The Truckee cross-country team made quite an impression at its first sea-level meet of the season and first-ever appearance at the Josh Ruff Memorial Trojan Cross Country Invitational in Folsom last weekend.
As the Truckee varsity girls dominated in the first race of the day, there was talk overheard along the course that it wasn’t really fair to have Truckee competing against their lowland California counterparts since they train at altitude.
While it is a bit of a stretch to call fairness into question, one cannot blame the lowlanders for being overwhelmed by Big Red, cross country style. Not only were there 19 new personal records (PRs) set on a very challenging course, there were nine top-five finishes, six of which were podium finishes.
“We had PRs all around,” said Truckee coach Rob McClendon. “Being down close to sea level we normally see huge improvements of 10-15 seconds per mile. We have the advantage living and training on the mountain. Sometimes we don’t see these PRs this early in the season, but we have strong runners that put a lot of base training in this summer. It was especially great to see Truckee girls taking first place individually in both the varsity and junior varsity races.”
Junior Skyler Flora strategically trailed Oak Ridge’s Emi Prim for the majority of the hilly 5-kilometer Willow Hills Reservoir course, only to make her move in the last 300 meters of the race, finishing in an impressive 18:33, a national elite time. Prim followed in second, 10 seconds later.
Finishing third was Truckee junior Gabrielle Rinne in 19:35, which was a 1:24 improvement over her 2012 5K record. Rounding out the top 10 was freshman Claire Lang-Ree in 10th place in 20:47.
The other Truckee finishers in the varsity race ran in a pack for much of the race, all finishing within 18 seconds of each other: Julia Veliquette (22:04) in 20th, Olivia Yale (22:07) in 21st and Syra Fillat (22:22) in 22nd.
Host Oak Ridge had eight finishers in the top 15, with four finishing within 10 seconds of each other on either side of Lang-Ree. Consequently, Oak Ridge narrowly defeated Truckee for the first-place trophy, with a low score of 30 points to Truckee’s 42.
Junior Noah Oberriter took top honors among the varsity boys with a third-place finish and new 5K PR of 17:12. Other Truckee finishers were Simeon Murphy (24th) in 18:35, Ian Wilson (37th) in 19:14, Jared Murphy (51st) in 19:51, and Holden Reed (69th) in 21:56.
The most impressive 5K PR improvement of the day belongs to the younger Murphy, Jared, who shaved over 3 minutes off his 2012 time. The boys finished mid-pack, sixth place overall.
The Truckee girls completely dominated the junior varsity race, sailing to victory by claiming four of the top five finishes. Freshman Carrie Bradley easily won with a time of 20:59, followed in second by Amanda Rae in 21:48. Bri Parker finished fourth in 24:06 and Bella Bono fifth in 24:21. Michaela Welch placed seventh (25:44) and Nicole Rathbun placed 12th (27:16).
While the Truckee JV boys did not have five runners to register a team score, they also proved to be a dominant force, with two finishers in the top five: Freshman Hudson Verbeck placed second (19:55) and sophomore Jenner Tresan fifth (20:22). Other Truckee finishers were freshmen Ian Smith (21:11) in 12th and Christopher Miller (22:02) in 24th.
The Wolverines will participate in the South Lake Tahoe Retro Relays take place on Wednesday, Oct. 2. However, McClendon is looking beyond October: “We are looking strong for Regionals in November. We will just need to stay healthy.”