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It wasn’t the goal of the Pagosa Springs High School Pirate cross-country runners to beat their times from a year ago at last Friday’s pre-state meet in Colorado Springs, but several of them did it, anyway.
In fact, the team’s goals were to focus on running only specific portions of the race at full throttle, work on team-building (team race results depend largely on runners being able to group together), and continue to get the harriers’ legs ready for competitive races to start the regular season in early September.
“We were able to accomplish all of that,” Anderson said, noting that a number of the runners still managed to run the race faster this year than last year, which he noted bodes well for the future.
October’s state meet will be held on the same course as Friday’s pre-state meet.
Specifically, Anderson said the plan for both the boys and the girls was to run the first portion of the race hard, hold back on the next portion, work on keeping pace up the course’s long hill and extended downhill, and run the last 1.25 miles hard.
“We weren’t trying to be overly competitive,” Anderson said, adding that all the Pirate runners ran in junior varsity races at the meet in order to work on the team goals, run in cooler weather and return home sooner.
While Anderson provided the order of the top five finishers for both sides, he did not provide the times due to the team’s not focusing on time and running in a junior varsity race. In regular-season meets, seven runners will run for the team, with the top-five finishers contributing to the team score.
On the girls’ side, juniors Taylor Lee Hammer and Olivia Reinhardt led the team, as Anderson expected, with Delaney Khung, a sophomore finishing next.
Anderson noted that Khung has “made huge strides” and improved from her freshman year.
Finishing next was senior Sage Mijares, who is new to the team after transferring into the school district this season.
Sophomore Kori Mogensen, also new to the team this season, was the fifth finisher and, according to Anderson, is “showing large potential.”
Rounding out the girls’ squad, by class, are juniors Molly Burkesmith and Jessica Wellman; sophomores Andie Miller, Maddie Greenly, Meghan Ellis and Hannah Marnocha; and freshman McKia McPherson.
On the boys’ side, junior Nick Hutcherson was the first Pirate finisher, coming in third overall. Following Hutcherson was sophomore Jacob Hughes, who Anderson noted has made a “huge improvement” from last year.
“Those two will be running at the front,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, (they will) be joined soon by Ethan Brown.”
Brown is a sophomore and was the third Pirate finisher at Friday’s meet.
Finishing next for the Pirates was senior and team captain Chris Archuleta.
Finishing fifth for the Pirates was Mike Iverson, a junior, whom Anderson noted also made big improvements from last year.
Rounding out the boys’ squad, by class, are senior Ben Miller, junior Ian Roth, sophomore Coy Thomas and freshman Keanan Anderson.
“We hope to have both sides (boys and girls) there again at the end of the year, which is obviously state,” Anderson said of the course.
But first the team has to take on the regular season, which begins Sept. 6 in Alamosa.
“We will get an immediate test running against Alamosa,” Anderson said. “On the guys’ side, they will be vying for the overall state title.”
Anderson said the boys’ goal at the meet will be to keep as close to Alamosa as they can.
Of the girls, Anderson said, “Alamosa has a more-than-decent girls squad, which will be a good early indicator, if they’re as good as I think they have the potential to be.”
Until that meet, Anderson said the team will continue to work on building overall strength, as well as focusing on speed.