Over the past half-decade, the Mancos High School cross-country program has solidified itself as one of the finest prep programs in the area. Thus, it is hardly surprising that hopes surrounding the team's upcoming season are high.
Boys determined to return to state
Leading the way for the Bluejays boys team this season will be standout junior Ro Paschal, who, fresh off a summer of intense training, will look to compete with the top Class 2A runners in the state.
"I'm excited about the season," said Paschal. "I'm hoping we will qualify for state and I'm confident that we can."
Also figuring to have make a difference for the boys team will be Asa Kearns, who consistently ranked among the Bluejays top-five runners last season. After training throughout the summer, Kearns hopes to be even better this year.
"Last season, we barely missed out on state," said Kearns. "We have a lot of runners out this year and I think that will help us. We should have a good season."
Other runners expected to impact this year's boys team will be Nic Archuleta, Zane Goodell and Simon Kearns.
Discussing the boys' prospects this season, Bluejays head coach Brady Archer expressed excitement.
"The boys team is looking strong," said Archer. "Between our returning runners and some of our younger guys, I think we'll enjoy some success."
Girls team low on numbers, high on talent
Coming off an impressive season that saw them qualify for state, the Bluejays girls team is hoping to again perform well. With only three runners competing however, solid team results could be difficult for the group to achieve.
Leading the way for the Bluejays will be sophomore Emma Most, who, coming off a 25th place finish in the state last year, will look to be even better this year.
"We'll have a small team," said Most. "We would like to get back to state though."
Complementing Most will be sophomores Kristin Adams and Jessalyn Bay-Voit, who competed in the state meet last year.
According to Archer, all three young runners will be even better this season.
"Our young girls were very solid last year, and I expect them to be even better this season," said Archer. "As freshmen, they are still getting a feel for the (5 kilometer) distance.