Demby runs to win; Panthers improving
Training breeds confidence, confidence precipitates improvement, and for one Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers cross-country runner, improvement has translated into wins.
Paced by star junior Rachel Demby, the hard-working Panthers cross-country team performed admirably for the fourth consecutive week, running confidently while posting improved times across the board.
Winning her second individual meet title of the season was Demby, who, after remaining just ahead of the pack during the first two miles of the race, surged ahead on the course’s first significant hill to take a 30-second lead.
For the remainder of the race, Demby relinquished nothing, winning the girls’ meet title in a time of 20:28.
“(Demby) ran a smart race,” wrote Panthers’ head coach Paul Koops in an email to the Cortez Journal. “The hard hills and intervals of our training regimen are paying off.”
Also running impressively for the Cortez Panthers was Elana Cope, whose time of 24:18 was good enough for a 34th place.
Following Cope, Samantha Bagge placed 52nd (26:21), Julia Damore placed 58th (28:17), Madison VanBibber placed 60th (28:56) and Kalie Singer placed 61st (28:59).
As a team, the Panthers girls finished eighth overall in a stacked field, which included teams from Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
On the boys’ side, the Panthers were led by Chandler Dee, whose time of 18:46 was good enough for 23rd place.
Just behind Dee was Panthers’ runner Justice Ramos, who crossed the line in 18:54, a time good enough for 25th place.
Also crossing the line for the boys’ varsity team, Taylor Wilson placed 52nd (20:07), Jon Bloedel placed 56th (20:16) and Bracken Whiteskunk placed 66th (21:18).
Overall, the Panthers’ boys’ team placed ninth.
“The individual times for the Panthers thinclads continue to improve almost across the board for both boys and girls,” wrote Koops, assessing his team’s performance. “It was a beautiful day under the New Mexico sun … and a good time was had by all.”
Next on the Panthers’ schedule is the Chicken Creek Challenge, scheduled for 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 28 in Mancos. Teams from Colorado, Utah and New Mexico will be present at the meet.