South Shore runners are fastest in the state
High-altitude training paid huge dividends for South Tahoe and Whittell high school teams over the weekend.
Girls’ cross country teams from Whittell and South Tahoe each won state championships and the WHS boys missed bringing home a third state title by a mere two points.
More importantly, the state title vaulted the Vikings’ girls to second place in the Nike Team Nationals Southwest ranking to automatically qualify for the 20-team national championships Dec. 4 in Beaverton, Ore.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said STHS coach Dan Wilvers, who received word from a Nike Team Nationals representative on Sunday morning the team had qualified for the opportunity to win the school’s first national championship.
Whittell also captured the Northern 2A regional volleyball championship by sweeping two opponents, Hawthorne and Lovelock, in three games. The Warriors now need two more victories to claim their second straight state championship.
After losing to Reno by 12 points at the Northern 4A cross country regionals a week earlier, the STHS girls avenged that defeat in a big way. The Vikings’ top five scoring runners finished from fourth to 13th, including three in the top six, to win the school’s first Nevada girls’ cross country title by 23 points over the Huskies.
“The girls were unbelievable,” Wilvers said. “They gave an all-time stud performance.”
It also was the school’s first Nevada state team championship since Rich Owens’ volleyball team won the 1990 title.
Jennifer Owens provided South Tahoe with its only other Nevada state cross country championship in 1989 when she won the individual title.
The STHS ski team competes in California and has won several state titles.
Whittell placed three girls in the top 10 to win the school’s second girls’ state cross country championship in three years. Christina Arana was fifth, Kristine Kline sixth and Danielle Daly ninth as the Warriors outdistanced Northern 2A regional champ Sage Ridge of Reno by eight points.
The Whittell boys nearly pulled off a unique championship double by finished two points behind Sage Ridge, which also won the regional championship the previous weekend.
South Tahoe’s boys, who were runner-up in last week’s regionals, finished third in the 4A state meet behind seniors Alex Sharp and Bryan Kurek, who were seventh and 10th, respectively.
“When we started in June we wanted to end up with both teams competing together at state. That was a dream come true for us,” said STHS boys’ coach Dominique Westlake.
Whittell’s volleyball team will take a 21-1 record into Friday and Saturday’s 2A state championships at Galena High in Reno. Whittell will meet White Pine at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, with the winner advancing to the state finals at noon Saturday.