The October sun made its presence felt and temperatures were almost as hot as the running by the time the boys' race got underway at the Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational last Friday.
Like the girls before them, the boys found the 5K lake course much to their liking and ripe for a personal record.
"That was hot," Hotchkiss runner Sam Rodriguez said shortly after crossing the finish line in a scorching 17 minutes, 28.24 seconds. "It was a brand new course. Mostly flat, some minor hills. I felt really good. I was going for a PR."
Facing tough competition, Rodriguez just missed a Top 10 finish and was the fastest area runner. Jack Plantz of Telluride won the race in a blistering 16:23.05.
Hotchkiss was well-represented after Rodriguez finished 11th. Gabe Rodriguez was the next Bulldog across the line (18:11.51), with Zack Allen (18:54.79), Owen Mattison (19:56.81) and Parker Katzdorn (21:14.96) following behind.
Trenton Carr finished in 21:18.36 and senior Andrew Oviedo came next for Hotchkiss at 21:44.95. Myles Zoutte (22:55.56) and Nick Jung (24:21.87) completed the Hotchkiss team results, which placed them at sixth in the invitational standings.
Finishing ahead of them at fifth in the team standings was Delta, which fielded 19 runners in the invitational. Wade Stinson was the first Panther to finish with his time of 17:57.85, good for 14th overall. Freshman John Ames continued his strong season and posted a time of 18:11.83.
Logan Freed was the third Delta finisher at 19:21.54, followed closely behind by Aaron Lohrberg at 19:47.27. Elias Carlson finished with his time of 19:57.03 and David Husmann was the sixth Panther to finish below 20 minutes with his time of 19:58.51.
Jeff Chadwick (20:09.58), Andrew Toole (20:23.89), Paul Connett (20:48.38), Neil Thomas (21:00.52), Rodolfo Contreras (21:32.92) and Charlie Reid (21:35.62) were the next finishers for Delta.
The Panthers' team score was completed by Joshua Dillon (23:01.89), Ronald Jackson (23:39.23), Lane Mayberry (23:54.12), Ryan Cooper (23:56.24), Micah Kathrein (25:14.40), Eddie Bombay (30:21.19) and Ben Abbott (35:22.07).
Paonia got several strong finishes from its runners as the Eagles finished eighth in the team standings. Caden Meilner led the way for the Eagles, posting the 18th fastest finish at 18:05.87. Tim Helmer was next for Paonia with his time of 19:01.46. Ben O'Rourke was next for Paonia at 20:02.06.
Setting a personal record for Paonia was senior John Deck, who finished at 36:45.00.
"I had inspiration to try and pass somebody today, so that was pretty new for me. I usually don't get that chance," Deck said with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. "I didn't catch him, but I was close."
Deck, in his third cross country season, often finishes with the back of the pack but he improves on a weekly basis and loves the family atmosphere of the sport.
"I like the family vibe to it," Deck said. "We all push each other but in a nice way, we all understand each other."
Bo Pipher finished at 20:36.87 for the Eagles while Ethan Bartlett (22:57.04), Allen Harper (23:25.31) and Dominic Limone (25:11.56) rounded out the Paonia team score.
Panthers at MoCo
Delta's Panthers were in Craig for cross country competition at the Moffat County Invitational on Oct. 3.
Delta's boys were third out of eight teams competing. Moffat County placed first with 33 points, and Delta was third with 93.
The Panthers' John Ames was the first Delta runner across the finish line with a time of 18:44. Rangely's Patrick Scroggins was the event's individual medalist with a time of 17:53.
On the girls' side, Moffat County was, again, the team winner with 37 points. Delta finished fourth in the six-team field. Mykayla Music ran a 20:56 and was Delta's top runner.