Temperatures were hot in Durango. The land was dry.
The dust was easily kicked into the air as the feet of long-distance runners pounded repeatedly on the ground. Amongst the bearers of the feet were members of the Pirate cross country team.
“The meet wasn’t as hot as it was in Colorado Springs, but it was warm, dry and dusty,” said coach Scott Anderson. Just as it was in Colorado Springs, the weather was an obstacle for some of the runners, particularly those with asthma issues.
“There was a fair amount of time spent in the medic tent,” Anderson explained.
Among those affected by the heat and dust was junior Zack Ellis, who normally would have been running toward the front of the pack.
The boys at this race, partly due to conditions, were spread out in the field. Junior Mason Chronowski was the first Pirate to finish, with a time of 18 minutes, 40.6 seconds, earning him 18th place. After that, junior Tyler Greenly took 25th place with a 19.12.9. Behind him, senior Daniel Sloan ran a 19.36.2 and earned 32nd place.
“We’re still working on packing,” Anderson said, adding that the team had potential to become stronger through running as a unit.
“Mason and Daniel had a strong race, and Tyler is coming into form,” Anderson said.
Anderson added that he thinks that, toward the end of the season, things will start to click and the pack will come together.
For the Lady Pirates, junior Emily Bryant once again was the first member of the team to cross the finish — in third place with a time of 20.13.
“Emily ran well and she’s doing what we wanted,” Anderson said. He explained that, in Alamosa, Bryant was basically leading the group from the start, taking off too fast.
“Do not lead the pack,” is the advice Anderson gave, “Sit there, bide your time and get ready for when it goes.”
Now, Bryant will be working on running by herself, Anderson said, racing against her own time, racing against the games that easily play in one’s mind.
Freshman Olivia Reinhardt, Anderson said, ran a great race. Running with the pack of girls for the first half of the race, Reinhardt saved energy to make a surge toward the end.
“She was able to track down two Bayfield girls and finish in front of both of them,” Anderson said. Reinhardt finished in 15th place with a time of 22.21.1.
Following Reinhardt, junior Dana Danielson, still in recovery from a summer injury, crossed the finish line in 23rd place with a time of 23.01.4.
The Pirates’ next meet is this Saturday, right here in Pagosa Springs. The race starts and finishes in Town Park, with the athletes running up and back down Reservoir Hill. The boys take off at 10 a.m. and the girls begin at 10:30.
“The kids are looking forward to the race. It’s a hard course and they like to race on a hard course,” Anderson said. “They run like, ‘This is our house, what we train on,’ and they embrace that.”