High Altitude Challenge tests IHS tracksters Barnes, Young lead ’Cats in Alamosa

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Ignacio School District

If young Ignacio Bobcat Trajan Garcia ever wondered what it would be like to essentially never stop running between the fall cross-country season and the springtime track-and-field season, he saw it up close and personal Friday evening, May 14, at the Alamosa-hosted 2021 High Altitude Challenge. 

Looking to find his distance legs again, the freshman took 21st in the 800-meter run, clocking 2 minutes, 59 seconds, and finished 22nd in the 1,600 with a 6:20.12. Placing 1-2 in each event, meanwhile, were south-central Colorado XC stars Micah Zeller (1:59.04 in the 800, 4:27.07 in the 1,600) of Westcliffe-based Custer County and AHS’ own Josh Medina (2:02.84 and 4:28.43), with Zeller – a shoo-in for Athlete-of-the-Meet if such an award was actually given – even winning the 3,200m run in 10:08.13, or almost a full minute ahead of Durango’s Nathaniel Ellis. 

Ellis, however, did help the Demons rack up a first-place 122 team points – well clear of runners-up La Jara Centauri’s 85 – while IHS, paced by Tyler Barnes in the pole vault, managed to accumulate 8.5 and place 16th. 

Barnes’ third-place clearance of 8 feet, 6 inches ended up good enough for third place in the specialty and a half-dozen team points; DHS’ Levi Tichi topped out at a winning 11’6”, while Leadville-based Lake County’s Jace Peters took second (9’0”). Ignacio’s John Riepel managed to clear 7’6”, tying Gunnison’s Jonathan Pierce for eighth place and halving a team point. 

Bobcat thrower Alric Hudson earned two points in the shot put with a seventh place best of 35’0.75”, and Jeremy Roderick also placed top-20 with his 19th-place 30’7”. Hudson took 14th in the discus (91’8”) and Roderick 16th (89’9”). 

Riepel was a top-20 finisher in both short sprints, taking 18th in both the 100 (12.65 seconds) and 200 (26.72) meters. 29th in the 100 with a time of 13.19 seconds, Jawadin Corona earned 15th in the long jump with a 16’1” effort. Barnes finished 32nd in the 200, clocking 28.92, while a 4×400 relay squad took ninth in 4:17.98. 

Expected to perform well this spring for the Lady ’Cats, Lexy Young grabbed five – of IHS’ seven total – team points in the short sprints. Her sixth-place 13.97 in the 100 was less than a second off the winning 13.19 posted in the same sixth – and final – heat by Alamosa’s Aani Hardesty, while Young’s seventh-place 29.76 in the 200 trailed Center Lady Viking Alexis Tafoya’s winning 27.56. 

Overall, the Lady ’Cats placed 17th, while Durango’s 145.5 points blew away second-place AHS’ 72. 

Laci Brunson was IHS’ No. 2 behind Young in the 100, clocking a 21st-place 15.03; Trinity Strohl was 30th in the 200 with a 34.30. Brunson also took 14th in the 400 meters with a 1:11.95, while Strohl placed 23rd in 1:21.34. Lauren deKay took 23rd in the 800 with a 3:31.85, while Moriah Ashley was 17th in the 1,600 (7:20.15), deKay 24th (7:47.40) and Rachel Sanburg 26th (7:58.03). Rediscovering along with Ashley their own cross-country legs, deKay also finished 13th in the 3,200-meter run with a 17:24.52. 

Ignacio’s 800m sprint medley relay earned two points with a seventh place 2:28.81. 

In the field, Brunson tied Bayfield’s Elissa Mars for ninth in the long jump with a 13’4” best, while Ashley ranked 32nd with an 8’11”. 

Up next on the schedule, IHS is slated to compete Saturday, May 22, in Bayfield at the Pine River Invite (start time 9 a.m.), then travel to Mancos the following Saturday (also a 9 a.m. start). 

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