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Pirate track team finishes regular schedule, heads for IML meet

With a strong performance at the Alamosa High Altitude Championships last weekend, the Pirate track team appears ready to compete for the title at the Intermountain League championships Saturday, at Bayfield.

The Pirate boys were fourth in a field of 21 teams, placing, in order, behind Pueblo West, Alamosa and Bayfield.

Pagosa’s girls took fifth place among 22 teams, finishing behind Pueblo West, Alamosa, Bayfield and Pueblo County.

Willie Wilkins led the way for the Pirate boys, taking first in two sprint events — the 100 and 200 meters.

Wilkins, a senior, blazed to the top spot in the 100 with a time of 11.41 seconds. His winning time in the 200 was 23.55.

“Willie did a great job,” said Pirate coach Scott White. “And Zerek (Jones) is not far behind him in the two-hundred.”

The boys’ 4x200 relay team also topped the podium at Alamosa. Wilkins, Taylor Shaffer, Ryan Stahl and Jones won with a time of 1:33.70.

“The team pre-qualified, again, for state,” said White.

The 4x800 team of Jacob Anderson, Ryan Hamilton, Michael Gallegos and Zach Lucero took second place, finishing at 8:54.56.

“The team was second, and the good thing is it was not their best time this year,” said White.”

Carlos Brinkmann ran the two-mile race in 10:42.46, putting him in third place.

“Carlos did a great job to get third at this meet,” said the coach.

Lucero was fifth in the 800, crossing the line at 2:10.02.

Competing in his first event of the season, Mark Johnson finished fifth in shot put, with a throw of 41-01 feet.

“It’s nice to have Mark back in shot put,” said the coach.

On the girls’ side Pirate freshmen Toni Stoll and Gabby Pajak continued to turn heads in field events.

Stoll won the long jump and triple jump events, with Pajak taking third in each competition. Stoll won the triple jump, leaping 35-03 and won the long jump with 16-05.5. Pajak hit 16-03.25 in long jump and 34-06 in triple jump.

“These girls are working hard,” said the coach. “Both Toni and Gabby pre-qualified in triple jump and they had good enough distances in long jump to pre-qualify, but the wind was a factor.”

Senior Kala Matzdorf kept on her schedule of constant improvement, taking fourth in the 100 hurdles (17.24) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (51.58).

“Kala is a team leader,” said White, “and her times in the hurdles are still going down.”

The Pirates girls’ 4x400 relay was fourth. Gabby Pajak, Stoll, Kelsey Sellers and Danielle Pajak finished with a time of 4:29.27.

“Our girls’ four-by-four hundred team still has the best time in the region, “ said White. “If they can improve, they have a good shot to do very well at the regional meet.”

The 4x800 relay team of Tori Strohecker, Katarina Medici, Mele LeLievre and Danielle Pajak was fifth, at 11:31.77.

The girls’ 4x100 team was in good position in the race, but a dropped baton settled the issue. “If they improve,” said the coach, “I have hopes they can win the regional race.

The coach was pleased with the efforts at Alamosa. “The girls were fifth behind some big schools. We weren’t at full strength, but they still did a great job. The boys are coming into their own. They are still chasing Bayfield, but Bayfield is the only team from our region that got us.”

The regular season schedule ended at Alamosa. From here on, there is something on the line.

This Saturday, at Bayfield, it is the IML title.

The following week is regional competition at Pueblo — the last chance for athletes who have not posted pre-qualifying times and distances to earn a spot at the state meet in Lakewood.

“I’m encouraged,” said White. “Our girls are poised to give Bayfield a run for their money and our boys could do the same this week. And I think our chances at the regional meet are even better.”

White was unable to attend the Alamosa meet, as were his assistant coaches. White thanked David and Penné Hamilton and Jim Shaffer for filling in at the meet, and thanked the parents who helped out in his absence.