Competing against the top athletes in its classification at the Colorado State Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28, the Mancos High School boys and girls cross-country teams acquitted themselves well.
The Bluejays were led by senior Simon Kearns, who capped off a stellar high school cross-country career with an eighth-place finish at the state meet. Kearns’ time of 16:57 represented a team record for the course at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs, which has hosted several state meets in recent years.
“We had a tough state meet last year, so to see Simon run so confidently and finish his high school cross-country career on the podium was special,” wrote Mancos head coach Brady Archer, in an email to The Journal.
Less than a minute behind Kearns was senior Jake McKie, who finished 22nd overall (17:44). Senior Caleb Yoder placed 44th (18:27), senior Zane Wilson crossed the line in 63rd (19:14), senior Alex Fleitz placed 84th (19:56), and sophomore John Lund placed 85th (19:59).
Dolores High School runner Phillip Hufman placed 20th, about 6 seconds ahead of McKie.
As a team, Mancos finished fourth overall behind Lyons, Sargent and Rocky Ford. According to Archer, the Top 5 finish at state was the fourth for his seniors, who placed second as freshmen, third as sophomores, fifth as juniors.
“Most of our boys had been to state before, some of them multiple times,” Archer wrote. “I enjoyed seeing how patiently they ran the race, and I enjoyed seeing them finish off the season so strongly. This group of seniors has been pretty good.”
Unlike the boys’ team, which entered the state meet with a wealth of experience, the Mancos girls arrived at the state meet as relative rookies as only sophomore Hakayla Snow had competed at state prior to this year.
The Lady Jays’ lack of experience did not appear to affect them however, as freshman Grace Manning finished 17th overall (21:18), Snow placed 55th overall (23:06), and freshman Kylie Guiles crossed the line in 66th (23:38).
As a team, Mancos finished 11th overall. Lyons High School won the team championship.
“The girls ran great races, and now that they know what it takes to get (to state), they know what they need to do for next season,” Archer said. “Seeing how much all three girls improved over the course of the season, I know they will be ready to take the next step.”
With their season now complete, many of Mancos’ runners will take a short break before participating in offseason training program, which incorporates several weekly runs and team-building activities.
“When we’re out on a run, all we do is talk,” said Archer, during an interview in 2014. “I get to talk to my team about everything from things they have outside of school to their future college plans.”
In light of the Bluejays’ dedication to offseason training, look for both Mancos teams to again be among the most competitive Colorado’s 2A Classification next season.