While the early part of the cross-country season only provides an initial picture of where teams are entering the season based on their summer fitness, a number of Montezuma County runners posted early-season high marks at the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational at Parque de Vida in Cortez.
On the two-loop course, the athletes from all three county schools fed off of the supportive atmosphere of the spectator-friendly route, aiding in a number of top finishes for Mancos, Dolores, and M-CHS.
Mancos’ Edgar Hernandez led the way for the Bluejays, making it clear that he will be a real threat for the individual title at the 2A regional meet in October. The senior ran a time of 17:56 over the five-kilometer course, finishing third overall in the boys race.
Classmate Connor Sehnert also broke into the top 10, finishing in 19:49 to take 10th and help lead the Bluejays to a fifth-place team finish. Sophomore Bluejay Braxton Dennison (23:01) placed 34th overall.
M-CHS senior Jadon Elliott, who has emerged as a leader for the Panthers this fall, took the top overall finish for the orange-and-black, posting a 30th place finish in a time of 22:19. Freshman Corbin Myers (23:16) and senior Kiernan Korthank (23:17) landed a few spots behind in 35th and 36th places, respectively. The Panthers took seventh place as a team in their home invitational.
The Dolores boys were led by Wyatt Kiddoo, who placed 55th in a time of 27:03.
On the girls side, Dolores girls had less than one minute and 50 seconds separating their first and fourth runners, and the pack running resulted in a fifth-place team finish, tops among the county schools.
Freshman Maya Lowe paced the Bears, taking 16th overall in a time of 26:28. She was followed closely by Elia Lowe in 21st place (27:04), Siena Parr (25th, 27:52) and Kiera LaRose (28th, 28:17).
Mancos provided the highest individual performance in the meet, as freshman Teagan Archer took seventh individually (23:46) to pace the Jays to a sixth-place team performance. Junior Madilynn Ritter took 19th in the meet (26:33).
M-CHS was led by Emalie Myers, who placed 23rd (27:18), and was followed by sophomore Savannah Hasselroth (31st, 29:34) and senior Kalea Hunt (32nd, 30:04). M-CHS placed seventh as a team.
Alamosa swept both the boys and girls team competitions, as the boys scored 19 points, while the girls collected a perfect score of 15 points to run away with the meet.
This week, Mancos will travel to the Cheyenne Mountain Stampede, which will be run on the state championship cross-country course in Colorado Springs and serve as a chance for the Bluejays to scope out the course. Dolores will head to Monticello to run the rigorous course at the Loyd’s Lake Classic on Friday, Sept. 3rd.