Early test for STHS cross country team in Irvine | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Early test for STHS cross country team in Irvine

Steve Yingling

After two low-key cross country meets in Northern Nevada, South Tahoe High steps out of the shadows and into the regional spotlight on Saturday in Irvine.

The Viking girls will compete in the 26th annual Woodbridge Invitational, a meet that will showcase some of the top California teams, including the No. 2-ranked team in California – Buchanan. South Tahoe finished eight points behind Buchanan at the Mt. Sac Invitational last year.

“How good are the other California teams right now? I don’t know,” said STHS coach Dan Wilvers.

A No. 6 regional ranking in the first Nike Team National poll should serve as motivation for the Vikings, who feel like they are better than they were in 2004 when they made the first national championship meet.

“I’m not sure why they put us that low. I don’t know if the Southwest (pollsters) believe in us yet,” Wilvers said.

Wilvers was required by a new Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association rule to run his top runners at a meet on Wednesday at Hug. Consequently, they only had two days to freshen up before the bigger Woodbridge meet.

“I think we will do well,” said junior Kate Lambdin, who led the Vikings with a second-place finish on Wednesday. “We are hoping to make a statement. If not (Saturday,) then at Stanford or Manhattan.

“It helps to have great coaches who give us great workouts, and it helps that we have a team that pushes each other and gets us through our hard workouts.”

Unlike previous years, the Vikings shouldn’t have to worry about a huge drop-off between their fourth and five runners. With the addition of one of the country’s top Junior Olympic runners, Kelsey Smith, the Vikings are capable of bunching five high finishes.

“If all five can run their race, particularly Kelsey McClurg being able to run without her back tightening up and Kimmy (Arroues) coming back from a virus, we could get a top five,” Wilvers said.

South Tahoe will run in the sweepstakes division at 9:15 Saturday night.

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