Both Pirate cross-country teams fared well last Saturday in Bayfield, despite dealing with smoke in the area, illness and the ACTs.
The boys returned home with a fourth-place finish at the meet, and the girls returned with a second-place finish.
Because of a controlled burn in the area, coach Scott Anderson said the team considered not running, but the smoke had mostly cleared in time for the varsity races to start. However, one Pirate runner sat out due to respiratory concerns.
The team was also short two student-athletes who were taking the ACT, and one that was sick and unable to attend the meet.
But, despite those factors, Anderson was pleased with the results of both teams, calling it a “good day.”
Each team was scored on its top four finishers at the meet instead of the normal five, and nine teams competed in each the boys’ and girls’ divisions, Anderson said.
The top finisher for the boys’ squad was Nick Hutcherson, who finished sixth in 19 minutes, 3 seconds.
Ethan Brown followed, finishing 15th in 19:24. Chris Archuleta finished 29th in 20:28 and Michael Iverson finished 33rd in 20:41 to round out the scoring Pirates.
Also running varsity for the Pirates were Coy Thomas, who finished 49th in 21:45, and Keanan Anderson, who finished 52nd in 21:54.
“The fourth guy really stepped up, so we ended up doing really well as a team,” the coach said of Iverson, later adding, “Michael chose to adhere to Chris and was able to hang on for almost two miles, which is essentially what we’re after as far as team scoring goes.”
And that worked well for the Pirates, with the team coming in fourth at the meet.
The girls’ squad finished second at the meet behind the 4A Durango Demons.
“To be competitive with Durango is really cool,” Anderson said, and the kids are buying in, particularly the newer kids are buying into the possibility of how good they could be.”
The Lady Pirates’ top four finishers were Olivia Reinhardt, who finished third overall in 22:18; Taylor Lee-Hammer finished one second behind to take fourth place; Delaney Khung’s ninth-place finish in 23:28; and Kori Mogensen’s 15th place finish in 24:01.
Rounding out the varsity runners for the Lady Pirates were Maddie Greenly, who finished 37th in 26:16 and Molly Burkesmith, who finished 41st overall in 26:42.
“Delany had an awesome race,” Anderson said, highlighting that Khung shaved three and a half minutes off of her time on the Bayfield course last year.
Anderson said Khung took it upon herself to run with Reinhardt and Lee-Hammer in the race, staying with them for about the first 1.5 miles.
“To have three girls in the top ten … is outstanding,” Anderson said, also pointing our Mogensen’s performance at the meet and adding. “Particularly, our top four girls had a good day.
This weekend, the Pirates are set to host the Wolf Creek Invitational atop Reservoir Hill — the teams’ only home races of the season.
And although much of the course for the Wolf Creek Invitational is traditionally run atop Reservoir Hill, this year, all of it will be — including the start and finish.
The races will start and finish in the meadow on Reservoir Hill, with varsity teams running a more viewer-friendly two-lap course.
“It has the potential to be even a slightly tougher course than we had before, which we’re known for,” Anderson said of the new course, which will still feature switchbacks.
The meet is also expected to be larger this year, with schools slated to come from Utah and New Mexico, as well as regional Colorado teams.
Varsity action is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the boys’ race, with the girls’ following at 10:45.