What do you do if you are a Pagosa Springs High School track athlete and there are a couple of feet of snow on the track and infield at Golden Peaks Stadium?
Simple: you practice where and how you can, and you do very well at the first meet of the season, all things considered.
That meet was the Piedra Vista Invitational, held March 13 in Farmington, N.M.
The Pirate girls placed sixth in a field of 15 teams at Piedra Vista, the boys eighth of 15.
“The kids did well, considering they haven’t been on the track yet this year,” said coach Scott White.
White took 40 athletes to Piedra Vista last Saturday and expects to have as many as 60 students out for the team by the time players from the state tournament basketball teams suit up for practice and competition next week.
Of the 40 Pirates who made the trip to Farmington, several made impressive showings.
Senior newcomer Willie Wilkins placed second in the boys’ 100-meter dash, hitting a time of 11.25 seconds.
“Willie is fast,” said White. “He got second coming out of the slow heat, because we didn’t have any times (for the heat seedings). “If he had been in the fast heat, he would have pushed the winner, and it would have been very interesting.”
Ryan Stahl was fourth in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 44.13. He was seventh in the 110 hurdles, at 17.36.
The boys’ 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams (Wilkins, Stahl, Andrew Clark and Dakota Miller) were fifth in each event.
Carlos Brinkmann placed fifth in the 3,200, at 10:49.72.
Garrett Stoll took seventh in triple jump, leaping 38 feet, 1/2 inch.
In the girls’ competition, veteran distance runner Katarina Medici placed second in the 3,200, at 13:34.91.
Senior Kala Matzdorf was third in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 53.23. She was fourth in the 100 hurdles, at 18.56.
Kelsey Sellers took third in the 400, at 1:08.25.
Danielle Pajak was sixth in the 800, at 2:50.07. It was Pajak’s first competition in the event.
Tiffany Bechtel placed seventh in the 200, with a time of 30.54.
Two girls’ relay teams had strong performances at Piedra Vista. The 4x100 team of Matzdorf, Pajak, Sellers and Brooke Spears was third, at 56.80. The 4x400 team of Pajak, Sellers, Spears and Toni Stoll was third at 4:54.88.
The Pagosa girls were also very strong in field events.
Katie Armbrecht took fourth in the shot put, with a distance of 29-10.5.
Four Pirate girls placed in the top ten in long jump: Stoll, fourth (14-10); Gabby Pajak fifth (14-6.765); Armbrecht seventh (14-5); and Sellers ninth (13-11.75).
Stoll also took eighth in the triple jump, at 30-1.
“This was a first this season for our jumpers, to actually jump in the sand,” said White. “To have four girls in the top ten in an event was outstanding.
“I am real excited about some of freshman girls coming up,” said the coach, “in particular because we have seniors like Kala Matzdorf leading them.”
This week, team members practice where they can, again deprived of a track and jumping and throwing areas. Then, it is off to the Aztec Invitational Friday and Saturday.
“This is a nice meet,” said White. “The fact it is held over two days gives kids a chance to shine one day, get some rest and come back the next day. It’s particularly helpful with our distance runners, since they don’t have to run the mile and two-mile events on the same day.”
While he and his charges wait for clear ground at home, White says he is “real encouraged. We have a lot of raw talent to have placed as well as we did at Piedra Vista. If we can improve on our performances as the season goes on, we should do really well. As we progress and get athletes back to the team, our relay teams could be special.”