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Hernandez, Mancos boys finish in top 10 at Stampede cross-country meet

Mancos' Edgar Hernandez enters the Bear Creek Park section of the 2021 Cheyenne Mountain Stampede's Norris-Penrose Event Center/BCP course Friday, Sept. 3, in Colorado Springs. (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)

COLORADO SPRINGS – Mancos cross-country anchor Edgar Hernandez on Friday placed in the top 10 at the prestigious Cheyenne Mountain Stampede. But he’s still not satisfied.

“I slowed down quite a bit; I think I could have run faster,” he said.

He had just finished the course that will host the state finals this fall, a year after being denied a spot in the 2020 race because of pandemic-reduced field.

Friday, Hernandez could have slyly held back to conceal his capabilities against the classification’s best. But overall, he finished 10th in 18 minutes, 20.4 seconds, about 20 seconds behind the seventh-place runner, Fort Collins Heritage Christian Academy’s Ryan O’Loughlin, and the group chasing winner Jodzuel Juarez of Ellicott. Sixth place at last season’s state meet, Juarez posted 16:35.6, about four seconds faster than HCA’s Jack Nauman (16:39.5). Heritage Christian’s Andrey Kutchma (17:16.7) came in third, and Dylan Brush (17:34.9) of Colorado Springs St. Mary’s was fourth.

“There’s some spots that were pretty sunny – I kind of struggled with the heat – but other than that it was pretty good,” said Hernandez. “Last year, I didn’t make it, so I’m kind of glad being back.”

Next to cross for Mancos was Connor Sehnert, who took 35th in 20:02.4. Connor Lee place 82nd in 22:49, and Braxton Dennison finished 84th in 23:13.9. Lucas Figueroa ended up 97th in 25:39.8.

Mancos' Connor Sehnert approaches the 2-mile marker during the 2021 Cheyenne Mountain Stampede Friday afternoon, Sept. 3, in Colorado Springs. (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)

All told, 114 runners finished the Stampede’s 2A boys’ race, with Heritage Christian earning first place with a meet-low adjusted (non-scoring individuals were excluded from the mathematics) score-4 tally of 21 points. Colorado Springs’ Thomas MacLaren Charter School took second with 48 and St. Mary’s third with 50. Mancos, meanwhile, ended up accumulating 165 points and ranked ninth out of 14 scoring teams that braved the Norris-Penrose Event Center/Bear Creek Park route.

“The heat was a major factor,” Sehnert said, “but also the ending. It rained yesterday, was pretty muggy, and it was kind of hard to finish, but if you could just push through … there was only 200 meters left. That got all your energy out, definitely.”

“We did pretty well in the Dolores meet and the Cortez meet, so it’s nice to come up here and see your really highly-competitive teams in the 2A level,” he said. “We can just take our experience from here and apply it.”

Mancos will next compete Saturday, Sept. 11, in Alamosa at the Joe I. Vigil Invitational upon the grounds of Cattails Golf Course. The Bayfield Invitational is slated for the following weekend.