Back running at more his normal pace, as compared to the previous weekend's Bayfield Invitational when he wasn't at 100 percent, BHS' Jonas Nanaeto put himself into contention for top billing this past Saturday, Sept. 22, at the 2018 Pagosa Springs XC Challenge.
"Jonas had actually gotten sicker earlier in the week," head coach Josh Walton recalled, "so he didn't run as well as he would have liked. But we know he's going to be coming back strong."
Improving on his 11th-place finish recorded at the all-terrain Pine Valley Church/Dove Ranch course, Nanaeto ultimately finished seventh out in Archuleta County, clocking 19 minutes, 54 seconds and cutting almost 1:20 off his Invitational time. He was barely five seconds behind fellow junior Elco Garcia, Jr., who ended up fifth as the Ignacio Bobcat duo helped the Wolverines accumulate a second-place 72 adjusted points.
Led by senior Adam Bunker's winning 18:40, 1A Monticello, Utah, dominated the day and took first with a meet-low 23, while 3A PSHS (92), 2A Centauri (96), 3A Montezuma-Cortez (126), 2A Mancos (134) and A/2A Dulce, N.M. (158), trailed in the standings.
Having already impressed Walton with his eighth-place finish at the home meet, Walton was again pleased to see Zeb Shields, the squad's sophomore No. 3, log another top 10 finish on the road with his time of 20:37 for 10th place, a time consistent with, but still more than eight seconds faster than his BHS Invite result.
"He really enjoys the hilly courses as compared to the flat ones, so I was really happy," said Walton. "Huge confidence-booster for him."
Junior Rylan Ross finished 19th in 21:38, and sophomore Xander Hovenstine took 38th in 22:50.
"That's exactly what we want to be getting," Walton stated. "If we have all five of us in the top-20 we're going to be looking really good when we get to regionals."
Freshman Royce Hinojosa became the Wolverines' sixth finisher when he stopped the clock at 23:49 and placed 47th, classmate Michael Everett took 52nd in 23:56, and fellow freshman Liam Smith was 58th in 25:18.
Senior Olivia Keitz paced the Wolverine girls for a second straight meet, as she placed 15th overall in 25 minutes, 52 seconds, nearly 1:40 better than her 33rd-place Invitational time. Freshman Eli Ion (27:32) came in 23rd, and freshman Emaliah Sawyer (28:11) ended up 26th as Bayfield, boasting enough entrants to at last qualify for team-scoring purposes, finished fourth with 93 adjusted points.
Mancos ranked third with 92, M-CHS took second with 73, while the hosting Pirates, led by individual winner Sierra Liverett (22:47), posted a perfect 15-point low.
For the Wolverines, recent addition Eske Reidel, a freshman, finished 46th with her 30:17, and freshman Brylee Connell (31:26) ended up 49th as the No. 5. Senior Mylee Sanders (33:13) took 53rd, giving BHS a fairly tight grouping back in the pack.
"I was really happy with how Olivia ran, and the other girls just ran really well too," said Walton. Up next, Bayfield will travel north to Delta for the Sweitzer Lake Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28.