Needing just three runners to comprise a team, Bayfield certainly had the legs to challenge for top billing in the boys' standings at the 2018 Lake County Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 1 in Leadville.
With standouts Elco Garcia, Jr., and Jonas Nanaeto placing sixth and seventh, respectively, in 19:42.9 and 19:56.5, the Wolverines were right in the mix for first place out of 12 schools bringing at least a trio. Zeb Shields became Bayfield's third finisher when he crossed 27th in 21:11.5, giving BHS an adjusted final score of 38 (6+7+25) points and a third-place result. "Elco and Jonas ran controlled when going up the hill and then picked it up when going down," said head coach Josh Walton, noting he was pleased with the early-season finish.
Only 4A Lakewood Green Mountain (26) and 4A Longmont (34) ranked above BHS at the high-altitude event, while 2A Evergreen Clear Creek (45) and 3A Denver D'Evelyn (47) trailed in the standings. Winning the race in 17 minutes, 46.5 seconds was Green Mountain's Graham Tuohy-Gaydos.
Bayfield's Xander Hovenstine placed 40th in 22:10.7, with Rylan Ross (22:21.2) right behind in 41st and Royce Hinojosa (23:00.7) close in 46th. James Chenowith took 67th in 27:48.5. Fourteen schools in all were represented; Lake County and Crested Butte Community School's entrants ran as individuals in Leadville.
In the girls' main event, BHS senior Olivia Keitz made her season debut placing 48th in 28:05.2, and teammate Claire Hufnagel (28:08.0) was but a long stride behind in 49th. Clocking 28:20.4, Eli Ion did her best to keep the Wolverines' pack tight and finished 51st. The Wolverine girls' adjusted 145 (47+48+50) total points ranked 11th, while Emaliah Sawyer (30:09.7) came in 59th and Paige Porter (30:28.5) 61st.
Mylee Sanders placed 71st in 33:21.2-just half a second ahead of teammate Brylee Connell.
D'Evelyn won the team title with a race-low 13 points, while 4A Denver North finished second with 19 and Green Mountain third with 30. GMHS' Kasey Klocek clocked a winning 20:54.2, and Eliana Thompson of D'Evelyn took second but was more than 30 seconds off her pace.
"The boys and girls were a little nervous about running at 10,000 feet," Walton said, "but once they got going they did very well. I was very happy with how all the athletes ran."
Breathing should be easier for the Wolverines in their next scheduled event, but only just as the squads travel to Alamosa on Saturday, Sept. 8 for the Joe I. Vigil Invitational. The boys' varsity race is set to begin at 9:20 a.m., with the girls' varsity race following at 10:25.
2018 LAKE COUNTY INVITATIONAL BOYS' TEAM STANDINGS (12 scoring, 14 total): 1.Lakewood Green Mountain 26, 2.Longmont 34, 3.BAYFIELD 38, 4.Evergreen Clear Creek 45, 5.Denver D'Evelyn 47, 6.Englewood Kent Denver 63, 7.Buena Vista 88, 8.KIPP Denver Collegiate 93, 9.La Jara Centauri 97, 10.Oak Creek Soroco 100, 11.Westcliffe Custer County 130, 12.Denver North 130. Also represented-Leadville Lake County, Crested Butte Community School.
2018 LAKE COUNTY INVITATIONAL GIRLS' TEAM STANDINGS (12 scoring, 14 total): 1.Denver D'Evelyn 13, 2.Denver North 19, 3.Lakewood Green Mountain 30, 4.Oak Creek Soroco 55, 5.Buena Vista 57, 6.Evergreen Clear Creek 80, 7.Longmont 83, 8.Englewood Kent Denver 96, 9.La Jara Centauri 96, 10.Leadville Lake County 123, 11.BAYFIELD 145, 12.KIPP Denver Collegiate 160. Also represented-Crested Butte Community School, Westcliffe Custer County.