Incline Village track, field athletes qualify for National Junior Olympics |

Incline Village track, field athletes qualify for National Junior Olympics

Brenda Martinez-Ruiz and Millie Jenkins show off medals earned at the Region 14 National Junior Olympics Qualifier at Fresno.
Provided / Kris Nugent

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Eight North Shore athletes have qualified for the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics after spending the early part of summer travelling and competing in stifling heat.

Kids from Incline High School, Lake Tahoe School and Incline Middle School have competed at meets in Reno and then in California at Fresno, San Mateo and Concord.

“It’s truly awesome to watch local kids from the three different schools in Incline come together and strive for a common goal of competing at the National JOs,” said coach Kris Nugent, who works as Lake Tahoe School’s assistant head of school. “Our team has grown over the past few years, and I’m so proud of how each athlete has represented our town on the regional state, and soon to be national level.”

Millie Jenkins, Brayden Snearly, Jimena Elizarraraz, Brenda Martinez-Ruiz, Madeleine Patrick, Harrison Fung, Orion Barger and Dylan Cleary all qualified for the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships that will be held July 23-29 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.

Jenkins qualified in all three of her events, July 7-8, at the Region 14 qualifier in Fresno, finishing second in the 100-meter hurdles and fourth in long jump and high jump.

Snearly won the high jump and finished second in long jump. Elizarraraz finished fourth in the 1,500-meter run and narrowly missed out in the 800 by finishing sixth. Martinez-Ruiz set a personal best in the 400 hurdles and placed second. Patrick set a personal best of 11 minutes, 46 seconds in the 3,000 to win the 11-12 year old division. Fung finished third in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 200 hurdles. Barger finished second and Cleary third in the 15-16 boys 400, and the 4×400 team — comprised of all freshmen — won the relay with a time of 3:35.

“I’m excited to see our local kids compete against the best track and field kids in the country,” Nugent said. “I just know that they will have a blast and represent our team with pride.”

To reach the meet in Fresno, the athletes competed June 22-24 in the Pacific qualifier with the top eight advancing.

The Lake Tahoe Bobcats had 20 athletes compete at this meet, with 11 progressing to the next round, which included the eight headed to North Carolina, Niklas and Brenda Pietzke in the 3000, and Micah Bergstrom in long jump.

A few team members narrowly missed qualifying: Nicholas Patrick was 10th in the 3,000, Jack Ludviksen was 22nd in the 1500m and Trey Casini ran against a competitive field in the 800 and finished 18th.

The Lake Tahoe team also competed in the AAU West Coast National Championships, July 12-15, at Reed High School in Sparks, Nevada.

Athletes from all over the country attended this meet, and there were a number of outstanding results for the local team, including Brenna Ritchie and Evee Propst finishing fourth and fifth in the 200 hurdles; Mattison Lampe winning the 14-year-old girls long jump; Noah McMahan winning the 12-year-old boys 3,000; Brendan Pietzke finishing second in the 13-year-old boys 3,000; Lincoln Fung finishing 10th in the 11-year-old boys 200; Micah Bergstrom winning the 9-year-old boys high jump; Ethan Horvath finishing third in the 9-year-old boys 1,500; and Elizarraraz getting second in the 13-year-old girls 800 and 1500 races.

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