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Pirate girls win regional cross country title

The Pirate girls’ cross country team captured the regional championship at Aspen Saturday and both the girls’ and boys’ teams qualified for the state meet to be held this weekend in Fort Collins.

Pagosa’s girls scored 47 points to win the meet and the title, finishing ahead of Gunnison (54) and Bayfield (58) the other two teams to qualify for state.

The Pirates ran to the championship on the basis of a good pack time, with 36 seconds between the first and fourth Pirate runners.

Crystal Purcell took 11th place in the field, with a time of 22 minutes, 50 seconds.

Brooke Hampton was 12th, at 22:51.

Katarina Medici finished in 17th place, with a time of 23:18.

Danielle Pajak was 19th, at 23:26.

Haleigh Zenz and Mele LeLievre also finished the race for the Pirates, but their times were not counted for team points. Zenz ran the course in 23:49 (23rd place), LeLievre in 24:29 (32nd place).

“Crystal and Brooke had breakout races,” said Coach Scott Anderson. “And Haleigh, even though she didn’t score team points, was a big help. She finished ahead of Bayfield’s and Gunnison’s fourth runners.

“Like I said last week, I had a feeling we could go up there and either win it all, or fail to qualify for the state meet. The girls ran a tough race, and they won it all. And, I think this woke them up. Kind of a ‘Hey, look what we can do,’ moment.”

The Pirate boys finished in third place at the meet, with four teams qualifying for the state race. Gunnison won the event, with 30 points; Bayfield was second (50) and the Pirates third (55). Basalt will also make the trip to Fort Collins.

Ryan Hamilton had an excellent day, leading the Pirates and finishing 10th, with a time of 19:11.

Carlos Brinkman was 11th, one second behind Hamilton, at 19:12.

Michael Gallegos took 15th place, with a time of 19:47.

Evan Brookens was 18th, at 19:57.

Moses Huck finished 20th, at 20:16.

The Pirates’ pack time was 47 seconds.

“Ryan ran real well,” said the coach. “And Evan really pulled through and closed the gap. He shows up on race day and guts it out.

“The guys are poised to spring some surprises at state. With their pack time, at the larger state meet, they should score better than Bayfield. We hope to match up with teams from our region.”

The field Saturday at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins will feature some formidable teams, on both sides. Classical Academy returns a state champion girls’ team, and Classical Academy and Faith Christian boys’ team pose obstacles to all who challenge for the state crown.

“We know there are tough teams out there,” said Anderson, “but our kids are a fun group and we very well could finish in the top five.”

The Class 3A girls’ race is set to start at 10:30 a.m. with the 3A boys leaving the line at noon.