Trevor Gabbard smoked the competition.
Winning his final in-town race allowed the BHS senior and cross-country team captain to breathe easy last Saturday.
The 2014 Southwest XC Challenge took place within range of a U.S. Forest Service prescribed burn, yielding smoke that hung in the air for the early races. The shorter-distance mid-school competitors, preceding the high-school girls' and boys' features, unfortunately caught a worse whiff of the conditions, which had relaxed greatly by the time the girls' main event began at 11 a.m.
The Lady Wolverines were first to benefit from the smoke lifting. Led by sophomore Rachel Cooper's 24:33.62 and 22nd-place finish, BHS placed eighth as a team in the wake of 4A DHS, which totaled an impressive 23 points. 3A Pagosa Springs was second with 30, and 3A Farmington, N.M., Navajo Prep took third with 61.
Sophomore Bridget Goddard stayed close to Cooper and came in 27th overall, 23.41 seconds after her teammate, and fellow soph Amber Johnson did her best to keep a tight group in placing 34th (26:04.86).
So did Brittany Birk and Jessica George, but their respective 55th- and 58th-place efforts (30:32.95 and 31:23.37) were separated by 50.42 seconds; the Lady Wolverines totaled 124 points.
Winning the race was 4A Montezuma-Cortez senior Rachel Demby, whose 21:02.53 beat DHS junior Shannon Maloney by a comfortable 1-minute, 4.11-second margin.
Gabbard clocked a first-place 17:34.47 to pace all in the boys' main run. Second-place Ro Paschal, a Mancos junior, came in at 18:05.83. Blue Jay freshman Simon Kearns (18:25.08) took third, helping 2A MHS' lead foursome to a 37-point total and well-earned win.
Durango (42 points) settled for second, though seven Demons-led by ninth-place junior Nicholas Turco, 10th-place senior Gordon Gianniny (who attends Animas High School, on the far west side of Durango) and 11th-place senior River Weiss-all finished simultaneously at 19:17.39 as they linked arms.
With 44 points, third went to 4A Socorro, New Mexico, winners of the longest drive award.
BHS (94) finished sixth out of nine scoring teams. Eighteenth-place Alex Knight (19:57.05) was the second Wolverine to finish, followed by steady No. 3 man Sloan Mazur (32nd, 20:39.92) and Joey Sandrey (55th, 22:26.85). Bryan Gram (22:53.97) took 57th, and Justis Herrera crossed the line 60th in 23:18.13.
Earlier in the morning, Zachary Collard was the first BMS boy to finish the 3-kilometer route, posting 13:39.68 and taking ninth. Callum Marshall was next in 27th (15:01.61), and Josh Kaufman was 64th (17:22.17). Olivia Coppinger was 23rd (16:08.45) in the young girls' race, and Sarah Ruybal took 52nd (18:04.34).
Up next for BHS' Wolverines will be tomorrow's Pagosa Springs Invitational.