“It was the best of times; it was the worst times.”
Coach Scott Anderson reiterated the words made famous by Charles Dickens in “The Tale of Two Cities.” Though, Anderson was not speaking of the French Revolution; instead, he was referencing the Pagosa Pirates’ performances at last week’s cross country regional meet in Delta.
“It was the best of time,” yes, because the boys ran to a first-place finish, beating Hotchkiss, Gunnison and Buena Vista. Senior Carlos Brinkmann set a personal record and placed second with a time of 16 minutes and 36 seconds.
“Out of the four regions in 3A division, Carlos had the second fastest regional time,” Anderson said.
Unlike in weeks past, the pack of Pirates was not all toward the front. In fact, the pack was not tight at all during the meet.
“We were a little lost,” Anderson said. Ideally, Anderson explained, the top one or two runners get to a certain place in the pack, then the rest of the team meets them there. This time, there was a lack of strong leader.
“The guys were looking around, ‘where’s our leader?’”
The next Pirate to finish was sophomore Mason Chronowski, more than a minute behind Brinkmann. Chronowski took 11th place with a time of 17:43. Senior Evan Brookens was close behind with a time of 17:49, good enough for a 13th place finish. These two created the closest semblance of a Pagosa pack. Next came senior Moses Huck at 18:08, and a 19th place finish.
“It was not our best day, but even when it’s not our best day, we’re still good enough that we can win regionals,” Anderson said. State, however, will be a more trying matter.
The girls team did not fair as well at the regional meet, and for them, it was not the best of times.
Individually, however, six girls set personal record times, but it was not enough to get the team to state. The Pagosa girls cross country team missed qualifying for state with a fifth place finish. Sophomore Emily Bryant came in third place with a personal best time of 19:24. Senior Brooke Hampton also had a personal best with a time of 20:14, fast enough to place seventh. Both girls individually qualified for the state meet. Statewide, Anderson says that Bryant had the fifth fastest regional time in the 3A division.
State comes this Saturday at the Arapahoe Fairgrounds in Aurora. This is where Anderson says the boys team will meet the 800-pound gorilla head on. The 800-pound gorilla is, of course, TCA, The Classical Academy.
In the Pirates’ favor, Anderson says, is the Aurora course, filled with hills and up and downs, similar to the courses on which the team practices. Also in the Pirates’ favor — training at altitude.
“We train and race on hills. This equalizes things more,” Anderson says. He continued, explaining that this type of course requires more than just speed to win; it also requires strength.
Can the Pagosa boys’ cross country team take state?
“It’s a long shot,” Anderson says. “But it is a possibility.”