Lady ’Cats clutch fourth Emerging Barnes’ fifth-place run paces IHS

Ignacio junior Alannah Gomez (215) runs during the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational, Aug. 28 in Cortez’s Parque de Vida
Ignacio freshman Darlyn Lechuga (225) made her varsity debut during the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational, Aug. 28.
Ignacio senior Vanessa Gonzales (223) runs 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

Sent out onto the Parque de Vida course amongst the second wave of Montezuma-Cortez Panther Invitational girls’ entrants Friday evening, Aug. 28, Ignacio freshman Maci Barnes had little problem posting a time approaching that of the runners she was apparently trying to catch.

Wave 1 competitor Sarah De La Cerda of Alamosa would ultimately win the championship in 21 minutes, 40 seconds, with teammates Autumn McQuitty (22:14) and Abby Wubben (22:24) giving the 3A Mean Moose a ‘podium’ sweep … and helping the squad snag the girls’ team title with an adjusted score-5 low total of 38 (1-2-3-13-19) points.

But after all times had been recorded, two second-wave runners would round out the individual standings’ top five and, separated by just one second, both ended up within four ticks of swiping top-three status.

Nearly able to chase down 3A Pagosa Springs junior Michelle Sauceda at the finish line, Barnes clocked a solid fifth-place 22:28, leading the Lady Bobcats to a fourth-place 110 team points.

“I’m so proud of Maci,” said head coach Daniel Holley. “Brand-new runner … almost no running experience other than middle-school track, so she’s bringing with her some very natural skills that are so awesome.”

Junior Alannah Gomez became IHS’ second finisher when she crossed in 25:20, and would end up owning 21st place. Junior Avaleena Nanaeto earned 27th in 26:39, while senior Vanessa Gonzales came in 34th with a 29:02. Not far behind in the final tabulations was freshman call-up Darlyn Lechuga, awarded 37th for her 30:18.

“Today was her first meet. She earned her spot on the roster this week, so I gave her a go,” Holley said. “She did have a little bit of an ankle issue going on, but that’s kind of expected with young runners as you learn your body and what things hurt when and where.”

In the team standings, 2A La Jara Centauri … led by freshman Tayte Hostetter’s sixth-place 22:37 … earned second with 51 points and PSHS took third with 58, while 4A Durango rounded out the top five with 115.

Up next for the Lady ’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 the ladies a break from action until a trip north to Mesa County the weekend of Sept. 11-12.

“Another flat, golf course-esque course,” commented Holley. “Our focus is just endurance and just learning how to find the ‘wall,’ hit the wall and break through the wall.”

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