Skip Piechocinski, head coach of the North Tahoe track and field team, was so busy coaching up his Lakers during the regular season, he may have overlooked the potential of his girls squad to bring home state title hardware.
The North Tahoe girls claimed the Northern Division III regional title by a 43-point margin over runner-up Yerington this past weekend, marking the girls’ first regional title since the late 1990s. They accomplished the feat without a single senior on the team.
“Oh yeah, I was totally surprised,” Piechocinski said. “I never look at winning titles. I don’t look that far down the road. We just try to get the kids to state and then be competitive. And they are competitors.”
And not just the girls, as North Tahoe’s boys led by Noah McDermott finished second as a team to host Yerington.
“They all did great,” Piechocinski said. “It was great to see the team compete like that.”
In all, 21 Lakers qualified to compete in the DIII state championship in Las Vegas with a top-four finish, including 14 girls and seven boys.
Gallant dominates distance events
As she has all season, Tara Gallant led the North Tahoe girls. The sophomore took the regional title in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, posting times of 5:45.04 and 12:47.09, respectively. Gallant also teamed up with Ingrid Roske, Kaya Williams and Sophia Tallarigo to place second in the 4x800 relay, in a time of 11:17.70.
Allison Wright, a freshman, made the state cut with a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash, in a time of 13.56, while Bozhie Pokorny qualified with a fourth-place finish in the 400, in 1:03.02. Roske fought hard for her state berth in the 800, as she used a strong kick in the final 300 yards to slip into fourth place, in 2:49.40.
Tallarigo, another freshman, finished fourth in the 1,600 (6:14.89) and third in the 3,200 (13:19.07), and Haley Perkins was fourth in the 300 hurdles (52.24) and third in the high jump (4-06). Allie Doyle tied with Perkins in the high jump.
The Laker girls cleaned up in the relays, qualifying for state in every race as they won the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400, and finished second in the 4x800.
Sara Trimm, Angela Wood, Doyle and Wright combined to capture the regional title in the 4x100, posting a time of 54.35. Trimm, Bridget Schroepfer, Wright and Doyle won the 4x200 in 1:53.45, and Maddie Cleeland, Abii Johnson, Wood and Pokorny won the 4x400 in 4:36.56.
The girls didn’t fare poorly in the field, either, as Jordan Briggs punched her state ticket with a second-place finish in both the shot put (29-04.50) and the discus (86-06), Trimm was fourth in the discus (78-05), Wood was second in the long jump (14-05.25), and Doyle and Perkins were third in the high jump (4-06.00).
“The girls have some depth,” Piechocinski said.
Junior Noah McDermott led the Laker boys by winning titles in both the 1,600 and 3,200, recording times of 4:34.86 and 10:34.62, respectively. Despite his individual accolades, he also helped lead the Lakers to a 1-2-3 finish in the 3,200, and was third in the 800 (2:03.58).
“Noah impressed me,” Piechocinski said. “In the 3,200 he hung with his guys and paced them. They raced together most of the way before he took off. It was just a total team effort, and that’s what Noah is all about. And (brother) Sean (McDermott) is the same way.”
The younger McDermott paced teammates Cam Goldstone, who finished second in 10:58.71, and James Palacio, who was third in 10:59.13.
“Distance has always been North Tahoe’s strength,” Piechocinski said.
Senior Sean McDermott, meanwhile, finished second in the 800 in a time of 2:03.21, and Peter Holmes was fourth in both the 800 (2:03.69) and the 1,600 (4:47.31).
Brandon Hackett, Holmes and both McDermotts won the regional title in the 4x800 relay, finishing in 8:33.89, and Jordan Holst was fourth in the discus (108-04).