King of the hill |

King of the hill

Steve Yingling

There is no way to run under the radar when you are a King.

At Whittell High, junior David King distanced himself from other Warriors in 2006-07 with impressive results in cross country and track.

In the fall, King led the Warriors to second place in the Nevada 2A state cross country meet with a a fifth-place finish in the 5K at 18 minutes, 43.46 seconds. He also won the Retro Relays individual race at South Tahoe High and finished fifth at regionals as the Warriors captured the team championship.

In the spring, King ran away with the 3,200-meter state title in 10:38.88, winning by 23 seconds. He was runner-up to teammate Tyson Guajardo in the 1,600, losing by just under 6 seconds with a time of 4:58.50. In addition, King won the 3,200 at regionals and came in third in the 1,600 as WHS finished fourth as a team.

Those results and King’s leadership qualities made him a natural choice as the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Whittell High School Male Athlete of the Year.

“He really stepped up this year and really matured from his sophomore to junior year,” said Whittell cross country coach Lindsay Wines. “Something clicked in David’s head and he knew if he worked hard, he would produce. It was his drive to be number one that he matured mentally and realized his potential.”

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King was quick to deflect his success to his teammates and coaches.

“I really hadn’t trained much over the summer, but when we trained for the cross country season and track, we trained hard and it helped us improve to the extent we did,” he said.

“Working hard and training with Tyson and Willis (Hughes), the three of us working together helped improve not just me but the whole team. I would have been really happy for Tyson or Willis if they had won this award. They are great athletes and deserved it as much as I do.”

Surprisingly, King’s first-place finish at the state track and field meet wasn’t the highlight of his junior year.

“Getting second in the mile was because the person that beat me at regionals, Tyson and I worked together so I could catch him at state. I owe that to Tyson,” King said.

Guajardo, who won the state mile, helped wear down King’s competitor by slowing and intensifying his lead pace.

“He was so tired from trying to keep pace with Tyson that it allowed me to pass him at the end, and I beat him by .2,” King said.

With a talented senior class of runners graduating, King has taken it upon himself to lead the cross country team into next season.

“He’s gathering up kids for next year’s team and taking them on runs,” Wines said. “I haven’t had a kid take charge that early as a junior.”

Before long, in Zephyr Cove they’ll be calling this Whittell running star “King of the road.”