Vikings benefit from some home cooking
A rare occurrence took place at South Tahoe High on Wednesday afternoon:
a home cross country meet.
The Vikings hosted Galena in a dual meet which saw both the boys and girls teams deliver wins on their home course. The boys won 19 to 30, while the girls defeated the Grizzlies, who couldn’t field a complete team.
The girls were lead by the usual trio of runners in the 2.8-miler, with Amber Ramos (15 minutes, 35 seconds), Cecilia Cuevas (17:30) , and Erica Zampardo (17:44) finished first, fourth and fifth, respectively. Only Galena’s No. 1 runner, Abby Parker (16:30) and Julie Hinton (17:14) broke up a potential sweep by the Viking runners.
“Cecilia and Erica are really sticking together and up with the rest of the pack,” head coach Kathy Bluethman said. “Right now I have my top four runners set. With Marin (St. Michel) coming back soon, we’ll be strong at the top.”
Amanda Hammond and Katie Sheehan are in the middle of heated battle for the final spot. Against Galena, Sheehan edged out Hammond for sixth place with a time of 18:17, but Hammond was right on her heals with an 18:18.
“Amanda is coming on very strong for us,” Bluethman said. “I have quite a few options for the fifth spot.”
Bluethman’s team is coming together very nicely and the race against Galena drove the point home. All of the South Tahoe runners performed well, setting themselves up for qualifying for state.
“We have a wonderful team and everyone is very dedicated,” Ramos said. “Even if we don’t make state, we can’t lose because of all the work we’ve put into the season.”
Bluethman feels with the return of St. Michel, a run at state is not out of the picture.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but the girls are putting the miles in and we’ll be ready,” Bluethman said. “The team is getting stronger every day.”
The boys experienced as much success against Galena as the girls. The Vikings had four of the top five runners in the meet. Manuel Lomeli (13:06.3) edged out Galena’s top runner, Chad Sanada, by five-tenths of a second (13:06.8).
“I wanted to go faster, but I’m only 80 percent right now,” said Lomeli, who is fighting fatigue. “Chad’s around 90 percent, so I thought he should have beaten me.”
Sophomore Hudson Wilvers came in third with a time of 13:19, followed closely by Chris Cosmi (13:27) and Derrick Gianonni (14:02), just before Galena’s second runner, Tim Koepsell, who finished at 14:14. Sean Pawling followed at 14:24.
” We ran very well,” head coach Dominque Westlake said. “We’re improving, especially from Manuel, who been struggling lately, and Jeff (Cosmi) with his sore leg.”
Lomeli’s return to the lineup really bolstered an already strong team. Wilvers has picked up his running in place of the absent Lomeli.
“Manuel’s got a target on his back now,” Westlake said. “Hudson wants him big-time.”
The home stretch for the Vikings will continue this Friday when STHS hosts the Optimists Regional Relays.
“Running at home is always nice. It’s a good chance for the parents to see the kids run,” Westlake said. “There’s going to be a lot more competition on Friday. The teams will put their best runners out there.”
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