Fri Sep 10th, 2021
Special to the Drum
Tags: 12th place, Andrey Kutchma, Bayfield Invitational, Bobcat boys’ cross-country, Bobcats, Camron Cooper, Cattails Golf Course's Grounds, Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, CHSAA Class 2A State Championships, Class 2A Varsity Boys' Feature, Colordao Springs-based, Dylan McCaw, Eppie Quintana, Fort Collins, Heritage Christian Academy, Jack Nauman, Jodzuel Juarez, Joe I. Vigil Open, Phillip Quintana, Stampede, Team Scoring, Thomas MacLaren
Overnight rains had certainly softened up the course here and there, but the prestigious Cheyenne Mountain Stampede was as challenging as ever under full sunshine Friday afternoon, Sept. 3.
Competing in the spectacle’s Class 2A Varsity Boys’ feature, Ignacio’s harriers definitely found that out.
“I kind of didn’t like how wet it was; a couple spots I was definitely slipping, losing my footing,” said junior Eppie Quintana, the squad’s No. 1 runner with a 50th-place time of 20 minutes, 43.2 seconds. “And then the finish … that last four hundred yards you’re digging in and just slipping every time you dig in deep.”
“Every uphill was in the sun, and every downhill was in the shade,” he added. “It was rough.”
“It slowed me down a little bit,” agreed No. 3 finisher Camron Cooper, 77th overall in 22:16.6, “but I kind of caught up with some people … slow, then fast at the very end.”
Non-scoring individuals in the race having been excluded for team-scoring purposes, the Bobcats ended up accumulating an adjusted score-4 tally of 225 points – helped by sophomore Phillip Quintana crossing in a 69th-place 21:26.0 and team newcomer Dylan McCaw finishing 94th in 25:17.8 – and earning 12th place out of 14 eligible teams. Ending up IHS’ No. 5 at the meet, sophomore Corey Gomez took 96th in 25:18.2.
All told, 114 runners completed the Norris-Penrose Event Center/Bear Creek Park circuit, with Fort Collins Heritage Christian Academy’s adjusted meet-low count of 21 points earning the team title. Colorado Springs-based Thomas MacLaren Charter School took second with 48 and Colorado Springs St. Mary’s came in third with 50.
Sixth place at last season’s CHSAA Class 2A State Championships held on the same course, Ellicott senior Jodzuel Juarez clocked a winning 16:35.6 and defeated HCA junior Jack Nauman (16:39.5) by about four seconds. HCA’s Andrey Kutchma placed third, but his strong 17:16.7 was well off the leaders’ sizzling pace. “I thought it was really fun, with all the long running and stuff,” Cooper said of his first Stampede. “Fun and exciting.”
“Man, I just wanted them to get that taste of State,” said head coach Daniel Holley, “so they know, ‘Hey, if we work hard, stay focused on our grades, stay focused in practice and buy in, we can have a field day – literally – up here in October.’”
Ignacio will next compete Sat., Sept. 11, in Alamosa at the Joe I. Vigil Invitational upon Cattails Golf Course’s grounds.
“Should be fun,” said Quintana. “Our team always has fun traveling together, so it should be a good time and I’d like to see how it turns out … if it’s half as hard as this.”
“Legs are tired – we’ve been working really hard,” Holley said. “But I’m actually going to give ’em kind of a break this week, then we’ll hit September pretty hard to get ready for the more important races as we move on.”
After running at the Vigil, the ’Cats will then hit the Sept. 18 Bayfield Invitational.