Clemmer, Hurwitz are best in Northern Nevada |

Clemmer, Hurwitz are best in Northern Nevada

Steve Yingling, Tribune Sports Editor

SPARKS – Improbable first-place medals found their way into South Tahoe High Vikings’ hands at the Northern Nevada 4A Zone Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Reed High School.

For the first time in school history, a Viking boy became known as the fastest sprinter in the North. Jake Hurwitz, only a sophomore, nearly broke the school record in capturing the 100 meters in 10.80 seconds. The winning time was just .04 of a second off Armand McGee’s record of 10.76 in 1992.

“It feels great, but I want to do well at state, too. I thought I ran pretty good. I was watching (runner-up David) Krueger behind me. He was really sick, so he ran a great race,” said Hurwitz, who was .10 of a second faster than Krueger.

As his seven competitors were trying to catch their breath at the finish line, Hurwitz graciously took the time to congratulate each participant.

“Even in losing or getting last place, that’s part of my etiquette,” he said.

While Hurwitz’s zone championship was predictable since he came in as the favorite, James Clemmer’s high jump title bordered on the unbelievable.

His hopping and flopping ability are now obvious, but the junior is competing in the event for the first time since middle school. In fact, an overload of snow on the school’s training facilities kept Clemmer from actually making a jump until the team’s first competition.

“All I did was train with the spinters. I didn’t know how to jump or what form to use. I just went out and winged it,” said Clemmer, who still found a way to finish third in his first meet. “Now I’m here performing better than I ever thought I could this year, jumping, kicking and getting over the bar any way I can.”

When the bar was raised to 6-4 Saturday, Clemmer upped the ante. He cleared the height on his first try and watched as the remaining competitors struggled with the height. Only runner-up Aaron Schnaible of Carson cleared 6-4 – on his third try.

Schnaible tried to wage Clemmer in a head-to-head battle at 6-5, but the Viking junior opted to wait for 6-6.

Schnaible failed on his three attempts at 6-5, ensuring Clemmer of the title since he had fewer misses at 6-4.

“Once I did 6-4, I said to myself, ‘I think I won because I’m the first person to clear it.’ If he did (make 6-5), he did. If he didn’t, he didn’t. I was going to state no matter what he did. To have that first place from zone feels great, but I wanted to push myself,” Clemmer said.

His coach, Rick Brown applauded his decision to pass on 6-5.

“Without talking to somebody beforehand, I think it was the smartest thing the kid could have done,” Brown said. “He was already looking ahead to next week. He knows what it’s going to take to win state … better than 6-6. He didn’t want to waste his time jumping 6-5.”

Clemmer’s personal best remained at 6-4 as he barely clipped the bar on all three of his attempts at 6-6.

“I caught my final jumps with my calf muscles. If I had made 6-6 here, I might have made 6-7, but I’ll just have to wait until state,” said Clemmer, who has a ways to go to surpass Bryan Barton’s school and state records of 7-0.

Another outstanding performance was turned in by the record-setting boys 3,200 relay team. With Matt Arzio leading off with a blazing 800 time of 2 minutes, 2 seconds, the Vikings set the school mark with their second-place finish of 8:28.00 on Friday. Also assigning their names to the record were Jeff Cosmi, Manuel Lomeli and Grant Carter.

“It’s a big accomplishment. We’ve been trying to get it all year, and we finally got it. Now we’ll have a chance to break it even more,” said Arzio, whose Vikings were .10 better than Hug and nearly nine seconds behind winner Reno.

Arzio and Cosmi came back on Saturday and doubled their state workload, each qualifying in the 800 meters. The Viking duo were well back in the pack after the first lap but made a second-lap charge to earn the zone’s final two state qualifying spots.

“I didn’t want to be that far behind, but sometimes you go out there and latch onto someone and pick it up in the latter half of the race,” Arzio said.

Ryan Maxey of Hug won in 1:59.40, with Ryan Rose second at 1:59.80, Arzio third at 2:00.10 and Carter fourth at 2:01.60.

“There were three guys going for two spots with the others a few seconds back, so we knew we had to get in front of the Elko runner,” said Cosmi, who finished 1.50 ahead of fifth-place Barry Zumwalt of Elko.

Dawn Hock, the only Viking girl at the meet, extended her season a week by placing fourth in the high jump. The senior qualified for the state meet for the first time by clearing 4-10.

“Now that she’s got the state monkey off her back, I’m looking for good things from her this week,” Brown said.

Brown was disappointed with the performance of the 400-meter relay team, which came into zone with one of the better qualifying times, but finished a disappointing sixth at 44.90.

Hurwitz almost qualified for state in the triple jump, missing by 13 inches. He was sixth with his best effort of 41-4.

South Tahoe’s boys tied with Lowry for sixth place with 45 points. Reed won the title with 134. The Raiders also captured the girls crown, edging Reno 159 to 148. With Hock accounting for all five of the Vikings’ points, South Tahoe’s girls came in 13th.

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