Paonia senior cross country runner Ethan Bartlett continues to shatter his own records. Bartlett took second Saturday at the annual Hotchkiss Invitational, behind Montrose junior Sean Graff.
Bartlett's time of 18 minutes, 48.06 seconds was well ahead of his freshman year 98th-place time, and last year's 18th place time of 20:39.
The team placed third overall with 35 points. Junior Elijah Evans and senior Harley Ewert finished 21st and 22nd and freshmen Alejandro Garcia and Alyster Birk placed 24th and 26th.
Bartlett said that he and Delta's Shad Lewis led the pack for about the first mile. Both knew that Graff, who was favored to win and is known to start races behind the pack, would eventually catch up. When he did, Bartlett said he paced with Graff until about the second mile, with Graff making his move at the steep incline on the back side of the course. From there, Bartlett said he ran his own race, with Lewis holding third place but never challenging him.
Bartlett said he started seeing big improvements in his times last spring during the track season. At the state championships he anchored the bronze-winning 3200-meter relay with PHS alum Caden Meilner and teammates Ewert and Logan Green. In the 3200 open he was ranked 15th and placed 10th.
After track, he said, he pushed himself all summer and attended running camps. "It's good to see some results," he laughed.
In his first two races Bartlett finished second in Class 2A at the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede -- ran on the same course as the state championships, and finished 16th at the 26-team Battle Mountain meet.
Bartlett said he sees a good season ahead. Garcia and Birk are part of a strong freshman class of seven, and Ewert and Evans and the rest of the team are picking up the pace.
"I can't really ask for much better," said Bartlett. "It's going good."