From the time that he arrived at Mancos High School four years ago, Christian Cova excelled on the football field and on the basketball court while making a name for himself as a stellar teammate and natural-born leader.
Now, after a solid prep career that included trips to the Class 2A State basketball tournament and the 8-man football quarterfinals, the soon-to-be graduate is preparing for life in the U.S. Army after signing up for service earlier this month.
“It will be pretty cool to fight for our country,” Cova said. “I hope that when people look back at my time in Mancos, they will remember that I was a great leader and a great role model. I wanted to be someone to look up to and I wanted to do the right thing.”
A standout from the startWhile Cova will leave Mancos High School as an unquestioned leader, the early days of his high school athletic career were defined not by leadership, but by poise and skill that is not commonly seen from freshman.
Over the course of his freshman season as a member of the Bluejays’ varsity basketball team, Cova averaged 5.2 points per game, 1.7 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game while playing significant minutes for a team that finished the year 15-7 overall.
Cova also showcased aggressiveness and soft hands on the gridiron where he showed a propensity to deliver solid hits while helping the Bluejays varsity football team advance to the state quarterfinals and finish its season with an 8-3 record overall. “Beating Norwood my freshman year was my favorite memory from high school football,” Cova explained. “That was the first time that we beat them in a long time.”
A team-first mentalityAs Cova continued to excel individually during a sophomore season that saw him average 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game on the basketball court, and amass 329 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns on the football field, his ability to make those around him better stood out.
A deft and willing passer, Cova took over as the starting point guard for the Bluejays and wowed fans and teammates with his selflessness and court vision while leading his team to a 17-8 overall record and a berth in the Class 2A state tournament.
On the football field, Cova showed little regard for his body while tackling larger players in the open field and consistently freeing Mancos ball carriers with downfield blocks that less team-oriented players may have avoided.
“I love seeing my teammates score,” Cova said. “I know I can score, but I was always pass first I guess. I wanted to do whatever it took to help my team win.”
A natural-born winnerBy the start of his junior season, Cova had emerged as one of his school’s finest athletes as the Mancos football team and the Mancos boys’ basketball thrived.
Thanks in part to Cova’s 115 tackles and three interceptions, the Bluejays defense ranked as one of the best in the state as the team finished the year with a 9-2 overall record and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
On the basketball court, Cova led the Bluejays to a 19-4 record overall while consistently playing his best basketball against the Bluejays toughest opponents and scoring a career-high 21 points against archrival Ignacio High School.
Over the course of Cova’s High School career, the Mancos High School football team amassed a 29-8 record overall, made four appearances in the state tournament, and advanced to the state quarterfinals twice. During the same time period, the Bluejays’ basketball team went 64-22, captured two district championships, won a regional championship, and made an appearance in the Class 2A State tournament.
“Our (basketball team’s regional championship win) against Custer County was one of my favorite high school moments,” Cova explained. “I love to win.”
A bright future
Now done with a senior season on the football field that saw him rush for 242 yards, accumulate 170 yards receiving, score three touchdowns, make 51 tackles, and force five turnovers, and a senior season on the basketball court that saw him average a career-high 5.5 assists, Cova expressed excitement regarding his future.
Noting that his success would not have been possible without his family, his coaches, Mancos United Methodist Church pastor Craig Paschal, and the contributions of numerous other teachers and community members, Cova expressed thanks for all of the opportunities that he has had.
“There are a lot of people in the community that have helped me,” the senior explained. “My family has always supported me in everything that I’ve done since the beginning of it all. Coach (Alan) Mathews taught me about hard work and he taught me what I know.”
Approximately a month away from high school graduation and clearly excited for the lessons and the experience that the U.S. Army will provide, Cova indicated that he plans on making the most of his days before offering the following advice to young people in his community who one day want to be in his shoes.
“Just keep working hard and try your best at everything,” Cova said. “Just put your mind to it and do your best.