Garcia pulls off distance double at the AVI Ignacio boys finish seventh at home meet

Ignacio Track & Field boys’ head coach Alfonso ‘Ponch’ Garcia congratulates a spent Elco Garcia, Jr., after his win in the 1,600-meter run Saturday, April 6, at IHS’ Abel Velasquez Invitational.
Ignacio junior Elco Garcia, Jr., separates from Durango’s Teslin Stecher and enters the final straightaway en route to winning the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 51.55 seconds, Saturday, April 6, at IHS’ Abel Velasquez Invitational.
Ignacio senior Joe Herrera elevates off the runway during the long jump competition at IHS’ Abel Velasquez Invitational Saturday, April 6.
Ignacio freshman Damien Escalera accelerates during the 200-meter dash at IHS’ Abel Velasquez Invitational Saturday, April 6.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Dominant in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs during Ignacio’s 2019 track-and-field debut, Elco Garcia, Jr., was again doubly determined Saturday, April 6, at IHS’ 10th Annual Abel Velasquez Invitational.

Even more so, actually.

“Especially since my family, my community’s out here supporting me,” he said.  “I could hear lots of ’em yelling my name, and it made me run faster.  I appreciated it.  It feels really good.”

Having won the 1,600m at the March 30 Bloomfield Bobcat Invitational in 4 minutes, 52.07 seconds, the Bobcat junior improved to a 4:51.55 on his home track and defeated runner-up Teslin Stecher, a Durango senior, by 5.41 seconds (he’d left BHS’ Mauricio Toledo 6.53 behind with a 4:52.07).

Ignacio freshman Alric Hudson heaves the shot Saturday, April 6, at IHS’ Abel Velasquez Invitational.

“Lately in practice we’ve been doing lots of sprint workouts, and that just came in my head,” explained Garcia.  “And I was just stalking him until the very last 300, and that’s when my instincts said ‘Go for it!’  And that’s when I kicked it.”

Having clocked 11:10.20 down at Curtis Clement Memorial Track, Garcia was just a stride or two slower in the 3,200 at the AVI but still won easily with an 11:16.80—a whopping 36.08 seconds ahead of Pagosa Springs sophomore Elan Ramirez, and worth another 10 points towards Ignacio’s seventh-place team total of 32.

PSHS earned the title with 109, while IHS’ San Juan Basin League rivals Mancos (78) and Dolores (73) took second and third.  Durango came in fourth with 65.5 and Bayfield (58.5) rounded out the top five.

Ignacio junior pole-vaulter Jason Hampton-Foutz placed second with a best height of 9’6”, while freshman Tyler Barnes was fifth (8’6”).  Senior Joseph Herrera also earned fifth-place points with his 24.55-second 200m dash, while freshman Nathyn Stollsteimer finished seventh (2:33.04) in the 800.

Herrera finished 11th out of 25 in the long jump (17’1.5”) and 13th out of 60 in the 100 (12.24), while Barnes was 14th out of 33 in the 400 (1:01.77) with Stollsteimer 16th (1:02.31) and freshman Damien Escalera 18th (1:03.52).  Barnes also found IHS a top-20 in the 200 with his 18th-place 26.86.

In the shot put ring, freshman Alric Hudson earned 26th with a best heave of 29 feet, 1 inch, while classmate Jeremy Roderick was 33rd at 26’11”.  Roderick, however, ‘shot’ up to 15th in the discus with a 87’5” maximum, while Hudson took 25th at 73’1”.

The Bobcats will next compete at the Pine River Invitational in Bayfield on Saturday, April 13, then hit Durango’s Ron Keller Invitational the following Saturday, April 20. Both meets are slated to start at 9 a.m.




1.Pagosa Springs 109, 2.Mancos 78, 3.Dolores 73, 4.Durango 65.5, 5.Bayfield 58.5, 6.Montezuma-Cortez 35, 7.IGNACIO 32, 8.Dove Creek 31, 9.Del Norte 28, 10.Dulce (N.M.) 20, 11.Tohatchi (N.M.) 19, 12.Shiprock (N.M.) Northwest 4.

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