Over the past four years, Mancos High School seniors Simon Kearns, Jake Mckie and Caleb Yoder have run hundreds of miles side-by-side and competed in more races than any of the three would care to count.
Thus, it was not altogether surprising when the blue-and-white clad senior trifecta, competing in the final regular season cross-country event of their high school careers, raced ahead of the field and nailed down the top three spots at the Ancient Trails Invitational in Cortez on Oct. 6.
Kearns finished first with a time of 18:01, Mckie placed second with a time of 18:34, and Yoder crossed the line in third with a time of 18:35. After the race, Mancos head coach Brady Archer expressed appreciation for his veteran runners.
“The senior boys that we have are a special group,” Archer wrote.
“The (Cortez) course is tougher than it looks, and they all ran really good races. I know that they are ready for regionals.”
Other top finishers for the Mancos boys team included Zane Wilson, who placed 13th (20:23), and Alex Fleitz, who came in 16th overall (20:43). Gavin Cooper was 38th (23:17), and Griff Huver was 51st (26:48).
As a team, the Mancos boys finished first overall ahead of Montezuma-Cortez High School, Wingate High School, and four other teams.
On the girls side, Mancos was led by Hakayla Snow, who crossed the line in 21st place (25:42). The Lady Jays’ other representative, Kylie Guiles, placed 27th overall (26:10).
Next up for the Mancos cross- country teams will be the Class 2A Regional race, in Delta on Oct. 20.
“All of our runners ran the way I was hoping that they would run,” Archer said.
“Our younger runners have done a great job all season working to be ready for our regional race. I know that all of runners are going to show up at the start line in two weeks ready to run great races.”