SJBL harriers have hard go at Stampede

Competing within a field numbering almost as many entrants as Ignacio High School has students, senior Eppie Quintana was far and away the Bobcats’ top runner Friday afternoon, September 2, at the 12th Annual Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. 

Clocking 20 minutes, 14.8 seconds on the newly-altered Norris-Penrose Event Center course in Colorado Springs, Quintana placed a respectable 45th out of 222 finishers – entries were unlimited – and helped IHS place 19th out of 22 crews in the Class 2A/3A Boys’ race. Under score-5 methodology, Ignacio posted an adjusted total of 520 points, bettering 2A Byers (549), 3A Elizabeth (557) and 3A Colorado Springs James Irwin Charter (581). 

“We faced some of the state’s best high-school cross-country runners,” head coach Karri McCarter said via text message, “in heat that ranged from 96 to 98 degrees depending on where you stood on the course!” 

2A Golden View Classical Academy grabbed the team title via a winning-low 118 points. 2A Colorado Springs Christian was right behind with 129 and 2A Rocky Ford was a tight third with 131. But with 2A-level schools reportedly filtered into their own score-4 subcategory the results were much different, starting at the top. 

Sixth place in the combined 2A/3A table due to a low-placing No. 5, Colorado Springs St. Mary’s (which had amassed 157 points) suddenly shot up to No. 1 amongst 2A squads once said individual’s points were subtracted – giving the Pirates a revised score of just 39. 

CSCS – which had a No. 5 lagging far behind GVCA’s fifth, hurting them in a score-5 scenario – remained in second place with a revised score-4 tally of 48 points, but Golden View Classical slipped to fourth with 75, bypassed by Wiggins (71; fifth-place 174 in score-5) while bumping RFHS (80) down to fifth. Out of 18 2A teams entered, IHS ended up an unlucky 18th in the revised score-4 system – their adjusted 232 points barely bettered by Byers’ 231. 

Ignacio’s No. 2 finisher was freshman Dillon Brann, 138th overall in 23:22.4, or exactly one second faster than fellow San Juan Basin Leaguer Braxton Dennison of Mancos. IHS junior Corey Gomez crossed the finish line 159th in 24:31.1, freshman Trace Crane ended up 164th in 24:56.4, and senior Aven Bourriague placed 171st in an even 25:35. 

“Eppie … and Corey … ran … to faster paces than they ran last year at the same race,” noted McCarter. “We’ll take that!” 

“I’m hugely proud of the hard work and dedication from these young student-athletes,” she declared. “It just gets better from here. This team and their entire pit crew of parents, boosters and administrators have rallied, and this season is sure to be one of our best.” 

The only fellow breaking 17 minutes, 2A Colorado Springs Thomas MacLaren Charter senior Jay Wood won in 16:53.8. 

In the 2A/3A girls’ race, first place went to 3A Woodland Park senior Emma Graber, who clocked 21:58.70. The only Lady ’Cat competing, Ignacio junior Lauren deKay placed 78th (out of 131) in 29:53.8. 

“Can’t seem to escape the injury plague,” McCarter said. “Zoey Ashley opened the season as a team of one – this young lady has been shedding minutes off her practice runs! We’ve been super excited to see her run this year! But in the Cleveland opener (the August 27th V. Sue Cleveland Storm Invitational in Rio Rancho, N.M.) she suffered a significant injury that may keep her out the whole season. Her sister, Moriah, is also sidelined with a foot injury.” 

“Lauren … rolled her ankle in preseason and is still getting back into race shape on a sore ankle,” she continued. “However, she braved the heat … and ran as a team of one to represent the Lady Bobcats.” 

In the overall score-5 team standings, CSCS captured first with 57 points and 2A Fort Collins Heritage Christian Academy placed second with 75. Third went to 2A Colorado Springs Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy, 111-114 over 3A Greeley University. In the revised score-4 format, Colorado Springs Christian’s 26 points still paced all 2A girls’ teams, with nearest contenders BLPA and HCA each scoring 38 and La Jara-based Centauri following with 75. 

Mancos sophomore Teagan Archer finished 11th, clocking 23:19.9 and helping MHS place ninth overall in the score-5 standings with 212 points. In 2A-only, the Lady Jays were seventh-best with a revised score of 109. 

Senior Madilynn Ritter took 51st in 27:26.1, sophomore Sarah Knezek was 75th in 29:45.1 and junior Mandi Peacock took 77th in 29:47.6. Freshman Tatum Endres (31:22.1) finished 88th, freshman Maddie Swortwood-Green (32:15.0) was 93rd, and freshman Hope Manning (36:39.6) took 120th. 

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