Facing as many State hopefuls as possible, Bayfield Cross Country invaded Colorado Springs this past Friday, Aug. 24, to compete at the season-opening Cheyenne Mountain Stampede.
Getting an advance look at the Norris-Penrose Event Center course, Elco Garcia, Jr., was the squad's top placer in either the Class 3A boys' or girls' varsity races, with his 12th-place 18:27.2 effort. Fellow junior Jonas Nanaeto came in 41st in 19:36.7, and sophomore Zeb Shields was third in for the BHS boys with a 48th-place 20:00.2.
All told, the Wolverine boys totaled an adjusted 228 points and finished in ninth place, with sophomore James Chenowith coming in 69th (21:06.1) and junior Rylan Ross 75th (21:24.0). Sophomores Xander Hovenstine and Ethan Cook also ran in the varsity race, placing 87th (22:15.2) and 110th (24:13.5) respectively.
Freshmen Michael Everett, Royce Hinojosa and Liam Smith participated in the meet's Open division, and ran 21:41, 23:23 and 24:15, respectively.
Leading the 14th-place Wolverine girls was freshman Eli Ion, who clocked a 69th-place 26:50.6. Junior Claire Hufnagel took 81st in 28:19.5, freshman Paige Porter earned 89th in 29:41.5, freshman Emaliah Sawyer finished 93rd in 30:21.4, and senior Mylee Sanders (one of just two in the entire crew this season, along with Olivia Keitz) rounded out the scoring quintet placing 103rd in 34:27.4. The girls' team amassed an adjusted 382 points.
"Overall I was very happy with how everyone did in the race," said head coach Josh Walton.
"Everyone that ran last year improved their time by more than one minute on the same course. The team is also mostly freshmen, sophomores, and juniors so most will be back next year."
Alamosa junior Lily Lavier (20:02.2) and senior Elijah De La Cerda (17:08.3) were the Stampede's individual Class 3A champions, with the Mean Moose boys totaling a winning meet-low 80 points. With 97 points, AHS' girls trailed Pagosa Springs (90) and Greeley Frontier Academy (55) in the standings.
Up next, Bayfield will travel to Leadville for the lung-busting Lake County Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1. The varsity girls' race is slated to begin at 10:20 a.m., with the varsity boys hitting the course (situated at 10,000-plus feet above sea level) at 11 a.m.