Fri Nov 5th, 2021
Special to the Drum
Seventh at regional, IHS needed a top-five
Running one of the finest races of her program-bedrock career Friday, Oct. 22, in Delta, senior Avaleena Nanaeto clocked a season-best 22 minutes, 47 seconds within speed-conducive Confluence Park, but ultimately could not qualify for a historic fourth CHSAA State Cross-Country Championships despite placing an Ignacio-leading 21st in the Class 2A-Region IV girls’ feature.
According to the Colorado High School Activities Association Cross-Country Bulletin, the top 15 individuals at each regional earned the long-sought Colorado Springs trip, and Nanaeto certainly did her best to advance – via an effort 2:32 faster than hers at the previous Friday’s Sargent-hosted Eric Wolff Invitational in Monte Vista, after not competing Oct. 9 at Mancos’ off-road Chicken Creek Challenge.
“We had a conversation before the race about just going out there and giving it her all if it’s her last race,” said proud head coach Daniel Holley. “Came up short, but not by much.”
“To qualify for State three out of four times in high school is almost unheard of,” he continued, “and who knows, with less … injury, I’ll say, around her I think she would have had a chance to go – as part of a team – one last time. I wish I could give her the best sendoff possible.”
All told, the Lady ’Cats totaled 124 points – right behind SJBLers Dolores (120) and Telluride (113) – and, needing top-five status, earned seventh place. Soroco (54) took the title back to Oak Creek, with Mancos (64), Grand Junction Caprock Academy (65) and Carbondale Colorado Rocky Mountain School (73) all very much in the hunt.
IHS sophomore Lauren deKay placed 27th and posted a personal-best 23:19. Sophomore Moriah Ashley took 36th in a personal-best 23:48, and senior Alannah Gomez placed 40th in a season-best 23:50.
“She’s had a season with some injury setbacks and things,” Holley said, “so for her to post a season-best … in the 23s – in her last race – you really can’t ask for more.”
“She was really working hard today so … everybody just following what we talked about in practice, sticking to the plan and executing it was awesome to see.”
CLASS 2A-REGION IV GIRLS’ TEAM SCORES (10/22; top five advanced to State)
1.Oak Creek Soroco 54, 2.Mancos 64, 3.Grand Junction Caprock Academy 65, 4.Carbondale Colorado Rocky Mountain School 73, 5.Telluride 113, 6.Dolores 120, 7.IGNACIO 124, 8.Crested Butte 132, 9.Olathe 134, 10.Ouray 147, 11.Kremmling West Grand 171.