NOW OR NEVER: Harriers up for regionals Quintana, deKay hasten pace in Monte Vista

A retro-styled logo of the Ignacio Bobcats cross-country team.
courtesy Joel Priest

Though running since August, perhaps only now has ‘showtime’ truly arrived for IHS Cross-Country. 

“It was just kind of a warm-up … for this weekend,” said IHS junior Eppie Quintana, talking after a run on the track Saturday morning, Oct. 16, with head coach Daniel Holley. “To get in shape … to put out the best I can, so I can hopefully make it to State.” 

State’s what’s going to be at stake Friday, Oct. 22, as the ’Cats head north to Delta, to compete at the CHSAA Class 2A-Region IV Championships held in Confluence Park, annually one of the fastest courses on Colorado’s Western Slope. 

The top five teams, determined by score-4 figuring, will qualify for the Oct. 30 grand finale, as will all top-15 finishers. Action is set to begin at noon. 

With one last chance to tune up for the meet deciding who will return to Colorado Springs and the taxing Norris-Penrose Event Center/Bear Creek Park course, IHS attacked the Sargent-hosted Eric Wolff Invitational Fri., Oct. 15, in Monte Vista. 

Running not in Chapman Park on the western edge of town but rather upon the Monte Vista Golf Course’s grass, the Bobcat gents turned in late-season performances pleasing Holley. 

“Right behind the high school, a beautiful course. Light snow the night before, frosty conditions – a great way to run a race,” he recalled with a grin while pausing from pacing his practicing harriers. “I think the boys are looking good. They’re finding out how to run hard, how to work together as a group, and we’re hoping we can top it off with some PRs this Friday afternoon.” 

Quintana finished 16th overall in 19 minutes, 29 seconds and sophomore Phillip Quintana placed 44th in 21:29. Sophomore Camron Cooper was 49th in 21:55, and junior Dylan McCaw 62nd in 23:30. 

“It was really cold … wet and mushy. Kind of loosened it up, but I didn’t like it just because of how slick the course was, with all the leaves and everything; I didn’t care for it,” Eppie Quintana said. “Felt good at the end of it though; I’m excited; I can’t wait to get in there and see what I can do … so I can go to State.” 

3A Gunnison senior Jackson Baker won the race in 17:41 – or 18 seconds faster than 2A Rocky Ford junior Caden Miller and 29 faster than GHS classmate Garrett Brauch. In adjusted score-5 figuring, RFHS won the Wolff with a low total of 42 points. Gunnison took second with 48 and La Jara-based 2A Centauri third with 69. 

On the girls’ side, GHS posted a winning low of 27 points, with CHS (53) and 3A Pagosa Springs (67) following. Gunnison freshman Madelyn Stice was the individual champ in 20 minutes, 36 seconds, with 2A Crested Butte junior Ruby Pendy (21:41) and Centauri sophomore Tayte Hostetter (22:16) and senior Jocelyn Jarvies (22:17) her nearest challengers. 

Sophomore Lauren deKay led Ignacio with her 21st-place 24:55, and senior Avaleena Nanaeto finished 25th in 25:19. Sophomore Moriah Ashley placed 27th in 25:33 and senior Alannah Gomez 31st in 25:52 as 64 individuals finished the varsity girls’ race, with a total of 17 schools – the meet also doubled as the Southern Peaks League Championships – represented. 

“The girls are doing just fine,” said Holley. “We had some injuries that set us back, so our top runners are now Lauren, Avaleena and Moriah, with our fourth being Alannah. Then after her we have Zoey Ashley rounding it out. We just have a great group right now; they’re really working as a team, pack-running.” 

“It was pretty flat so that was nice; the grass was a little long sometimes, but other than that I felt great,” said deKay. “I think we’ve come along pretty great; the workouts have been helping.” 82 individuals completed the boys’ varsity race at the EWI, with IHS one of 18 schools represented. 

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