Mancos High School’s cross-country program, a perennial powerhouse in Colorado’s 2A classification, on Oct. 18 traveled to Confluence Park in Delta and ran away with the team championship at the Region 4 meet.
“The boys were incredible,” longtime Mancos head coach Brady Archer said. “The way that our top three runners have run together all season played out well. I think we surprised a number of teams, and we were rewarded with a regional team championship.”
Among the top finishers for the Mancos boys team were sophomores Edgar Hernandez and Connor Sehnert, who crossed the line in fifth and eighth with times of 18 minutes, 2.75 seconds and 18:20.00, respectively.
Close behind the two was Bluejays senior John Lund, who placed ninth (18:28.47). Sophomore Vanfasai Jaijong finished 38th (20:22.32), junior Stephen Knezek placed 47th (21:00.51), and freshman Zack Steele finished 56th (21:42.05).
Senior Sean Bumgarner rounded out the Mancos boys team’s finishers in 77th place (26:19.36) in a race that featured 83 runners.
Mancos finished first in the team standings with 20 points. Caprock Academy finished second with 34 points. By virtue of their top five finish in the team standings, the Bluejays automatically qualified for next week’s state meet.
On the girls side, Mancos was led by junior Grace Manning, who finished fifth with a time of 20:50.19. Because Manning cracked the top 15 in the individual standings, she qualified for next week’s state meet.
Other members of the girls team that competed included sophomore Amaris Webb, who placed 26th (23:35.32), junior Kaysi Thomas, who placed 33rd (24:32.32), and senior Hakayla Snow, who finished 36th (24:42.70).
Mancos junior Kylie Guiles placed 48th, and sophomore Aspen Bumgarner finished 54th (25:48.23) out of 70 runners.
The Mancos girls finished sixth in the team standings and missed out qualifying the entire team for state by a single point. Colorado Rocky Mountain School finished first, with 30 points.
“I am so proud of the way that our girls ran at this meet,” Archer said. “We had one runner who was healthy all season, and the rest of our team dealt with all kinds of injuries. Some of the girls were limited to only one regular season meet and for the team to come together and come within one point of making it back to state says a lot about their mental toughness.”
Next up for the Mancos boys team and Grace Manning will be the Class 2A state championship in Colorado Springs on Oct. 26.