Mustang Cross Country builds a strong team

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Andy Sherwood

Both the boys and girls Cross Country teams relax at their campsite after an intense race.

Morgan Flannery, Senior Reporter

The Cross-Country teams at Manitou Springs High School have seen great success throughout the 2022 season, with the boys’ team placing second at the Tri-Peaks League meet on Oct. 7 and placing third overall at regionals held on Oct. 22. 

Cody Kelley (11) took home the first-place spot in the Tri-Peaks League with a time of 16:03:93. An additional eight Manitou runners made personal records at the meet, propelling the team to regionals where Kelley placed third and Cody Wyman (11) placed fifth.

Kelley has been running in cross country with Manitou since the 7th grade, where Wyman has previously run-in track but only started running in cross country this year. “Before cross country I did soccer and I had fun in soccer, but you know, I just had a lot of fun in track and I knew that I was just really good at running,” Wyman said. 

The boys’ average time for running a 5K is about 17 minutes, competitive with many top schools. “Oh, it’s phenomenal. Especially because 4 of our 8 runners are in their first year for cross country,” Kelley said.

“This is a tough sport, and it requires a daily commitment. It’s easy to quit when things get a little tough or uncomfortable. This group has risen to the occasion.””

— Andy Sherwood

The successes found this year can be attributed to a dedicated and enthusiastic team. “Manitou committed to training during the summer months. This was the biggest change from last year. We had a big group that took the initiative to build fitness during the off-season,” Coach Andy Sherwood said. 

Every meet in Colorado is an invitational, so the team has had a chance to compete against 2A teams, all the way to 5A depending on who is hosting the meet. The top competitors for the 3A division are TCA, Alamosa and Salida. “We’re vying for a top three position at State as a team which is a hefty task, and it hasn’t been done for quite some time. Many years,” Kelley said. The team will compete at State on Oct. 29 at the Norris Penrose Event Center.

“It feels really good to just come across the line and be at the top,” Wyman said. 

Things are also looking promising for the upcoming seasons as they hope to see even more improvement in their younger members. “The boys’ team will return 6 of the top 7 runners. This will put them in a great position to contend for a podium spot (top-2 at state) in 2023,” said Sherwood. The boys team only has one current senior, and the girls’ team will not graduate a single runner. 

“This is a tough sport, and it requires a daily commitment. It’s easy to quit when things get a little tough or uncomfortable. This group has risen to the occasion,” said Sherwood.

After fast progress made by every runner, the momentum is there to push them even farther.  “I’m fully expecting that in the near future, you’re going to be seeing a lot more cross country,” Kelley, who was named the Tri-Peaks League Runner of the Year, said.