On Saturday, the Mancos boys cross-country team ran to their best finish at their home meet in more than a decade.
The boys were led by a second-place finish from Justin Burton, who clocked in at 19 minutes, nine seconds, behind individual champion Collin Hatch from Monticello (Utah) in 18:40.
Mancos placed second as a team on the boys side with 33 points behind meet champion Monticello (19).
Mancos High School hosted the 15th annual Chicken Creek Challenge in the San Juan National Forest north of town.
Ten teams from Utah, New Mexico and Colorado attended the meet with almost 300 runners competing across six divisions.
Brandon McKie raced to a third-place time of 19:14, respectively. The team score was rounded out by freshmen Ro Paschal and Asa Kearns, whom finished in 13th and 15th, and times of 19:46 and 20:10.
Behind the Bluejays were the Durango JV, New Mexicos Farmington and Kirtland Central, Montezuma-Cortez High School, Bloomfield (N.M.), and Pagosa Springs, Dolores and Aztec (N.M.) did not have team scores.
For the JV boys, Nic Archuleta led the way with an 11th-place finish in 21:51. He was followed by Vincent Grego in 17th and a time of 23:34, and Zane Goodell in 23rd and a time of 24:26.
Dillon Wells led M-CHS with a seventh-place time of 19:25. Chandler Dee (22nd), Taylor Wilson (34th) and Brackin Whiteskunk (39th) rounded out the Panthers with times of 21:15, 23:08 and 28:14.
On the girls side, Kristin Adams was the lone varsity girls runner for Mancos. She finished in 13th-place in a time of 24:15. The individual champion was Emily Bryant from Pagosa Springs in a time of 21:05. The JV Lady Bluejays were led by individual champion Kia Baikie in a time of 24:45. She was followed by Maya Bonde in 15th-place and a time of 29:36, and Andie Paschal in 16th and a time of 29:56.
A number of good races were turned in today by our runners. I cannot say enough about how good they looked today in front of the home crowd. It is usually our one chance to show the community how we look as a team. Every one of the runners went out and competed very hard today, Mancos coach Brady Archer said. The varsity boys, as a team, did an outstanding job of sticking together and pushing each other. To have the individual finishes we had against some very good teams, will hopefully spark these guys to keep improving. Brandon McKie really showed today that he is healthy and ready to help this group. Our girls are starting to come together also. Kia will now run varsity for the rest of the season, and Andie was running in her first race and did a nice job after working through some injury all season. Maya and Kristin also continue to improve with each passing week. The girls are getting healthy, and I know they will be ready when the regional meet rolls around in a few weeks.
Rachel Demby continues to impress for the M-CHS Lady Panthers. She took third in 22:32. Abby Lock (18th), Julia Damore (31st) and Elana Cope (37th) raced to times of 25:04, 26:39 and 27:42. M-CHS placed sixth as a girls team with 89 points. Kirtland Central was the team champion.
The Lady Panthers JV team placed second behind Pagosa Springs. Kelly Abrams led the pack in fifth-place at 26:38. Amanda Haukeness (17th), Sage Kramer (21st) and Selena LaPaz (23rd) finished at 30:04, 31:52 and 35:35.
Kaylee Charles and Regan Umberger placed second and fifth for the Dolores Lady Bears JV team in 25:50 and 25:59. Ben Baker took 20th in 23:45.66 for the Dolores boys JV squad.
Mancos and Dolores will be at the Ancient Trails 5K Invitational, hosted by M-CHS at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, on Saturday at 9 a.m.