The Highlanders could have used some extra depth at the 2A State Track and Field Championships in Reno this past Friday and Saturday.
Nevertheless, the defending state champion Incline girls finished second overall among the 14 schools at Damonte Ranch High School, despite having a team of only 10 athletes. Incline's girls won the Northern 2A regional title the previous week over Pershing County.
“They were really happy with that,” Incline head coach Megan Lade said of the girls' runner-up finish. “They had really good PRs, and everyone did the best they could. We only had 10 girls, but we're still No. 1 in the North. We beat all the Northern teams.”
The Meadows out of Southern Nevada claimed the girls' state championship with a high score of 120 points to Incline's 95. White Pine came in third with 92 points, followed by Pershing County with 88 points and Yerington rounding out the top five with 75.
Incline's girls won multiple state titles between their individual races and relays, as senior Katie Cochran and freshman Valeri Nix pulled off the feat in one event each, while the girls' 4x200 and 4x400 relays also captured titles in their races. The Highlanders earned a number of medals, which were awarded to top-four finishers.
The Incline boys did not qualify for state as a team, although several members earned individual berths or with their relay, and all of them brought home a medal in their respective event. The boys also were awarded a plaque for winning the 2A Academic State Championship with an impressive collective GPA of 3.8.
Cochran, who dominated the distance events at regionals a week prior with three victories, won the state title in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:24.77 to Pershing County junior Samantha Dennler's 2:25.47. Cochran also placed second in the 1,600 (1-mile), was third in the 3,200 (2-mile) and was a member of the third-place 4x800 relay team.
In the 1,600, the Incline senior finished runner-up to Jinks Heerema of The Meadows, posting a time of 5:48.68 to Heerema's 5:36.08, while she was third in the 3,200 in a time of 12:35.77. Bailey Gosse of The Meadows won the 3,200 in 12:21.20, and North Tahoe freshman Tara Gallant was second in 12:30.75.
“It's hard to put everything out there at regionals and then come back and put it all out there again at state. And all her races are long distance, and they were back-to-back, about an hour apart. But she did really, really well,” Lade said of Cochran.
Nix also impressed her coach with her personal-record (PR) finishes in all three sprint events she raced. After winning the regional title in the 100, 200 and 400 a week earlier, the freshman managed to carve time off of each race, and won the state title in the 400 in a time of 60.07.
“To get a 60.07 as a freshman was just amazing,” Lade said. “She started the season off at a 69.”
Nix finished runner-up in the 200, posting a time of 26.91 to The Meadows senior Lauren Henry's 25.91, while placing third in the 100 in a time of 12.96. Henry won the 100 in 12.10.
Incline's regional champion 4x400 relay team, which included Nix, Kate Ballan, Chloe Breider and Tori O'Connor, narrowly captured the title ahead of White Pine in a time of 4:22.06 to 4:22.45.
Not to be outdone, the Highlanders' regional champion 4x200 relay squad also claimed the title in its race. The team made up of Sophie Breider, Mia Harbaugh, Misha Gehring and O'Connor posted a winning time of 1:55.19 to runner-up North Tahoe's 1:56.35.
O'Connor, who has worked through a knee injury all season, Lade said, also earned a medal in the 400 with a fourth-place finish in a time of 63.77.
The Incline girls' 4x800 relay of Ballan, Haley Kennedy, Sophia Mourelatos and Cochran placed third in 11:10.33 to earn a medal, and the 4x100 relay of Tara Lincoln, Breider, Harbaugh and Gehring took fifth in 55.52.
Among the Incline boys, senior Spencer Wilson earned a medal with a runner-up finish in the 3,200. His time of 10:56.08 trailed only North Tahoe sophomore Noah McDermott's 10:31.24.
“He was thrilled with that finish,” Lade said, adding that she's pretty sure Wilson's time was a PR.
Jacob Lewis, another Incline senior, brought home a medal for his third-place finish in the 400, as he posted a PR time of 51.95. Cameron Murphy of Calvary Chapel won in 49.62.
The boys' 4x400 relay team of Wilson, Lewis, Will Cory and Tommy Mancuso also won a medal with a fourth-place finish in 3:42.39.