Piedra Vista runner Triston Charles signs with Colorado Mesa University cross-country

Triston Charles will pull double duty for DII Mavericks

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com
Piedra Vista's Triston Charles signs his national letter of intent on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, to continue his cross-country career at NCAA Division II Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado.

FARMINGTON — Triston Charles was looking to continue his cross-country career in a place comparable to Farmington — one located in the Rocky Mountain region, with higher elevation and plenty of rugged terrain.

From the perspective of the 2020 Piedra Vista graduate, Colorado Mesa University checked those boxes.

“Thanks to running here (in Farmington), it should be pretty smooth to transition into,” said Charles, who signed with the Mavericks on Wednesday via athletic scholarship.

Charles said Colorado Mesa, an NCAA Division II program located in Grand Junction, Colorado, was drawn to his performance at the 2019 Desert Twilight Festival last September in Casa Grande, Arizona, in which he logged a time of 15 minutes, 32.51 seconds.

“That was one of my fastest times,” said Charles, who will also be a distance runner for CMU’s track and field squad.

Charles also edged Clovis’ Jerrick Maldonado by 0.05 seconds for the 5A boys state title at the 2019 state cross-country championships. Charles’ final time was 16 minutes, 7.60 seconds. Maldonado was initially declared the winner because of a chip malfunction at the finish line.

“It’s good to have a good, strong finish like that,” Charles said.

Charles said he wants to develop better acceleration coming off the starting line so he can keep up with the front of the pack for the entire race. That way, he won’t have to worry about coming up with a final kick while approaching the finish line.

“If you don’t get off fast enough, you can get caught in the group. And it’s hard to build back up if there’s a huge crowd,” Charles said.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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