Harriers hit Bayfield’s tough terrain

Ignacio Middle's Thunder Windy Boy (354) chases a Dolores runner during the 2022 Bayfield Cross-Country Invitational's middle school boys' race Saturday, Sept. 17.
Ignacio High's Aven Bourriague (968) comes around a curve during the 2022 Bayfield Cross-Country Invitational's high school boys' race Saturday, Sept. 17.
Ignacio Middle's Judah Ashley (350) rounds a bend during the 2022 Bayfield Cross-Country Invitational's middle school boys' race Saturday, Sept. 17.
Ignacio Middle's Elias Pena (353) strides along during the 2022 Bayfield Cross-Country Invitational's middle school boys' race Saturday, Sept. 17.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Running upon the sort of ground they can expect to see again during the next couple weeks, Ignacio Cross-Country traveled the short distance to Bayfield to compete in the 2022 BHS Invitational Saturday morning, September 17. 

Negotiating a forest-like Pine Valley Church-Dove Ranch course known for two energy-sapping hills, and this season softened in spots by recent downpours – which turned some sections into trail-width mud bogs – all four IHS boys entered, paced by freshman Dillon Brann (17th overall in 21 minutes, 31.69 seconds), nevertheless managed to finish. 

Classmates Trace Crane (24:13.57) and Aven Bourriague (24:33.64) finished 20th and 21st, respectively, and junior Corey Gomez (25:07.20) placed 25th. 

“Dillon … led his freshman ‘team’ … up the mountain and through the woods,” commented head coach Karri McCarter, “to strong performances. The time clock is always a disappointment for young athletes on challenging runs like this, but I witnessed the best runs of their season … on the toughest course of the year for us.” 

Had the rugged 5K been a score-4 event, the Bobcats would have placed fifth in the team standings, tallying an adjusted score of 59 points. Fourth would have gone to Pagosa Springs (57), third to the hosting Wolverines (48), second to La Jara-based Centauri (24) and first place to Monticello, Utah (22). However, with score-5 the order of the day, MHS officially won with an adjusted total of 28 points. Still runners-up, Centauri followed with 41 and Bayfield took third with 62. 

Pagosa Springs senior Andrew Bowles earned first individually in a time of 19:58.32, the only sub-20 effort. Centauri senior Mason Sowards, last year’s winner (Bowles had finished third in ’21), settled for second in 20:18.46, and Monticello junior Jesse Pettit was third in 20:18.63. 

Overcoming Mancos sophomore Teagan Archer’s early dominance, Monticello sophomore Lilli Burton won the girls’ race in 24:28.87, followed by Dolores soph Elia Lowe (24:52.73) and Monticello soph Marah Long (25:01.11). 

The only squad entering enough girls for score-5 purposes, Mancos officially won the team title with a perfect 15-point low score. Had the race been score-4, however, first place would have gone to Monticello (27) with DHS (33) ranking second, Mancos (47) third, Centauri (49) fourth and PSHS (54) fifth. 

Junior Lauren deKay, the lone Lady ’Cat in the field, ended up taking 23rd in 30:35.69. 

In the Invitational’s score-5 middle-school boys’ 3.5K race, Ignacio’s Judah Ashley finished 38th in 16:54.62. Thunder Windy Boy crossed shortly after, taking 42nd in 17:10.64, and Elias Pena placed 52nd in 18:47.87. Head coach Spencer Cone’s anchor, eighth-grader Cayson Burcham led the field – numbering nearly 65 – for most of the early goings but was unable to claim a likely victory as an on-course ankle injury forced him to withdraw. 

On the girls’ side, IMS’ Leandra Litz ended up 36th in 22:19.96, Selia Montoya (24:51.76) finished 45th and Samara Valdez (25:50.15) 46th. 

After taking a weekend off, hoping to afford multiple ailing team members – including brothers Eppie and Phillip Quintana – additional recovery time, Ignacio High may next compete Saturday, October 1, at Mancos’ Chicken Creek Challenge before hitting the Four Corners Southwest Classic, October 7 at Hillcrest Golf Course in Durango. 

At present, IMS is still slated to travel next Saturday, Sept. 24, to run in Pagosa Springs. 


Mentioned as the high-school girls’ race winner in the ‘official’ standings, Burton actually may have placed no higher than third if not for faulty directions given to two entrants ahead of her. 

The aforementioned Archer – who actually lost a shoe during the opening mile or so – plus Centauri’s Tayte Hostetter were unknowingly re-routed off course with about 400 meters remaining by some encouraging spectators, according to information provided by Mancos head coach Brady Archer. Leading all pursuers, Burton included, at the time by an estimated 30 seconds, Archer and Hostetter had lost their advantage by the time both were correctly re-directed towards the finish line. 

“They ran for a while before they were turned back around,” said Brady Archer. “Both girls were awarded first place in the race, but it obviously does not show up in the official standings.” 

Like it? Share it!