Competing against larger schools at the Pagosa Springs Cross-country Challenge on Sept. 23, Mancos High School’s boys and girls teams held their own thanks to performances by their top two runners.
On the girls’ side, the Bluejays were led by fast-rising freshman Grace Manning, who outkicked her competition near the finish line and took first overall (23:40).
Senior stalwart Simon Kearns captured top honors in the boys’ race with a time of 19:20.
“Both Simon and Grace ran really well,” wrote Bluejays head coach Brady Archer. “Grace had a Pagosa Springs girl pass her with about 800 meters to go, but worked her way back in front and outkicked the other runner. Simon looked comfortable from start to finish despite wet conditions that made for a somewhat slippery course.”
Other top finishers for the Lady Jays included Hakayla Snow, who placed 27th (27:51), and Kylie Guiles, in 37th (29:46). Since the Mancos girls team only had three runners, it did not place as a team.
The Bluejays received solid performances from Jake McKie, who placed fifth (20:05), and Caleb Yoder, in sixth (20:24). Zane Wilson crossed the line in 27th (22:07) and Stephen Knezek placed 32nd (22:26).
The Mancos boys team placed second in the seven-team field behind Monticello, which won.
Archer praised the efforts of senior McKie and freshman Knezek, whom the head coach lauded for his improvement.
Continuing their push toward regionals and state, runners from Mancos face another busy week, which includes the John Thornton Invitational in Blanding on Sept. 27 and the Chicken Creek Challenge in Mancos on Sept. 30.