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Pirates return from break with strong performances

Back in action following spring break, the Pirate track team began the second half of the season on a high note.

The Pirate girls took second place in a 20-team field at Saturday’s Pine River Invitational at Bayfield. The boys’ team was fourth among 17 teams at the meet.

The Pirate girls were led by first-place performances from senior Kala Matzdorf in the 300-meter hurdles (53.01 seconds) and freshman Toni Stoll in the triple jump (35 feet, 1/4 inch).

“I have been kidding Toni,” said Coach Scott White, “telling her she is improving by ‘leaps and bounds.’ But, that’s what she’s been doing. She is a freshman; she still hasn’t reached her potential.”

Stoll’s teammate in the triple jump, Gabby Pajak, had a distance of 34.04 to take third place. Both Pirates pre-qualified for the state 3A meet, and both broke the existing school record in the event.

Matzdorf also took second place in the 100 hurdles (17.47).

Katie Armbrecht was second in javelin, with a throw of 101-01.

Megan Bryant competed in her first meet of the season in shot put and took second place with a throw of 33-10.

The girls’ 4x800 relay team of Mele LeLievre, Katarina Medici, Bryant and Danielle Pajak was second, with a time of 11:20.81. It was the team members’ first race together this year.

Two relay teams took third in their races.

The 4x200 team of Danielle Pajak, Gabby Pajak, Saje Brinkmann and Tiffany Bechtel posted a time of 1:58.22. The time was seven seconds faster than the team posted earlier this season.

The 4x400 team of Bryant, Stoll, Danielle Pajak and Kelsey Sellers had a time of 4:42.561. The finish showed a drop of nine seconds from the last meet.

“This was a real solid performance by our girls,” said White. “It was good to have girls back from the basketball team. Megan Bryant and Victoria Espinosa provide great leadership and they will help with our relays and in the field.

“We are still trying to figure what our relays will look like, but once we get it going, it will look good. We won’t be able to judge for a couple weeks but, as we improve, we’ll close the gap with Bayfield (the Pine River Invitational winners),” said the coach.

The Pirate boys finished behind meet winner Bayfield and two programs from large schools in the Farmington area.

Senior Willie Wilkins continued to show he is a major threat in the sprints. Wilkins took first place in the 100 with a time of 11.46 (about 1/10th of a second off the state pre-qualifying mark) and was edged out in the 200, taking second with a time of 23.38.

The 4x800 relay team of Zach Lucero, Jacob Anderson, Michael Gallegos and Ryan Hamilton ran together for the first time this year and finished second, at 9:01.56.

Lucero, competing in his first meet of the season, placed third in the 1,600, with a time of 4:57.84.

Zerek Jones, also participating at his first meet of the season, was third in high jump, clearing 5-6.

“Overall, our guys had very good performances,” said White. “We are still not at full strength,” he noted, mentioning that Taylor Shaffer missed the meet due to basketball tryouts at a state college.

“Ryan Stahl, a senior, had his first false start in his high school career,” said the coach. “He was upset, but to go nearly four years without a false start? He has done a great job and we really appreciate his leadership and his work ethic.

“It is also good to have Zerek back jumping, and he helps our four by two-hundred relay.

“The team should be at full strength by the Terry Alley Invitational (scheduled for April 24 in Pagosa Springs).”

White noted that volunteers are needed to help at the Terry Alley Invitational.

“There are few sport events that call for as many volunteers as a track meet, and we would like as many adults to helps us as possible.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for the meet can call Athletic Director Jim Shaffer at 264-2231, Ext. 230.