South Tahoe track and field numbers way up | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Tahoe track and field numbers way up

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

If the remaining 65 student-athletes can stick with the South Tahoe High track and field program throughout the season, look out for the Vikings in the future.

“This is one of the biggest teams in quite a few years,” said Melissa Berry, an eighth-year coach. “We usually start with 45-50 kids and end up in the 30s.”

A large number of those who turned out are freshmen, which excites Berry.

“When you can build them as freshman instead of getting them for a year or two, it makes them better as seniors,” she said.

Double state winner Kelsey Smith leads a list of returners. Smith won the 3,200 and 1,600 meters at last year’s state meet. Smith and Kate Lambdin, who has graduated, nearly helped the Vikings earn a state team trophy. Behind their distance runners, the Vikings finished fifth, and Berry thinks it can happen again.

“We have a few kids who will score on both the boys’ and girls’ teams, and we have a much stronger boys’ team than we’ve seen in a while,” Berry said.

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Berry is expecting to send more athletes to the state meet.

“For many of them, the goal for this year is to make it to state. They are not looking to come out and hang out, and we’re going to do everything we can to get them there.”

Distance runners Kylie Noll, a senior, and T.J. Zaccor, a sophomore, nearly qualified for state a year ago. Noll was sixth in the 1,600 at regionals, while placed sixth in the 3,200.

The boys’ team will be led by seniors Chris Klug, Rob Davenport and Mike Burns and sophomore Blair Berry. The Vikings’ boys will be improved in the shot put and discus as Nils Ospenson, Paul Amundson and Lance Gatien are out for the team.

Danielle Kelleher, a former track team member during Berry’s first season, will oversee the boys’ program. Dan Wilvers and Brett Long are volunteer assistants.

All of STHS’s practices before the first meet have come in the school’s gym. That will change on Monday since Lake Tahoe Unified School District has cleared off the snow at the South Tahoe Middle School track.

“We look fast in the gym, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything until we can get out on the track,” Berry said.

Vikings at a glance

Coaches: Melissa Berry, girls, eighth year; Danielle Kelleher, boys, first year

Last year: Kelsey Smith won state titles in 3,200 and 1,600 meters, team finished fifth at state

Key losses: Kate Lambdin, Brendan Rice

Key returners: Smith, Alyssa Mesecher, Chelsea Madsen, Alexis Holmes, Kylie Noll, Chris Klug, Blair Berry, Rob Davenport, Mike Burns

Opener: Saturday at Reno.

2009 STHS track and field schedule

Date Meet Time

Saturday Reno 9 a.m.

March 18 Galena 3 p.m.

March 27-28 Stanford Inv. TBA

March 28 Fallon Invitational 9 a.m.

April 3-4 Reed Invitational 3 p.m./9 a.m.

April 9 Outer Relays at Fallon 3 p.m.

April 18 Caron Invitational 9 a.m.

April 22 Four-team meet 3 p.m.

May 2 Sierra Challenge 9 a.m.

May 5 JV Inv. at Sp. Springs 3 p.m.

May 9 Regional Trials 9 a.m.

May 16 Regional Finals TBA

May 22-23 State TBA