Bobcats boast five top-ten times at State meet Garcia earns IHS-best fourth in the 1,600

Working his way through the pack, Ignacio’s Jonas Nanaeto (4) envisions catching Peyton’s Sammy Schuemann (6) as they negotiate the Jeffco Stadium track’s backstretch during the Class 2A boys’ 800-meter run at the 2019 CHSAA State Championships, May 16-18 in Lakewood. Nanaeto finished in sixth place.
Awaiting his chance in the Class 2A boys’ 800-meter run at the 2019 CHSAA State Championships, May 16-18 in Lakewood, Ignacio’s Jonas Nanaeto (with headphones), mother Sheila Nanaeto (right) and IHS distance coach Daniel Holley (near left) enjoy a laugh provided by father Travis Nanaeto (far left). Also getting the joke – or, simultaneously, a different one – inside Jeffco Stadium are IHS Wrestling head coach Jordan Larsen (rear, center) and former Bayfield Wrestling head coach Neil Barnes (rear, left).
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum

Hardly two hours before accumulating, approaching cumulonimbus clouds to the northwest warranted a lightning/weather pause to terrestrial proceedings inside Jeffco Stadium Friday afternoon, May 17, Jonas Nanaeto gave an indication Ignacio Track & Field had an electric finish in mind at the 2019 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships.

Keeping up well with a fast field in the boys’ 800-meter run, the Bobcat junior clocked 2 minutes, 2.78 seconds for the two-lap feature, and placed a strong sixth out of 18.  Helping Lyons ultimately earn the team title, Colton Jonjak-Plahn prevailed by two-hundredths of a second over Paonia’s Harley Ewert, 1:59.43 to 1:59.45, while Peyton’s Sammy Schuemann (2:01.51) ended up in third place.

Coming off a ninth-place effort in the 3,200 (10:33.80) the evening of Day 1, Nanaeto – who beat fellow San Juan Basin Leaguers Zach Briggs (Ouray; seventh, 2:02.81) and Jaden Evans (Telluride; eighth, 2:03.09) across the finish line six-tenths of a tick slower than a 2:02.18 which had been fourth-fastest out of all qualifying times – still had 1,600 more meters on Day 3 left to run.

And so did Elco Garcia, Jr.

Back on the track roughly three hours into the Saturday-afternoon session, IHS’ long-distance duo proudly carried their school’s proverbial banner in the prestigious event as both breached the top ten to conclude their squad’s Metro Area stay.

Ranked No. 7 going into the event with a season-best time of 4:42.61, Nanaeto missed out on a podium spot but still managed a top-ten finish – and earned the ’Cats another team point – with a ninth-place, updated season-best 4:42.39. Qualifying just above his teammate with a No. 6 effort of 4:42.48, Garcia blew away that seeding time and raced across the finish in an amazing, fourth-place 4:37.71.

Evans managed to out-stride LHS’ Isaac Roberts in the battle for first, with the Miner senior clocking 4:30.27 and the Lion junior 4:30.77, with Colorado Springs St. Mary’s senior Adam Maal (4:37.24) edging Garcia for third.

Creeping closer to Merton Coriz’s IHS-record 4:34.10, achieved in 1983, Garcia’s effort grabbed Ignacio six more points as the Bobcat boys – the two who earned the big-city trip – finished the three-day spectacle with 16 and sole possession of 20th place (out of 45 total scoring teams) in the standings.

Lyons, as mentioned, topped the table with 68 while SJBL force Mancos fought for runner-up status with 57 points.  Yuma (52), Rocky Ford (50) and Edwards Vail Christian (49) rounded out a competitive top-five, with Limon (48) a close sixth.

Though unable to advance to the event’s final, Ignacio’s Lexy Young was one of only two Class 2A freshmen, and 11 in Classes 1A-5A to qualify for a 100-meter dash heat race at the 2019 CHSAA State Championships, May 16-18 in Lakewood.

Also taking well his first starter’s gun of the meet, Garcia motored to a sixth-place 10:10.89 in the 3,200 – boding well for a sub-10 showstopper (Roberts won the event in 9:57.63) sometime as a senior in 2020 on Day 1, when both meet-qualifying Lady Bobcats were also active.

One of only two freshmen entered in the Class 2A girls’ 100-meter dash (from 1A to 5A, just 11 qualified for the shortest sprint), Lexy Young left the starting line in the second of two preliminary heats and ranked 15th after both with a time of 13.83 seconds.  Ault-based Highland junior Remington Ross logged a prelim-winning 12.12, then destroyed it in the nine-runner final with a meet-record 11.84, beating Holyoke junior Taeryn Trumper by more than six-tenths of a second.

Sewing up her sophomore season splendidly, Charlize Valdez shot up from a 16-seed in the 3,200 to a year-end No. 11 ranking with a time of 12:34.22 (she’d qualified with a best of 12:50.80).  First place went to pre- and post-race favorite Chloe Veilleux of Oak Creek Soroco, as the senior improved from a pole-position 11:55.58 to an 11:45.44.

She and the Lady Rams would end up in ninth place overall with 33 points, as Ross and the Lady Huskies copped first with an even hundred.  LHS held off Trumper and the Lady Dragons, 68 to 66, to earn second place, with Meeker (58) and Hotchkiss (43) also earning top-five status.

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