Harriers head for regionals with high expectations

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Photo courtesy Jamilyn Harms Ben Miller, Chris Archuleta and Michael Iverson work together as a pack during last Friday’s Eric Wolfe Invitational in Monte Vista. The team placed fourth at the meet. This week, the team heads to Delta for regional action with the hopes of continuing on to state action the following weekend.
Photo courtesy Jamilyn Harms
Ben Miller, Chris Archuleta and Michael Iverson work together as a pack during last Friday’s Eric Wolfe Invitational in Monte Vista. The team placed fourth at the meet. This week, the team heads to Delta for regional action with the hopes of continuing on to state action the following weekend.

The postseason is officially underway for the Pagosa Springs High School cross-country teams, with both teams taking part in the regional meet in Delta tomorrow.

A total of 15 harriers will represent the Pirates at the regional meet — eight on the girls’ side and seven on the boys’.

And with regionals right around the corner, last Friday’s meet in Monte Vista served twofold for the Pirates — to help determine which runners would represent PSHS in Delta this week, and to give the teams’ lead runners a break of sorts before the postseason.

The challenge for the day for the lead runners, coach Scott Anderson said, was to “leave something out there” and be better rested for this week’s action instead of running the race at full speed.

“They pretty much did what we asked,” Anderson said, adding the team returned home with “pretty decent results anyway.”

But despite that challenge, both teams continued to perform well, with the boys taking fourth out of nine full teams in the meet and the girls taking first out of five full teams. Other runners participated without being part of a full team.

The boys’ squad was led by Nick Hutcherson on the day, with Hutcherson finishing 11th overall in 18 minutes, 9 seconds. Jacob Hughes followed in 19th with a time of 18:56.

Ethan Brown finished 24th in 19:08, while Ben Miller finished 44th in 20:12. Chris Archuleta followed two seconds behind to finish 45th and round out the scoring finishers.

Also running on the day were Michael Iverson, who finished 48th in 20:30, Coy Thomas finished 52nd in 21:05 and Keanan Anderson finished three seconds behind to take the 53rd spot.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Pirates were led by Olivia Reinhardt, who finished second overall in 21:28.

Showing that the pack mentality is taking hold, Maddie Greenly followed in eighth with a time of 22:10, Kori Mogensen finished in 10th in 22:26, Delaney Khung finished 11th in 22:29, and Hannah Marnocha finished 13th in 22:50.

Taylor Lee-Hammer followed close behind in 14th in 22:51, Molly Burkesmith finished 16th in 23:09, Sage Mijares finished 17th in 23:10, and Andie Miller rounded the team out with a 37th-place finish in 26:14.

“On both sides, we’re really excited,” the coach said of this week’s action. “Really excited.”

On the girls’ side, Anderson said the regional meet is shaping up to be largely between Pagosa and Moffat County, with the coach expecting many of the race’s top 15 places to be filled mostly by runners from the two teams.

On the guys’ side, the coach said Gunnison is the team to beat, with a group of four teams looking to not only upset Gunnison, but to take the No. 2 spot.

“If everybody’s on the same page and healthy, I think we have a very good chance of fitting in there second,” Anderson said, adding there is a chance the Pirates could take the No. 1 spot.

Also factoring in to how the Pirates will perform at the meet is the course itself, which Anderson refers to as “the Delta speedway.”

Anderson said the meet will be the fastest of the year, which the course being at a lower altitude and with fewer obstacles and challenges.

The top five teams out of the region for both the boys and girls will advance to the state meet, which is slated to be held Oct. 25 in Colorado Springs. Of the 15 teams in the region, Anderson said nine or 10 are expected to field teams at regionals.

“Things are coming together really well,” Anderson said. “We’re really excited to see how things turn out this weekend.”