Bobcats run well at Panther Invitational

Presently IHS Cross-Country’s sole senior boy, Dylan Labarthe (337) keeps pace with La Jara Centauri’s Estevan Vega (331) and Pagosa Springs’ Levi Hinger (367) during the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational, Aug. 28 in Cortez’s Parque de Vida.
Ignacio sophomore Eppie Quintana (338) runs during the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational, Aug. 28 in Cortez’s Parque de Vida.
Ignacio junior Gabe Tucson rounds a bend during the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational, Aug. 28 in Cortez’s Parque de Vida.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

EQ DQ only slightly dings gents’ day

Unwilling to play Stimpy to Ren Canty’s, well, Ren, Eppie Quintana simply surrendered, allowing the La Jara Centauri runner to more or less have his way nearing the finish line. “Came to a complete stop in the chute, threw his hands up to signify ‘Hey, I’m not trying to fight you; I’m trying to pass you,’” Ignacio head coach Daniel Holley explained, surprised as well as somewhat shocked. “Never thought I’d have to tell a runner ‘Hey, you can’t hit another runner.’ Never saw that coming.”

Unluckily for the Bobcat sophomore, contact occurring between the two – exacerbated by Canty reportedly shoving Quintana in the back – during the Aug. 28 Montezuma-Cortez Panther Invitational’s final hundred yards was enough for the gesture to be misconstrued as ‘Bring it on,’ and as a result both harriers were disqualified.

“That first race killed me – all those hills going up and down … it was brutal,” said Quintana, comparing the meet held within Cortez’s Parque de Vida to the previous Friday’s season-opening Boggy Draw Bear Chase outside Dolores, Colo. “This grass, it was like a cloud when we were running on it; I felt good the whole way.”

“I stuck on that Centauri kid the whole race, waiting for him to kind of let up,” he continued, discussing the combatants’ pace. “He never wanted to let up, and near the end started throwing some elbows … . I couldn’t help myself but get back a little at him, and in the end we both ended up getting DQ’d.”

“The other kid was kind of bringing in some track ‘etiquette,’ where you’re allowed to throw some elbows … unseen,” Holley said, “but this is cross-country – I don’t think there’s a place for it.”

“But that kid was running his race, Eppie was running his and I don’t think Eppie knew he could swing wide to go around him; I think Eppie thought he had to stay between the white line and the flags to pass. And that’s just a coachable moment; he’s a new runner … he can’t expect to know all the ins and outs.”

And in fact, there was a silver lining for both individuals: Both clocked outstanding times regardless of the rumblings.

“This course, this venue, the weather – there was a rainbow for a minute; that was awesome – and the grass … it was just great for running,” beamed Holley. “I pulled Eppie aside and said, ‘Dude, you just ran the fastest 5K for Ignacio in almost 30 years!’ A 19:47 was his finish time; with all the instances, he still ran a 19:47!”

“Handled himself in the most professional manner possible … in the way a sportsman should. And I’m proud of the kid; he’s come out and worked so hard.”

“I just want to … go off what he’s telling me,” said Quintana, whose effort would have ranked 13th had he remained ahead of Canty. “He’s a really good coach and I just need to keep up with him, better myself as much as I can.”

That seemed to be the boys’ prevailing attitude overall at the M-CHS Invite. Disqualifications factored in, senior Dylan Labarthe officially went into the books as IHS’ top finisher with a 17th-place 20:59. Junior Gabe Tucson took 35th in 24:56, while junior Tyler Barnes finished a close 37th in 25:48 and junior Jeremy Roderick 42nd in 34:34.

“These guys ran one heck of a race,” said Quintana. “We’re making progress all together.”

“The boys’ team is really finding their rhythm,” Holley stated. “I know they’ve had a lot on their plates, coming from other sports to cross-country, but they’ve handled themselves well. I’m proud of them.”

3A Alamosa senior Josh Medina won the race in 16:44 – bettering 3A Pagosa Springs senior Gabe Heraty by 37 seconds and 3A Bayfield senior Zeb Shields by 71. In a score-5 system, AHS earned the boys’ team title with an adjusted meet-low 23 (1-4-5-6-7) points, followed by PSHS’ 41 and 3A Montezuma-Cortez’s 56.

Quintana’s and Canty’s exclusions prevented both 2A Ignacio and 2A Centauri from having score-5 capability; the Falcons also finished with just four official placers.

Up next for the ’Cats was to be the inaugural Grand Junction/Palisade Invitational, to be held Friday, Sept. 4, at Riverbend Park in Palisade. But with Labor Day weekend imminent, Holley elected to give his developing crew a break from action until a trip north to Mesa County the weekend of Sept. 11-12.

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