Frosh keep Viking girls ahead of pack |

Frosh keep Viking girls ahead of pack

Steve Yingling

Over the last half decade, the South Tahoe High girls’ cross country program owes much of its success to the freshman class.

No other girls’ high school varsity sport can match the immediate success of the long-distance runner. Kimmy Arroues, Kate Lambdin, Kylie Noll and Kelsey Smith, Jordan Dalton and Kelsey McClurg didn’t have to toil on a freshman or JV squads while their bodies and minds became stronger.

They were immediate difference-makers.

“Make no mistake, having those girls is the key to our success,” said STHS coach Dan Wilvers. “It takes talent to win, and for whatever reason, we’ve had an abundance of talent and hard-working girls.”

It appears that the tradition will continue this fall as Shelby McIntyre is causing a stir before her first high school race.

“Shelby is running incredibly well and is right now maybe near where Kelsey was last year, though that’s hard to predict from workouts alone,” Wilvers said. “Shelby has the ability to be a state champ one day, if not this year.”

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That is quite a comparison, considering Smith won the Nevada 4A state championship as a sophomore last fall, then captured a pair of state track and field titles in the spring.

“Shelby is amazing. She is just really really talented, and she works very hard,” Smith said.

It’s a one-two punch that any coach would like to have. But Wilvers isn’t sure Smith will be able to duplicate her times from a year ago.

“Kelsey is having issues with her energy and strength that have hampered her a lot the last two months,” he said.

Without a senior in the bunch, Smith has accepted the role as team leader. By winning a state title last year, and finishing runner-up freshman year, Smith definitely has the credentials for the role.

“I don’t really feel any more pressure than I have in previous years,” she said. “I’m out there to have a lot of fun, and I like to compete. When it comes time to race, I’m really focused.”

The Vikings should have more depth than in previous years. Sophomore Karly Arroues, Kimmy’s younger sister, has made the most improvement during the summer.

“Karly has made a big move from seventh runner to being as good, if not better, than Torrie (Zaccor) and Cheldon (Rabbetts),” Wilvers said.

Zaccor and Rabbetts are also sophomores, and were the Vikings third- and fourth-best runners for most of last season.

Wilvers also has several other freshmen, including Smith’s younger sister, Kira, bidding to make varsity. Cassidy Cichowicz, who missed most of her eighth-grade season last year with a stress fracture; and Kaelyn Dion are also in the running to run varsity as freshmen. So was Lisa Johnston until she recently was diagnosed with runner’s knee.

Avoiding injuries and remaining healthy, that often determines which team thrusts the regional and state trophies in the air in November.

“All things being equal, Kelsey and Shelby would be a very tough duo, a healthy Cassidy will be very tough, too,” Wilvers said. “After that, I have a strong pack of Torrie, Cheldon, Karly, Kira, Kaelyn and Lisa. Nine deep if we’re healthy. Right now, three of them aren’t.”

Smith said the Vikings are capable of winning their third state championship in five years.

“We definitely have enough talent. If all of the girls stick with it, and if we all stay injury free, we should have a really good shot at it,” Smith said.

South Tahoe, which finished third in last year’s state meet, opens it season Friday night in Reno.

Date Meet Start time

Friday Nevada Twilight meet TBA

Sept. 5 Class races (Douglas) 3 p.m.

Sept. 12 Reed Invitational 3 p.m.

Sept. 17 At Douglas 3 p.m.

Sept. 24 Damonte, Manogue at STHS 3 p.m.

Sept. 27 At Stanford Invitational TBA

Oct. 1 Manogue Invitational 3 p.m.

Oct. 3 South Tahoe Relays 3 p.m

Oct. 8 At N. Valleys (Reno, Carson) 3 p.m.

Oct. 11 At Clovis Invitational TBA

Oct. 22 At Galena TBA

Oct. 24 At Spanish Springs Inv. 3 p.m.

Oct. 30 Regionals TBA

Nov. 8 State (South) TBA

Coach: Dan Wilvers, fifth year

Last year: Second at regionals, third in state

Key returner: Kelsey Smith, jr., defending state champion

Opener: Friday at Nevada Twilight meet