Mancos tracks strong tradition

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:19 PM

The Mancos track and field team looks to defend its 2A San Juan Basin League title on the boys side and contend on the girls side.

Thirty-seven athletes are on the team, and many new faces have been welcomed into the Mancos program. Head coach Alan Matthews has set the bar high for his team.

“In track and field, they are always high,” Matthews said about expectations. “Last year our boys team won the league championship, and we return a lot of those same boys.”

The Bluejays finished 10th at state overall last year.

Senior distance runner Eric Lewis will run the one-mile, 800 meter and 4 x 400 meter relay events this year. Lewis broke his high school record in the half-mile as a junior. Lewis comes into this season ranked No. 1 in 2A in the half and one-mile events. A state championship is the goal for Lewis this season.

“I’m really excited, since it’s my last year, he said. “I just want to go out on a good note. In the 800 (meter), I really want to be a state champion; hopefully in the mile, too.”

The Lady Bluejays have a lot of youth and good new talent.

“We got a good group and our numbers are up, so that’s good,” Matthews said about the Lady Bluejays.

Senior distance runner Kelsey Corbin etched her name in the Mancos High School record books as a junior with her top times in the one- and two-mile events.

“I didn’t train a lot with the track team last year, so it should be easier to break it again,” Corbin said about breaking her records.

Both Lewis and Corbin were cross country standouts at Mancos, too.

“You’re looking at two of the best distance runners in the entire area,” Matthews said about Lewis and Corbin.

Matthews is looking to build the team back into a top-five program in the state like it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“We used to place teams in the top five every year, so that’s where we’re trying to get back to,” Matthews said. “The biggest goal for our staff is to help the kids achieve their goals, whether that be prepping for another sport they’re more serious about or prepping to be a state champion, and everything that falls in between that. That’s what we try to accomplish as a staff.”

Mancos cross country coach Brady Archer is coaching the distance runners on both sides.

The first meet of the season is Saturday in Farmington, N.M., beginning at 9 a.m. The meet is hosted by Piedra Vista High School.

“We like to start off in New Mexico because of the weather,” Matthews said. “We get to see the big 4A schools from down there and get a good look at good competition early.”

Mancos will compete in Southwest Colorado for the most part this season, which is something Matthews is pleased about.

“There are so many track meets that are ran well and there are so many good programs,” Matthews said. “We’re fortunate that we don’t have to travel a long ways to be at a good track meet.”

Reach Bobby Abplanalp at