Pirate harriers head for state meet

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Photo courtesy Jamilyn Harms The Pirate cross-country squads pose with their respective second-place plaques following action at last weekend’s regional meet in Delta. Both teams earned the right to advance to state competition in Colorado Springs this weekend.
Photo courtesy Jamilyn Harms
The Pirate cross-country squads pose with their respective second-place plaques following action at last weekend’s regional meet in Delta. Both teams earned the right to advance to state competition in Colorado Springs this weekend.

Last Saturday was a good day for the Pirate harriers.

Both sides of the Pagosa Springs High School cross-country team finished second at the regional meet in Delta, earning them each a spot in this Saturday’s state action in Colorado Springs.

Too, 12 Pirates recorded personal records on the day.

“It was just a good day,” coach Scott Anderson said.

For the boys’ team, the second-place finish was the best of the season.

“The guys we were really happy with. We kind of went in with the idea of, shoot for the moon — meaning if we did this, this and this we maybe had the potential to maybe even win the meet,” Anderson said, adding that the team followed the Norman Vincent Peale adage: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

While the Pirates were unable to top Gunnison at the meet, they were able to take a “solid second,” with no other teams close behind.

The coach also noted the team has come out of hiding just in time for the state meet, likening it to “Star Trek,” when Captain Kirk and his crew commandeered the Klingon bird of prey war ship, later removing the cloaking on the ship to reveal its possession and take it out of hiding.

“They hid all season,” the coach said of the team, which had not finished higher than fourth place prior to the regional meet.

Nick Hutcherson led the Pirates on the day, finishing fifth in 16 minutes, 42 seconds — setting a personal record and breaking through the 17-minute threshold.

“Nick ran a very good race,” Anderson said, adding, “For a guy to go under seventeen … is entering into good territory.”

The next two Pirates both finished with a time of 17:28 — a personal record for both — with Ethan Brown taking 16th and Jacob Hughes taking 17th.

Also logging a personal record, Chris Archuleta finished 23rd in 18:19.

Ben Miller finished 10 seconds behind to finish 29th as the last scoring Pirate.

Michael Iverson finished 38th, running the course in 18:58 and setting a personal record. Coy Thomas rounded out the Pirates with a personal record 20:05 to finish 51st.

The girls’ team, too, was unable to unseat its biggest competitor — Moffat County — taking second by a mere four points.

Taylor Lee-Hammer was the lead runner for the Lady Pirates, finishing third overall in 20:19 — a personal record.

“Taylor has worked really hard the past couple years,” Anderson said, noting that she is flirting with the 20-minute mark, which is a milestone in girls’ cross-country. The coach added of Lee-Hammer’s third-place finish, “That was a beautiful thing to watch.”

Delaney Khung followed in 20:58 to finish sixth. In addition to setting a personal record, Anderson noted that Khung took two minutes off of her time on the same course last year.

“Delaney keeps surprising every week,” he said.

Kori Mogensen took eighth in 21:05, setting a personal record of her own.

Olivia Reinhardt finished 10th in the meet after suffering a flare up to an injury she’s battled late this season, finishing with a time of 21:11.

“Olivia had been nursing an injury and it came back to haunt us during this race,” the coach said, adding, “kudos for her for suffering it out and still getting tenth.”

Rounding out the scoring runners, Hannah Marnocha finished 17th with a personal record time of 21:37.

Maddie Greenly was the next Pirate finisher, coming in 21st in 21:56.

Sage Mijares followed in 24th in a personal record 22:15, and Molly Burkesmith, also notching a personal record time, finished 32nd in 23:05.

“We’re OK with second,” Anderson said, noting, “We still get to run another race.”

Now it’s up to the Pirates to fine-tune their abilities — sharpening the sword, as Anderson puts it — to head into battle and make a strong showing at the state meet Saturday.

Namely, Anderson said the team would taper its training this week in order to be fully rested for Saturday’s meet.

The boys’ team will be the first to delve into state action Saturday, with their race starting at 10 a.m. The girls’ team will follow at noon.

Both teams will run on the same course at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs — a course they had a crack at early in the season and the same course the state meet has been run on the last two years.

When the teams ran on the course in late August, several of the runners beat their times from the previous year on the course despite not focusing on speed at that particular meet — a factor that bodes well for the Pirates this weekend.