Testing their plans for a now-imminent invasion of Aspen and the Oct. 19 Class 3A-Region I Cross-Country Championships, the Bayfield Wolverines ventured out to the San Luis Valley this past Friday, Oct. 12, for the 2018 Eric Wolff Invitational, hosted by 2A Sargent at the Monte Vista Municipal Golf Course.
Led by junior Jonas Nanaeto, who clocked a fifth-place 18 minutes, 0.73 seconds, BHS' boys earned third at the meet with an adjusted score-4 total of 57 points. Only Intermountain League rival Pagosa Springs (55) and Western Slope force Gunnison (18) tallied fewer out of a dozen 3A and 2A squads in the mix.
Elco Garcia, Jr., also was a top-10 placer for Bayfield with his ninth-place 18:35.01, and steady sophomore Zeb Shields (19:10.80) took 14th. Rylan Ross (20:18.30) came home 35th overall, Royce Hinojosa (20:33.44) finished 40th, Xander Hovenstine (21:13.03) placed 47th, and Shane Moore (21:21.62) took 49th.
Michael Everett came across the finish line 58th, posting an even 21:48, and James Chenowith (21:57.26) was close behind in 61st. Liam Smith (24:34.01) took 72nd in the unlimited-entry feature, as 87 boys in all completed the course.
Westcliffe-based 2A Custer County sophomore Micah Zeller won the race with a time of 16:39.38, or more than 30 seconds ahead of GHS standout Colton Stice (17:09.85) and nearly 45 ahead of Stice's fellow Cowboy Alex Baca (17:23.14).
"The boys ran really well," said BHS head coach Josh Walton. "Pagosa Springs and us have been back and forth all season and they got second today, while Gunnison won it. I thought Jonas ran really well, and the rest of my top three had great races as well."
Coming on strong during the season's final weeks, senior Olivia Keitz paced the Wolverines girls to an 87-point showing and fifth-place team finish with her 17th-place 23:10.86.
"I was really happy with Olivia's performance today," Walton said. "She ran a personal best and had a very strong race."
Gunnison's Ivy Pelletier recorded a winning 21:05.87, but Pagosa's lead trio of Megan Greenly (21:09.56), Sierra Liverett (21:30.52) and Emma Heidelmeier (21:40.08) then followed in succession, helping the Pirates post a title-winning adjusted low of 15 points.
For Bayfield, junior Claire Hufnagel finished as the squad's No. 2 with her 29th-place 23:25.16. Young prospect Eli Ion came in 38th, clocking 25:35.45, and Emaliah Sawyer completed the scoring quartet by taking 51st in 27:40.64. Teammate Paige Porter (27:47.14) was only seconds behind in 52nd, and Eske Reidel (27:59.85) kept the pack mentality strong by finishing 54th. Finally, senior Mylee Sanders placed 64th (out of 71 total) in 29:59.49.
Set to begin at 11 a.m. on Oct. 19, the 3A regional will be held at the Aspen Golf & Tennis Club, located west of town off State Highway 82. Ignacio's first-year girls' team, meanwhile, will compete in that day's 2A-Region IV Championships, to be centered about the Lions Club Pavilion in Delta's Confluence Park.
Results from the Bobcats' work at the Oct. 12 Bloomfield Invitational hadn't been reported on Monday, but head coach Marissa Duffey seemed pleased with her group's performance on the Phillip Sategna Course.
"Ran very well on a challenging course," she said. "I was thrilled with how they attacked the hills and how they continue to push themselves every single week. The ladies are excited for their first regional meet."
2018 ERIC WOLFF INVITATIONAL BOYS' STANDINGS: 1.Gunnison 18, 2.Pagosa Springs 55, 3.BAYFIELD 57, 4.La Jara Centauri 90, 5.Mancos 110, 6.Salida 111, 7.Rocky Ford 123, 8.Alamosa 123, 9.Westcliffe Custer County 139, 10.Del Norte 170, 11.Weston Primero 175, 12.Antonito 199. (Note: Rocky Ford placed higher than Alamosa by virtue of having a fifth finisher, while AHS did not.)
2018 ERIC WOLFF INVITATIONAL GIRLS' STANDINGS: 1.Pagosa Springs 15, 2.Gunnison 30, 3.La Jara Centauri 66, 4.Rocky Ford 70, 5.BAYFIELD 87, 6.Mancos 90.