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School sports teams gearing up for fall season

Don your black and gold, it’s almost time for Pirate fans to cheer their teams on during another fall season of sports.

Due to space limitations, The SUN has only included high school varsity schedules for fall 2011. All junior varsity and C team schedules are available at www.highschoolsports.net.

Practices for all school district sports begin Monday, Aug. 15 (with the exception of golf, which began last Monday).

No matter what level a student athlete is playing at, participation packets and physicals need to be completed and turned in prior to attending the first practice.

Football

With new head coach Olin Garrison taking the helm from Sean O’Donnell, the Pirate varsity squad faces one of several challenges as the team charges in a different direction.

“Offense will be totally different,” Garrison said on Monday. “We’re going to have the quarterback right over the center and we’ll not be in the shotgun formation.”

Garrison added that defensive changes will include an even man front with four defenders on the line, “And a three-deep secondary behind them,” with secondary players alternating between outside linebackers and strong safeties.

“We’re looking forward to a good season,” Garrison said.

The Pirate football schedule for this season is:

Saturday, Aug. 27, 7 p.m. at Ignacio.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 1 p.m. at Del Norte.

Friday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m. at home, hosting Kirtland Central.

Friday, Sept. 23, 7 p.m. at home, hosting Alamosa.

Friday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m. at home, hosting Salida.

Friday, Oct. 7, 7 p.m. at Buena Vista.

Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. at home, hosting Montezuma/Cortez.

Saturday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. at Centauri.

Friday, Nov. 4, 6 p.m. at Bayfield.

Boys Soccer

Having lost just three seniors from last year’s squad (a team that went on to become Intermountain League champions), coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason is sounding optimistic about his team’s prospects for this season.

“We’re looking really good,” Kurt-Mason said, adding that the squad has shown a tremendous amount of determination throughout summer camp scrimmages.

“They’re taking their conditioning seriously,” he said, “so that’s good. The kids are having a good time playing.”

Having to make only a few adjustments to cover last year’s seniors, Kurt-Mason’s team has also benefitted from the addition of two players who moved from football to soccer.

“They’re fast kids,” Kurt-Mason said, “and they seem to be settling in well.”

With a seasoned and balanced squad taking the field this year, Pirate soccer could result in another league championship — if not moving onto to distinction in post-season play.

All Pirate soccer home games are held at Golden Peaks stadium and are free to the public.

Following a final scrimmage in Denver on Saturday, Aug. 27, the Pirates begin their regular season schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 3, 11 a.m. at Palisade.

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Montezuma/Cortez.

Thursday, Sept. 8, 4 p.m. at Farmington.

Thursday, Sept. 15, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Alamosa.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. at Center.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m. at Crested Butte Community School.

Thursday, Sept. 29, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Bayfield.

Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. at home, hosting Farmington.

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Durango JV.

Friday, Oct. 7, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Telluride.

Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m. at home, hosting Ridgway.

Friday, Oct. 14, 4 p.m. at Bayfield.

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 4 p.m. at Alamosa.

Thursday, Oct. 20, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Center.

Volleyball

With her second year as head coach, Connie O’Donnell sees some challenges with shaping up this year’s team.

“Returning last year after having been gone so long, I wasn’t sure where everybody needed to be,” O’Donnell said.

Another challenge O’Donnell sees is just three returning starters from last year, a situation that will require some scrambling to fill gaps on the court.

“We’re still undetermined on what kind of offense we’re going to run,” the coach said. “We’re still lacking in some positions, overall.”

Still, O’Donnell said that her team has shown determination and enthusiasm, performing well during a camp at Adams State College several weeks back.

“I feel like this summer, things have been going pretty well.”

And if the Pirates volleyball team can maintain the momentum from the summer, hopefully O’Donnell should be able to determine how to place her players and create a dark horse contender.

All Pirate home games are held in the PSHS gym. This year’s volleyball schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Aug. 27, 9 a.m. at home, hosting a multi-school scrimmage.

Thursday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. at Montezuma/Cortez.

Saturday, Sept. 3, TBA at the Monte Vista Tournament (3 games).

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m. at home, hosting Durango.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m. at home, hosting Sangre De Cristo.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 4 p.m. at Farmington.

Friday, Sept. 16, 5 p.m. at home, hosting Dolores.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m. at home, hosting Aztec.

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m. at Piedra Vista.

Thursday, Sept. 22, 7 p.m. at Alamosa.

Saturday, Sept. 24 , 6 p.m. at home, hosting Centauri.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m. at home, hosting Bayfield.

Thursday, Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m. at Kirtland Central.

Thursday, Oct. 6, 4 p.m. at Monte Vista.

Thursday, Oct. 13, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Alamosa.

Saturday, Oct. 15, 6 p.m. at Centauri.

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m. at Bayfield.

Thursday, Oct. 20, 4 p.m. at home, hosting Monte Vista.

Saturday, Oct. 29, TBA — Districts (TBA).

Golf

Coach Mark Faber says, “If you have an interest in golf and are serious about developing your skills and competing, please come out for the team.”

Faber said the program is open to high school males and females.

This season’s matches are:

Friday, Aug. 19, 9 a.m. at the Alamosa Tournament.

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 9 a.m. at the Cortez Tournament.

Thursday Aug. 25, 9 a.m. at home, hosting the Pagosa Springs Tournament.

Friday, Sept. 2, 9 a.m. at the Monte Vista Tournament.

Monday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m. at the Durango (Hillcrest) Tournament.

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. at the Rye Tournament (Hollydot).

Monday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. at Regionals (TBA).

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 9 a.m. at Regionals (TBA).

Cross Country

Coach Scott Anderson said, “Overall, we’re as excited about this season as we have been about any season.”

Anderson has reason to set expectations high for this year’s squad. After qualifying for State Finals last year, every member of his squad from last year has returned this year for a second shot at the state title.

The boys squad seems especially poised to move to the top of state rankings for cross country.

“In 3A cross country, we score four,” he said. “We’re one out of 12 teams this year who has everyone returning.”

“Overall, our numbers are the highest they’ve been in years,” Anderson added.

“We have a good mix of seniors and we had three freshmen on our state team from last year returning as Sophomores,” Anderson said. “We’re ready for them to step it up this year.”

Although the girls team faces some challenges, Anderson said there is also potential there for a strong finish at the end of the season.

“We have three girls returning from our state team and those girls are very good,” Anderson said.

“Our goal this year will be to develop the athletes we have and fill in that hole in the fourth position,” the coach said regarding the girls squad. “If we can do that, we’ll have a great year.”

This season’s schedule for Pirate cross country is:

Saturday, Sept. 10, 9 a.m. at Bayfield Invitational.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m. at home, hosting the Pagosa Springs Cross Country Classic.

Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m. at Chicken Creek Classic (Mancos).

Saturday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m. at Cortez.

Saturday, Oct. 15, TBA at Eric Wolff Invitational in Monte Vista.

Saturday, Oct. 22, TBA at Regional Meet (TBA).

Saturday, Oct. 29, TBA at State Meet (Aurora).

Spirit team/cheerleading

Coach Mable Barber wants to emphasize, “We’re not a squad but a team.”

And, of course, anyone who has witnessed Pirate cheerleaders in action will attest that the level of athleticism involved is no less intense than that required in any other team sport.

Looking ahead to this year, Barber said that the exciting aspect of her team is that, “We have a lot of returning cheerleaders, but it’s also half-and-half, with half being new to the team. What’s exciting is the returning experience, but also the new input to the team.”

Barber also emphasized that there is still room to grow.

“I still have openings for anyone who wants to try out,” she said.

Cheering for all Pagosa Springs High School sports, the Spirit Team is a commitment that lasts throughout the school year.

Spirit Team will be practicing Monday through Thursday beginning next week, with practices at the school from 7-9 a.m. and from 6-8 p.m. The team will also practice next Friday from 7-9 a.m.

jim@pagosasun.com

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