that."

Paul's 2014 season is setting up to be even better. The Class 2A field returns a stable of top runners, including Roberts' teammate Joel Such and Telluride's Jack Plantz. Returning all-stater Ben Butler from SkyView Academy will move up to Class 3A.

With Paul competing with Such on a nightly basis in practice, though, Lyons looks poised to again be the team to beat.

For Paul, a return to the state championships and a sub 16-minute time are definitely goals, but the junior's eyes are on the Nike Cross Regional. After struggling and failing to qualify for the national Nike meet, Paul said his focus is on that.

But the state championships are a big part of that training.

With the state championships taking part on the same course, and with Mark's knowledge of racing, Paul understands he's got a big bull's-eye on his back.

"I remember what it's like," Paul said. "I know how to run it. We know it's going to work out and set up well for us this year."

Class 2A boys cross country

Defending individual champion: Paul Roberts, Lyons

Defending team champion: Lyons

Returning All-State athletes: Roberts (junior), Lyons’ Joel Such (junior), Telluride’s Jack Plantz (junior).

Regular season begins: Aug. 21

Regionals: Oct. 16 and 17

State meet: Oct. 25, Norris-Penrose Event Center, Colorado Springs