Alfredo Lebron, a Moffat County High School junior, practices Monday on the MCHS track. Lebron took first in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 53 seconds at the Mickey Dunn Invitational on Saturday in Grand Junction.

In the first month of the track and field season, Alfredo Lebron is picking up where he left last year.

The Moffat County High School junior finished in first place in the 3,200-meter run at the Mickey Dunn Invitational on March 26 in Grand Junction.

The place was not as important as the time.

Coming in at 9 minutes, 53 seconds, Lebron is less than five seconds off the time he ran in May 2010 at the state track and field meet en route to a seventh-place finish.

“All I can think is that I have a good base to build off of,” Lebron said. “I have to keep moving forward to get better.”

Lebron helped lead the MCHS boys varsity track and field team to an eighth-place finish while the girls team finished 18th. The meet included 21 teams.

Winter workouts are what made the difference, Lebron said, and helped him accomplish a low time for his season personal record.

“After Christmas I would do about one workout a week and get three runs in,” he said. “I think my time in Grand Junction says things are going good so far.”

Lebron said his goal is to get his time down to 9 minutes, 35 seconds and place in the top three at state.

The junior was also able to accomplish another feat in Grand Junction by finishing ahead of Chris Zirkle, a Hayden High School senior.

Zirkle ran for the MCHS cross-country team in the fall and was a friend and teammate of Lebron during the season.

At the cross-country state meet in November 2010, Zirkle finished less than a second ahead of Lebron.

On the track, however, Lebron got the best of Zirkle, who finished with a time of 9 minutes, 57 seconds.

“It feels good to beat (Zirkle),” Lebron said. “I think I definitely have the advantage in track season because I have a coach who runs with me in Coach Trapp and Chris doesn’t have that.”

Lebron also ran on the first place 4-by-800-meter relay for the Bulldogs.

Fellow juniors Miguel Molina, Dale Nakai and Rene Molina rounded out the relay with Lebron.

Boys team head coach Lance Scranton said Lebron’s time at the invitational is a sign of things to come.

“For Alfredo to be running around his best time from last year already this season is fantastic,” he said. “I know he is looking to do well in the meets to come.”

The boys and girls teams combined were missing seven athletes who were on a field trip with girls team head coach Todd Trapp.

Still, Scranton said those who competed had a great showing.

“We are looking forward to getting the whole team back for our meet before spring break,” he said. “We continue to see some strong performances by our boys and girls.”

Miguel also finished fourth in the 800-meter run while senior Britteny Ivers tied for third in high jump.

Senior Casey Martin and junior Garrett Spears took fifth place in the discus and shot put, respectively.

Scranton said the two teams have “braved some pretty inconsistent weather,” in the first couple weeks of practice.

“(The coaches) are pleased with the work ethic of the athletes,” he said. “We will see a strong showing from both teams as we head toward nicer weather.”

Both teams will compete at 9 a.m. Saturday at Central High School in Grand Junction.

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