Both the Pirate boys and girls dominated the Abel Velasquez Invitational in Bayfield on Saturday, April 27.
Seniors Toni Stoll and Gabby Pajak came out strong, leading the Pirate girls’ team to victory with a whopping 75 points between them.
In the 100 meter hurdles, Pajak placed first with a time of 15.76 seconds. Stoll placed second with a time of 16.60.
In the 300 hurdles, Pajak again placed first, with a time of 45.92, with Stoll following close behind her in second with a time of 47.23.
Pajak placed first for a third time this season in long jump, with a distance of 16 feet and 9.25 inches. Stoll came in second with a distance of 16-3.
Stoll placed first in the triple jump with a distance of 37-09.5. Pajak came in second at 36-05.
“Toni really is by far number one in state (in Colorado 3A) in the triple jump,” said coach Scott white. “Her closest competitor is Gabby and Gabby is only a foot away. Those two girls are seniors; they’ve been leaders all year”
Both Stoll and Pajak made “national elite” during this meet. Pajak met the national silver standard with her time of 45.92 in the 300 hurdles as well as with her distance of 36-5 in the triple jump. Stoll made national silver standard with her distance of 37-9.5 in the triple.
“We broke records right and left,” White explained, “These girls are right on track for state championships.”
Freshman Madie Lewis took first place in the 400 with a time of 60.46.
“We really feel like Madie will go fifty-nine seconds,” White explained, “We’ve never seen a girl in Pagosa at fifty-nine seconds. Under a minute is special, and she’s ranked number four in the state. Madie is just unbelievable. She’s by far our freshman girl athlete that really is our big surprise.”
Junior Emily Bryant placed second in the 800 with a time of 2:30.37 as well as second in the 1,600, with a time of 5:46.58.
White calls Bryant a “leader of the girls” on the 4×800 relay team, helping the team to place first with a time of 10:29.57, winning by more than 30 seconds and taking off 12 seconds from the week before. Also working together to place first in the relay were Tayler Lee-Hammer, Cierra Caler and Lewis.
Lee-Hammer, Lewis, Payton Shahan and Taylor Strohecker placed second in the 4×200, beating Bayfield, with a time of 1:53:06.
“That was really fun to see our girls put that four-by-two together. I told them all in the last couple weeks, if you can put together good handoffs, then you can beat Bayfield. And they beat Bayfield,” White explained.
High jumper Strohecker placed first in the event with a leap of 5-1.
White explained that one of his biggest surprises of the weekend was sophomore Morgan Schaaf, placing first in the girls’ discus throw with a distance of 96-11.
“I’m just so proud of her,” White explained, “Every week she’s getting better, and she’s just one of those kids that is so coachable. Anything that you ask her to do, she’ll do, and if you tell her to practice, you almost have to tell her to stop practicing. She wants to please. I love coaching kids like that. She’s got a big goal: She wants to be a record holder and someday,— it might not be this year, but she’s got two more years to improve about twenty five feet — I think she can do it. I think she will get there.”
Overall, the girls placed first in a field of 11 teams, scoring 156 points with Dolores trailing behind them in second with 118 points.
“I’m just really really pleased with the results and, like I said, we don’t even have everybody exactly where they are going to be yet,” said White. “So, that was real great. I just think they are on track to be even better where we were last year.some of these girls running the way they are, throwing the way they are, I think we are right on track to place high in state.”
The boys are also coming along, taking first place as a team, with a total of 140 points to Bayfield’s 134.
Junior Jeremy Hortsman placed first in the 100 with a time of 12.15 and posted a time of 24.58 in the 200.
Senior Garek Erskine placed first in the 200, at 24.3.
In the 400, senior Daniel Sloan won again, dropping time from last week’s meet, at 52.94.
“He’s dropping time a little bit more and more, and every week he’s dropping hundredths and tenths of a second,” explained White, “He’s not quite ranked, but he’s doing a really good job there.”
In the 800, Colton Polezynski, Tate Drane and David McRee came in first, second and third. Polezynski placed first with a time of 2:03.13, Drane second at 2:04.57, and McRee third at 2:17.25.
“Any time you get three guys who are going low twos, that translates to a really great four-by-eight team.” White said.
Drane, McRee, Sloan and Polezynski placed first in the 4×400 with a time of 3:43.29.
White rested his varsity players during the 4×800, giving junior varsity runners a chance to compete. James Berndt, Zach Ellis, Tyler Greenly and Nick Hutcherson placed first with a time of 9:06.64.
“This was the first week where we got some relays put together that were approaching what we need,” White explained.
Senior Connor Burkesmith placed second in the 300 with a time of 45.35.
“Connor is just doing really well,” White explained, “We missed him early in the year and he was running around forty-nine and he dropped that to a forty-five and got second place, so I was real pleased. He’s not quite ranked, but I’m looking forward to him running our league meet. He looks real good.”
In the triple jump, first, second and third places were taken by Pirate boys. Erskine placed first with a distance of 40-07.5, Dean Hampton placed second at 40-03 and Quinn Smith followed in third with a distance of 39-01.
Discus thrower Creede Wylie came in seventh out of 15 in the event, throwing off of one foot due to a break and surgery, hitting a distance of 101-06.
“He’s still throwing off one foot,” White explained, “He’s had surgery and a broken foot. He’s just got to go out there with one leg and throw off one foot, and gets seventh. I’m excited for him. Next year, he will be a senior and he’s technically very good, and will just keep getting better and better.”
This week’s meet will be held in Pagosa Springs Saturday as the Terry Alley Invitational comes to Golden Peaks Stadium.
“I think this coming meet gives the people of the community an opportunity to see some of the very top, top track athletes in our state,” said White. “We are excited. We hope to break records. It’s going to be the first time that all of the league will be here at the same time, so it gives me a real preview of what our league meet’s going to be like. Of course, a league meet with only five teams is way different than an invitational with 15 teams, so points kind of get bled out, but at least it gives me a chance to see what our league is capable of. We are looking for some good league competition.”
Action at Golden Peaks Stadium starts at 9 a.m.