John Ames knew heading into last Friday's Pantherfest Cross Country meet that it could be his last chance to break the Delta High School record. Rather than focus on his split times at the end of each mile, he took off his watch. "I told myself, I'm just going to run fast," he said.
He got the record with a time of 16 minutes, 10.13 seconds. The 16:19.6 record he broke was set in 2011 by older brother, Jacob Ames. "I already called him," said Ames. "Sorry, Jake."
Ames finished seventh out of a field of 112 runners. He tried for the record last week on the Sweitzer Lake course, but was off by almost a half minute.
Ames said he started running because of his brother, a Daniels Scholar who played basketball at Colorado Mesa University.
He ran to get in shape for basketball. They've always been competitive, said John Ames. "My brother was so good at everything and I just wanted to be like Jake."
In middle school he decided he'd run to get in shape for basketball, too, and discovered he was pretty good.
"I work hard, but I'm not going to say it's all work," he said. His good friend, Montrose runner Evan Graff said it best, he said. "It's 99 percent God and 1 percent hard work."
Other Delta boys in the running were Shad Lewis, who wanted desperately to get a low 17-minute run, finished 36th with a time of 17:39.87. Lewis had his best time a week ago and was looking for another PR on Friday.
Andrew Toole finished 88th, Enrique Gonzales was 94th and Doyle Young was 95th.
On the girls side, Beki Atchley was Delta's first runner to cross the finish line with a time of 21:23.35 to place 47th.
Other top five Delta girls were Abby Williams (61st), Emma Corbasson (65th), Hana Hollenbeck (71st) and Shoshana Vigil (80th).
Battle Mountain won the girls' title with 32 points and Delta was 11th with 268.
Delta is set to compete in Rifle this Thursday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. The Panthers are also scheduled to run in Montrose Saturday (11 a.m.) with regionals set for Aspen Oct. 19 at a new venue beginning at 11 a.m.