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Pirates qualify for state track meet

Twenty-four Pirate athletes are in the Denver area today, competing in the Colorado Class 3A state track meet.

In order to reach the final meet of the year, individuals and teams had to either post a pre-qualifying time or distance at a previous meet, or finish in the top three in an event at last Saturday’s regional track meet at Pueblo.

A number of Pirate boys not only placed in the top three, but won their events at the regional competition

Willie Wilkins took first place in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints. Wilkins won the 100 with a time of 11.55 seconds and topped the field in the 200 with a time of 23.46.

“Willie is one of the only true sprinters we’ve had here in a long time,” said coach Scott White. “He is going to have to step it up now; the competition at state will be tough.”

Ryan Stahl also had two first-place finishes at Pueblo. The senior won the 110 hurdles at 16.80, and was first in the 300 hurdles with a time of 43.16.

“Ryan is fearless,” said White. “You have to appreciate his enthusiasm and his work ethic.”

Zach Lucero beat the field in the 800. The junior finished with a time of 2:04.74.

“Zach dropped almost two seconds from his time,” said the coach. “He’s coming on strong.”

Pagosa’s boys’ 4x800 relay team was first, with Ryan Hamilton, Cain Lucero, Zach Lucero and Jacob Anderson finishing at 8:28.47.

“The team cut 12 seconds off the previous best time,” said the coach. “We put Cain Lucero in, to see what would happen, and it was fun to see a freshman do such a terrific job.”

Others on the boys’ team qualified with second- and third-place finishes.

Zerek Jones was second in the 200, with a time of 23.82.

Taylor Shaffer placed third in the 400, at 53.17.

The 4x100 relay of Shaffer, Jones, Stahl and Wilkins took second with a time of 45.28. The same lineup was second in the 4x200, finishing at 1:33.30.

Hamilton, Zach Lucero, Shaffer and Anderson placed third in the 4x400, with a time of 3:39.61.

The Pirate boys took second place in team competition at regionals.

“The boys came out second,” said White, “but Rye gave us a run for our money. We qualified all four of our relays.”

Kala Matzdorf led the way on the track for the girls’ team, placing first in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Matzdorf’s time in the 100 was 16.97 and she finished at 50.45 in the 300.

“Kala has dropped her times all year long,” said White, anticipating the same for the senior at state.

The 4x400 relay team of Danielle Pajak, Toni Stoll, Kelsey Sellers and Gabby Pajak was first, hitting a time of 4:16.70.

“This could have been the highlight of the day,” said White. “They are right up there in the top five in state and, if they run the way we think they can, they could move into the top three.”

In field events, Gabby Pajak and Stoll continued to excel. Pajak won the long jump with a distance of 16 feet 1.25 inches; Stoll was second with 15-0.

The order of finish was reversed in the triple jump. Stoll took first with a distance of 34-11.25; Pajak was second at 34-5.5.

“Our jumpers went one-two in triple and long,” said White. “Toni had a tough day in long jump; she salvaged a bad jump and fought back to get second.

Megan Bryant continued with a strong senior season, beating all competitors in shot put. Bryant won with a throw of 33-3.5.

“Megan has done a great job in shot for us all season long,” said the coach.

Danielle Pajak qualified for state with a second-place finish in the 800 (2:29.13).

Stoll will go to Denver in the 100 hurdles, placing second at 17.26.

The girls’ 800 sprint medley team of Sellers, Satara Arthaud, Victoria Espinosa and Saje Brinkmann placed second with a time of 1:58.28.

Espinosa, Brinkmann, Gabby Pajak and Danielle Pajak were third in the 4x200, at 1:50.08.

The Pirate girls were second in a field of 10 teams at Pueblo.

“We have a strong group,” said the coach, “with a lot of kids coming back next year. Now, we’re at state, and we’ll see how we do.”

Competition at Jefferson Stadium, at 6th and Kipling in Lakewood, begins today and continues through Saturday.