By Ian MacLaren
For The Journal
Thanks to impressive performances by several individual runners at the Class 2A Region 4 Cross-country Championships in Delta on Oct. 20, the Mancos High School boys and girls teams qualified for state.
On the boys’ side, the Bluejays were again led by recently crowned San Juan Basin League Runner of the Year Simon Kearns, who finished third overall with a time of 16:44. Close behind were teammates Jake McKie and Caleb Yoder, who finished seventh (17:23) and 11th, respectively.
Other runners for the boys included Zane Wilson, who finished 19th (18:44); Alex Fleitz, who crossed the line in 24th (18:44); and John Lund, who placed 34th (19:33). Stephen Knezek placed 39th (20:14), and Gaven Cooper finished 49th (21:29) for the Bluejays.
The impressive finishes helped the Mancos boys team secure its fourth straight regional title ahead of Ouray, Paonia and Telluride. All four of the region’s top four teams will compete in the state meet next weekend.
“Our boys team did a great job of running the way they have all season,” wrote Mancos head coach Brady Archer in an email to The Journal. “The wind was tough, especially over the last two miles, where you don’t have anything blocking the wind as the runners go around the lake.”
While the boys’ top finish was somewhat expected, the Mancos girls exceeded expectations thanks to standout performances from Grace Manning, Kylie Guiles and Hakayla Snow, who finished 7th (20:59), 18th (23:46) and 19th (23:58) respectively.
As a result of their finishes, the Lady Jays finished fourth as a team at the regional meet behind Paonia, Socorro and Crested Butte and punched their ticket to state.
“Our girls were not predicted to make the state meet. In fact, according to predictions, they were around ninth place in the region,” Archer wrote. “They ran like a veteran team today, and that is why they are going to be running next Saturday.”
According to Archer, the Class 2A State Cross Country Championships will take place in Colorado Springs on Oct. 28. The girls meet will begin at 10 a.m., and the boys meet will start at 11:20 a.m.
“I’m very proud of the way that all of these runners ran (at regionals), and I look forward to seeing them run at the state meet next weekend,” Archer said.