Ignacio Girls’ Cross-Country newcomers Alannah Gomez (35) and Moriah Ashley (30) begin climbing notorious Boo-Boo Hill late in the 2nd Annual Boggy Draw Bear Chase’s girls’ feature Friday evening, Aug. 21.
Ignacio Boys’ Cross-Country newcomer Eppie Quintana (188) runs alone during the early stages of the 2nd Annual Boggy Draw Bear Chase Friday evening, Aug. 21.
Relieved at having survived the boys’ feature at Dolores High’s 2nd Annual Boggy Draw Bear Chase, Ignacio’s Eppie Quintana (188) and Tyler Barnes (186) listen to head coach Daniel Holley’s comments during their meet-ending huddle. The race marked IHS’ first varsity cross-country foray in decades, with Quintana – 17th place in 22:05 – the first Bobcat into the finishing chute (Barnes would take 38th in 31:21).
Ignacio Lady Bobcats Charlize Valdez (38) and Maci Barnes (32) run in tandem during the early stages of the 2nd Annual Boggy Draw Bear Chase Friday evening, Aug. 21. Barnes, a newcomer to the program, would place a team-best sixth overall; Valdez, the race’s defending champion, would finish 14th.
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
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Dormant boys’ XC awakens at Bear Chase

Ignacio girls also unveil expanded roster for ’20

Break down on Boo-Boo? Feel like doo-doo. While a fact proven too true by multiple runners overheard dry-heaving once able to summit the short, yet stout late-race obstacle – named for iconic TV character Yogi’s homie, rather than as an allusion to injury – one rookie in Ignacio red chose wow over wilt while attacking the 2nd Annual Boggy Draw Bear Chase’s make-or-break barrier Friday evening, Aug. 21.

“Maci, she just kicked it,” IHS senior Charlize Valdez said, referring to freshman Maci Barnes. “I was like, ‘You go girl!’ She’s so strong and she’s going to do so good this year.”

“It was pretty tough,” Barnes recalled afterwards, following an impressive sixth-place time of 24 minutes, 57 seconds in the same race Valdez had won last fall. “There was a lot of hills and … it was really hot. But yeah, at the second mile I started going a little faster than I was at the beginning.”

Able to persevere through hill and dale on and off Montezuma County Road W, Valdez did manage to place 14th in 27:38, while newcomer Alannah Gomez crossed 19th in 28:51 – helping the Lady Bobcats amass an adjusted score-3 team total of 38 (6-14-18) points. That count ranked third when all was said and done; 4A Durango earned the team title with a low score of 7 (1-2-4) points, while 3A Pagosa Springs followed with 15 (3-5-7).

Excluding 3A Bayfield’s two individuals from the score-3 methodology, rounding out the standings were 3A Blanding, Utah, San Juan (42), 3A Montezuma-Cortez (49), 2A Telluride (56), 2A Mancos (62) and meet-hosting 2A Dolores (87).

Ignacio rookie Moriah Ashley wasn’t far behind Gomez with her 21st-place 28:58, and third-year veteran Avaleena Nanaeto finished 25th in 29:59. By comparison, THS’ Ruby Tanguay – a 2019 CHSAA Class 2A State Championships qualifier along with Valdez and Nanaeto – took tenth in 25:54.

Durango’s Kristina Bodewes and Angelina Kondrat placed 1-2 in 22:16 and 22:25, respectively, followed by PSHS’ late-charging Michelle Sauceda (23:05). Her fellow Lady Pirate Nell Taylor placed fifth, but by only five ticks ahead of Barnes.

“The hills, with not as much training to start, were a bit of … an inconvenience for us,” Valdez said. “But it’s a good first race; I love this course – as hard as it is, I like it – because it pushes you. And it was harder than I remembered!”

“We’ve been working together well,” added Barnes. “We’ve ran every morning together.”

On the boys’ side, it seemed only fitting that Bobcat Basketball head coach Chris Valdez was present to urge Ignacio’s last entrant, junior Jeremy Roderick, on towards the finishing chute, being that Valdez was in uniform around the time IHS last fielded a boys’ varsity crew.

“I’m just happy I finished, to be honest,” said a grinning Roderick, more familiar to IHS fans as the center on the football team, a 220-pound wrestler, and a track-and-field thrower. “That was really tough, but I’m feeling good right now.”

All told, with all nine boys’ teams able to enter at least three individuals, a score-3 system would have shown SJHS claiming first place with a meet-low 20 (4-6-10) points. PSHS (1-16-18) would have earned second with 35, while Durango’s 40 (8-13-19) would have narrowly bettered Mancos’ 43 (3-11-29) in the battle for third.

Bayfield (50), Dolores (55), M-CHS (64) and 2A Telluride (80) would have then followed, with Ignacio totaling 88 points – a number about which head coach Daniel Holley and assistant Alizabeth Williams really could have cared less.

“They’ve been cooped up since March; I think we all have,” Holley said, referring to CHSAA’s coronavirus-related cancellation of Spring 2020 sports such as track. “So while I’m really not too concerned about their actual performance, I think if they’re putting the work in and they’re buying in, the results will come.”

(Adjusted score-5 totals left the boys’ standings as: 1.San Juan 32, 2.Durango 60, 3.Pagosa Springs 61, 4.Bayfield 88, 5.Montezuma-Cortez 99, 6.Ignacio 125. The girls’ adjusted score-5 table read: 1.Durango 35, 2.Pagosa Springs 62, 3.Ignacio 72, 4.San Juan 85, 5.Mancos 103, 6.Telluride 108.)

“My philosophy this year is that I just want to give students a chance to be kids, and not have to worry about all the uncertainty around them,” Holley continued.

“I think about the virus and how there’s been so many changes. Kids today need to have a place … and a way to have fun safely – and to get out the house! So let’s make a place people want to be; let’s make this a team that’s fun and enjoyable.”

“He’s really excited for this year, and years to come,” said Maci Barnes. Overall, Eppie Quintana was the Bobcat gents’ highest placer as he clocked 22:05 and finished 17th.

“Those rocks and all those hills. I was starting to feel it after that second mile,” admitted the well-known JV/varsity basketball player. “I’ve always kind of been a runner – I’ve been doing baseball and we do running, here and there, with a traveling team – and I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s see how I do, and it’ll get me in shape for basketball.’”

Senior Dylan Labarthe, another football/basketball/baseball athlete, came in 34th overall in 27 minutes, 42 seconds despite battling side pains climbing Boo-Boo. Gridiron quarterback and baseball-diamond pitcher Gabe Tucson was close behind in 37th with his 29:58, and football/wrestling/track veteran Tyler Barnes took 38th in 31:21.

“Mostly just joined because there’s nothing else to do and I figured I might as well do something – in case [CHSAA] shuts everything else down, you know?” he said. “I mean, obviously, none of us are ‘runners’ but it’s pretty cool to see everybody trying it out and having fun together.”

“That was my first 5K I’ve ever ran!” Barnes added. “I could say it was good enough, but I’ve made a goal now to just not walk.”

“Feels good to be up on ‘varsity,” said Roderick, who placed 40th in 39:04. “I’m just trying to get into shape for football, wrestling and track, and … . I feel like we did pretty good, for our first-ever meet.”

“I love to see when kids from different sports experience cross-country, and we definitely saw that with Ignacio,” stated Dolores head coach and BDBC organizer Jeromie Schumacher.

Up next for many teams present at the Chase – Ignacio included – will be the Aug. 28 M-CHS Invitational, to be held in Cortez at Parque de Vida with varsity action slated to commence at 5 p.m.

“We go out as a team, stretch as a team – I’m really excited to have a full team this year,” Charlize Valdez said.

“Man, it feels good to be around here with … friends and family,” said Quintana. “It’s just a different feeling … since being locked up in the house: You’re out here with everyone else, and it feels good.”

“My personal approach to the season will be to inspire students to find a lifelong love of running through cross-country,” Holley said. “I’m very excited to see the growth from last year.”

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