The Pagosa Springs High School Pirate cross-country teams broke in a new course on Reservoir Hill at last Saturday’s Wolf Creek Invitational, and it seems they liked it just fine.
At the meet, the girls’ team finished first out of six full teams, while the boys’ team finished fourth out of eight full teams.
The new course featured two laps run entirely on Reservoir Hill and was more challenging for runners than the course previously run at the Wolf Creek Invitational, which started and ended in Town Park.
“If you were not already a smart runner, this course would certainly help you become one,” coach Scott Anderson said. “The teams did, actually, really well.”
While the girls’ squad raced against six full teams, several smaller schools fielded runners at the event, for a total of 64 harriers.
Olivia Reinhardt led the Lady Pirates at the event, coming in second overall with a time of 23 minutes, 33 seconds. Taylor Lee-Hammer followed 20 seconds behind, finishing third.
Sophomore Delaney Khung followed, finishing in fifth place in 24:38 — her highest finish in a varsity race so far in her high school career.
“She is progressively every week getting better and better,” Anderson said, adding that Khung was the only Lady Pirate to drop time from last year’s Wolf Creek Invitational. She dropped 1 minute, 30 seconds from her time at the event last year. “It just goes to show you how much improvement she has had.”
Senior Sage Mijares, who is new to the team this year and is a “great addition” according to the coach, finished 14th in 26:06, while Kori Mogensen, who was battling illness at the meet, rounded out the scoring Pirates, finishing 15th in 26:19.
Five other Lady Pirates also raced: Hannah Marnocha finished in 16th place in 26:40; Molly Burkesmith finished 18th in 26:49; Megan Ellis finished 36th in 30:33; Andie Miller finished 37th in 30:53; and Kia McPherson finished 60th in 36:11.
The coach also noted Burkesmith’s performance at the meet, stating, “She is making huge strides from week to week.”
The boys’ squad raced against eight full teams at the meet and, including runners from the smaller schools, a total of 84 harriers.
The team was again lean at the meet, down one runner who did not partake in the meet and another runner who was sick.
Nick Hutcherson was the team’s lead runner, with Hutcherson finishing seventh in 20:18. Jacob Hughes, rebounding from being sick, finished 12th in 20:51.
Ethan Brown finished 15th in 21:02, with Chris Archuleta finishing two seconds later in 21:04 to place 16th.
“He ran a very smart, very solid race,” Anderson said of Archuleta, calling the meet “arguably the best race of his high school career.”
Coy Thomas came in fifth for the Pirates — his first finish as a scoring runner in a varsity race — by finishing 44th in 22:56.
Two other Pirates also ran the race: Ben Miller finished 46th in 23:05 and Michael Iverson, who the coach said was “pretty sick,” finished 58th in 24:55.
But, despite the fourth place finish, the coach was happy with the team, noting that if all the runners were able to participate and run to their full potential, they likely could have won the meet.
The coach also thanked the Town of Pagosa Springs for the use of Reservoir Hill.
Next weekend, as the second half of the season begins, the teams will run in Mancos — one of the student-athletes’ favorite races of the year.