DELTA – It was just about picture-perfect for the Bluejay distance runners. On a gorgeous fall day at Confluence Park in Delta, both the Mancos boys and girls teams put together one of their most complete meets of the season Friday to climb onto the podium in their respective 2A regional meets and earn a spot in the 2A State Championship Cross Country Meet.
On one of the fastest courses in the state, the Bluejays posted numerous personal bests as the Bluejay girls took second place as a team, just behind regional champion Soroco, while the boys leaned on strong finishes from their scoring pack to land fourth place.
Freshman Teagan Archer has established herself as one of the premier distance runners on the Western Slope, and the first-year stepped up again under the spotlight, pacing head coach Brady Archer’s girls’ team with a fourth-place individual performance, crossing the line in 20:51.
Teammates Adaline Kearns, a freshman, and Madilynn Ritter, a junior, both emerged with big races for Mancos, placing within the top 15, as 14th and 15th, respectively. Both of their performances would have landed them an individual qualification, but coupled with sophomore Chloe Endres taking 31st overall in 23:36, the Jays had more than enough to power their way to the state championships.
Their 64 points placed them comfortably into a qualifying spot, one point ahead of Caprock Academy, and nine points ahead of Colorado Rocky Mountain School. It will mark the first time since 2018 that a Bluejay girls cross country team will run at the state’s highest level.
Dolores finished just outside of a state qualifying spot, as the Bears took sixth place as a team, just seven points out of qualification, led by freshman Elia Lowe’s 23rd place run in 22:52.
As for the boys, Mancos’ Edgar Hernandez took the bronze medal in the individual standings, blistering the five-kilometer course in a time of 17:07. His third-place finish behind regional champion Connor Williams of Crested Butte, coupled with senior Connor Sehnert’s 15th place finish (18:23), helped the Bluejay boys compile 88 points to capture one of the coveted state qualification spots.
Ouray won the boys regional title with 44 points. The Jays’ boys team makes a return trip to the state meet as a team after their most recent appearance in 2019.
Sophomore Bluejay Braxton Dennison (19:15) placed 28th overall, and junior Soren Braford-Lefebvre raced to 43rd position (20:25) to round out the Bluejay scoring and lift the Jays ahead of fifth-place Olathe.
Dolores freshman Wyatt Kiddoo took 77th place individually to pace the Bears, who did not have a complete team in the competition.
Mancos gets set for the 2A State Championships, to be competed at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs on Saturday, Oct. 30th. The 2A boys’ championships are slated to run at 9:40 a.m., while the girls will follow at 11 a.m. All qualifying teams are allowed to run six athletes in the meet, with the top four athletes scoring for their team total.
This article was republished Oct. 26 to correct the year that the Mancos High School cross-country team last went to the state meet. It was 2018.