Log In

Reset Password

San Juan Basin teams get league preview in Cortez

Dolores' Maya Lowe leads Nucla's Kieran Bray down the backstretch of the 800 meters in the Bob Archibeque Invitational in Cortez. Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal
Big turnout for Dolores and Dove Creek shines at Archibeque Invitational

CORTEZ – While Dolores track and field has enjoyed plenty of success in the past, the 2024 edition may be prepping to send one of its largest contingents to Lakewood in mid-May for the 2A state championships.

In virtually every event across competition at the Bob Archibeque Invitational in Cortez, Bears made a mark – and there were plenty of them available to make statements. With over 30 athletes for the black-and-red this spring, Dolores High School is prepped to make noise at the state meet, along with sitting among the contenders in the San Juan Basin League.

Dove Creek and Mancos also all look to have their say, as the Bulldogs and Bluejays enjoyed some season-best performances at Panther Stadium with just a few weekends left before the league convenes in Ignacio for the SJBL championships.

Dolores' Maya Lowe leads Nucla's Kieran Bray down the backstretch of the 800 meters in the Bob Archibeque Invitational in Cortez. Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal
Dolores girls fifth, boys eighth in Cortez

When the Dolores girls cross-country team made a splash this fall with a trip to the state championships, the carry-over success to the track appeared inevitable. The athletes that led the way for banner seasons for both the girls and boys have made their stamp on a program that continues to add numbers and success this spring.

Co-head coaches Travis Rantz and Angie Lowe have plenty of reason for optimism with this year’s bunch, as the distance crew continues to enjoy success, while the sprints, relays, and field events have also grown in leaps and bounds. Junior sisters Elia and Maya Lowe serve as key legs on the 4x400 and 4x800 relays that have real ambition of qualifying for state, while both enjoyed individual success as well, with Elia Lowetaking second in the 1,600 and Maya Lowe equaling that placement in the 800.

Junior Coralea Wright, also a part of the XC success, joins junior Emma Kemp as leaders for the sprint group, with Wright taking sixth in the 400, while Kemp anchored the team’s 4x200 relay that took fourth. Upperclassmen Lara Rimbert, Kayla Tallmadge, and Savannah Stiegelmeyer teamed up with freshman Cheyanne Keim for fifth in the 4x100, while freshman Kendall Chavez joined junior Keira LaRose and the Lowe sisters on the runner-up 4x400.

Sophomore Taylor Erautt scored in the 100 and 300 hurdles, as the Bears accumulated 38 points to finish as the second-best SJBL team in the meet behind Ignacio.

The DHS boys enjoyed similar success, led by sophomore Michael Rantz’ sweep of the 200 and 400 meters, as his times all but assured himself a place in the 2A state field. Rantz anchored the 4x100 relay with sophomore Aaron Nielson, junior Tray Traweek, and senior Mark Palate that shaved more time off their season best with a third-place finish. Nielson also scored in the mile, while helping a young 4x800 relay with freshmen Owen Lowe and Corvin Smith, along with sophomore Bridger Beyhan to a fourth-place run.

Sophomore Kayson Greene and senior Josh Carpenter both scored in the throwing events, helping the Bears tally 41 team points.

“Our kids are seeing others succeed, and they’re feeding off it,” said the Bears head coach Travis Rantz, “more kids are getting excited about track and field, not just for this season, but to help them get better at other sports.”

Dove Creek boys take fifth, girls earn eighth

The defending SJBL champs know they’ll have their work cut out for them for a repeat, but Dove Creek’s boys squad – when fully stocked – has plenty of pieces in place to challenge at the top.

A stellar season for senior Cody Alexander in the hurdles headlines a full complement of Bulldogs who may battle for state spots in the 1A field. Alexander took second in the 110s and third in the 300s, while on the track, Dove Creek saw strength in the distance events from sophomores Jonathan Davis and Mason Forst, who scored in the 800 and 1,600, respectively.

Dove Creek added relay points, as senior Colten Fury added to his individual seventh-place in the 200 to bolster a third-place 4x200 relay with Alexander, Davis, and freshman Bryson Dixon. Meanwhile, in the field events, senior Bowdy Seely and freshman Gavin Gill scored in the discus, while junior Sheldon Gardner posted strong finishes in both the discus and shot put. Sophomore Josh Kibel added the Bulldog muscle in the throwing ring, as the ‘Dogs scored 68 points – the second-best point total of the SJBL teams.

“We’re a young team, and we know that we have a lot of dual sport athletes who also play baseball, which means we only get them from time to time,” said Dove Creek head coach Jason Fury, “our kids are used to working hard in sports – and they enjoy doing both, so we try to pull it off where they can compete as much as they can.”

Junior Ralynn Hickman leads a young girls squad, placing in both the 100 and the long jump, while sophomore Mykaela Fury tallied in the 800, and classmate Casey Kricheldorf placed in the discus. Hickman teamed up with junior Aspen Nye, and sophomores Ambrynn Huffaker and Grace Myers to claim the highest Bulldogs relay finish with a runner-up spot in the 800-sprint medley.

Upperclassmen lead Mancos

The upperclassmen paced the Bluejays to test their midseason form, as juniors Adaline Kearns and Sarah Knezek, along with seniors Teya Yeomans, Haylie Higgins, Akima Kane, and Chloe Endres all posted scoring performances to pace the Jays to a 10th-place team finish.

On the boys side, without their full squad, the Bluejays still enjoyed strong days from junior Spencer Eschallier – who scored in both the high jump and triple jump, as well as freshman Michael Resner – who scored in the long jump and 100 meters, to lead the Jays to ninth-place as a squad.

“Just in the few weeks we’ve had up to this point, everybody’s grown into their own,” said Mancos head coach Trey Gordanier. “They’re all doing a really good job of getting out there and competing and growing.”

Reader Comments