STHS girls forfeit Sierra Division opener due to safety concerns | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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STHS girls forfeit Sierra Division opener due to safety concerns

Steve Yingling / Tahoe Daily TribuneNick Downer, a South Tahoe High junior, anguishes as he nears the finish line in a Sierra Division-opening race Wednesday in Reno. Downer placed 19th out of more than 50 runners.
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RENO – An early season showdown between defending girls’ state cross country champion Galena and 2009 state favorite South Tahoe never materialized on Wednesday.

South Tahoe coach Dan Wilvers pulled his girls out of the race because of safety concerns. The hilly course in Northern Reno was primarily run on pavement, a poor mix as far as Wilvers was concerned. When the grassy section of the course used in previous years was replaced with more pavement for the runners, Wilvers was convinced to keep his Vikings away from the start line.

“I was just concerned about the kids’ health because we have all of these kids who are always fighting nagging stuff that can really debilitate them throughout the season with the training,” Wilvers said. “Those downhills on the pavement were just not going to be good.



“They are too competitive. They would have been racing against the state champions, and they would have been flying down those hills, and I guarantee you I would have (foot, hip, thigh, spine) issues in spades after this race, and it would have impacted them, who knows (how long)? The rest of the year?

“I’ve worked really hard to keep these girls healthy, but I felt their competitiveness and zeal on this type of course would not be good.”



Many of the Vikings used their extra time on homework, but did turn away from their books to cheer on the top Galena runner as she crossed the finish line. Wilvers didn’t mind the forfeit and an 0-1 record in the Sierra Division, knowing that his runners won’t miss future practices or races due to injuries.

“I’m very confident we would have won this race, but it’s better to take the loss and not deal with all of the injuries,” Wilvers said.

In addition to hills and pavement, runners dealt with 90-degree heat during the 2.75-mile races.

Elko’s Eric Sandall won the boys’ race in 16 minutes, 35 seconds and Nevada Twilight Meet runner-up Bryan Jordan of Galena was second at 17:24.

South Tahoe boys’ coach Dominique Westlake made the race a qualifier for an upcoming trip to Boise, Idaho. The Vikings’ order of finish was vastly different than the opening race nearly two weeks ago in Sparks.

“It was a tough day, dealing with the heat and the course and considering who was going to be going on the Boise trip. Some of the guys were able to respond to the heat and some guys weren’t,” Westlake said.

Senior Jordan Yingling led South Tahoe, running the course in 18:33.

“Jordan ran phenomenal. The heat didn’t affect him at all, and he just got after it,” Westlake said. “He’s an all-weather runner. Heat doesn’t affect him like it affects other guys.”

Senior Gio Magana, making his cross country race debut for the Vikings, also finished in the top 10, placing ninth in 19:09.

“I wasn’t sure what racing was going to be like,” Magana said. “There was a lot more to running that I thought there was. At first, I was doing it to get in shape for boxing, and Mr. Westlake was explaining all of the teamwork about it, and it blew my mind.”

Magana resisted several urges to step out of the race.

“A couple times I felt like quitting,” he said. “I’ve never done any racing up hills, but I got through it.”

South Tahoe junior Justin Dalton stepped up to finish 11th in 19:18, and junior Brady Hiob (14th, 19:25) and senior Erich Baumann (17th, 19:37) rounded out the Vikings’ top five scorers.

Dalton made up most of his ground on the field during the more demanding parts of the course. “The hills (helped me),” he said. “Everybody else died, and I was able to keep going, then I just let my legs go on the downhill.

“I just kept focusing on the next runner and trying to catch them and pass them.”

Galena, one of the preseason favorites to claim the state title, defeated South Tahoe 18-42 in the Sierra Division dual opener. The Vikings handily finished ahead of the meet’s other teams, Elko and Hug.

“Overall, we closed on Galena, which is huge for us because Galena is one of the top teams,” Westlake said. “With our depth and with the way these guys work in practice, every week they will get stronger and stronger.

“This is the kind of team every coach wants, one who is willing to work and who is going to improve and respond in workouts and races.”

South Tahoe will run against division rivals Douglas and Manogue on Sept. 23 in South Lake Tahoe.

SIERRA DIVISION DUAL

Wednesday in Reno

Team scores

Galena 18, South Tahoe 42

Top 25 results

Boys

1. Eric Sandall, Elko, 16 minutes, 35 seconds; 2. Bryan Jordan, Galena, 17:24; 3. Alex Martinez, Elko, 17:37; 4. Tommy Sullivan, Galena, 17:47; 5. Chris Bolt, Galena, 18:22; 6. Jordan Yingling, South Tahoe, 18:33; 7. Bobby Enzenberger, Galena, 18:47; 8. Earvin Montano, Hug, 19:00; 9. Gio Magana, South Tahoe, 19:09; 10. Andy Taylor, Galena, 19:11.

11. Justin Dalton, South Tahoe, 19:18; 12. Cameron Mullins, Galena, 19:22; 13. Daniel Metzger, Galena, 19:22; 14. Brady Hiob, South Tahoe, 19:25; 15. Paul Bejo, Hug, 19:26; 16. Jared Abbott, Galena, 19:31; 17. Erich Baumann, South Tahoe, 19:37; 18. Connor Henderson, South Tahoe, 19:37; 19. Nick Downer, South Tahoe, 19:50; 20. Zildjian Borromeo, South Tahoe, 20:17.

21. Christian Pielaet-Bajada, South Tahoe, 20:29; 22. Collin Shelley, Elko, 20:37; 23. Tyler Myers, South Tahoe, 20:42; 24. David Wise, South Tahoe, 20:51; 25. Will Staten, Elko, 20:59.

Other South Tahoe results

26. Randall Newulu, 21:00; 27. Austin Pierce, 21:03; 29. Erik Cramer, 21:07; Conner Rettig, 23:54.


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