Photo by: 
Joel Priest
Alex Baca flexes as he crosses the finish line in first place at the 3A Region 1 Championship.
Alex Baca flexes as he crosses the finish line in first place at the 3A Region 1 Championship.

GHS Cross Country — Everything must come to an end eventually.

After seven straight years of winning the 3A Region 1 title, the Gunnison High School (GHS) boys cross country team fell just short of making it eight straight. They finished second behind Alamosa.

Yet, it was still a great day on the course for the Cowboys — especially for Alex Baca, who won the 3A Region 1 individual title.

“My goal this season is to take the state title, so I just saw the regional title as a stepping stone of sorts to the end goal,” Baca said. “Beyond that though, my goal has been to help my boys have a strong showing at both the regional and state meet. And so far we certainly have done that, I am beyond proud of the hard work I have seen from the team.

“We are super confident moving into this final week. We are ranked the highest we have been in years and have yet to show the state what we are capable of!”

Baca wasn’t the only GHS runner to have an impressive day, as Jackson Baker crossed the finish line in ninth place in a personal best time of 17:24.00.

Connor Zummach and Brennan Stice weren’t far behind finishing in 11th and 14th places, respectively.

Garrett Brauch and Rowen Downum also had an impressive day, both recording personal best times.

Brauch crossed the finish line in 18:30, earning him 26th place, while Downnum finished in 18:41.

With the second overall finish from the boys, they qualified as a team for the Colorado State Cross Country Championships, which will be held this Saturday in Colorado Springs.

Baca is ranked No. 1 going into state, while Stice, Baker and Zummach are ranked 33rd, 40th and 47th.


Season done early

While things went pretty good for the boys team at regionals, the girls were unable to match their success, despite giving it their all. The girls finished ninth overall — meaning they won’t be sending a team to state this season.

Ivy Pelletier led the way for the Cowboys crossing the finish line in 21st place, in a time of 21:29.00.

Izabella Hartzell was next to finish for GHS in 39th in a personal best time of 22:59.00, while Skye Bleakley, Aulea Rollins and Anna Cattles finished not too far behind, in 45th, 49th and 52nd place.

Rounding things off for the Cowboys was Justine Mowery, who also recorded a personal best time at regionals.

Mowery crossed the finish line in a time of 23:43.00, which earned her 53rd place.

Additionally, the girls team was also unable to qualify a runner individually.

(Brandon Warr can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or