For the Pagosa Springs cross country team, placing at the top doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.
Beating their own time, running to their individual limits, this is what team members must now strive toward.
“First place was expected,” Coach Scott Anderson said of the boys’ team performance at Mancos last week.
The varsity boys team placed first at the Mancos Chicken Creek Classic cross country meet, led by senior Carlos Brinkman, who took first place with a time of 18 minutes and 11 seconds. Fellow senior Evan Brookens was only a minute behind at 19:16, placing him fifth, with sophomore Tyler Greenly biting at his heels with a time of 19:19 and seventh place.
Senior Moses Huck, one of the team’s strongest runners, did not place at the top of the pack this meet. According to Anderson, Huck was battling a cramp through the meet, but still ran strong and finished with a time of 21:47.
The boys pack well in the front. Anderson says that Brinkman starts off at the front of the pack and within a minute, you find the next Pirate. Between second and sixth, Anderson says he likes to see the boys run within 15 to 30 seconds of each other.
“They’ll switch out. If one is not running well, someone else will step right in,” Anderson says. “It’s like they say, ‘I’m out of here, but I know you can do it,’ and they run ahead.”
The members of the girls’ team, which finished second, stayed consistent with their top three runners. Sophomores Emily Bryant and Dana Danielson were the team’s number one and two. Bryant placed third overall, running a time of 21:59. Danielson, less than a minute behind, took sixth place with a time of 22:42. Senior Tori Strohecker came in 18th with a time just under two minutes behind Danielson, at 24:39.
The girls are still working on packing tighter toward the front. Anderson would like to see the girls get to the point where, if one girl is having a bad day, another runner is right there to help out.
There was only one personal record ran for the team. Anderson said this was due to the course being partially hilly and “not a track meet.”
The hilly courses are good preparation for state, which Anderson said will be a more of a strength course with quite a few hills.
Next meet will be this Saturday in Cortez. Anderson is hoping a few teams the Pirates haven’t faced yet will be there to present a challenge.
In preparation for regionals and state, Anderson says, “We need to keep the pack tight and keep moving forward.”