Buckaroos host annual Loyds Lake Classic, a favorite among locals

by Haley Burton
Contributing Writer
It was a practically perfect overcast day this past Friday, September 1 as the Monticello Buckaroos hosted the annual Loyds Lake Cross Country Classic.
A sizable field of 291 runners stepped up to the starting line in six different races. For the boys, Samuel Garmany of Grand Junction Central paced the field on the beautiful, tough Loyds Lake course with a time of 16:26.
The Monticello boys team’s strength continues to be the consistency of the top runners finishing close together. The top four Buckaroos finished the race within 27 seconds of each other in their home meet.
Jesse Pettit finished in eighth place with a time of 18:15, Curtis Bunker got 11th place in 18:22, Kooper Nielson finished 14th in 18:23, and Kaden Pehrson secured 15th with a time of 18:42.
Soren Welch and Aaron Peterson rounded out the Monticello boys varsity team, coming in 38th and 49th places and the team took third place.
Whitehorse freshman Keiarra Martin won the girls varsity race with an impressive time of 20:02. Marah Long was the top Monticello finisher, crossing the line in second place with a time of 20:35 and knocking an astounding 1:50 off her 2022 time.
In fact, every member of the MHS girls team bested their 2022 performance in their home meet. Lilli Burton came home fifth with a time of 21:56 while Ayla Carling secured ninth with her time of 22:56.
Alexis Bailey cut an incredible three minutes off her 2022 time on the Loyds Lake course, crossing the finish line in 34th place in 26:26. The Lady Buckaroos took second place as a team behind only Grand Junction Central.
Nine teams from around the state and Colorado attended this year’s installment of the Loyds Lake Classic. All the teams have competed in the race at some point through the years.
The Grand Junction Central Warriors are one of those teams and have been visiting the Buckaroos for the race for eight years.
Both the boys and girls teams from GJC won their races this year, giving the Buckaroos some great competition. I talked with Central Coach Ted Leblow, asking how our race compares to events their teams attend in Colorado and his thoughts on the race.
“We love it,” said Leblow. “It’s comparable to our races in Colorado. We love traveling up here. It is so beautiful. We like to come up to a little higher altitude. The course is amazing with the lake. Jeff [Hunt] puts on a great event.
“You have amazing awards. The person who does the awards and the artist who does the awards is amazing. It’s a really fun trip for the kids. We just love coming here. Every year when talking about the races we will be attending the kids mention Monticello is a race we can’t take off the schedule.”
The Monticello High School cross country teams have this week off, but they’ll be back in competition along with Monument Valley and Whitehorse at the Stewart Foster Invitational in Huntington, UT on Monday, September 11.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday