Boys’ XC rebirth enters second season

Ignacio’s Phillip Quintana (300) placed a season-opening 16th overall at Dolores’ Boggy Draw Bear Chase Friday evening, Aug. 20.
Ignacio's Corey Gomez (298) leads runners from Mancos and Durango during Dolores' Boggy Draw Bear Chase Friday evening, Aug. 20. Gomez would finish 31st in the season-opening event.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Quintanas cross consecutively at Bear Chase  

Due to Spring Commencement a few months ago, plus the Colorado High School Activities Association giving its go-ahead for football to make an on-time return this fall, it was almost assured that Ignacio Boys’ Cross-Country, decades-dormant but confidently reborn last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, would see a decrease in personnel for the 2021 campaign. 

Fortunately, the expected subtraction didn’t leave the program with negative participation. 

“I think it’s cool,” returning sophomore Corey Gomez said, of IHS’ re-return. “We don’t have as many boys here of course – we had some graduate – but I’m sure we’ll get some more here soon.” 

And paced by junior Eppie Quintana and sophomore Phillip Quintana’s pack-like finish the Bobcats, likely not yet at full strength numbers-wise, managed to begin the new season with two top-20 results at Dolores’ 3rd Annual Boggy Draw Bear Chase. Eppie Quintana’s time of 21 minutes, 21.01 seconds secured 15th place overall, while Phillip’s 21:53.53 earned 16th. 

Gomez’s 25:15.07 landed him in 31st, but was still satisfactory as a baseline reading to head coach Daniel Holley. 

“Corey’s going to be a team member on varsity,” he said, alluding to Gomez’s freshman-year learning experience primarily as a junior-varsity harrier, “and I’m looking forward to his development; he had a strong summer.” 

“Stepping into the first race, we tried to treat it like a time trial,” Holley continued. “We’ve been doing some workouts in practice, so we said, ‘Let’s string it all together’ – see what we can get for our 5K marks to begin the season.” 

“We had easy runs some days, and then the past three weeks we’d started speed training,” said Gomez. “Did some 200s, some 800s, and this past week we did miles too for speed…which was really helpful – especially on the hills, and towards the end when you get that last push.” 

All told, in score-4 formatting the Broncos of 2A Blanding (UT) San Juan – reclassified this year from the UHSAA’s 3A ranks – captured first place with an adjusted winning low of 28 points. Beehive State neighbors Monticello (reclassified from 2A to 1A) were right behind with 33 and 4A Durango earned third with 46. 

Mancos senior Edgar Hernandez, one of the 2A San Juan Basin League’s standouts expected to show the way for the ’Cats, Dolores Bears and others, won the individual title in 18:19.02; Durango’s Nathaniel Ellis was runner-up in 18:47.11. 

Up next, Ignacio will travel to Cortez’s Parque de Vida for the Montezuma-Cortez Panther Invitational Friday evening, Aug. 27, with boys’ varsity action following the girls’ and slated to start at 5:30 p.m. 

“To anybody that’s hanging their heads on today, I say, ‘Keep your chin up,’” said Holley. “We’re going to a fast, flat course in Cortez; we’re really looking forward to getting out there.” 

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