For the Pagosa Pirate track and field team, just like for the rest of the students in Pagosa schools, it was spring break last week. Practices were left up to the individual Pirates. And the meet, the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbird Invitational, was also optional.
“I wasn’t able to attend the meet due to prior family obligations,” Coach Scott White said. The students, then, had to arrange rides to the meet in Mosca on their own. “It was cool to see so many kids show up.”
In total, three Lady Pirates were able to attend the meet. With only three girls competing, the Pirates received third place out of 18 teams. The boys had nine athletes show up and raced to a fifth-place team finish.
“If you look at the scores, they weren’t too many points behind the teams in front of them,” White said.
For the girls, the biggest standout was junior Toni Stoll, who alone earned 35 of the team’s 48 points.
Stoll placed first in triple jump with a leap of 36 feet and .75 inches, a leap six feet farther than her closest opponent.
In addition to her dominant first place in triple jump, Stoll won three second place finishes — in long jump, at 15-09; in the 300-meter hurdles, 52.56 seconds; and the 100-meter hurdles, 17.23.
Senior Katie Armbrecht also took home a first place. Armbrecht won the discus throw with a distance of 100-02. She also placed fourth in shot put with a throw of 30-06.
“I’m most impressed with how my seniors stepped up,” White said. Armbrecht showed leadership by showing up performing at her best, White said. In addition, White said that senior Saje Brinkmann showed great leadership in going to the meet.
For the boys, White said sophomore Jeremy Hortsman was a standout.
“This is his first year in track,” White explained, continuing, “I’ve been telling him he has the ability, and if he decides to be here and devoted, he’s going to surprise himself.”
That is what happened at the Thunderbird Invitational. With a time of 12.15, Hortsman had a third-place finish in one of the most competitive sprints, the 100-meter dash.
Junior Garek Erskine sprinted to a win in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.08.
Senior Carlos Brinkmann, one of the team’s strongest leaders and runners, won first place in the 1,600-meter with a time of 4:48.79. Brinkmann also won the 3,200 meter with a time of 10.53.63.
“I’m just as pleased as can be of the ability and the effort of this small team,” White said.
Now, White said, a few weeks into the season, his focus is turning to pinpointing the top three competitors in all events and solidifying his relays.
“We have such a small team this year, we can’t fill all the relays,” White said. So, White is now deciding which relays will be the most competitive. As of now, White thinks the boys’ 4x800 relay has the potential to make it to state, and the boys’ 4x200 relay also shows potential. For the girls, White said the 800 sprint medley looks good.
The Pirates’ next track and field meet will be this Saturday, April 14, at Bayfield, at the Pine River Invitational. White said this meet has a good combination of big and small schools, with squads coming from Durango to Farmington, and is normally very competitive. He is excited to see how his small team will compete.