The hunt continues, and the prey is getting closer.
The Pagosa Springs High School cross country teams continue to show progress on the race course as the season progresses, with both the boys’ and girls’ squads recording top 10 finishes over the weekend.
“Our prey is now closer in front of us and it’s visualized,” coach Scott Anderson said.
Last Saturday’s races, hosted by Bayfield, were on a strength course, Anderson said, featuring several hills. Rain held off until the awards ceremony, leaving the teams to run in cool, overcast weather. Anderson reported that the course was muddy and tacky, but in, “pretty good shape.”
The Pirate girls finished third in the meet with 44 points, behind Durango, which tallied 24 points as a team, and Bayfield, with 41 points.
Leading the Pirates to that victory was Emily Bryant, who finished in second place with a time of 20 minutes, 16 seconds.
“I’m very happy,” Anderson said. “She actually ran one of her better races. We’re working on pacing strategies with her and this one worked really well.”
Following Bryant as the Pirate scorers (the top four finishers for each team contribute to the team score) were Olivia Reinhardt, who finished in 11th place in 22:35, Taylor Hammer-Lee in 14th with a time of 23:09, and Maddie Greenly, who finished 22nd in 24:20.
Rounding out the varsity runners on the day were Dana Danielson in 36th in 25:26, Delany Khung in 46th with a time of 27:04, and Megan Ellis in 47th place in 27:13.
Anderson also highlighted the performances of Reinhardt and Hammer-Lee, while noting Danielson re-aggravated a long-term injury she’s been fighting.
Despite this weekend’s action taking place in Pagosa Springs, Anderson noted it will probably be another two weeks before the Pirates face the Bayfield Wolverine varsity again, with that team likely to send a scoring team to a meet in Salida this weekend.
The boys finished in seventh as a team at the meet, led by Tyler Greenly, who finished 16th with a time of 19:01.
“Tyler ran a really solid race. He’s doing well,” Anderson said.
Liam O’Brien’s 27th-place finish (19:58), Chris Archuleta’s 34th-place finish (20:32) and Mason Chronowski’s 37th place finish (20:45) also contributed to the Pirates’ finish.
“Liam gets kudos for the biggest race,” Anderson said, adding that he hopes to have the sophomore running with the Pirates’ top group consistently.
Rounding out the varsity runners were Michael Iverson, finishing 39th in 21:10; Jacob Hughes, finishing 46th in 21:44, and Zach Ellis finishing 47th in 23:34.
“The rest of the guys were pretty solid,” Anderson said, noting improvement in Chronowski and adding that Nick Hutcherson is expected to return to the varsity lineup this weekend, after missing a meet and running JV in Bayfield.
“We’re seeing the potential for the pieces to all fit together,” Anderson said.
This weekend, the Pirates bring the action to Pagosa for their only home event of the season, which also happens to be one of the more challenging courses in the state, Anderson said.
“It’s a great opportunity to come out and support the team,” Anderson said.
The races will kick off at the athletic field at Town Park (following that morning’s hot air balloon ascension), with much of the race taking place on Reservoir Hill.
High school action starts at 10 a.m. with high school boys, followed by all high school girls running at 10:30 a.m.
Junior high action starts at 9:15 a.m. for the boys and 9:35 a.m. for the girls.
Spectators looking to head on Reservoir Hill during the races are cautioned to be aware of trail work that will be taking place on portions of the hill.