Lady ’Cats crack top five in Durango 

Ignacio Middle's Leandra Litz (341) pursues Saylor Dandy (285) of Blanding, Utah's Albert R. Lyman Middle during the Four Corners Southwest Classic's mid-school girls' race Friday afternoon, Oct. 1, in Durango.
Ignacio Middle's Samara Valdez (344) and Makayla Standley (343) ran as a pair for much of the Four Corners Southwest Classic's mid-school girls' race Friday afternoon, Oct. 1, in Durango.
Ignacio High's Zoey Ashley (665) leads Aztec, New Mexico's Araceli Huaracha (621) through a turn late in the Four Corners Southwest Classic's girls' feature Friday afternoon, Oct. 1, in Durango.
Ignacio High's Moriah Ashley (664) expends her remaining energy approaching the finish line during the Four Corners Southwest Classic's girls' feature Friday afternoon, Oct. 1, in Durango.
Ignacio High's Alannah Gomez (670) exhales with relief after finishing the Four Corners Southwest Classic's girls' feature Friday afternoon, Oct. 1, in Durango.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Only 21 seconds separate IHS’ top three  

Showing signs of readiness for the approaching Class 2A-Region IV Championships, Oct. 22nd in Delta, Ignacio Girls’ Cross-Country finished the Oct. 1 Four Corners Southwest Classic displaying a groupthink pleasing to the boss. 

“I think they enjoyed their little break there in-season,” he said, alluding to the coaching staff’s decision not to run at the previous weekend’s Pagosa Springs Pirate Cross-Country Challenge. “We just did a team long run, got some miles in … (but) backed off the intensity. Then we had a pretty hard week of practice; I was very impressed with the results today.” 

“Yeah, I think we did pretty good; I feel like we felt pretty fresh,” said sophomore Lauren deKay. “A lot of us PR’d – I PR’d by about a minute – so that was awesome.” 

“Now we’re done with the big workouts; we’re going to taper a little bit to feel more fresh for regionals,” she continued. “That’s our ‘big’ one … and then hopefully State!” 

deKay paced the Lady ’Cats – minus No. 1 Maci Barnes – to a fifth-place team finish by clocking a 29th-place 24:17, and senior Avaleena Nanaeto was right behind with a 30th-place 24:22. Only five seconds behind Dolores freshman Siena Parr, sophomore Moriah Ashley then took 32nd in 24:38 as IHS tallied an adjusted score-5 count of 132 points. 

“I felt slow today,” said Nanaeto. “I don’t do good on grass courses, but Lauren and Moriah were … and I was supporting them. But, no, I’m excited … for our regional and I’ll keep working hard.” 

“I was surprisingly able to just keep going … fast, actually, compared to last year,” Ashley said. “Last year I got 27:50-something, and this year …. It was, honestly, kind of scary because I wasn’t sure if I could keep up!” 

“When we started game-planning for this meet we said, if the three of you work together – get in the same pace and lock in … as a pack – you’ll surprise yourselves in how you do. That was cool to see,” Holley stated. “Exactly what we’d planned for.” 

Not far from the tight trio, senior Alannah Gomez finished 39th in 25 minutes, 37 seconds, while sophomore Zoey Ashley took 53rd in 28:02. Rounding out the contingent present – the depleted, yet determined Lady ’Cats also lacked Harmony Reynolds, Laci Brunson and Darlyn Lechuga – at Hillcrest Golf Course, freshman Audrianna Diaz placed 61st in 31:08. 

With a small platoon of individuals entered and ultimately boasting nine of the 5K’s top 11 placers – including winner Angela McManus (19:56) and runner-up Willow Lott (20:16) – event co-hosts Durango totaled a 1-2-3-4-6 low of 16 points while runners-up Shiprock, N.M., accumulated 78. Aztec, N.M., took third with 104 points and Monticello, Utah, fourth with 121. 

Ignacio will next head west on Oct. 9 to Mancos for the Chicken Creek Challenge, and then venture east on the 15th to Monte Vista for the Eric Wolff Invitational.  

MIDDLE SCHOOL UPDATE: At the Classic, Ignacio totaled an adjusted score-5 180 points and placed sixth in the middle-school girls’ 3K. Durango mid-schoolers combined to post a winning low of 16 points, while Blanding, Utah’s Albert R. Lyman Middle ranked second with 71. 

Narissa Williams led IMS with her 64th-place 18:47, and Makayla Standley took 81st in 21:15. Samara Valdez finished 84th in 21:29, Leandra Litz 89th in 23:40, and Selia Montoya 91st in 24:50. 

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