Bluejay runners going to state

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Brandon McKie practices for the 2A state cross-country meet in Colorado Springs this weekend.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$ Enlargephoto

Jeanne Archambeault/Times

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Brandon McKie practices for the 2A state cross-country meet in Colorado Springs this weekend.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

The Mancos boys cross-country team, and girls’ runner Kristin Adams, will be traveling to Colorado Springs this weekend to compete in the Colorado High School Activities Association 2A Cross-Country State Championships.

“This is really exciting,” said Justin Burton.

Burton and the rest of the team will be practicing this week to get ready for the stiff competition in Colorado Springs.

The boys team consists of Burton, Brandon McKie, Zane Willburn, Ro Paschal, Asa Kearns, Nic Archuleta and Vincent Grego. Kristin Adams is the lone Lady Bluejay representing Mancos High School.

The bus carrying the team will leave Friday morning and the whole school will come out to cheer them on their way.

Most of the races the athletes run are about three miles in length, or a 5-kilometer, which is 3.2 miles. Their preparation for a state meet, they said, is not much different than for any other meet. “Other than drinking lots of water to make sure I stay hydrated,” said Burton.

Mancos head coach Brady Archer is thrilled for his team’s opportunity.

“I’m really proud of these kids,” Archer said. “They’ve worked really hard for this.”

The girls will race Saturday at 9:30 a.m., and the boys will race at 11:30 at the Norris Penrose Event Center.

REGION MEET IN DELTA

The team traveled to Confluence Park in Delta to compete in the 2A Region 4 Meet last Wednesday. Mancos was led by Justin Burton’s seventh-place finish in a personal best time of 17 minutes, 10 seconds. Ro Paschal was next across the line in 17:30, which was good for 15th-place. Close behind in 19th was Brandon McKie in a time of 18:03. Asa Kearns finished at 22nd with a time of 18:55. Nic Archuleta was next in 31st in a time of 19:50. Zane Willburn finished off the team scoring in 43rd-place with a 21:30 time.

The individual regional champion was Will Scoggins from Rangley in a time of 16:14. The Mancos Bluejays finished in fourth behind regional team champion Telluride. The fourth-place finish secured a place at state for the Mancos boys team. Hotchkiss and Crested Butte finished second and third to go to state.

“It was great to have our boys make it and I know they were pretty excited to be going to state,” Mancos coach Brady Archer said. “They are in such a tough region. We knew that our runners were going to have to run a great team race today to make it to state.”

The Bluejays raced great on one of the Western Slope’s most grueling courses.

“This race in Delta is always so fast. I always let our runners know just how fast this course runs,” Archer said. “We had a bunch of young runners this year and our more experienced runners kept telling them, they would have to get out, (be) controlled, but fast on this course. Almost every runner had a personal best on this course, which is great to see at this time of year.”

Mancos competed against teams from Rangely, Meeker, DeBeque, Hotchkiss, Paonia, Crested Butte, Ouray, Lake City, Telluride and Dolores.

For the girls, Kristin Adams led the way with a 14th-place finish in 22:5.44. Kia Baikie finished just out of the top 15 state qualifiers in 16th with a time of 22:5.78. Maya Bonde finished out the team score with a 31st-place finish in 26:44. The individual regional champion was Rachel Hampton from Telluride in 18:48. The Mancos Lady Bluejays finished in fifth-place. The regional team champion was Hotchkiss.

“Our girls came up just short. We had one girl make it and Kia came up .14 seconds short of making it. That was a tough race,” Archer said. “Four girls were within .6 of a second of each other around the 13th-16th places. Kia and Maya had improved so much this season, that it is tough to see their seasons end short of state. It was great to see kids, who may not of thought of themselves as great runners earlier this season, working hard to help out their teammates. It makes me proud to see so many of them run so well and achieve their goals as runners.”

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Justin Burton runs in preparation for the 2A state championships in Colorado Springs.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$ Enlargephoto

Jeanne Archambeault/Times

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Justin Burton runs in preparation for the 2A state championships in Colorado Springs.$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Vincent Grego is one of the boys who will be going to Colorado Springs this weekend for the 2A state cross-country meet. $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$ Enlargephoto

Jeanne Archambeault/Times

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Vincent Grego is one of the boys who will be going to Colorado Springs this weekend for the 2A state cross-country meet. $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

Brandon McKie practices for the 2A state cross-country meet in Colorado Springs this weekend. Enlargephoto

Jeanne Archambeault/Times

Brandon McKie practices for the 2A state cross-country meet in Colorado Springs this weekend.