Warriors in title mix again | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Warriors in title mix again

Steve Yingling

Contending for regional and state championships has become the norm for the Whittell High School boys’ cross country team.

That successful trend doesn’t figure to change this fall as the Warriors welcome back a core of runners who have produced a pair of state runner-up finishes, a regional championship and a regional second-place showing.

“Even though we’re young, I have a lot of kids who have the experience to do well this year,” said Whittell veteran coach Lindsay Wines. “It’s not only really exciting what we can do this year, but next year. I’ll have the same group of kids for the next two years.”

Wines won’t send a single senior boy to the starting line this season. But the Warriors did lose one of the program’s most successful runners in recent history in David King. King, who was third at state a year ago, will run for the Linfield Wildcats this fall in McMinnville, Ore.

Wines, however, will welcome back juniors Adam Kingman, Adam Laub, Chris Crawford, Allen McLeod and Sean Sullivan. Laub and Kingman finished 12th and 13th, respectively, at last year’s state meet.

“We’re looking to win it this year,” Laub said. “We feel like our team is pretty stocked up … we have a lot of really good runners.

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“We still need to train harder than we have the last couple of years. I guess we felt a little cocky, but we’re realizing that’s what we have to do to try and win it this year.”

Running is a sport that few student-athletes pursue, but Laub says it gives him personal satisfaction.

“It’s more about the feeling at the end of the race, feeling that you accomplished something with all of the pain you went through,” he said. “Not a lot of kids can do what we do.”

Crawford and McLeod also have big meet experience, and Sullivan, a second-year competitor, is making “big improvements,” according to Wines.

In the preseason, John Robinson is running like someone who has two varsity seasons under his belt. Robinson finished 21st at the 2007 state meet, and Laub said he expects the sophomore to run along with Kingman and himself.

Leading the freshman class is Zach Welch, one of the top runners in the Tah-Neva League a year ago.

Whittell and Sage Ridge have combined to capture the past four state championships, and that two-school dominance likely won’t change in 2008 – unless North Tahoe breaks through. The Lakers finished third at state last year and should be in contention again.

Since winning a state title in 2002, the Whittell girls have struggled with numbers. Fielding a full team has been a battle, but the Warriors have been able to qualify their individuals to state.

Miranda Flores placed 12th at state last year, and is one of two seniors returning to the squad. Amanda Heiser, a senior, and junior Morgan King also competed at the 2008 state meet.

“Miranda’s work ethic is just superior,” Wines said. “She succeeds based on her work ethic. She inspires other people to do well, too.”

Newcomers to the program are freshmen Bailey Adams and Mickey Murphy, giving Whittell a full team of five runners to start the season. Wines is hoping to add a few more runners for depth.

Whittell begins its season at 3 p.m. Friday at Lampe Park. The Warriors will hold their annual home meet the following Friday.

Coach: Lindsey Wines, 10th year

Last year: Boys finished runner-up at regionals and state

Top returners: Adam Kingman, jr.; Adam Laub, jr.; John Robinson, soph.

Opener: Friday at Lampe Park.

Date Meet Time

Aug. 29 Lampe Park 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 3 Spooner Lake 2:30 p.m.

Sept. 5 Warrior Warpath 3:15 p.m.

Sept. 12 N.T. Mountain Mot. TBA

Sept. 17 Sparks 3 p.m.

Sept. 19 S.T. Relays TBA

Sept. 27 Stanford Inv. TBA

Oct.1 Reno TBA

Oct. 10 Reno TBA

Oct. 18 Folsom TBA

Oct. 24 ROP 2 p.m.

Oct. 30-31 Regionals TBA

Nov. 8 State meet TBA