An emotionally taxing championship day in Reno |

An emotionally taxing championship day in Reno

Last Saturday was the toughest day in the two decades that I’ve spent covering high school sports in Northern Nevada.It could have been because my day started at 8:30 a.m. with a 90-minute drive to Reno for the state cross country championships and ended nearly 12 hours later with back-to-back regional soccer finals matches.

On the contrary, it was difficult watching the STHS girls lose their first Northern 4A soccer match on a day that mattered most – their first final appearance in 11 years.

Many of the Vikings were in shock following their 4-3 penalty-kick defeat to Reed. They were so emotionally and physically spent after 110-plus minutes of soccer that they didn’t have the power to leave the Damonte Ranch field. They had fulfilled an old sports cliché of leaving it all out on the field – but it wasn’t enough.

Their tears and sad faces made it doubly difficult to talk to them, making this writer feel like an intruder during their darkest hour. But coach Clint Lockhart and senior forward Tess Braun seemed to welcome the opportunity to talk about a game that meant so much to them. Their generous interviews and class captured the mood, and hopefully it was therapeutic for them as well.

The girls’ emotional loss was preceded by one of the more bizarre soccer matches I’ve ever witnessed. I still can’t understand how the Viking boys lost to Douglas 1-0 after outshooting the Tigers 22-3.

Collectively, the STHS soccer teams played 190 minutes without scoring a single goal. That just doesn’t seem possible.

Hopefully their frustration at not realizing a score will lead to a landslide of goals for the team in the state tournament this weekend. Viking soccer teams have their most success when state is at a Northern venue – their 2003 and 2005 championships were triggered in a “home” atmosphere.

The day wasn’t close to being a total bust as South Tahoe sophomore Kelsey Smith delivered the Vikings’ first individual cross country title since 1989 and a young group of Whittell harriers won the school’s fourth straight state trophy by finishing second.

But the best part, hands down, was watching Kate Lambdin power to a third-place finish and then be reimbursed for all of the state track and cross country medals that she lost in the Angora fire. That was touching gesture by Donnie Nelson of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

Lambdin was obviously overcome by the kind act as she buried her face in her hands.

Such a memory will last well beyond a 90-minute drive home from Reno.

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached

at (530) 542-8010 or

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