Track picking up early pace


A Gram appears to be carrying more and more weight for Ignacio High School.

And with the 2016 track-and-field season underway, IHS’ coaches will take all the Bryan Gram they can get during its second scheduled month – begun by the Bobcats’ Abel Velasquez Invitational on Saturday, April 9.

Most recently, the junior directly accounted for 14 of the boys’ 35 team points at the wind-chilled March 25 Montezuma-Cortez Invitational, and aided in the acquiring of another 12 as Ignacio placed fifth at the event – a far cry from its scoreless debut at the Farmington (N.M.) Piedra Vista Invitational 13 days earlier.

Grabbing ten points for the crew, Gram took first in the 400-meter dash by clocking 54.58 seconds and bettering M-CHS juniors Josh Ramos (54.63) and Elisha Vaquera (56.50), his closest challengers. He then gained four more by placing fourth in the long jump at 18 feet, 11 inches – only 7.5 behind winner Cade Cowan (freshman, 3A Pagosa Springs) but 5.5 farther than his 10th-place premiere inside Hutchison Stadium.

Emerging as the Bobcats’ leading thrower, sophomore Natoni Cundiff produced six points by taking third in the discus, flinging the apparatus 100’10” – he’d started the season with a 15th-place 94’11” at the PV Invite – and finding himself trailing only 3A Bayfield’s duo of junior Sam Westbrook (116’8”) and sophomore Ryan Phelps (112’11”). Sophomore Mitchell Neil (11th, 73’8”) and senior Roman Vasquez (15th, 64’2”) were also in the specialty’s top-15.

Cundiff scored two more points inside Panther Stadium with his sixth-place, 34-foot heave of the shot, and Neil just missed getting one with his 32’4” holding up well enough to earn eighth. Also notching another top-15, Vasquez ended up 14th with a 25-foot best.

Junior Colten Smithson snagged IHS a point with a sixth-place 27’2” in the triple jump, while the 4×100 and 4×200 relays – comprised of Gram, Smithson, sophomore Ryan Stollsteimer and junior Samuel Abendroth – each placed fifth (the former in 54.95 seconds, the latter in 113.30) with each collecting six points for the cause.

Smithson ran 18th in the 100 meters, finishing in 13.44 seconds, and sophomore Joseph Vigil followed in 13.51 to give Ignacio two more top-20 individual performances.

Prior to M-CHS’ meet, the Cats competed in New Mexico again the previous weekend at the Scorpion Invitational hosted by Farmington H.S., and Gram led the way with a fourth-place 400-meter dash of 55.15 seconds, and a seventh-place 24.66 in the 200.

He added an eighth in the long jump (18’10.5”) and the 4×1 took tenth (52.77), and Cundiff placed 14th in the discus (103’5”) but did not record a distance in the shot.


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