Over 700 runners competed in the 4-Corners Cross Country Classic on Friday at the Hillcrest Golf Club in Durango. The event featured middle school, high school, college and community races.
“It really was a community event,” said Fort Lewis head men’s coach Josh Coon. “We’re proud to host that.”
Durango High School won both high school races, led by individual winners Land Lambert and Angela McManus.
The Durango girls dominated their race with a huge pack running together in the lead.
“It was fun; I love running together and we ran together for a long time,” McManus said. “Our strength is to run together and we did that well.”
In the last mile, McManus pulled away from her teammates and finished first in 19 minutes, 55.84 seconds.
“It feels cool,” McManus said. “It’s last home meet and my senior year, so it feels good.”
Willow Lott and Brynn Aggeler finished second and third for DHS, racing each other to the finish. Lott crossed second in 20:16.08, and Aggeler finished third in 20:16.58.
Nina Quayle finished fourth for DHS in 20:39.29 while Abby Fehr crossed sixth in 20:44.12 to round out an almost perfect score for DHS. The girls won the team title with 16 points.
“They ran the way I asked them to run,” said DHS head Ken Flint, saying he wanted them to run controlled for the first two miles and then push it on the last mile. “Running in a pack pushes everybody’s times a little better.”
Seven other DHS girls also finished in the top 23 in the field of 67 runners, including Angelina Kondrat (seventh, 20:58.01), Mia Whistler (ninth, 21:29.16), Sophie Ragsdale (10th, 21:47.39), Avery Cerwin (11th, 21:55.66), Seneca Wilson (20th, 23:25.68) and Kayleigh Frazer (23rd, 23:56.29).
“The team killed it for sure,” McManus said. “I’m very proud of all of them.”
In the high school boys race, Lambert, Damian Frausto and Nathaniel Ellis ran in front for the first mile or so before Lambert and Frausto pulled away.
“They just push each other to those quick times,” Flint said. “They’re smart racers.”
“Running as a pair has definitely helped us,” Frausto said, noting that they’ve finished next to each other at every race this season.
“That’s what we’ve been doing all year,” Lambert said.
The two ran together until the about the last 1,000 meters, when Frausto got a cramp and Lambert kept going to cross first in 16:26.02. Frausto crossed second in 16:39.46, over a minute ahead of the next finisher.
Ellis finished fourth in 17:55.00, Charlie Dillman finished seventh in 18:26.14 and Nove Tocco placed 10th in 18:41.67 to help the DHS boys win the team title with 24 points.
“It feels good, for sure,” Lambert said about the team’s win.
“Everyone has just been running good,” Frausto said.
Thomas Pope finished 27th in 20:06.99, Brodie Dorko slashed over 2 minutes off his previous personal record to place 29th in 20:20.34, Micah Zastrocky crossed 38th in 20:51.47 and Josh Yu placed 43rd in a personal record 21:04.90 for the Demons.
After the high school races, it was Fort Lewis’ turn to run.
The Skyhawks’ women’s team competed with the University of New Mexico in their race.
“We’re really excited they came up,” said FLC head women’s coach Brett Sublett. “Racing a Division I team is not something you pass up.”
With a big meet coming up in Huntsville, Alabama, the team used Friday’s race as sort of a time trial.
“They’re fighting for spots on the travel roster,” Sublett said. “That was some incentive for the gals to push it.”
Angel Curley led Fort Lewis, placing sixth in the 5k in 19:51.96.
Katie Fankhouser ran in her first race of the season and was the second Fort Lewis finisher, placing eighth in 20:26.83.
“She shined,” Sublett said.
Karla De La Cruz placed ninth in 20:30.19, Dorothy Elder crossed 12th in 20:45.79, Krista Benze finished 13th in 20:54.49, Carmella Wright placed 14th in her first race of the year in 20:54.49, and Taylor Murphy placed 15th in 20:59.22.
Sublett said Wright, “really dug in and fought hard today” and that Curley “always shows up.”
UNM’s Semira Firezghi finished first in 18:34.70.
In the men’s race, Fort Lewis squared off with Diné College and unattached runners from other schools.
A few of the team’s runners sat out ahead of the University of Alabama Huntsville Open “to remove a little stress,” Coon said.
Fort Lewis’ John Ngaruiya ended up winning the 8k race in 27:30.35.
“He did great,” Coon said. “Our goal was to work on closing and he closed strong.”
Cebastian Marquez crossed second in 27:46.51.
Brady Burrough finished fourth in 28:33.73, Elvis Chelak crossed fifth in 28:39.34, Preston Graul finished seventh in 28:54.73, Asa Demmert placed 10th in 29:12.31 and Chris Rohlf finished 11th in 29:41.81.
“We have a deep team and most of the guys executed perfectly,” Coon said.
In the middle school races, Lacey Ruggiero won the girls’ 3k race by over 22 seconds in 12:06.93. Isaac Lacey won the boys’ race in 11:07.56.
The event also featured a community race, which Salvador Capetillo won in 16:36.36.