Big Meet Cosmi comes through for Viking runners
Tribune sports editor and Nevada Appeal sportswriter
RENO — Chris Cosmi earned his best result ever — sixth — at the Northern 4A Cross Country Championships on Friday. However, the South Tahoe High senior runner says he ran a better race when he finished seventh as a sophomore.
“I was picking off people at the 2-mile mark and finished really well,” said Cosmi, said of his 17-minute, 50-second performance in the 5K at Rancho San Rafael Park. “My best overall finish was my sophomore year, even though my time was better and everybody was faster.”
Cosmi’s effort is a major reason why the Vikings will return to the state championships for the third time in his four seasons at STHS. The Vikings finished third, 14 points ahead of Reed and 28 ahead of fifth-place Carson. Only the top three teams qualified for Saturday’s state championships in Boulder City.
“That’s where I wanted to be, and I just worked my hardest and went after it,” said Cosmi, who finished 71 seconds behind winner Jonathan Cardenas of Reno.
The result also meant all-league status for Cosmi.
“That’s by far his best race,” said STHS coach Dominique Westlake. “That’s Chris’ personality to run well in the big meets.”
The Huskies and Galena Grizzlies dominated regionals, duking it out to the finish, with Galena emerging as first-time champions by five points.
“They’re so much stronger than us right now, but we can get Reno or Galena at state if we try our hardest,” Cosmi said.
The Grizzlies were state champions last year, but finished second behind Reno at the regional.
“The boys were on a mission,” Galena coach Domingo Tibaduiza said.
“They ran as well as we could have anticipated. We’ve had some tough times with illnesses and stuff (in recent weeks), but they came back and today they were healthy and excited, and they did it.”
Chronic allergies and asthma didn’t keep Viking senior Hudson Wilvers out of the top 20. Wilvers finished 19th in 18:23. The Vikings clinched their state berth with a bunching effect from Wilvers to 30th-place finisher Tyler Rieger. Bryan Kurek was 20th and Sean Pawling 26th.
STHS’s girls finished fourth — one place out of state — but sophomore Anna Lambdin secured the final individual invitation to state by taking 19th in 22:11.
“That was her goal all year and the tteam was really proud of her,” said STHS girls’ coach Doug Watenpool.
Amber Ramos was the next Viking, placing 22nd, despite an aggravated pulled hamstring.
“It was an amazing display of guts,” Watenpool said. “She went out and tried to run as best as she could and kept going.”
Shanna Sparks ran faster than she ever had before at Rancho San Rafael Park. It just wasn’t good enough to win the race, as the Carson High School senior had to settle for second place.
Sparks turned a fast time of 19 minutes, 22 seconds over the hill-lined 5,000-meter course — 34 seconds faster than the previous course record — to finish as the regional runner-up behind Reno’s Collier Lawrence for the second straight year. Her effort also helped Carson’s girls finish second as a team and qualify for the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Championships this coming Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boulder City.
Reno placed five runners in the top eight to capture the girls’ team championship with 24 points, while Carson edged Galena for second-place by a 66-76 margin.
Lawrence defended her title with a sterling 18:57 effort that easily surpassed the course record of 19:56 she set last year. The Reno junior surged to the front from the start, but Sparks remained in hot pursuit until a long uphill stretch inside the final 800 meters.
Sparks was the regional champion in 1999 and 2000, but her time at Rancho San Rafael Park on Friday was a personal record by 17 seconds.
“She got me on that hill,” Sparks said of Lawrence. “I can do better. I had too much left at the end, but that just gives me more incentive for next week.”
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