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Pirate girls first, boys second at Chicken Creek Classic

The Pagosa Spring sHigh School cross country teams again made a strong showing, this time last Saturday at the Chicken Creek Classic in Mancos, where seven varsity runners set personal records.

With four consecutive first place finishes at meets for the girls team and another top two finish for the boys team, the Pirate runners have only one more regular season meet before the Intermountain League Meet in Monte Vista.

“We were really happy again this meet,” said Coach Scott Anderson. “There’s a few things we still have to work on, but we’re in a good place.”

Finishing third as an individual in every race this season, Emily Bryant again led the Pirate girls across the finish line with a time of 21:50 — a personal record for the freshman.

Brooke Hampton ran across the line in eighth place with a time of 22:49, while teammates Daniel Pajak (22:55) and Dana Danielson (22:59, a personal record), finishing ninth and 10th, respectively.

Not far behind, Mele LeLievre finished 16th in 23:33; Haleigh Zenz crossed 18th in 23:44; and Crystal Purcell rounded out the Lady Pirates varsity with an 24th place finish in 24:34.

The girls again finished first, with a solid 27-point lead over second-place Bayfield.

“Again, the team aspect worked well,” Anderson said, noting the close finish within the team, which the team has dubbed “bringing the rain.”

Leading the boys, Carlos Brinkman crossed the line sixth with a time of 18:23, followed by junior Evan Brookens in 14th, who set a personal record with a time of 19:25.

Moses Huck crossed the line six seconds later, in 15th place with a time of 19:31.

The next four Pirates, who rounded out the varsity squad for the day, set personal records, with three of the four being freshmen.

Junior Zach Graveson finished 25th, with a time of 20:14; Zach Ellis finished in 26th, only one second behind Graveson (20:15); Tyler Greenly finished 27th, only two seconds behind Ellis (20:17); and Mason Chronowski finished 32nd in 20:38.

The boys finished second overall behind New Mexico’s Piedra Vista High School, a 5A program that Anderson said is likely one of the top five teams in New Mexico.

Coming in third, 13 points behind the Pirates, was rival Bayfield — whom the Pirates defeated in a tiebreaker at the season’s first meet and beat by one point at the home meet on Sept. 25.

Anderson said, right now, the boys’ main focus is to close the gap between the packs of Pirate finishers.

“If we can close that gap, our team will look really good,” Anderson said.

The Pirates travel to Cortez Saturday for their last regular season meet of the season, though most of the varsity runners will have the weekend off to rest and recover before the next week’s IML meet, Anderson said.

Aside from allowing the varsity squads to recover, Anderson said the race will be an additional opportunity for the JV squads and a chance for everybody to see the course (the site of the Oct. 23 regional meet, which follows the IML event).

With the low stress weekend on the calendar, the varsity runners will look forward to the IML meet at Monte Vista, which is held on a flat course more like those on the Front Range and that will allow the teams to judge their speed against Front Range teams before (hopefully) facing them in competition at the state meet, Anderson said.

randi@pagosasun.com