Buffs shines in Run at the Rim

GCHS Athletics

GCHS boys win title, girls take second

CANON CITY, Colo. -  The nearly annual trek to Colorado to run at higher elevation proved to be worth every mile of the four-plus hour trip to Canon City, Colo. and the Run at the Rim at the historic and scenic Royal Gorge for Garden City High School’s cross country teams.

The Buffs’ boys enjoyed a banner day with all five of its counting score runners placing among the top 20 as they won the team title with 45 points to outdistance Mesa Ridge, Colo. with 60 points. There were nine teams competing.

With the course at the Gorge being about 300 meters short of 5-kilometers, the times were obviously faster as Devin Chappel led the way with a fourth-place finish and a time of 15:55.01. Josiah Munoz was next at 16:14.01 for sixth; Evan Gurrola in seventh with a time of 16:24.99; Isaiah Casados 12th in 16:51.54 and Taran Castro 16th in 17:13.43. Non-counting places came from Hayden Nemechek (17th, 17:13.92) and Aedryc Ortiz (18th, 17:26.16).

The winning time in the boys division came from Canon City’s Nathan Pontious with a time of 14:55.61 as the finishers run across the suspension bridge at the Gorge to end the race.

The opportunity to compete at such a venue as the Royal Gorge was not lost on the Buffs’ Casados.

“Today was definitely a mental test for everyone, but I feel like we all handled it great,” Casados said. “We were able to hold strong and stay close to that next Buffalo be better than the previous meet. It doesn’t get any better than being to be competitive in another state and come home with a team win.”

On the girls’ side, the youthful Buffs likely produced their best effort of the season by placing two runners in the top 10 and scoring 53 points while host Canon City captured the team title with 33 points.

Junior Jocelyn Sosa, returned after missing two weeks, and led the Buffs with a sixth-place finish in a time of 19:56.08 while Natalie Guevara was right behind in seventh in 20:00.47. Cate Wiese placed 12th in 20:47.90 and Samantha Orozco in 13th at 20:51.91. Lana Rodriguez rounded out the scoring with a 15th place finish in a time of 21:35.42. Sara Chapa and Riley Sekavec placed 18th and 22nd with times of 21:41.22 and 21:58.23.

The Buffs’ team score was just in front of third-place Mesa Ridge’s 58 points. Seven schools competed in the girls division. Alexi Till and Alissa Rall paced Canon City with top two finishes in times of 18:39.03 and 18:53.70.

Sosa was happy to return to the lineup for the Lady Buffs and then to see the final results posted.

“The opportunity that was given to us was great,” Sosa said. “We fought through some obstacles and had great outcomes out of it.”

Sosa said the layout at the Royal Gorge presented both challenges and opportunities.

“The course was very fast and took a strong mental mind to get up the hills,” Sosa said. “The scenery crossing the bridge made the experience even better. As a team we stayed close to one another and helped each other push through. It was overall worth it and I am very proud of how we all did today.”

Next up for the Buffs will come on Oct. 9 when they travel to El Dorado, where they will run at El Dorado State Lake.