It was do-or-die time Saturday at Golden Peaks Stadium as competitors in the regional track meet vied for chances to go on to State.
It all came down to which athletes or relay teams could finish in the top three in events, thus qualifying them for Class 3A action Thursday through Saturday.
At day’s end, nine Pirates had qualified in individual events, with three Pirate relay teams making the cut.
Four Pirates won regional championships.
Senior Jackson Walsh took first in the boys’ 3,200 meter run, with a time of 10 minutes, 35.17 seconds. Walsh is the defending class 3A state champion in the event.
Senior Jacie Harms took first place in the girls’ 3,200. Harms finished with a time of 12:34.79 — 13 seconds ahead of the second place runner.
Junior Taylor Shaffer topped the field in the 400, crossing the finish line at 52.69.
Senior John Jewell bested the competition in the triple jump, with a distance of 41 feet, 7.25 inches.
A number of Pirates finished second in events at the regional meet.
Kala Matzdorf had two second-place races: the 100 hurdles (17.68) and the 300 hurdles (52.67).
Ryan Stahl was second in the 300 hurdles, at 43.07.
Megan Bryant took second in shot put, throwing for a distance of 31-11.5.
Danielle Pajak placed second in the 400, with a time of 1:04.76.
Finishing third in events and clinching a trip to State, were Brooklynn DuCharme (91-01 in discus) and Stahl (18.16 in the 110 hurdles).
The Pirate boys’ 4x200 relay team of Shaffer, Stahl, Jewell and Zerek Jones finished second, posting a time of 1:35.26.
The boys’ 4x800 team took second in the event with a time of 8:37.88. Team members include Walsh, Ryan Hamilton, Zach Lucero and Kade Skoglund.
The girls’ 4x800 relay team of Harms, Breezy Bryant, Megan Bryant and Katarina Medici will compete this weekend following their third place finish, at 10:36.67.
The Pirate girls took second place in the regional team standings in a field of 10 teams, with 102 points. Intermountain League rival Bayfield won the meet with 136 points.
The Pirate boys’ team was third in the standings, behind Buena Vista and regional champion Bayfield.
“Teamwise, out of ten teams, I was pleased with second and third place,” said Pirate Coach Connie O’Donnell.
Regarding the qualifiers for the state meet, O’Donnell said, “I am happy we qualified so many kids. Some of our kids were really close coming into the meet and they did a good job pushing it and making sure they came out on top.”
O’Donnell had praise for Matzdorf’s performances in the hurdle events. “Kala got a personal record in each race, something she hadn’t done since her freshman year. She was in a slump, and she got out of it, with confidence.
“Danielle (Pajak) was second in the four-hundred,” said the coach,” and she came out of a slower heat, close to the winning time. I wonder what would have happened if she had been in that faster heat.
“And,” said O’Donnell, “I was impressed with Jackson Walsh. He faced a lot of pressure late in the day in the thirty-two hundred. It’s hard to come back as a state champion, and he won that race going away.
“Jacie (Harms) is also really on top of things. She won the thirty-two hundred and she’s been getting better every weekend. She’s at a really good point right now.”
It is the ideal time to be at your peak, heading into the week of the state 3A championships. This year, the event moves from its traditional Pueblo location to Jeffco Stadium at 6th Avenue and Kipling Street in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. And this year’s state meet will include all classifications.
The 3A competition begins Thursday morning, with some finals held Friday and Saturday.