Heraty nabs first at Boggy Draw Bear Chase

Photo courtesy Rachael Christiansen
Pirate senior Gabe Heraty runs en route to his first first-place finish at last week’s Boggy Draw Bear Chase in Dolores. The Pirates finished third at the event.

By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School Pirate cross-country teams started the season off with a bang at the Boggy Draw Bear Chase last Friday in Dolores, with Gabe Heraty placing first to lead his team to a third-place finish and three Lady Pirates finishing in the top 10 to lead their team to a second-place finish.

“It was hot, smoky, and dusty, but I am impressed with the work each pirate put in. They had a great showing for the first race of the season and it left me excited and optimistic for the rest of the season,” coach Rachael Christiansen wrote in the team’s newsletter.

“I was really proud of them for what they accomplished out there,” Christiansen added in an interview with The SUN Tuesday.

The boys finished third at the six-team event, one point behind the 4A Durango Demons.

“I think we were lucky with the boys group because the fastest boys were in our wave,” Christiansen explained.

Heraty, a senior, took first among the 40 runners at the event with a time of 17 minutes, 59 seconds — 22 seconds ahead of the next runner.

“I’m very proud of Gabe for what he did,” Christiansen said.

She explained that Heraty’s plan before the race was to go for the win, but that it was a tough field of runners that included the likes of Bayfield’s Zeb Shields.

“So I was really proud of Gabe to get out in front of him, and the plan was to get out in front of him and stay out in front of him, and he did. So it was awesome.”

The first-place finish was the first for the Pirates since Sierra Liverett took first at the teams’ home meet in 2018, Christiansen relayed, and the first for the boys’ team in several years.

Junior David Morehouse followed in 16th with a time of 22:04, and was followed by freshman Levi Hinger in 18th with a time of 22:34.

Sophomore Andrew Bowles finished in 22nd in 22:54, and senior Clayton Cayard finished 24th with a time of 24:27.

Photo courtesy Rachael Christiansen
Lady Pirate RuthAnn Morehouse, a freshman, takes part in the Boggy Draw Bear Chase in Dolores on Aug. 21. Morehouse’s 24th-place finished helped her team take second on the day.

The girls’ squad finished second at the event behind Durango, who ran in a different wave than the Lady Pirates, with the top five runners in the race being from the two schools.

Junior Michelle Sauceda led the Lady Pirates on the day, finishing third out of 39 runners with a time of 23:05. 

Christiansen highlights Sauceda for coming out strong this year.

“I’m super proud of what she has been able to do over the summer,” the coach said.

Junior Nell Taylor followed in fifth with a time of 24:52, and senior Megan Greenly took seventh in a flat 25 minutes.

“I think Michelle and Nell both had a really good race, but I think it was a little bit more challenging for them because they didn’t have that pressure from behind, they only had people in front to kind of pick off,” Christiansen said, adding, “The message was … we’re going to have to run every race as hard as we can and we cannot … get complacent with our position.” 

She further noted that first in your wave does not mean first overall, so cross-country runners are having to get used to running for both time and place, instead of just place.

Freshman RuthAnn Morehouse crossed the line 24th in 29:39, and junior Samy Owen finished 32nd with a time of 33:27. 

The coach also highlighted Hinger and RuthAnn Morehouse for completing their first high school races.

“I think he did phenomenally for his first race and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do,” she said of Hinger, adding,” I expect both of them to be a big part of this season.”

This week, the teams will take part in the Ancient Trails meet in Cortez, with that meet slated to kick off at 5 p.m. Friday.

“I really want the boys to get that one point back from Durango,” the coach said of the boys’ goal.

The girls’ squad, she noted, will look to see how they match up with Alamosa, who is now in Pagosa’s league and who the Lady Pirates will likely see a lot this season.

“They’re going to be a big competition for us throughout the year,” Christiansen said.