Valdez, Nanaeto top-10 at Ancient Trails meet

Speaking candidly during the halftime of Ignacio’s football game Saturday afternoon, Oct. 5, Cindy Valdez recalled how multi-sport daughter Charlize, unable to compete Sept. 28 at Mancos’ 2019 Chicken Creek Challenge—due to traveling with the volleyball team out to that day’s Simla Invitational—still logged more cross-country mileage on the family treadmill.

That effort paid off when Valdez, a junior, represented IHS at Montezuma-Cortez’s Ancient Trails Invitational Friday evening, Oct. 4—or not long before she again suited up for the Volleycats in their 10/5 home match versus Nucla, then hustled out (along with several teammates) to IHS Field wearing an IHS Cheer Squad uniform.

One of 35 runners finishing the girls’ varsity 5K race, which drew entrants from seven schools to the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, Valdez recorded yet another top-five finish with her fourth-place time of 23 minutes, 13 seconds.

2A Monticello, Utah, teammates Adri Bird and Lily Long finished 1-2—as they’d also done at the CCC—though Bird’s 20:43 easily bettered Long’s 22:15.  Mancos’ Grace Manning took third (as she’d done at the 2A Lady Jays’ home meet) with a 22:53, while 3A Blanding, Utah, San Juan’s Ella Lyman (fourth place at Chicken Creek) rounded out the top five in 23:48.

Also tuning up well for the season’s final three weeks, sophomore Avaleena Nanaeto clocked 24:40 and beat 3A Pagosa Springs’ Ivory Carpenter by nine seconds for tenth place.

Nanaeto had placed an IHS-best ninth at the Challenge—which also attracted seven girls’ programs—by clocking 25:43, while first-year harrier D’Vondra Garcia took 26th out of 31 finishers with her 32:41.

Up next, the Lady ’Cats are slated to compete Friday evening, Oct. 11, at the Bloomfield, N.M., Invitational.

Ignacio’s runners will then make their State-qualifying bids at 3:40 p.m., Oct. 18, at the 2A-Region IV Championships, to be held at Confluence Park in Delta. The meet will be a score-3 event, at which the top five teams as well as the top 15 finishers will qualify for the 42nd Annual CHSAA State Girls’ Cross-Country Championships.

The 2A girls’ feature is set for 10:20 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

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