It’s four in a row for the Mancos Lady Bluejays.
After finishing second-place at the 2A Region-4 meet in Delta on Oct. 19, the Mancos girls cross-country team is heading back to state.
Seniors Rachel Beverlin and Devin Kroeker will cap off four successful years in Aurora today at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds beginning at 9:30 a.m.
“I would really like to beat my PR (personal record). We’ll see what happens,” said Beverlin, a Dolores High School senior who qualified for her fourth state meet.
Beverlin made All-State as a sophomore and hopes to make the All-State team this year. She also aspires to run cross-country in college.
“It depends on how I do at state. I have colleges looking at me right now,” said Beverlin, who’s interested in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schools Fort Lewis, Adams State and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Kroeker is looking to end her Mancos career with a “bang.”
“I’m just going to make the most of it and enjoy it as much as I can,” she said. “It’s been a good run.”
The course at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds features a large hill that runners must traverse over two times. Aurora is 5,471-feet elevation above sea level, which is much lower than the 7,000-foot Mancos elevation, and the elevation at courses across the Western Slope. The girls feel their high altitude training could serve as an advantage today.
“I would think so, yeah,” Kroeker said about high altitude training being a benefit. “It’s a faster course than a lot of the courses that we’ve been running. Either way, we feel a little bit better in the end.”
Mancos coach Brady Archer wants his seniors to ultimately feel satisfied when their season is all over.
“I think it’s just going out and having the best possible race you can have,” Archer said about the Lady Bluejays seniors. “You don’t want to have this last opportunity in high school cross-country to be something where you look back, and felt like maybe you could have done a little more out there. What I’ll end up telling them is, ‘Just go out and make sure that the race you have, is the race that you can look back on and say, “I gave it everything I could that day.”’”
Freshmen Kristin Adams and Danika Evensen will join their senior teammates at the Colorado High School Activities Association 2A Cross Country State Championships.
“It’s always nice to have that experience of your (senior) girls that know when they need to step up and be ready at that time (end) of year. I think that helped our freshmen girls,” Archer said. “That’s what I always hope for. That they see the time of season that we’re in. That’s the way I set up our training, is just to be ready at that time of year.”
Two on the boys side will return to the state meet. Junior Brandon McKie and sophomore Justin Burton qualified for Aurora. Both Bluejays have made state each year they’ve been in high school.
“With our boys, even though we aren’t sending a full team, it’s a tough boys region,” Archer said. “We had three of the top four (2A) teams in the state in our region. To get two boys out of our region, I think that just helps them be ready for next season with one more year of (state) experience.”
Burton was ill at the state meet last season. He is hoping to turn in stronger performance this year.
“My time was slower (last year). This year, I’d like to get under 18 (minutes),” said Burton, who ran in 17:51 at regionals.
Burton, too, thinks that some of the courses Mancos ran on in the regular season prepared him well for today.
“I thought Pagosa Springs was a really hard course,” he said. “It’s mostly switchbacks. You run about a mile up hill, a mile down hill. That course is pretty challenging. Bayfield has a pretty big hill. Cortez’ hill is smaller, but it’s more a pretty steep incline. Most of them (courses) that we train, are pretty big hills.”
The Mancos boys will race at 11:30 a.m.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at firstname.lastname@example.org.