Quintana places 56th at State Championships 

Ignacio’s Eppie Quintana (122) perseveres through the last quarter-mile during the 2021 CHSAA State Cross-Country Championships’ Class 2A Boys’ race Saturday, Oct. 30, in Colorado Springs. Quintana – a First Team All-SJBL pick this fall – finished the Norris-Penrose Event Center/Bear Creek Park course 56th overall.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Lone qualified ’Cat cracks standings’ top half 

Before departing Ignacio for the 2021 CHSAA State Cross-Country Championships, Eppie Quintana acknowledged qualifying for the supreme meet could push him towards goals even he himself hadn’t pondered. 

“Last year I was still kind of new to running and so I was still, like, understanding how to run as a pack, how to hold a steady pace all the time – honestly, I feel like this last year was me kind of learning the sport … putting your body through that kind of strain,” he said before practice Thursday afternoon, Oct. 28. “So, this year I kind of, like, felt what it was like to know how to run the whole season … and not be hurt!” 

“And if I’m here now … where am I going to be next year when I actually know how to run, how I can push my body?” 

‘Here’ meant a swift 18-minute, 13-second timing in Delta at the 2A-Region IV Championships determining who would next compete in Colorado Springs. Needing to place top-15 individually, IHS’ junior came in a confident tenth – earning him a second shot this fall at the demanding Norris-Penrose Event Center/Bear Creek Park route, upon which he’d previously clocked 20:43.2 to pace the Bobcat boys in the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. 

“Like, if I’m running 18:13, what’s in store for me next year?” he said. “Can I take top-ten at State or something big?” 

Seeing firsthand the speed required to do so and coming up short of matching it Saturday morning, Oct. 30, Quintana nonetheless made much of his maiden grand finale, setting himself a cornerstone upon which to build his senior 2022 season. 

Slicing off more than one minute, 40 seconds off his Stampede time, Quintana valiantly pursued his regional pace and clocked 18:59.6 as the last runner – out of 133 finishers – breaking 19 minutes (57th-place Chase Bodine, a Wiggins sophomore, finished in 19:01.9) under near-perfect conditions, but atop terrain the polar opposite of Confluence Park’s. 

“Starting off was good, cruising down the downhills, and then … It was uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill,” said Quintana. “Coach (Daniel Holley) says I’m on track, so we’ll just go with what he’s saying and keep up the work.” 

Naturally, some decorated entrants seemed to have little difficulty in the sunshine, not yet at its most intense. Lyons junior Tyler Ball crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 16.7 seconds, followed by Crested Butte senior Connor Williams (16:28.6) and Ellicott senior Jodzuel Juarez (16:33.3), the Stampede winner. 

Tops amongst Quintana’s fellow qualified San Juan Basin Leaguers was Ouray sophomore Vincent Schierenberg, eleventh in 17:21.6; Mancos senior Edgar Hernandez finished next with a 19th-place 17:49.8. In the adjusted score-4 calculations, OHS finished 13th with 214 accumulated points while MHS ended up 16th with 253. 

Earning the team title was Fort Collins Heritage Christian Academy – champs at the Stampede – which tallied a winning low of 54 points. Right behind them however, were both Colorado Springs St. Mary’s (57) and LHS (60), with Rocky Ford (101) and Colorado Springs Thomas MacLaren Charter (116) rounding out the top five of 20 squads in contention. Plenty familiar with the layout, SMHS had finished third at the Stampede; MacLaren Charter took second. 

CLASS 2A-REGION IV BOYS’ TEAM SCORES (10/22; top five advanced to State) 

1.Ouray 44, 2.Crested Butte 68, 3.Rangely 78, 4.Mancos 88, 5.Olathe 101, 6.Kremmling West Grand 102, 7.Meeker 120, 8.Grand Junction Caprock Academy 136, 9.IGNACIO 150, 10.Carbondale Colorado Rocky Mountain School 155, 11.Parachute Grand Valley 226. 

BOBCAT RESULTS: 10.Eppie Quintana 18:13; 25.Phillip Quintana 19:06; 52.Dylan McCaw 21:19; 71.Corey Gomez 22:48; 76.Camron Cooper 23:24. 

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