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Pirate cross country teams finish second in IML competition

This year’s Monte Vista Invitational, run Saturday, did double duty — as an invitational, with a variety of teams attending, and as the Intermountain League championship meet involving Pagosa, Bayfield, Centauri and Monte Vista.

In terms of league standings, both the Pirate boys’ and girls’ teams ran to second place.

Overall, Pagosa’s boys finished second in the invitational with 43 points. Gunnison won the meet with 38 points, Bayfield was third with 49.

Does something seem odd here?

One might ask how the Pirates beat Bayfield in the overall meet, yet finished second to the Wolverines in the race for the league title.

The answer, according to Coach Scott Anderson: “That’s cross country for you. When you pull out the times for the runners not on league teams, you end up with a different team score. We finished one point behind Bayfield in the IML. Unfortunately, we show up, we run well, and we don’t get to beat Bayfield for the league title. The big thing is, we did it in the bigger meet. We knew Gunnison and Bayfield would be tough. At the beginning of the year, I thought we could run with these guys, and now we have. Now we need to go to the regional meet and prove we really belong there.”

Two of the Pirate boys scoring at the meet ran personal best times.

Carlos Brinkman ran a PR, finishing fifth, with a time of 17 minutes, 43 seconds.

Ryan Hamilton took eighth place at the meet, with a time of 18:00.

Michael Gallegos finished in 18:43, good for 11th place.

Moses Huck ran a PR of 19:13, putting him 19th in the field.

“Moses had his biggest race of the year and was a big reason for our finish,” said Anderson. “Most of our guys ran a fairly solid race.”

Mancos won the girls’ side of the invitational with 27 points. Bayfield was second with 55 points, Pagosa third with 61.

Danielle Pajak topped the Pirate girls, running a personal best 21:55 and finishing in 10th place.

Katarina Medici was 13th, at 22:15.

Crystal Purcell finished at 22:37, good for 18th.

Brooke Hampton ran the course in 22:42, placing her 20th among the runners at the meet.

“Danielle had the best race of her career,” said the coach of Pajak. “She really picked it up. We should be in the hunt at the regional meet next week.”

The regional meet will be held Saturday, at Aspen.

“On both sides,” said Anderson, “the region is really close. You could show up and win the whole thing, or you could fail to qualify. The region will come down to who has a better day.”