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Panthers track and field honors head coach in Bob Archibeque Invitational

Montezuma-Cortez names home invite after longtime program leader
Montezuma-Cortez track and field coach Bob Archibeque has been a part of the coaching staff for 47 years, including the past 27 as head coach. In 2024, the Panthers chose to recognize their coach by naming their home meet as the Bob Archibeque Invitational. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

CORTEZ – For Montezuma-Cortez track and field coach Bob Archibeque, his impact can’t be defined by the hundreds of student-athletes that his gentle demeanor has touched over his coaching tenure. It may be more apt to measure it in terms of generations.

While Archibeque’s coaching tenure, both as head and assistant coach, has spanned numerous sports – his longevity with Montezuma-Cortez athletics is perhaps most recognizable with his 47 years and counting as part of the track and field coaching staff.

That made it even more fitting that the Panthers immortalized his impact by naming their annual home meet the Bob Archibeque Invitational.

“He has the coolest philosophy, wanting to mentor the student-athletes to be good people,” said Panther jumps coach Jeremy Yarbrough. “Everything he does is for the kids.”

For the student-athletes, “Arch” is an institution, showing up early for practices, bringing the whole group together for an inspirational word before the athletes break off into their event groups.

“He makes me better at practice every day,” Panthers junior Tay Wheat said. “He has a connection with everyone on the team – he makes it feel like we’re all a family.”

Former longtime Panthers cross country coach and track assistant Paul Koops said he has “nothing but admiration” for Archibeque.

“He’s so dedicated to his teams. There are student-athletes on this team whose parents Bob coached, and their parents, too. The impact he’s had on the community is incredible,” Koops said.

Montezuma-Cortez 400-meter relay teammates Levi Bramwell and Ridge Hathale make their first exchange in their race on Friday, April 12, 2024, at the Bob Archibeque Invitational in Cortez. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

Aside from encouraging student-athletes, Archibeque also created his own coaching tree – including former athlete and current Montezuma-Cortez football and hurdles coach Ivan Mack.

“He’s the epitome of a coach … able to relate to the kids and makes them feel like they’re part of something bigger,” Mack said. “My desire to be a coach myself stemmed from watching him from when he was my football and track coach in high school – he taught me how to be tough, but also to have compassion.”

In front of their home fans and plenty of alumnus, the current Panthers put on a show. The boys team squeezed points from every angle to win the meet by three points over Pagosa Springs, while the girls piled up plenty of points of their own, narrowly finishing second to the Pirates.

Sophomore Wyatt Oliver won the 300 hurdles, while senior Levi Bromwell won the 110 hurdles. Junior Corbin Myers won the 3,200 meters, and junior Houston Hurst won the pole vault.

Montezuma-Cortez 400-meter relay teammates Tinley Philpott and Gabby Foster exchange the baton in their race on Friday, April 12, 2024, at the Bob Archibeque Invitational in Cortez. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

However, the Panthers’ team victory came from performances like freshman Diego Muniz’s personal best in the shot put to take eighth overall. Freshman William Blair, along with sophomores Josh Yarbrough and Roberto Sauzameda, also scored points and recorded personal records in the 3,200. Six Panthers placed in the top eight in both the 110 and 300 hurdles.

Junior Ben Hoffman took third in the 400 meters, just in front of Hurst, while junior Ridge Hathale took sixth in the 200 meters. The Panthers also placed second in the 1,600-meter relay.

For the girls, hurdle depth has also become their calling card. Sophomore Marlee Mack led the way with victories in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, while sophomore Aubrie Matthias and freshman Hayden Matthias were not far behind. Freshman Josie Mack joined senior Heather Martinez among the Panthers also tallying points in the event.

Freshman Tessa Jackson continued a strong first season for the Panthers, winning the high jump with a new best. Mack won the long jump, and sophomore Tatum Endres claimed fourth in the pole vault.

Sophomore Taylor Johnson won the shot put, while senior Kayce Tom and freshman Journey Seymour both scored in that event. Junior Olivia Yarbrough and senior Alicia Brito both added points in the triple jump.

The Panthers won both the 800-sprint medley and the 3,200 relays, while taking second in the 400 and 800 relays.

A personal best in the 3,200 relay capped a busy day for senior Savannah Haselroth, who also scored in the 800 and 400 events. Freshman Tinley Philpott had a personal best performance in the 100 meters, as Montezuma-Cortez tallied 169.5 team points to take second overall.

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