The Pirate track team is rounding into top shape, just in time for the all-important final phase of the season.
Pagosa hosted the Terry Alley Invitational last Saturday at Golden Peaks Stadium and the Pirates served notice they are formidable competitors, with both girls’ and boys’ teams taking first place in the standings at meet’s end.
Pagosa’s girls took first place in a field of 10 teams.
Senior Kala Matzdorf continued to excel in the 100-meter hurdles, winning the event at 17.16. She also placed third in the 300 hurdles, crossing the finish line at 52.80.
Danielle Pajak was second in the 400, with a time of 64.68.
Toni Stoll placed second in the 100 hurdles, with a time of 17.68, a time that pre-qualifies the freshman for the state meet.
Two Pirate relay teams placed second in events.
The 4x200 team of Danielle Pajak, Gabby Pajak, Victoria Espinosa and Saje Brinkmann had a time of 1:54.31.
The 4x400 team of Danielle Pajak, Gabby Pajak, Stoll and Kelsey Sellers finished at 4:27.80. The time was 12 seconds faster than the season’s previous best. “It was a great improvement,” said coach Scott White.
Pirates on the 4x100 relay — Satara Arthaud, Brinkmann, Matzdorf and Espinosa — ran a 54.80 to place third.
Also running to third was the 4x800 team of Danielle Pajak, Mele LeLievre, Katarina Medici and Megan Bryant. Their time was 11:06.62. The result was 14 seconds faster than a Pirate team had clocked in the event to that point in the season.
Pirate girls took a number of high places in field events.
Stoll kept up her pace in the triple jump, winning the event with a distance of 33-05.25 feet. Katie Armbrecht was third in triple jump, at 30-02.
Gabby Pajak captured first place in the long jump, going 15-03.75. Stoll was second at 14-11.75
Bryant placed second in shot put, with a throw of 33-04.10.
“It was a nice job,” said White of the girls’ performances. “We placed a kid in each field event and we showed very good improvement in all our relays. Toni and Gabby continue to be great jumpers and Kala continues to make strides. We’re coming along. If we can keep everyone healthy and stay together, we’re getting there.”
The boys’ team was first in a field of nine.
Seniors Willie Wilkins and Ryan Stahl led the way in individual events, along with Taylor Shaffer and Carlos Brinkmann.
Wilkins won the 200, clocking a time of 22.83 and pre-qualifying for state.
Stahl had two first-place finishes: in the 110 hurdles (16.58 — a personal best) and the 300 hurdles (42.04 — less than a second off the pre-qual time).
Brinkmann was first in the 3,200, running the two miles in 10:39.71.
Shaffer took top spot in the 400, with a time of 53.08.
Zerek Jones was approximately a half second off the pre-qual time in the 200, finishing second at 23.47.
Zach Lucero was third in the mile, finishing at 5:02.34,
Pirate boys’ relay teams swept the day, taking first in all four races.
In the 4x100, Jones, Stahl, Wilkins and Shaffer raced to a time of 45.49 — .3 seconds from a pre-qualifying mark.
The 4x200 team, with the same members, hit the pre-qual time with a win at 1:33.44.
In the 4x400, Lucero, Jacob Anderson, Andrew Clark and Shaffer took top honors with a time of 3:43.84.
Lucero, Anderson, Ryan Hamilton and Michael Gallegos were first in the 4x800, with a time of 8:40.08 — a 21-second improvement over the previous best time.
In field events, Jones placed second in high jump, clearing 6 feet and Garrett Stoll was second in triple jump, hitting 37-10.50.
“We’re still improving in discus and shot put,” said White. “Next week, we will have Mark Johnson competing in shot put and he can throw the shot forty-plus feet.”
As for the boys’ overall performance, White said, “We swept the relays and pre-qualified our four-by-two hundred team. The highlight was the four-by-eight hundred team dropping 21 seconds. All our guys realized their potential with the eight hundred and Michael Gallegos dropped seven seconds off his time.
White was also encouraged by the fact that several IML teams were at the meet (including Bayfield, the Pirates’ chief IML rival) as well as Alamosa, which joins the Pirates’ league next year.
“Our kids did great,” said the coach. “We’re finally coming together, with the right combinations on our relay teams. And those combinations will probably be what we stay with the rest of the way.”
The team faces a challenge this Saturday as the athletes travel to Alamosa for a meet featuring as many as 30 teams — several from large programs in the Pueblo area.
“It will be a big test this weekend,” said White. “If our kids compete, they should drop times and do well.”