Character on display for Monticello XC team
by Haley Burton
If you were to check MileSplit.com to see the results of the Bayfield Invitational on Saturday, September 17 it would show you that Lilli Burton won the race with Marah Long coming in third and Ayla Carling fourth. But it won’t tell you the story of why they walked away in third, fifth, and sixth instead.
The course was what you might think a cross country race would be. Most of the race was run on dirt trails weaving in and out of juniper trees with a few mud puddles that the runners need to dodge.
It was a three lap cross with each lap crisscrossing with another. Teagan Archer of Mancos and Tayte Hostetter of Centauri High School took the early lead and held that lead until the last 400 yards when they were misdirected by race officials and told to run the lap they had just completed.
It took them an additional 800 yards before the mistake was discovered and the runners were redirected. They finished in 10th and 11th place. Burton was a little confused when she finished the race and spectators were complimenting her on her win.
As a collective whole, the runners who placed first through eighth and their coaches agreed that Archer and Hostetter where the rightful owners of first and second places despite what had occurred. No one cried foul. No one protested. Everyone cheered.
The boys took first in their third consecutive win. Jesse Pettit led the team with a third-place finish followed by Kaden Pehrson in fourth, Curtis Bunker in seventh, Kooper Nielson in eighth, and Josh Wheeler in 13th.
It was an impressive race for all the Buckaroos but the most impressive part wasn’t until the ninth MHS runner came across the finish line.
Eight team members had already finished, but the team wasn’t done. They all ran to meet up with Carter Harrod and closed out the last 800 yards as a team.
Baseball pitcher Mike Marshall once said, “Victory is in the quality of competition and not the final score.”
It was a great day for racing but an even better day to show the character of some amazing athletes. It was a victory for everyone.