With looks of sheer determination in their eyes, the middle school runners pounded their way up Dead Man's Hill.
They may be little, but the kids stretched their limbs to the limit as they neared the halfway point in the Tah Neva Cross-Country Championship. South Tahoe and Whittell middle school cross-country runners were out in force Friday and turned in top results in a field of 365 runners.
The mass of kids swept through the Kahle Community Park and the surrounding area, with 109 girls and 130 boys running in the sixth and
seventh grade race, and 49 girls and 77 boys competing in the eighth grade race.
"Overall this was a fantastic meet. We had close to 400 kids finish," race organizer Anthony Davis. "An outstanding performance made by all the middle school coaches and administrators for pumping up the cross-country runners."
Whittell eighth-grader was one of those who turned in an outstanding performance. Snyder was barely edged out in the final seconds, but pulled off a second-place finish in the 2.6-mile course. South Tahoe's Jake Miller was right on his heels, finishing fourth.
"He ran a great race even though he ate too many cookies," South Tahoe coach Karin Holmes said. " I hope he's not going to think that's the new winning formula."
In the girls' eighth-grade race, South Tahoe's Meg Carlson turned in a top 20 finish.
South Tahoe turned in top performances in the sixth and seventh grade boys race as well. David Holmes took fifth place while Casey Turner claimed 11th.
South Tahoe's younger girls dominated as well with Ally Sullivan snagging first place, and Allee Zaccor right behind her, turning in a personal-best performance.
"She was second, which was her best race all year," Holmes said. "She was just awesome."