PHOTO: Pueblo West High School Senior Mike Cernoia won the Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter Series No. 2 long-course (8-mile) race on Saturday at El Pomar Youth Sports Park. Cernoia broke away from Joe McDaniel and Peter Maksimow with two miles to go, finishing in 45:40.
PHOTO ALBUM: Winter Series Race No. 2, El Pomar Youth Sports Park
VIDEO: Winter Series No. 2 short-course runners get a good start
VIDEO: Against the wind: Winter Series No. 2 long-course runners take on t...
RESULTS: Short-Course (4-mile) age-group results
RESULTS: Long-run (8-mile) age-group results
Robert Cheseret, 27, wants to qualify for the 2012 Olympic 5,000-meter run. Mike Cernoia, 18, just wants to win a gold medal at the state track meet.
Both were winners on Saturday at the Pikes Peak Road Runners Winter Series II races at El Pomar Youth Sports Park.
Cheseret's win - he finished the short-course (4-mile) in 19:58 - came as no surprise. He is the reigning National 5K Road Champion, training in the Army's World Class Athlete Program
But Cernoia, a senior at Pueblo West High School, surprised a few people - mostly Joe McDaniel and Peter Maksimow - in the 8-miler.
The trio surged to the lead and stayed together through Mile 6 on the flat but windy Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. Then the kid made his move.
"I took off and kind of pulled away," Cernoia said. "He (McDaniel) was right behind me and I thought he might catch me at the end, but I managed to stay ahead of him."
Cernoia finished in 45:40, with McDaniel 13 seconds behind in second. Maksimow, who won the same race last year, was third in 46:28.
High school track and field begins in about two months. Cernoia has his goals set - and they're all golden. Last spring he placed fourth in the 3,200 (9:39.28) and 1,600 (4:24.61), and seventh in the 800 (1:56.61) at the Class 4A state track meet. Saturday's race was all about conditioning and running hard against tough competition.
"This feels great to win," Cernoia said. "I like coming up here to race these colorado Springs runners, they're good guys."
Cheseret's Army teammate, John Mickowski, finshed second (20:48) in the 4-mile race, followed by the Boulder Running Company's Robby Young (21:22).
In the women's 4-mile race, the Colorado Running Company's Amanda Ewing claimed her second win in the series with a time of 25:29. Ruth Waller of Lake Charles, La., was second in 27:22, followed by Samantha Bauer (27:24.)
In the women's 8-miler, Stephanie Meredith, competing for Runner's Roost, claimed her second win of the Winter Series with a time of 55:52. Letitia Dusich was second in 57:28, followed by Cathi Webber (41, 59:32).