Harriers battle illness, injury in home meet

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SUN photo/Randi Pierce Jacob Hughes works to overpower a Durango runner during the final stretch of Saturday’s home meet. Hughes was the first Pirate to cross the finish line, finishing fourth overall. The boys finished third at the meet.
SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Jacob Hughes works to overpower a Durango runner during the final stretch of Saturday’s home meet. Hughes was the first Pirate to cross the finish line, finishing fourth overall. The boys finished third at the meet.

While the Pagosa Springs High School Pirate harriers may not be “firing on all cylinders” due to injury and illness, the girls’ and boys’ teams finished second and third, respectively, at their home meet last Saturday.

The race also served as an introduction to the course that will also play host to regional action on Oct. 23.

“The course was well-received,” coach Scott Anderson said, adding, “If nothing else, with a few minor changes, we’re ready to host regionals.”

The course, Anderson said, is a strength course, versus a rhythm course, with very few flat sections, meaning runners have to “be on top of things,” thinking about things like the terrain changes.

Unfortunately, the Pirate runners were not in peak form to take first on their new course Saturday, with injury and illness affecting both sides of the PSHS squad.

“Unfortunately, we’re still not firing on all cylinders yet,” Anderson said.

Still, the girls finished second at the meet, failing to beat only the 4A Durango Demons’ varsity team.

“I was extremely pleased with our top three finishers,” Anderson said.

In another mix-up among the Lady Pirates’ top three runners, Taylor Lee-Hammer finished as the leading Pagosa runner, finishing fourth overall in 21 minutes, 30 seconds.

SUN photo/Randi Pierce Taylor Lee-Hammer crosses the finish line at Saturday morning’s home cross-country meet as Olivia Reinhardt and Delaney Khung follow close behind. Lee-Hammer was the fourth overall runner and first Lady Pirate across the finish line. The girls finished second at the meet.
SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Taylor Lee-Hammer crosses the finish line at Saturday morning’s home cross-country meet as Olivia Reinhardt and Delaney Khung follow close behind. Lee-Hammer was the fourth overall runner and first Lady Pirate across the finish line. The girls finished second at the meet.

Lee-Hammer, the coach said, is rounding into form, gaining confidence and “ran a really smart race.”

Olivia Reinhardt and Delaney Khung were close behind, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, with Reinhardt running the course in 21:37 and Khung finishing in 21:38.

The next two finishers, Anderson noted, were rebounding from illness and injury.

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