She still calls herself a tennis player.
Eva-Lou Edwards of Bayfield High School, indeed, is a tennis player and a good one. Shes also a state champion in cross country.
Edwards, a BHS junior, put the finishing touches on a dream season when she won the CHSAA Class 3A Girls Cross Country State Championships on Saturday at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.
She pulled away from defending state champion Tabor Scholl of Middle Park halfway through the 5-kilometer course on the expansive grounds of the famed equestrian center in the foothills of the Front Range.
Edwards completed the 3.1-mile run in 19 minutes, 4.8 seconds, winning by more than a minute over Scholl (20:07).
Im a tennis player; I know that every day is different, Edwards said after her dominating performance at the state championships.
Even though she was undefeated with one of the top times in the state entering Saturdays meet, Edwards said a runner or a tennis player cant take anything for granted.
Ive experienced that as a tennis player, said Edwards, who plays No. 1 singles at Durango High School because Bayfield doesnt have a tennis program.
Ive beaten people I should never beat, and Ive lost to people I never should have lost to, said Edwards, a two-time state tennis qualifier.
She didnt lose to anybody Saturday.
Its a fast start, then you work your way up the (first) hill, Edwards said. You try not to kill it (the hill); you just want to keep your effort even.
The first big climb hit the runners at mile No. 2.
Then, theres a little (flat) straightaway and then another climb. So you rip the straightaway and take your time up the last hill, said Edwards, daughter of Paul and Vivian Edwards.
After that, you just tell yourself to go because its all downhill or flat from there, she said of the course that included a stadium finish inside the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Arena, part of the Norris Penrose complex.
She, right now, is just so aerobically fit, Bayfield head coach Pat Vaughn said after watching Edwards collect Bayfields first state cross country championship since Steve Flint in 2005.
I dont think there are any other girls, outside of 5A, that have that kind of (aerobic) capacity, Vaughn said.
Eva-Lou puts in the work. She does exactly what you tell her. Shes very religious about her preparation, and she takes care of herself, he said.
Shes very methodical. She warms up properly. She cools down properly, Vaughn said.
She is cardiovascularly stronger than the rest of the field. Its pretty simple.
And she was stronger all season, winning every cross country race on the schedule, including the Southwest Cross Country Challenge in Durango and the Joe Vigil Invitational in Alamosa. Oh, yeah, she also won the Prestate Invitational on the same course she ran Saturday.
I told her with 500 (meters) to go, Enjoy this. Enjoy the moment, Vaughn said. These things dont come along very often.
Edwards enjoyed her first state championship as the lone Wolverine in the girls field of 126 runners with a band of Bayfield boys wildly cheering in the finish arena. The BHS boys raced earlier Saturday when cold morning temperatures gave way to picture-perfect fall weather.
Bayfield sophomore Trevor Gabbard raced across the line with a 14th-place finish in the Class 3A boys race in spite of a painful cramp midway through the 5K.
Luke Webb, also a BHS sophomore, finished 27th in 18:24.
Joe Hetrick, a senior, was 61st (19:25) and Joey Webb, a senior, 75th (19:52). Caleb Sapa finished 88th and John Fisher 95th for the Wolverines, who finished ninth in the boys team standings with 176 points.
Greeley University won the boys state title with 71 points.
I got a cramp at the top of the hill ... it cost me four positions, a disappointed Gabbard said.
The hill in the middle tests your endurance.
The boys did well, Vaughn said. That was the most competitive 3A field Ive ever seen.
He said Gabbard ran an excellent race in spite of his cramping frustrations.
Trevor is a sophomore, and he finished 14th at the state meet. He did a great job for the team. These guys werent even at this meet last year.
Anthony Thomas, a senior from Brush, won the 3A boys race in 16:48.
Holy Family won the 3A girls crown with 84 points.
With the Wolverines packing up for the trip back to Bayfield, Edwards insisted on thanking her coaches for their help this season Vaughn and assistant coach Matt Cusick.
The runners do the work, but the coaches do everything for us. If I was training myself, I would be clueless, Edwards said.
My coaches are really my foundation. I appreciate them so much.