No cross-country meet is intimidatingly large after running in the Mt. SAC Invitational.
The North Tahoe cross-country team returned this past weekend with impressive results from the 66th Annual Mt. SAC Invitational in Southern California, which is described as the world’s largest cross-country meet, with 25,000 runners total, and 19,000 of them at the high school level. Half of the cross-country programs from California took part this year, including 78 of the 100 ranked teams in the state.
Mt. SAC’s 3-mile course is known for challenging runners, as it features three major uphill sections, including the aptly named Poop-Out and Switchback hills.
They weren’t a problem for the Lakers’ elite.
Defending NIAA Division III state champion Noah McDermott and teammates Shane Christian and Peter Holmes swept the top three spots in the varsity boys Division 5 race (schools with fewer than 500 students).
With James Palacio finishing ninth and Cam Goldstone 13th, in a field of 167 runners, the Laker boys easily claimed victory among 24 schools in the team competition. They posted a low score of 26 points among their top five runners to runner-up Stuart Hall’s 105.
McDermott highlighted the dominant performance. The senior raced to victory in a time of 15:44. Christian was second in 16:38 and Holmes third in 16:43 — the trio has consistently finished in that order all season — while Palacio finished in 17:31 and Goldstone closely behind in 17:35.
Other Lakers weren’t far behind. Senior Brandon Hackett finished 18th in 17:54 and Julien Bordes was 21st in 17:56.
North Tahoe’s girls put on quite a show themselves.
Led by defending state champion Tara Gallant’s first-place finish, the girls earned the team victory among 17 schools, with a low score of 17 points to Sacred Heart of Jesus’ 57. Pacific Ridge was third with 169.
The Lakers swept the top two spots, with Gallant winning in 19:46 and freshman up-and-comer Quinn Lehmkuhl placing second in 19:57. They were the only two runners to break 20 minutes in a field of 108 runners.
Sophia Tallarigo finished fourth in 20:09, while Holly Lewis was 47th in 23:57 and Kaya Williams was 48th in 23:57 to round out the Lakers’ top five scores. Ingrid Roske was 53rd in 24:18, and Sarah Mowris was 54th in 24:19.
The Lakers will compete in the Northern Division III regional championship meet at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno on Saturday.