Garcia finding more, more speed for ’Cats Junior eclipses school’s 1983 best in the 3,200

Ignacio’s Elco Garcia, Jr., and Jonas Nanaeto run side-by-side the 1,600-meter run during the San Juan Relays, hosted by IHS Tuesday, April 30. The duo placed 1-2, finishing the race less than a second apart. Both maintained high levels of long-distance performance at meets before and after in, respectively, Aztec, N.M., and Bloomfield, N.M.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Still top-five fast on Curtis Clement Memorial Track, Elco Garcia, Jr., would have had to not only re-break, but destroy an Ignacio-best he’d just set a week earlier to have any shot at winning the 3,200-meter run Friday, May 3, on Day 1 of the 61st Bloomfield, N.M., Invitational.

Having earned second place at the April 26-27 Aztec, N.M., Invitational with a blazing 10:20.43—bettering Merton Coriz’s 10:24 logged back in 1983—on Day 2 inside Fred Cook Memorial Stadium, Garcia found himself running inside Bobcat Stadium against many of the same faces he’d seen, only to find those faces faster than before.

Ignacio’s Elco Garcia, Jr., completes the 3,200-meter run at the IHS-hosted San Juan Relays on Tuesday, April 30. Garcia placed first, having recently broken the school record in the event at the April 26-27 Aztec Invitational.

4A Gallup, N.M., Miyamura teammates Tayan Benson and Riley Watson repeated their 3-4 finish, but each Patriot hacked over 20 seconds off his Tiger Invite time, with Benson improving from 10:25.42 to 10:10.64 and Watson from 10:42.38 to 10:21.81.

Victorious in Aztec, MHS’ Ty McCray improved from a 9:54.70 to 9:50.30 in Bloomfield but still found himself 21 ticks behind 4A Kirtland, N.M., Central’s Kashon Harrison—entered in only the 1,600m in Aztec—who finished first in 9:29.30.

Nonetheless, Garcia still enjoyed a solid run as he crossed the line fifth in 10:35.58. The junior also took fourth in the 1,600 (4:42.48) and sixth in the 800 (2:11.41) as his legs directly generated six of the Bobcat boys’ 11 team points.

Ignacio’s haul would rank tenth when all was said and done, trailing KCHS’ winning 84.  5A Farmington, N.M., Piedra Vista settled for second with 59.5 and meet-hosting BHS copped third with 57.

IHS junior Jason Hampton-Foutz garnered two points by taking fifth in the pole vault with a best clearance of 10 feet, 6 inches.  In the 100m dash he was IHS’ fastest finisher, ranking 64th (13.49) in the preliminary heats, while Damien Escalara paced the ’Cats in the 200 with a 28.63 ranking 56th.  By comparison, 4A Taos, New Mexico’s Jonah Vigil would win both sprints, clocking respective finals efforts of 10.99 and 21.41 seconds.

Junior Jonas Nanaeto narrowly missed qualifying for the finals in the 400 meters, with his 55.64 missing the eighth and last qualifying spot by five-hundredths of a second, but placed sixth, earning Ignacio one point in the 3,200 with a 10:40.75.

He and Garcia helped the ’Cats collect two more points in the 4×400 relay, as they joined Nathyn Stollsteimer and Tyler Barnes in clocking a fifth-place 3:48.47 (4A Bloomfield’s ‘A’ quartet won in 3:37.55).  Barnes and Stollsteimer also tied for 13th in the pole vault (8’0”).

Escalara finished 36th in the long jump (14’3.75”), but throwers Jeremy Roderick and Alric Hudson were unable to record a distance in either the shot put or discus (in which they were joined by Escalara and Avery Martinez, whose 3:04.38 in the 800 was good for 41st).

Running 28.25 seconds in the fourth of nine 200-meter dash heat races, freshman Lexy Young trimmed off more than two-tenths of a tick in the sprint’s final and placed fifth in 28.03—earning the 12th-place Lady Bobcats’ only top-ten result, and two team points in Bloomfield.

PVHS bagged the girls’ title with 92, while 5A Farmington, N.M., clipped KCHS 62-61 in the second-place chase.

Sophomore Charlize Valdez nearly cracked the top ten in the 1,600m run, but finished 11th in 5:57.71.

Ignacio’s Charlize Valdez runs the 1,600 meters at the IHS-hosted San Juan Relays on Tuesday, April 30. Valdez placed third in the race.

Young also clocked a 13.88 in the 100, good for 13th-fastest in the prelims, and a 12th-quickest 1:07.00 in the 400 prelims.  In the field she placed 31st in the long jump (12’5.75”), while Helaina Taylor flung the discus 67 feet, 10 inches and earned 24th.  Normally known for being a runner, Vanessa Gonzales placed 29th with a best throw of 59’9”.

Up next, Ignacio will travel to Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction for the May 10-11 GJHS Invitational.

The 2019 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships are set for May 16-18 at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.




1.Farmington (N.M.) Piedra Vista 92, 2.Farmington (N.M.) 62, 3.Kirtland (N.M.) Central 61, 4.Taos (N.M.) 55, 5.Aztec (N.M.) 53, 6.Shiprock (N.M.) 43, 7.Gallup (N.M.) Miyamura 35, 8.Bloomfield (N.M.) 27, 9.Gallup (N.M.) 12, 10.Mancos 9, 11.Grants (N.M.) 3, 12.IGNACIO 2.

BOYS’ STANDINGS: 1.Kirtland Central 84, 2.Farmington Piedra Vista 59.5, 3.Bloomfield 57, 4.Farmington 56, 5.Taos 55, 6.Mancos 46.5, 7.Gallup Miyamura 37, T-8.Grants/Aztec 18, 10.IGNACIO 11, 11.Shiprock 10, 12.Gallup 1.

DID YOU KNOW: Garcia and Nanaeto are still hunting IHS’ long-standing record in the 1,600 meters—a 4:34.10 achieved by, again, Coriz in ’83.  Nanaeto did not compete in the event down in Bloomfield, but did record a third-place 4:42.61 in Aztec as he trailed only McCray (4:38.53) and Harrison (4:23.33) while Garcia (4:45.02) placed sixth.

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