While Pirate cross country runners did not set the Chicken Creek course at Mancos on fire Saturday, considering a wave of recent illness and the current phase of the team’s training schedule, the meet provided some positive notes as the post season approaches.
“The meet was a dose of reality,” said Coach Scott Anderson. “But, there is a silver lining: for a lot of our kids, this was the first race back after suffering illness, and we haven’t started our speed training yet; we generally start after everyone else. So, we can expect improvement.”
The Pirate boys took third place in the team standings, with 66 points, behind meet champ Bayfield and Kirtland, N.M.
Carlos Brinkman was seventh in the individual standings; Ryan Hamilton took 12th place; Michael Gallegos finished 16th, and Evan Brookens was 31st.
“I’m optimistic,” said Anderson. “When we compare our top four guys’ times to those of Bayfield, we dropped more overall seconds between our meet and Mancos than they did. We’re not done hunting yet. We’ve been working with Carlos on tactical running and I think, not this week but the next, we’ll be ready to let him and the others break out. Evan Brookens had a good race at Mancos; he took the most time off from last week and he closed the gap (the pack time between the first and fourth runners) from two-and-a-half to one-and-a-half minutes.”
Pagosa’s girls took fourth place in the team standings at Mancos.
Katarina Medici was the fifth-place runner — the second Class 3A runner to cross the finish line. Medici had a time of 22 minutes, 32 seconds.
Crystal Purcell was second among the Pirates, taking 19th, at 23:58. Brooke Hampton was 20, at 24:10, and Hayleigh Zenz finished in 21st place with a time of 24:11.
“Katarina had a really good day,” said Anderson,“ and was truer to form. And our other three girls who scored at the meet ran good races. Hailey, a freshman, showed big improvement and we can continue to close the gap (in the pack time).”
The team was originally set to go to Creede Saturday, but a scheduling problem has ruled that race out. Instead, the Pirates motor to Cortez — and the meet seems to have a use for the coach.
“Typically, “ said Anderson, “this is the week I rest some of our varsity runners. This year, not as many will rest as usual.”
The Cortez meet is the final regular season event prior to the league championships.