The Pine Valley Church/Dove Ranch course was seemingly designed to make distance runners hit walls like a house renovation project on "This Old House" on PBS.
Those who managed to break through quickest and complete the job were the fortunate ones, and Bayfield's Elco Garcia, Jr., finished just a few steps off the pace - as the Wolverine boys did collectively - in surviving the 2018 Bayfield Invitational this past Saturday, Sept. 15.
Trailing only 2A Dolores senior Phillip Hufman to the finish line, Garcia finished an outstanding - and relieved - second place overall in 19 minutes, 31.48 seconds. Hufman clocked 19:19.17 while fellow Bear senior Brennan Hite (19:36.22) came in third.
Freshman Land Lambert (19:48.68) of the 4A Durango JV took fourth and 3A Pagosa Springs senior Nate Lewis (20:12.92) fifth, helping the Pirates post a winning five-man low score of 49 points, clipping 3A BHS' 53.
Joining Garcia in the top 10 for Bayfield was sophomore Zeb Shields, who came in eighth with his 20:45.11. Junior Jonas Nanaeto was a near-miss 11th in 21:12.15, and junior Rylan Ross earned 14th with his 21:45.58 effort. In the race's score-5 format, sophomore James Chenowith took 27th overall, clocked 23:32.60, and qualified BHS for title contention.
Also running the true cross-country course, freshman Royce Hinojosa (23:40.73), sophomore Ethan Cook (23:54.70) and freshman Michael Everett (23:55.59) placed 29th, 30th, and 31st, respectively, while sophomore Xander Hovenstine (24:12.86) finished 33rd and freshman Liam Smith (24:54.55) 36th.
Winning the girls' feature was the Durango JV's Tea Forrest, first across the line in 23 minutes, 18.31 seconds. And led by the freshman, the Demons boasted four of the top five times and won the team title with a meet-low 20 points. 5A Grand Junction sophomore Mandy Moran (23:20.83) placed second.
Senior Olivia Keitz finished first for BHS, taking 33rd overall in 27:29.33, and freshman Eli Ion was 10 places behind in 29:26.52. Freshman Paige Porter took 46th in 30:03.41, and classmate Emaliah Sawyer survived the rugged route in 31:10.81, finishing 51st.
NANAETO LEADS IHS GIRLSAlso in the Invitational's mix was first-year 2A program Ignacio, and the Bobcat quartet actually posted the best individual result of either Pine River Valley girls' team.
Freshman Avaleena Nanaeto finished 21st in 26 minutes, 15.07 seconds, with junior Brianna Henderson (28:47.05) following next in 39th. Sophomore Jayden Brunson was right on her heels, placing 40th in 28:50.67, and classmate Vanessa Gonzales kept IHS' pack relatively tight with her 42nd-place 29:13.47.
In addition to featuring a tough course with several uphill climbs, the Bayfield Invitational also had an abundance of school and community support for the local teams. The Marching Wolverines played for the crowd and performed the National Anthem. The BHS dance and cheer teams also showed up to support the runners, while a community race after the school competitions attracted a dozen runners, in spite of the climbing heat in the late morning.
2018 BAYFIELD INVITATIONAL BOYS' TEAM STANDINGS (top 5 of 5): 1.Pagosa Springs 49, 2.BAYFIELD 53, 3.Durango JV 75, 4.Grand Junction 79, 5.Mancos 80.
2018 BAYFIELD INVITATIONAL GIRLS' TEAM STANDINGS (top 3 of 3): 1.Durango JV 20, 2.Grand Junction 42, 3.Pagosa Springs 82.