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Pirates fare well, break school records at state track meet

The school year has ended, and the track and field season drew to a close last weekend, with those Pirates who qualified making the trip to Denver for the state Class 3A championship meet.

The season has changed the school’s record books. Four boys’ records and four girls’ records were broken this year — some at the state meet.

At the state event, the team came in at 27th place out of 275 Colorado schools (with schools from all classifications, 1A-5A, combined in the standings).

All in all, the Pirate girls’ track team took seventh at the 3A Colorado track and field meet, the boys took ninth.

“This was truly the most satisfying year as a coach that I’ve ever had,” Coach Scott White said. “The Town of Pagosa Springs should be very proud of these young men and women.”

The Pirates competed in 20 events, with individual athletes or relay teams placing in 13 events.

“I was very proud of how the kids competed,” said White. “The weather was rough all season and the first day of the state meet was no different. The kids battled on all year. This is a tough group of athletes, and one the most competitive I have seen in a while.”

Senior Danielle Pajak ran to a seventh-place finish in the 400 meter dash with a time of 61.55 seconds, less than half a second away from the school’s record.

Sophomore Gabby Pajak had a very successful meet. In the 100 meters hurdles she took second place, running the race for the first time under 16 seconds, at 15.48. In long jump, Pajak took third with a leap of 16 feet, 10 inches. In triple jump she placed right behind teammate and fellow sophomore Toni Stoll, who leaped 39-9.75 to take fourth

“I love to watch Toni and Gabby compete against each other,” White said. “They are good friends and they push each other.” Stoll beat Pajak by three quarters of an inch in the triple jump.

Freshman Taylor Strohecker placed fifth in high jump at 5-2, one inch under the winning jump.

“I see great things in her future,” White said of Strohecker, adding that her jumps were completed in fairly poor weather. Magan Kraetsch tied for 17th in the event.

Brooklynn DuCharme placed 15th in the state in discus.

The boys also stepped up to the plate with their A game.

Junior Zerek Jones placed sixth in the 400 with a time of 51.16. Prior to this year, Jones ran the 200. “This year, we challenged him,” White said. Now, Jones holds the 400 record for the school.

Senior Zack Lucero placed third in the 800 with a new school record of 1.58.78. White said the team will miss Lucero next year as they, “will not see another Zack Lucero for many years to come.”

Ranking 12th going into state, junior Carlos Brinkmann ended up taking seventh in the 3,200 with a time of 10:14.54.

Although struggling most of the year with injuries, senior Garrett Stoll persevered and placed 12th in the triple jump.

The boys 4x400 relay team took second place with a time of 3.27.38 — also a new school record. Team members were Zack Lucero, Matt Baker, Zerek Jones and Daniel Puskas.

“What a show,” White said of the race. “This was the very last event of the entire meet. Zerek and Zack were the leaders of this relay, but I was so impressed with Matt Baker and Daniel Puskas. Both boys ran their best times of the year and the improvement from the first of the year until the end was amazing.”

The boys 4x800 relay placed second, setting a new school record at 8.11.33. Running the relay were Zack Lucero, Kain Lucero, Zerek Jones and Carlos Brinkmann. The team ran 8.20 at a previous meet during the regular season, and clocked in with 8.11 at state.

“This will be a Pagosa record that will stand for a very long time. I was so proud of all the boys. When you see a team come together like that and work so hard, it makes all the long days and cold weekends worth it,” White said.

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