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Pirate girls take three firsts at Aztec meet

Last Friday and Saturday, with the sun shining bright before the storm, the Pagosa Springs girls’ track team seemed to shine even brighter than the sun at the B and B Aztec Invitational, sweeping the jumping events.

Junior Gabby Pajak took first in long jump; junior Toni Stoll was first in triple jump; and sophomore Taylor Strohecker took first in high jump.

“This was a really good meet for the girls,” coach Scott White said.

Pajak, who missed the previous meet, was back in action and took first place in long jump with distance of 16 feet,11.5 inches. The second place jumper’s distance was over a foot shorter than Pajak’s.

“She did so well,” White said, adding that this was Pajak’s first jump in competition this year.

Pajak also made the finals in the 100 meter hurdles and 200 meter dash, however, could not compete in the Saturday finals due to a previous obligation.

Stoll was also a standout at the meet, White said.

“She is so tough,” White said. Stoll, White explained, competed with a tear in her calf muscle. “She still jumped and won first in triple jump, with the injury,” White said. Stoll took first place with a leap of 34-06; like Pajak, over a foot further than her closest competition.

White added that he decided to scratch Stoll from competing in the 100 and 300 hurdle events due to her injury. She had made finals in both events.

Strohecker took first place in high jump with a solid 5-foot jump.

“She looks good and will be strong for relay running,” White said.

Senior Katie Armbrecht, White said, provided one of the highlights of the meet.

“She misses two practices a week for swimming,” White explained, making it all the more commendable that she improved by three feet in shot put, giving her a fourth-place finish with a distance of 33-10.

“She’s got a really great attitude about improving and getting to state with her throws,” White said.

The Pirate boys’ track team, though not producing first-place finishes, showed strength in distance running.

Senior Carlos Brinkmann dropped over a minute in his two mile run, bringing his time down to 10 minutes and 46.92 seconds, placing him fifth at the meet. Brinkmann also dropped substantial time in his mile, over 10 seconds, bringing him down to 4.49.55.

“He did a great job and is a real leader,” White said, adding, “He’s teaching our young freshmen how to run.”

Two freshmen in particular, Tate Drane and David McRee, White said are making strides toward improvement.

Junior Dean Hampton made his debut at the Aztec meet after missing the last one due to basketball. Hampton’s first triple jump of the season placed him fourth with a distance of 39-06.

Fellow junior and basketball teammate Garek Erskine, White said, also jumped well, and would have done even better if “he didn’t hold back.”

Sophomore Colton Polezynski is close to Brinkmann in the mile and two mile. “He looks great,” White said, anticipating that he’ll be ranked in the top 18 in Colorado.

“This was a great meet with some hard competition against big schools,” White summed up.

The next meet will be in Cortez on Friday; the Pirates’ first Colorado meet. Once they race in Cortez, the Pirates will gain state rankings and get a good idea of their competition in a drive to make it to state.

lindsey@pagosasun.com

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