A first for Smith, Vikings at Stanford
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
PALO ALTO – Kelsey Smith had never collapsed to the ground following a cross country race.
She had reason to on Saturday at the Stanford Invitational. Two weeks after originally injuring her left foot and flu-ridden for most of the week, Smith was completely exhausted after becoming the first area runner to win a Stanford Invitational cross country race.
“It was really awesome, and I hope they talk about it at school,” Smith said.
The South Tahoe High sophomore won the Division III girls’ 5K race in 18 minutes, 21 seconds. Corona Del Mar senior Shelby Buckley was runner-up in 18:28.
“I don’t think I’ve ever run that hard in my life,” Smith said. “It was hard to have to do when you think you are going to fall over.”
Nearly as good was STHS senior Kate Lambdin, who pulled off a 10th-place finish with many college coaches in attendance.
“Kelsey and Kate was just fabulous; they ran in a whole different level,” said STHS coach Dan Wilvers. “Kate’s name is out there now.
“Seven of the top eight teams in California ran in this race today. It was like a sweepstakes race.”
Lambdin has yet to sign with a four-year school, but the Nevada Wolf Pack are reportedly enamored with her ability.
“My heart was beating really fast. I was really nervous, and I just tried to relax and focus on what I needed to do and just run the race I knew I was capable of running,” said Lambdin, who finished in 18:55.
Smith led wire to wire on a relatively flat golf course on the periphery of Stanford University and wasn’t bothered by the bruised tendons suffered at the Woodbridge Invitational last month. However, her heavily-taped foot created several blisters.
Lambdin wasn’t at a loss for words in talking about her teammate’s accomplishment.
“I’m really proud of her,” Lambdin said. “She deserves it. She’s worked really hard and just an all-around great girl.”
Despite Smith’s historic result, the Vikings finished 10th in the team standings.
Senior Patrick Reilly finished 53rd (17:14) and Chris Gamage 70th (17:23) to lead the STHS boys to 22nd place out of 38 teams.
“Last year I took off about the same pace, but I slowed down a lot more. This year I went and kept a better pace and got a better time,” Gamage said.
Sophomores Erich Baumann and Jordan Yingling ran identical 18:12s to finish 134th and 135th in the 227-runner Division III field.
James Attarian of Dublin won the race in 15:22.
Coach Dominique Westlake was pleased by the performances of his top four runners and his JV team, which placed seventh, but said the Vikings need more out of their seniors to continue to progress.
Senior David King was 26th in 18:17 and sophomore Adam Kingman 50th in 18:57 in leading the Warriors to 12th place in the Division V boys’ race. Sophomore Adam Laub came in 58th in 19:14.
“We came down here for the experience, for the kids to see bigger competition,” said Whittell coach Lindsay Wines.
King enjoyed his first appearance in the Stanford Invitational.
“It’s nice to (compete against) a larger range of people,” he said.
For the Whittell girls, Natalie Daly came in 65th in 23:52, Miranda Flores 68th in 24:05 and Amanda Hiser 111th. Daly used a strategy that helped her pass a lot of runners.
“It was interesting,” she said. “In the beginning there were so many people that I stayed in the back because I didn’t want to get trampled. In the end, I had a huge kick and was able to pass a lot of people.”
In the Division III JV boys’ race, Brady Hiob led the Vikings with a 21st-place time of 10:36 in the 3K. Also for STHS in the 209-runner field, Austin Pierce was 47th (11:09), Kyle Wilkinson 55th (11:20), Connor Yingling 56th (11:21), Justin Dalton 64th (11:24), Rand Norberg 65th (11:25) and Nick Downer 93rd (11:51).
For the STHS JV girls, Sarah Benedict placed 34th out of 169 runners in 12:58. In addition, Alyssa Lowe was 46th (13:14), Rebecca Saunders 58th (13:29), Emily Cloutier 63rd (13:36) and Catie Aiton 70th (13:48).