Admitting that running cross-country this fall was more a means to an end ("I wanted to get in shape for basketball," she said), Avaleena Nanaeto couldn't help grinning when talking about the Oct. 5 Ancient Trails Invitational, where her end placing - and the Bobcats girls' overall performance - was more than mean.
"We all did great," she said. "We all p.r.'d this week; it was fantastic."
Running with the leaders upon the Montezuma County Fairgrounds course and ultimately following 3A Montezuma-Cortez sophomore Ridley Dennison across the finish line, Ignacio's freshman leader earned fifth place overall with her 24-minute, 10-second effort.
"I enjoyed it," Nanaeto said. "It was a really nice course and there were some hard parts, but we finished off right."
Dennison clocked 23:59 to lead the meet-hostingPanthers, while 2A Mancos sophomore Grace Manning took first place in 22 minutes, 35 seconds. 4A Durango soph Bailey Freeman was just a tick behind in second, and teammate Kristina Bodewes (23:33) ended up taking third.
Attacking a route described as half unpaved roads and half single-track with one "stride-breaking hill" halfway through, IHS sophomore Jayden Brunson ended up 30th in 27:02, with fellow soph Vanessa Gonzales 32nd in 27:13 and junior Brianna Henderson 33rd in 27:25.
In score-5 format, DHS ended up tallying a meet-low 28 points to earn the team title, while M-CHS finished second with 65. 3A Pagosa Springs earned third with 75, while MHS (99) and 3A Bayfield (106) rounded out the top five. However, had the Invitational been score-4, the standings would have been slightly different.
Durango still would have won with an adjusted meet-low 20 points, with Montezuma-Cortez (42) and PSHS (50) following. Mancos would still have placed fourth with 58 points while IHS and BHS would have tied for fifth with 65. But with one more entrant than Ignacio, Bayfield senior Mylee Sanders (43rd, 30:28) would have been the tiebreaker.
Senior Olivia Keitz paced the Wolverines overall with her eighth-place 24:47, and Claire Hufnagel (24:57) was close behind in 10th. Paige Porter (28:42) and Eske Reidel (29:00) finished 40th and 41st, respectively.
Up next, Bayfield will attend the Oct. 12 Eric Wolff Invitational in Monte Vista, while the Ignacio girls will hit the Bloomfield Invitational in New Mexico the same day.
BHS BOYS IN ACTION: Though allowing some of his key runners-including Elco Garcia, Jr., and Jonas Nanaeto-to rest rather than compete with the postseason rapidly approaching, Bayfield head coach Josh Walton still sent a small boys' contingent to Cortez, led by squad newcomer Shane Moore. Moore placed 19th overall in 21 minutes, 41 seconds, with Royce Hinojosa only eight ticks behind in 21st and Liam Smith (25:11) close in 25th.
2A Dolores' Phillip Hufman was the winner in 18:28, with teammate Brennan Hite (18:36) second and M-CHS' John Whyte (19:26) third. Pagosa Springs' Gabe Heraty (19:47) took fourth and Mancos' Edgar Hernandez (20:01) fifth.