Pirate cross country runners took to the Saul’s Creek course Saturday at the Bayfield Invitational, starting their season a bit late and with only intrasquad competition to use as a gauge.
Turns out, the Pirate boys didn’t suffer much from the delay at all. The Pirates took third place at the 14-team meet, finishing behind two very strong New Mexico 5A programs.
Pagosa’s boys finished the meet with 71 points. Perennial cross country powerhouse Shiprock took top honors. Farmington’s Piedra Vista was second, only two points ahead of the Pirates.
Carlos Brinkman was top finisher for the Pirate boys, with a time of 19 minutes, 52 seconds, in 11th place in the individual standings. He was followed by Ryan Hamilton, 20:00 (15th); Michael Gallegos, 20:03 (17th); and Evan Brookens, 20:52 (28th).
“We were happy with the boys’ performance,” said Coach Scott Anderson. “We have a good idea now of where we stand. The guys are fairly strong. We asked the three guys at the front to hold back a bit and pay attention to our pack time. Evan Brookens, in fourth, had perhaps the best race of the day.”
On the girls’ side, the Pirates placed fifth in the team standings.
Katarina Medici crossed the finish line at 23:17 (11th place). She was followed by Brooke Hampton, 24:49 (24th); Crystal Purcell, 25:13 (28th); and Danielle Pajak, 25:15 (29th).
“This was a reality check for the girls, the first meet of the season” said Anderson. “They didn’t really have their best day, but that’s all right; we can work on it every week. They’ll get faster every week, and we’ll be fine.”
The team is at the Durango Invitational tomorrow, a meet likely to include eight teams.
“Our guys will have what amounts to a quality workout,” said the coach. “They’ll work on their pack tactics and on getting our fourth runner closer. Our girls will work on team tactics and placing our second through fourth runners ahead of Bayfield’s second through fourth runners.”