The day was cold. The sky, clear.
Occasionally, a gust of wind rushed against the runners’ faces, acting as either a nudge to pass or as a nagging obstacle in the path.
These aspects of last Saturday, though, aren’t what will be remembered by this year’s Pagosa Springs Cross Country team.
When they remember the day, it will be for the race they ran in the Colorado 3A State Championships. Nobody won an award, nor was any runner designated all-state for a top-10 performance, but the race, as runners know, is more against one’s own self than anyone else.
The girls’ team took 13th place out of 20 teams.
“Most of the girls did really well,” coach Scott Anderson said.
Top-runner junior Emily Bryant placing 14th with a time of 21 minutes and two seconds. Bryant, Anderson said, had a slightly off day, but pulled through for a good finish.
Freshman Olivia Reinhardt was the next Pirate to cross the finish line, for 27th place at a time of 21.49. “Awesome,” “fantastic,” are the words Anderson uses to describe Reinhardt’s race.
“Tiny, little Olivia runs the way a coach wants; she gets stronger as the race goes on. She runs the second half of the race really well ... as other runners are fading away, she keeps moving up,” Anderson said.
The next Pirate finisher was another freshman, Taylor Lee-Hammer. She placed 74th with a time of 23.24. Her race, Anderson called “beyond solid.” Anderson added that she took off nearly four minutes from her time on a similar course at the beginning of the year.
Sophomore Devon Jurcak, however, took off the most time during this season, a total of six minutes. Jurcak finished 88th with a time of 23.54.
The boys team placed 16th, also out of 20 teams. The first three finishers ran together, in a pack, all finishing within seconds of each other.
Lone senior for the Pirates Daniel Sloan was the first to cross the finish line in 18.47 for 42nd place. Freshman Nick Hutcherson finished 47th with a 18.52. Junior Tyler Greenly finished 49th with a 18.58, which Anderson called the best race of the day.
“All these boys ran a fantastic race,” Anderson said.
Junior Mason Chronowski came in at 19.57 for 79th place.
Sophomore Chris Archuleta, new to the sport, placed 94th with a time of 20.23. “He has really progressed through the year,” Anderson said.
“The team has progressed from the end of year,” Anderson said of the season, with all athletes taking time off their runs. “I’ve had a lot of fun this season.”