Vikings put in time to make run at state meet | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Vikings put in time to make run at state meet

Steve Yingling

Either Dominique Westlake is losing a step as he gets older or his South Tahoe High boys’ cross country team is in store for a sensational season.

“Right now I’m the fifth man on the team and that’s the lowest I’ve ever been,” Westlake said after he and girls’ coach Dan Wilvers put their teams through a morning workout in the forest abutting school grounds Monday.

Truth be told, Westlake hasn’t logged as many miles as usual because of a nagging injury. But he isn’t about to take anything away from his regional and state contenders.

Since the Vikings captured the 1999 state championship, Reno and Galena have worked their way to the top of the Northern Nevada running charts.

But South Tahoe is counting on experience and a more intense summer workout program to return to the state meet.

Seniors Bryan Kurek and Alex Sharp qualified for the state meet last year. They’ll be complemented by seniors Steven Grant and Kyle Sullivan and a solid core of underclassmen, including juniors Jack Williams and Greg Koeck, sophomore Kyle Conroy and freshman Patrick Reilly.

Recommended Stories For You

Westlake said Reno and Galena have surpassed the Vikings in recent years because those programs are reaping the rewards of the Silver State Striders running club.

“Some of those kids have 10 years’ experience running before they get to high school … and they don’t get involved in soccer and football,” Westlake said. “To top that off, they work hard in the summer time.”

South Tahoe has, too, and preseason workouts included a running camp in Mammoth Lakes that helped team members bond earlier.

“They’re all my heroes,” said Nancy Dalton, a first-year assistant for the girls’ team. “There is an incredible amount of work they are doing and they all get along, support and push each other.”

Work is a good word to describe what the Vikings did during their morning workout Monday. After completing a 2-mile warm-up run, the Vikings ran eight, 160-yard uphill wind sprints with a jog back to the starting line serving as their “rest” between assaults up the hill. Afterward, they jogged several more miles to cool down.

“We’re training a lot harder this year,” said Koeck, a third-year varsity member. “I’ve trained more right now than I was trained at midseason last year, so we should be good.”

What the boys really like about their 12th-year coach is his willingness to suffer with them.

“Most coaches tell you to go run miles. He runs with us, so we can’t complain,” Koeck said.

“Most teams have four coaches to do what he does. He’s like four coaches in one,” Williams said.

The girls are benefiting from training with the boys and from Wilvers’ direct and motivational coaching style

“It should make the girls invincible,” Koeck said.

Leading the girls are 2003 state qualifiers Megan Hillyard, a junior, and sophomores Kelsey McClurg and Kimmy Arroues. All three finished among the top 11 runners at the regional meet last year. They’ll be pushed by senior captain Anna Lambdin and freshmen Jordan Dalton and Kate Lambdin.

“We have six tough girls and we can make a run at it,” Wilvers said.

Team depth will be provided by senior Laurel Morrow, juniors Heather Newman and Ellen Gallanty and sophomore Lacey Payne.

Schedule conflicts almost swayed Wilvers from coaching the girls.

“Dom asked me to do it and I said yes because I have so much respect for him,” Wilvers said. “Dom is the technician and I’m the motivator. We’re a good team.”

Their workload has increased and encouragement is louder than before, but the girls wouldn’t have it any other way.

“He’s motivated and works us through difficulties,” Arroues said of her new coach.

Like the boys, there is only one goal this season.

“To make it to state,” Hillyard said. “It think we have a good chance if we work hard enough.”

2004 STHS Cross Country Schedule

Date Location Time

Sept. 3 Spanish Springs 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 10 Reed 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 15 STHS 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 Nevada Union 8:45 a.m.

Sept. 22 Carson 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 25 Stanford invite TBA

Oct. 1 S.T. Relays 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 Carson Invite 3 p.m.

Oct. 16 Elko Invite TBA

Oct. 20 Fallon 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 28 Regionals (San Rafael Park)

Nov. 6 State meet at Las Vegas

Dec. 4 Footlocker Regional Mt. Sac

2004 STHS Cross Country Schedule

Date Location Time

Sept. 3 Spanish Springs 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 10 Reed 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 15 STHS 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 Nevada Union 8:45 a.m.

Sept. 22 Carson 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 25 Stanford invite TBA

Oct. 1 S.T. Relays 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 8 Carson Invite 3 p.m.

Oct. 16 Elko Invite TBA

Oct. 20 Fallon 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 28 Regionals (San Rafael Park)

Nov. 6 State meet at Las Vegas

Dec. 4 Footlocker Regional Mt. Sac