By Joe Napolitan
The Pagosa Springs High School Pirate track team returned home from its second meet of the week and its third of the season with a handful of achievements.
The Pirates tied for fifth with Buena Vista on the girls’ side and placed fifth on the boys’ side, just six points behind Alamosa, at the High Altitude Challenge in Alamosa on May 8.
The boys’ 4×800-meter relay team — Gabe Heraty, David Morehouse, Andrew Bowles and Geoffrey Munoz — knocked over a minute off its previous time, finishing in fourth at nine minutes, 51.86 seconds.
Photos courtesy Gerry Lindstrom
“It’s because of the competition, they were running against people,” coach Connie O’Donnell said, mentioning that, during the previous meet, they were the only entry for the event.
The coach indicated that many teams have fewer athletes.
“It’s just such a weird year because there’s not a lot of entries in anything besides your basic 100 and 200 [meter races],” O’Donnell said, explaining that every school seems to have smaller teams than usual.
Cam Hinger placed second with a time of 17.85 in the 110-meter hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.58. Tommy Barker also placed in the 300 hurdles, coming in fourth right behind Hinger in 47.63.
The boys’ 4×200 relay team placed third with a time of 1:43:31.
Evan Raymond placed second in boys’ discus with a distance of 115 feet, 5 inches and second in shot put with a distance of 38-7.
Lexie Valdez took eighth in the girls’ 100-meter dash with a time of 14.19 and sixth in the 200 with a time of 29.71.
Aidan O’Donnell took ninth in boys’ triple jump at 35-02.
Nell Taylor completed the girls’ 1,600-meter run almost 20 seconds faster than she had previously, placing ninth with a time of 6:21.41, as well as eighth in the 3,200 in 14:25.60.
The girls’ team took second in the 4×100 relay with a time of 56.18, and third in the 4×200 with a time of 1:56.90.
Jordan Lindstrom placed sixth in the girls’ long jump at 13-10.
Molly Graham placed eighth in the girls’ shot put at 28-3.25.
Then, on Tuesday, May 18, the Pirates headed to Cortez for the Panther Twilight, where the boys’ team placed second behind Durango and the girls placed third behind Montezuma-Cortez.
“At the High Altitude Challenge there were so many teams and it was such a long meet and a night meet, so it was late. That was fun just because there were so many different teams from so many different places,” the coach said. “It seemed like a really broad area of representation.”
Even with the abundance of competition, the Pirates made their way home late Tuesday night with several first-place victories.
Lindstrom took first in both girls’ long jump and high jump, with heights of 14-10.5 and 4-10, respectively — both personal records for the freshman.
Taylor took first in the girls’ 3,200 with a time of 14:04.41, as well as fourth in the 1,600 meter race with 6:48.53.
The Pirates swept the top spots in the boys’ 110-meter hurdles, with Hinger placing first with a time of 17.42, Vinicio Carranza in second in 19.48, and Aidan O’Donnell in third in 19.58.
The girls’ 4×100-meter relay team took first as Valdez, Chantelle Caldwell, Reece Peterson and Lindstrom finished with a time of 55.41.
In the boys’ 300 hurdles, Hinger placed first at 46.33, Tommy Barker finished third in 47.29, and Breck Wilson finished fifth in 50.90.
In addition to their first-place finishes, the Pirates nabbed points in many other events throughout the evening, including:
Molly Graham placed third in the girls’ shot put with a distance of 29-6.
Andrew Bowles took second in the boys’ 3,200 with a time of 12:29.93.
Annie O’Donnell placed second in girls’ triple jump with a jump of 28-2.25.
Aidan O’Donnell placed third in the boys’ triple jump with 35-6.5 and fourth in high jump with 5-4.
Caldwell placed fourth in the girls’ 100 hurdles with 20.18.
Raymond placed fourth in both boys’ discus and shot put with respective distances of 121-0 and 41-11, setting a new personal record in the latter.
“Evan Raymond gained 2 feet on his shot, that’s a huge personal record to add 2 feet,” said the coach.
The Tracky of the Week for the girls’ was Graham, who the coach said was a volleyball player arriving at the track for the first time last week.
“She works really hard at practice and she’s new to throwing and really just trying to figure it out. She’s doing such a good job,” said Connie O’Donnell. “It’s just really nice to have her around. She’s a really positive person who cheers on everyone else.”
For the boys’ squad, Hinger garnered Tracky of the Week after strong performances in both meets, including first place in the 300-meter hurdles on Tuesday.
“He’s a senior leader and out carrying equipment and helping his younger relay teammates organize,” said the coach. “He’s just a really good leader, leads by example and we’re trying to get him qualified in those hurdle races in state.”
The Pirates head to Bayfield on Saturday, May 22, for an event that Connie O’Donnell noted the team is excited for.
“We always look forward to that meet just because it’s close to home,” she said. “We always like to compete against Bayfield, and it’ll be nice not to have a night meet and get back late.”