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Mancos Bluejays finish 10th at 2A cross-country championships

Mancos' Teagan Archer, shown in a file photo, finished 17th at the 2A State Championships (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)
Sophomore Teagan Archer earns 17th Individually

Few teams know the state cross-country course like the Mancos girls team.

The Bluejays brought plenty of know-how to the Norris Penrose Events Center on Saturday, as the Bluejays navigated to a 10th-place finish at the 2A State Championships – their second consecutive top-10 placement in the meet.

Racing under conditions suited for strong performances, the Jays utilized patience and steady races to surpass some of their regional foes on their way to finishing in the top half of the field.

Sophomore Teagan Archer improved her freshman state performance, climbing to 17th overall in the race to front-run for Mancos. Archer started in a pack just outside of the top 20 with a 6:33 pace for the opening mile, then moved up as the race progressed, clipping off several runners in front of her to earn her highest state placement.

Archer’s time of 21:01 was almost a full minute faster than her time on the same course a year ago.

The Mancos High School cross-country team is shown during a practice job earlier this year. The Bluejays on Saturday finished 10th at the 2A state championships at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs. (Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal)

Classmate Adaline Kearns followed up her strong regional race with a top-50 finish in the state, taking 47th overall with a time of 22:40. Much like Archer, Kearns’ improvement yielded several places higher in the 2022 edition of the meet, while her time was 54 seconds faster than her freshman effort.

Kearns held strong in the latter stages of the race, preserving her top-50 spot as the field pushed to the finish line inside the rodeo arena.

Senior Madilynn Ritter took 66th with a 23:46 5K time, and like Archer and Kearns, Ritter made sure to grind out the final mile to protect each precious point. In her final high school cross-country race, Ritter opened with a 7:07 first mile, helping the Jays to sit in 10th as a team in the early stages of the race.

Mancos sophomore Adaline Kearns enters the third mile during the 2022 CHSAA Cross-Country State Championships' Class 2A Girls' race Saturday, Oct. 29, at Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. She placed 47th in 22:40.4. (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)
Mancos sophomore Sarah Knezek leads a trio around a bend in the backside of the Norris-Penrose Event Center course during the 2022 CHSAA Cross-Country State Championships' Class 2A Girls' race Saturday, Oct. 29, in Colorado Springs. Knezek finished 94th in 25:33.5. (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)
Battling through the backside of the Norris-Penrose Event Center course between its first and second mile markers, Mancos senior Madilynn Ritter remains fiercely focused during the 2022 CHSAA Cross-Country State Championships' Class 2A Girls' race Saturday, Oct. 29, in Colorado Springs. Ritter placed 66th in 23:46.1.

Mancos fell into 11th place at the two-mile split, but recovered to earn the top-10 spot just in front of Olathe.

Sophomore Sarah Knezek finished as the fourth Bluejay to cross the finish line, make a huge leap from freshman to sophomore season with a 94th place finish, running 25:33, and well over a minute faster in her second state meet than in her debut.

Junior Chloe Endres provided a big boost for the Jays in the overall scoring, as her 96th-place finish, just six seconds behind Knezek, beat out the Olathe fifth-place runner – which broke a tie in the overall team standings. Endres ran a time of 25:39, while classmate Mandi Peacock made her state debut with a 109th place finish in 26:34.

After finishing fifth in the regional meet, the Jays topped two teams that had beaten them just a week prior. Mancos scored 197 points, edging Olathe (197) via tiebreaker and 12th place North Fork (211).

Lake County captured back-to-back state titles in girls cross country, winning the race going away, as four Panthers cracked the top 15 to help them take the title with 34 points. Heritage Christian Academy (48), Banning Lewis Prep (75) and Caprock Academy (99) rounded out the top four teams in the meet. Sophomore Nadhia Campos of The Vanguard School also claimed her second consecutive individual title, running away from the field with a time of 18:37 to win by 31 seconds over North Fork’s Jessica Black.

In the 2A boys race, Ignacio senior Eppie Quintana took 53rd overall (18:36) after having qualified as an individual.

In the 4A races, the Durango girls team took third in the 4A state championships, while the boys team took seventh in their race.