At the same time, the Mancos sophomore could see Durango High School’s Bailey Freeman 15-yards ahead, closing in on the finish line. Although Manning’s body told her to stop, her heart implored her to keep going and using every ounce of energy, she began to sprint.
Ten yards from the finish line, Manning passed her gassed opponent and after finishing one second ahead of Freeman with a time of 22:35, Manning collapsed to the ground and laid in the gravel a few yards from the finish line.
“Usually, I’m about ready to quit (at the end of the race) and I don’t really want to sprint,” Manning explained. “Today, I was so close and I thought, I might as well sprint. The fans were really encouraging.”
While Manning’s come-from-behind victory constituted a major highlight in the six-school meet, the performances of several other local runners also stood out as competitors from Mancos and Montezuma-Cortez High School performed well.
Among the top performers were M-CHS’s Ridley Dennison and Emalie Myers, who placed fourth and seventh, respectively, with times of 23:59 and 24:44. Siren Utrecht placed 22nd (25:48), Marina Bradley finished 23rd (25:52), Ayanna Silas crossed the line in 25th (26:26), and Trinity Meyers placed 28th for M-CHS (26:54).
“(The race) felt like it went well,” Dennison said. “I just hung with it and tried to keep my pace. The hill is pretty challenging, but I like the top of the course.”
Placers for the Mancos team included Hakayla Snow, who finished 26th (26:31), Aspen Bumgarner, who placed 29th (26:59), Kaysi Thomas, who crossed the line in 35th (27:37), Kylie Guiles, who placed 36th (27:59), and Zoey Steele, who finished 37th (27:59).
Durango High School finished first in the team standings, M-CHS finished second, and Mancos finished fourth. Five total schools had the requisite number of runners to place as a team.
“Our girls, led by Ridley Dennison and freshman Emalie Myers, were delighted by their second-place team finish,” wrote M-CHS head coach Paul Koops in an email to The Journal. “I want to compliment Assistant Coach Joey Schrichte on getting the athletes ready to run at the meet. Sometimes, all of the excitement of the home meet can distract from actually competing.”
With the regular season winding down, M-CHS will take a short break from competition before traveling to its Class 3A Regional race in Aspen on Oct. 19. Mancos will compete at the Eric Wolff Invitational on Oct. 12.