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Pirate girls sixth, boys ninth at state meet

The Pagosa Springs High School cross country teams finished their seasons with honorable, top 10 finishes in Class 3A at last weekend’s state meet in Aurora, with five Pirates setting personal record times at the meet.

“Overall, as far as the season, it was a great year,” said Coach Scott Anderson of the teams, noting how the team members bonded and came together over the course of the season.

The boys’ season culminated in a ninth-place finish overall, accomplishing their goal of a top 10 state finish.

Carlos Brinkman led the Pirate finishers with a 14th-place finish and a time of 17:14.

With a time of 17:59, Moses Huck was the first of three Pagosa boys to set personal records at the state meet, placing 43rd overall.

Evan Brookens set a personal record with a time of 18:33, landing a 65th-place finish.

Mason Chronowski followed suit with the personal records, running the course in 18:53 and finishing 77th.

Rounding out the team, Tyler Greenly finished 93rd in 19:43 and Zach Ellis placed 96th with a time of 19:59.

“The guys actually ran well, despite it being a hard course,” Anderson said, adding, “We actually had three guys run personal bests, which, for that course, is pretty impressive, and the other guys were ... close to their PRs.”

The Classical Academy took home the title with 40 points, with Alamosa placing second (51 points) and Salida taking home third with 110 points.

Gunnison, who placed first place at the regional contest in Cortez (Pagosa placed fourth), placed fourth at the state meet with 112 points.

Aspen, who placed third at the regional meet in Cortez, rounded out the top ten with 208 points and allowed the Pirates to complete another goal — to finish ahead of one of the teams that beat them at regionals.

The Pirates tallied 199 points in their ninth-place finish.

The girls’ squad also garnered a respectable top 10 finish at the meet— sixth place.

In an unusual finishing pattern for the Lady Pirates, Dana Danielson led the way with a 23rd-place finish and a personal record time of 21:06.

Brooke Hampton finished second for Pagosa, recording a personal record time of 21:20 and finishing 30th.

Emily Bryant finished 34th with a time of 21:36. Bryant started the race strong, according to Anderson, but faced physical issues during the race.

“After we attended to her, she came back alive,” Anderson said.

Crystal Purcell finished 63rd with a time of 22:31, while Mele LeLievre finished only one second, but two places behind with a time of 22:32 and a finish in 65th place.

Danielle Pajak crossed the line 73rd overall, recording a time of 22:58.

“Dana and Brooke — similar to the guys, to run a personal best on this course is huge. They had huge races. I was impressed with what they were able to do,” Anderson said.

TCA swept the state titles, with the girls taking home the top place for the ninth year in a row, tallying 39 points.

Hotchkiss, which placed third among girls’ teams at regionals behind the Pirates, placed second with 95 points.

Aspen, which took home second at the regional girls’ competition, finished fourth at state with 131 points, one point ahead of Salida.

Pagosa recorded 150 points in their quest that ended in sixth place.

Gunnison, which placed fourth at regionals, finished in 11th overall with 208 points.

“In the end, from where we started, that was a good finish,” Anderson said of the girls finish. “...even if it might have been a little short from where we expected to finish based on the results from the end of the season.”

The Pirate teams look to be formidable again next year, as well, with none from the boys team graduating and the top three Pirate finishers at state for the girls still available.

Purcell, LeLievre and Pajak are seniors.

randi@pagosasun.com