Eppie Quintana (976) extends his stride at Hillcrest Golf Course in Durango during the 2020 Four Corners Southwest Classic’s varsity race Friday afternoon, Sept. 18.
Gabe Cox (534) pounds the pavement during the Grand Junction Tiger Invitational’s JV feature Friday evening, Sept. 11.
Trajan Garcia (975) leads Dolores’ Daniel Vandever (970) out of a corner during varsity action Friday afternoon, Sept. 18, during the 2020 Four Corners Southwest Classic at Hillcrest Golf Course in Durango, Colo.
Phillip Quintana concentrates while attacking the last, long straightaway to the finish line, closing out the 2020 Four Corners Southwest Classic Friday afternoon, Sept. 18, at Hillcrest Golf Course in Durango, Colo.
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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YOU GO, BRO: Quintanas pace IHS in Durango

Recognizing virtually nobody other than his teammates, freshman Phillip Quintana turned – often literally while on course, looking to catch an orientating and/or motivating glimpse – to the most familiar Bobcat within Ignacio’s camp to help keep him on his, well, ‘P’ and ‘Q’ at the 2020 Four Corners Southwest Classic Friday afternoon, Sept. 18.

And with older sibling Eppie leading the way, Phillip chopped an excellent 49 seconds off his varsity-debut (at the Grand Junction Tiger Invitational) time six days earlier, and helped a comparatively-younger IHS boys’ contingent post a ninth-place result at Durango’s Hillcrest Golf Course.

“It’s cool to try to, like, catch up to him in a race – and hopefully stay with him eventually!” Phillip Quintana said, following his 21-minute, 59-second effort, which held up for 32nd place overall. “Didn’t know anyone from any of the other schools … and the grass was a little bit mushy, slowed me down a lot. But other than that, I felt pretty good.”

“Got a new PR,” noted head coach Daniel Holley. “So I think once he kind of learns some ‘race strategy’ we’ll see him break into that top group of my boys heading forward.”

Presently atop said pack, Eppie Quintana had placed a team-best 31st up in Mesa County on the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, Connected Lakes Section route, but laid down an outstanding 19:20.9 while attempting to keep up a sizzling pace on paths Holley predicted could yield sub-16 (he was ultimately off by 0.9 seconds; 5A Fruita Monument senior McGinley Zastrow won in 16:00.90) times.

“We’d put it on our schedule to go up and race against some of the bigger schools – 5A and 4A schools – just so that the kids could get some exposure to the best of the best. I wanted that to happen,” said Holley. “So, going in we knew not to be intimidated, just go in and run our own race; the goal from the start was to really compete against the clock.”

“To me it’s just awesome to see cross-country at that level,” he added. “I hope my athletes appreciated that too.”

Running on the softer, grassy surface Hillcrest’s links in the afternoon heat rather than early in the morning on Connected Lakes’ mostly-paved loops, the sophomore Quintana’s time understandably slowed somewhat to a 21st-place 20:28 – a clocking still promising to the skipper.

“He’s really finding his threshold, how much pain he can take…. ‘How long can I stay uncomfortable?’ He’s finding that out about himself,” Holley said. “But man, he’s getting mentally tough.”

With both senior Dylan Labarthe (20:28.3 in G.J., 39th place) and junior Tyler Barnes unavailable, IHS’ 3-4-5 scoring runners at the Classic were junior Gabe Tucson, freshman JV call-up Trajan Garcia and junior Jeremy Roderick. Tucson (24:03) and Garcia (24:23) crossed the finish line 40th and 41st, respectively, while Roderick gutted out a 50th-place 33:57 – a slower clip than his 46th-place 32:03.4 Tiger Invite showing (Tucson had taken 43rd in 22:48.5).

Overall, 4A Durango’s Paul Knight (16:33) won the Classic’s crown by one second over 3A Alamosa’s Josh Medina, while DHS’ Land Lambert (17:03) came in third. 3A Bayfield’s Zeb Shields finished ten ticks later, but was just one faster than Durango’s Aiden Quayle (17:14) in a battle for fourth pitting representatives of each of the meet’s co-hosting sides.

In the team standings, DHS prevailed with an adjusted score-5 low of 33 points, while AHS took second with 44 and 3A Pagosa Springs third with 86. Fourth place went to La Jara-based 2A Centauri (116), BHS (123) earned fifth and 3A Montezuma-Cortez (129) took sixth. 2A Dolores saved seventh with 167 points, while 2A Monte Vista (170) narrowly escaped with eighth over the ’Cats (172; 19-30-38-39-46).

In Grand Junction, Ignacio had placed sixth with a similar 178-point (28-35-37-38-40) total. First went to 4A Gypsum Eagle Valley (44; 2-9-10-11-12), with FMHS (52), 4A GJHS (67), 4A Palisade (91) and 3A Aspen (107) filling out the top five.

After a weekend off, the Bobcat varsity will travel Saturday, Oct. 3, to Mancos’ Chicken Creek Challenge. Results from Ignacio’s JV meet Thursday evening, Sept. 24, beginning and ending on the IHS track, were unavailable at press time.

“It’s real cool to see everyone from Ignacio coming out to run,” said Quintana (22:48.2, 42nd in G.J.). “But I think it’s going to get a lot harder – to make our times faster.”

“It’s all together in my head, what I plan to do,” Holley said, “to get the kids in their best shape possible for the races that count down the stretch.”


Garcia was promoted following his debut in the Tiger Invite’s JV feature held Friday evening, Sept. 11, on the same course varsity entrants tackled the next morning. Running with fellow JV rookie Gabe Cox, Garcia ran a 23:58.4 and placed 35th (Cox finished 42nd with a 26:44.1).

“The real shake-up was … Trajan; he definitely earned a spot,” said Holley. “I was really impressed with that.”

Additionally, IHS was able to enter six harriers for varsity competition in Grand Junction, and freshman Corey Gomez was tabbed to run with the regulars. Clocking 26:18.6, he placed 45th overall in his own prep debut.

“Phillip … actually crossed the line with Gabe – those two ran together – and he looked really comfortable, almost like he left some in the tank,” Holley recalled. “And Corey … he was a little nervous but he came in and ran his first 5K around the 26-minute mark. It was all again part of the plan, to get them some exposure … and I think it really boosted morale of the team.”


If there was a numerologist in the Classic, it may have been Monte Vista’s Andres Villa. The Pirates’ top finisher, Villa completed the event’s 2020 edition taking 20th place in 20 minutes and … 21 seconds. Perhaps he paused too long while pondering his calculations.

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