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Cross country season gets underway Saturday

The Pirate cross country team takes to the course at Bayfield Saturday, getting a late start on the 2009 season.

Pirate Coach Scott Anderson said his charges are making the start following an intrasquad contest last week. “We had an intrasquad meet instead of going to a regular meet. That’s just fine with us; we want to be at a good point at the end of the season. There’s no sense getting beat up early on.”

Anderson returns a number of veterans to a girls’ squad that finished fifth in Class 3A state competition and first in the Intermountain League last year, and to a boys’ team that took seventh place at the state meet.

On the girls’ side, four veterans are back: Katarina Medici, Julia Adams, Mele Lelievre and Brooke Hampton. Vying for places on the top roster are Crystal Purcell, Danielle Pajak, Tori Strohecker and Hayleigh Zenz.

Three tested veterans are back to compete on the boys’ team: Ryan Hamilton, Michael Gallegos and Carlos Brinkman. In the hunt for spots, among others, are Jacob Anderson, Garrett Stoll and Evan Brookins.

“Overall, this is a very good group of kids,” said Anderson. “From top to bottom, they are some of our harder workers. They came back this year with improved attitudes and a good work ethic. There is a lot of competition among them — both girls and boys — and that is good for the team.”

Anderson has always been reluctant to make predictions, especially at the outset of a season, and this year is no different. Going into the meet at Bayfield, Anderson said, “I’ve got some feelings but, as always, we’ll run the race and see what happens. I do know we can be better than the rest of the world thinks we’ll be.”

The harriers round out the month with the Durango Invitational on Sept. 19 and the Pagosa Springs Invitational on Sept. 26.

The Pirates will compete at five meets prior to the Intermountain League championships at Monte Vista on Oct. 17.