The Pirate varsity cross country team, once again, ran almost as swift as the wind at Saturday’s meet at Cortez, and the varsity boys took first place for the third time in a row with the girls taking second.
“The sun was shining in Cortez,” coach Scott Anderson said. The day was bright and the running, though not on a flat course, had picked up from last week.
At the Cortez meet, Anderson said the Pirates were looking to compare themselves with schools outside their classification, such as Delta, a 4A school.
“It gives us somewhat of a benchmark,” Anderson explained, because Delta had ran against the schools Pagosa will take on during regionals. “We looked fairly good,” Anderson said.
Senior Carlos Brinkman led the pack with a time of 18 minutes and 29 seconds, fast enough to get him fourth place overall. After Brinkman, the Pirate boys were back-to-back for the next four slots — fifth place Moses Huck, 18:54; sixth place Evan Brookens, 19:03; seventh place Mason Chronowski, 19:04; eighth place Tyler Greenly, 19:06.
The key to their success thus far, and the strength that Anderson hopes will help them in regionals: the pack.
“Our strength as a team is that pack and how tight they are,” Anderson said. “It’s really neat to see them feed off each other.”
The pack, most often associated with wolves, is intimidating, in that a pack is made up of individuals working as one powerful unit. In his book, “Crowds and Power,” sociologist and writer Elias Canetti devotes a section to the pack. His description of the pack would adequately describe the Pirate boys running at the head of the race.
“It (Pack) best expresses the joint and swift movement involved, and the concreteness of the goal in view ... In order to attain what it is after, it must have speed, cunning and endurance, and must not allow itself to be deflected.”
The Pagosa boys have one goal: winning. So far, they have achieved that goal three weeks in a row. The varsity girls, though not lacking in speed, have yet to form as dense of a pack and, for the second week, barely missed their first place goal.
The girls were down a runner as Tori Strohecker, normally coming in as the fourth runner in the pack, was gone due to prior family obligations. While six varsity girls were running, only three were able to form a formidable pack for the purpose of scoring team points. Sophomores Emily Bryant and Dana Danielson, along with senior Brooke Hampton, ran together near the front of the field. Bryant was first among the Lady Pirate runners and took third place overall with a time of 21:36. Danielson was right behind in fourth place with 21:55. Hampton took sixth place with a 22:09.
Anderson said that the girls will continue to work on closing the gap between the third and fourth place runners. This weekend will provide a break for most of the varsity runners, with no meet scheduled.
“They’ll be storing up their competitive juices for regionals,” Anderson said.
The regional cross country meet will take place Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Delta. The meet will determine who will make it to the state meet.