Competing at the Pagosa Springs XC Invitational on Sept. 22, many members of the Montezuma-Cortez High School boys and girls cross-country teams placed as high as they have all season.
On the girls’ side, M-CHS was led by Ridley Dennison, who placed 12th (25:29), and Siren Utrecht, who crossed the line in 21st place (27:30). Other Top 30 finishers for the Lady Panthers included Marina Bradley, who placed 24th (27:35), and Ayanna Silas, who came in 28th (28:35).
Rounding out M-CHS girls team finishers were Trinity Meyers and Kalea Hunt, who placed 39th (29:30) and 40th (39:33), respectively. The Lady Panthers finished second in the team standings behind Pagosa Springs. The meet hosted five girls teams with at least five runners.
“(Finishing in second) was a surprise for our girls and a confirmation of the hard work they have done in practice over the past few weeks,” M-CHS cross-country coach Paul Koops wrote in an email to The Journal. “While the field wasn’t deep, the girls showed solid improvement throughout the lineup.”
On the boys’ side, M-CHS was led by John Whyte, who finished sixth overall (19:52). Davian Robinson finished 15th (21:19), Wes Atcitty crossed the line in 27th (22:19), and Josh Hughes came in 56th (25:02). Jadon Elliot, who was the final M-CHS runner to cross the finish line, placed 59th (25:28).
“John Whyte’s sixth-place finish in the boys race featured an exciting duel with a couple of Bayfield rivals, and the return of Davian Robinson to his early season form was encouraging,” wrote Koops. “The boys team missed our usual No. 2 runner Ben Castillo-Calvillo, but Wes Atcitty, Josh Hughes, and Jadon Cruzan ran well ...”
M-CHS placed fifth out of seven qualifying teams in the standings, and Monticello High School’s boys team finished first overall.
Next up for M-CHS will be the Ancient Trails Invitational, at the Montezuma-County Fairgrounds on Oct. 5.