Bluejays have strong performances at state

Paschal leads boys track team with two top-10 finishes

To say that the Mancos High School track team performed well at the Colorado State Track and Field Championships would be an understatement.

Competing in Lakewood, May 15-17, against some of the best athletes in the state, the Bluejays produced several solid individual performances. As a team, Mancos placed 30th overall.

Leading the way for the Bluejays was sophomore Ro Paschal, who, establishing himself as one of the state's best young runners, finished sixth in the 800-meter run (2:01.24) and 10th in the 1600 (4:37.00).

"Ro did an excellent job," said Bluejays head coach Adam Priestley. "His results speak for themselves. He has a great opportunity to one day be a state champion."

Also performing well for Mancos, senior Anthony Reiners made his final high school meet a memorable one, finishing seventh in the 300 hurdles (42.98).

"Anthony was kind of that diamond in the rough," said Priestley. "We knew it was in him, but we fought injuries his first three years. This year, we were able to keep him healthy and he performed great."

Leading the Bluejays in the high jump, sophomore Andrew Plunkett finished 11th with a jump of 5 feet, 8 inches.

"(Andrew) is one of those kids who could be top-six by his senior year in the high jump," said Priestley. "Over the course of the track season, he was our most improved kid."

Rounding out the Bluejays individual performers, senior Justin Burton finished 15th in the 1600 (4:37.00) and 18th in the 3200 (10:56.10).

"It's always hard to lose a team leader," Priestley said. "Justin is a great kid. He always showed up to practice with a positive attitude and worked hard on the track."

Representing Mancos in the 4x800-meter relay, Paschal, Reiners, Burton and Adrian Hernandez shaved six seconds off their personal best time to finish 16th overall (8:48.45).

Although this year's Mancos team will lose a few key seniors to graduation, most key athletes will return next season.

"We have a great core and a great freshman class coming," said Priestley. "Overall, I would think in the next two years, we'll be bringing a league championship trophy back to Mancos."