The three-time defending state champion Incline girls cross-country team opened the season with a win at the Warrior Warpath Invitational in Zephyr Cove this past Friday.
The Incline boys finished second in the annual Whittell meet, which sends varsity runners on a hilly, 3.1-mile course that includes a sometimes-adventurous water crossing.
After graduating three of the top four Division III (formerly 2A) runners in the state from last yearand#8217;s team, the Incline girls claimed three top-10 finishes to post a low score of 19 points to runner-up Spring Creekand#8217;s 55 points and third-place Fernleyand#8217;s 74.
Freshman Stephanie Homola led the Highlanders individually with a fourth-place finish in a time of 23 minutes, 50 seconds. Jody Meads of Fallon won in 22:11.
Incline junior Kate Ballan finished sixth in 24:26, while freshman teammate Julia Golombik placed 10th in 25:26, Sophia Mourelatos was 11th in 25:29 and Hannah Laurie was 12th in 25:50 to round out the Highlandersand#8217; top five scores (the amount used for the team score).
Inclineand#8217;s Haley Kennedy (25:54) and Molly Franklin (26:02) finished 13th and 14th, respectively. A total of 54 varsity girls competed.
While the young girls squad easily captured the victory, longtime Incline head coach Bill Devine warned that North Tahoe also boasts a strong team filled with talented young runners. The Laker girls did not record a team score because many of their top freshmen and sophomores competed in the JV race.
and#8220;So itand#8217;s a little misleading to think that we are by ourselves out front,and#8221; Devine said.
In a field of 84 varsity boys, junior Evan Vomund and senior teammate Levi Dodge led the Incline contingent with seventh- and ninth-place finishes in times of 19:33 and 19:39, respectively.
That helped lead the Incline boys to a second-place team finish behind North Tahoe, which swept the top three spots. North Tahoe posted 28 points, Incline 76 points and third-place Spring Creek 110.
and#8220;Our boys are stronger this year, but North Tahoe got much stronger,and#8221; Devine said. and#8220;I donand#8217;t want to speak for Warren (Mills, North Tahoeand#8217;s head coach), but he could probably challenge all the big schools in the state.and#8221;
Incline senior Daniel Baron finished 12th in 19:46, while sophomore Matt Hanna was 22nd in 20:24 and sophomore Dylan Smith rounded out the Highlandersand#8217; top five in 21:15. North Tahoe junior Noah McDermott won the race in 18:37 and was followed by teammates Sean McDermott (18:41) and Patrick McElravey (18:45).