One week, two track meets.
Might sound like a lot, but for the Pagosa Springs Pirates the back-to-back meets helped them find the groove. Both the boys and the girls placed second at both meets, boasting several first-place finishes.
“It kinda worked out great because it pushed the kids to perform with only a couple days rest, and state is a three-day meet with no rest,” Coach Scott White said.
The first meet was the Pine River Invitational at Bayfield last Wednesday. Originally, the meet was scheduled for Saturday, April 14, but had to be postponed due to high wind and poor weather. The second meet was the Southwest Invitational held last Saturday in Cortez.
“Both meets mirrored each other for the most part,” White said. The same strong performers stood out and not only did they consistently place, White said, but they also improved.
Pine River Invitational
On the girls team, junior Gabby Pajak took first in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 15.56 seconds. Junior Toni Stoll was behind her placing fifth by pushing herself to a time of 17.36. In the 300 meter hurdles, Stoll placed fifth again with a 52.88.
Sophomore Dana Danielson placed second in the 1,600 with 6:30.28. Danielson, a strong long distance runner, also took first place in the 3,200 meter with a 14:25.52. Fellow Pirate, junior Nisa Touchon, took second in the race with a 17:03.65.
The highlight, for White, was the 800 sprint medley. Saje Brinkmann, Kelsey Sellers, Pajak and Taylor Strohecker went below two minutes with a time of 1:59.12 for a second place finish.
“I have high hopes it will get better,” White said, with confidence that the relay will be a state qualifier.
In field events, sophomore Taylor Strohecker took first in high jump with a 5-2 jump. White is hoping she will soon reach 5-4.
Stoll and Pajak once again dominated the long and triple jump events. In long jump, Pajak took first with a 16-6.5 leap. Stoll took third with 15-9. In triple jump, Stoll took first with a 35-10.5 jump, with Pajak right behind with a second place leap of 35-4. The next jumpers were several feet behind Stoll and Pajak in triple jump.
Senior Katie Armbrecht took fifth in discus with a throw of 101-3.
For the boys, White said that one particular race stood out — the 200 meter dash. “Garek Erskine (junior) is fun to watch because he’s so tall and it takes him a while to get going, but he always makes for a great finish,” White said. During this particular race, White said it was down to the wire; none of the coaches could guess who was going to win, but it was Erskine with his long legs who took the first place finish with a time of 23.96.
Senior Carlos Brinkmann took second in the 1,600 with a time of 4:49.3. While Brinkmann is dominating the Intermountain League, White is hopeful that by cutting several seconds he’ll qualify for state.
In the 400, senior Matt Baker has quickened his stride to dominate the league, taking another first place with a 53.10. New to the Pagosa team and area, junior Daniel Sloan took fourth place with 54.50.
In the 800 meters, it was the first time for sophomore Colton Polezynski to compete in the event, and he took first place with a 2:06.64.
“He’s surprising,” White said, adding, “He’s only a couple seconds away to being in the top 18.”
Brinkmann took second place in the event with a 2:09.01.
In relays, it was the 4x800 where the boys really stood out. The boys took a first place with a 8:56.57 finish, a cut of 16 seconds from their former best.
Sophomore Tyler Greenly placed fourth in the 3,200 meter with a 12:09.10.
In field, Erskine placed fourth in long jump with a 18-10, and in triple jump placed second with a 38-8.75. Dean Hampton was right behind him with a 38-8.5.
In girls’ action:
Stoll placed third in the 300 hurdles with 49.95.
Danielson took second in the 1,600 at 6:12.19.
Touchon placed third in the 3,200 at 16:37.21.
Kesley Sellers took home second place in the 400 with a time of 1:06.76.
In the 800, Alexa Alexander took fourth with a 3:12.14.
Armbrecht took a fifth place in the discus with a 86-7 hurl and first place in shot put with a distance of 34-8.
Strohecker took second in high jump at 4-11.
Stoll took the lead in both triple and long jump since Pajak could not attend due to prior obligations. Stoll placed first in long jump with a leap of 16-1. Sellers took fourth with at 14-6. In triple jump, Stoll took another first with a leap of 36-3.25.
In boys’ events:
In the 1,600, Brinkmann placed first with at 4:49.55, with freshman Tate Drane close behind, finishing second at 5:09.56.
In the 3,200, Brinkmann took another first place finish with a 10:49.59. Greenly placed fifth at 12:27.25
Baker took another first in the 400 with a 53.55. Sophomore Jeremiah Miller took fifth and almost broke a minute with a 1:00.24.
Erskine excelled in the 200 meters, taking second at 24.48.
Drane took second in the 800 with a 2:15.04, with Greenly two spots behind with a 2:24.83.
The boys’ relays excelled at this meet, placing first in the 4x200, (1:34.79), 4x400 (3.49.21) and the 4x800, (8.51.75).
Freshman Creede Wylie threw well in discus and took third with a throw of 117-5.
New kid on the block, Sloan took third in the high jump with a 5-7.
In triple jump, Hampton took third at 38-4.75 and Erskine took fifth at 36-9.75.
Bayfield beat the Pirates in both meets.
“Bayfield always gets us,” White said, adding that Bayfield has more competitors on their team. They also, White said, compete in pole vault, which the Pirates do not. “Before we’ve even competed, they have 20 points on the board,” White said.
However, this year, the Pirate focus is not to beat Bayfield, but to qualify relay teams and individuals for the state meet.
“It’s such a small team, and that’s all right. I’m pleased with the team, every week there’s improvement,” White said. For the girls’ team, of only 11 members, White said that consistently placing second is proof of the quality of athletes the team has.
The next meet will be the Abe Velasquez Invitational in Bayfield this Saturday. It will be a small meet, but White is hopeful the Pagosa athletes will continue to improve.