Before the Joe Vigil Open in Alamosa on Sept. 8, Montezuma-Cortez High School sophomore John Whyte stood near the starting line and took in a scene that included 259 competitors and some of the top cross-country runners in Colorado.
While some runners might have been unnerved, Whyte exhibited a look of steely resolve, and when the starting gun fired, the sophomore sprang into the front of the field.
Although Whyte just missed cracking the Top 40, his 41st-place finish in a time of 18:25.10 appeared to position himself to continue toward his goal of appearing in a Class 3A state cross-country meet.
Joining Whyte on the M-CHS boys team were freshman Jadon Elliott, who placed 97th (19:41.70), and senior Ben Castillo-Calvillo, who finished 116th (20:11.90). Other Panthers included sophomore Wes Atcitty, who finished 145th (21:00.10), and sophomore Josh Hughes, who finished 160th (21:18.30).
M-CHS finished 16th, and Dakota Ridge High School won the highly competitive meet.
On the girls’ side, M-CHS was led by sophomore Ridley Dennison, who placed 83rd (24:06.10). Freshman Emalie Myers was 89th (24:21.60), and freshman Marina Bradley was 118th (25:36.00).
Rounding out the girls’ Top 5 were sophomore Trinity Meyers, who placed 14nd (26:52.60), and freshman Siren Utrecht, who was 169th (28:22.30).
M-CHS placed 18th out of 19 teams that qualified for team placing, and The Classical Academy won the title. A total of 218 girls competed in the intense regular-season meet.