Grass Valley becomes title town for Viking runners |

Grass Valley becomes title town for Viking runners

Steve Yingling

South Tahoe High showcased how solid its cross country program is from top to bottom at the Nevada Union Invitational on Saturday in Grass Valley.

For starters, the Viking boys captured the Small School division title. In addition, the junior varsity tied for first and the frosh-soph team ran away with first place.

“The other coaches were definitely impressed by our performance, and that’s saying something,” said STHS boys coach Dominique Westlake. “It’s nice to see the improvement, their enthusiasm and their hard work.”

The Viking girls squad elected to compete with the elite teams in the Sweepstakes class, finishing a respectable third. Only Reno and Woodcreek were better.

Sophomore Amber Ramos paced the Vikings with a fourth-place finish in the 5K at 20 minutes, 21 seconds. But STHS’s lone top-10 finish hardly stacked up when compared to Reno placing five runners ninth or better.

Senior Marin St. Michel, junior Erica Zampardo and junior Caitlin Robinson secured top-20 finishes. St. Michel was 12th in 21:59, Zampardo 15th in 22:27 and Robinson 19th in 23:10.

The Vikings’ final three runners were bunched in the 24th through 26th spots, including sophomore Amanda Hammond (24:08), senior Iris Ott (25:22) and junior Jackie Marshall (25:55).

Hudson Wilvers and Chris Cosmi led the Viking boys varsity to first overall with their fourth- and fifth-place performances. Wilvers, the Vikings’ top runner throughout the first month of the season, finished in 17:48, with Cosmi at 18:14.

Places weren’t available for the remainder of Westlake’s varsity, but the times showed that they weren’t far out of the running: Alex Tenocelotl 18:44, Jeff Koeck 19:06, Scott Brower 19:28, Steven Moore 20:47, Justin Goode 20:17, Cory Buckley 20:37.

Cody McGehee won the frosh-soph race in 18:46. A cluster of teammates followed him across the finish line, including Brian Kurek 19:04, Brian Marshall 19:19, Alex Sharp 19:26, Steven Grant 19:30, Josh Kimball 20:09 and Kyle Sullivan 20:55, Tyler Rieger 21:54, Erik Gallanty 23:09, Andy Stockdale 23:16, Jacob Palina 23:21, Matt Moore 25:22, Arnaldo Salcedl 26:57 and Michael Johnson 27:10.

At one point, Westlake saw five of his runners in front of the pack.

“I wish I had a camera; it was awesome to see,” he said.

Helping the Vikings tie for the JV title were Luis Gomez 20:29, Robert Gonzales 20:30, Chad Cason 22:07, Grant Peterson 23:28 and Pedro Salono 29:48.

With a deep team and some of his runners progressing rapidly, Westlake expects his varsity lineup to change in the weeks to come.

“That’s good,” Westlake said. “It breeds healthy competition and makes us a better team.”

STHS’s only home meet is Friday at 3:30 p.m. The Vikings’ top area competition will be represented in the relay format, including defending state champion Reno, Galena and Carson.

“We can enjoy the altitude, and we always run well at home,” Westlake said.

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