Highlander cross country teams eye regional titles

Incline’s top two runners Noah McMahon and Brendan Pietzke compete earlier this season.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Village Highlander boys’ and girls’ cross country teams may be running towards regional and state championships, but to win everything they know they must go through defending champ and rival North Tahoe.

The Highlander boys have recorded three of the five best times in 2A this fall, including a personal best Saturday by their top runner at the Flat SAC Invitational at Gibson Ranch Regional Park in Sacramento.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Northern Region 2A/1A Championships take place Friday, Oct. 29, at Shadow Mountain Park in Sparks.

“No matter what the results are going in, North Tahoe is the team to beat,” said third-year Incline head coach Ross McMahon. “We’ve got a strong team without one senior, but we’re taking it one race at a time. We’d like both teams to qualify for state.”

Sophomore Noah McMahan ran to a third-place finish out of 125 competitors on Saturday in the varsity small schools race. He ran the 5,000-meter course in a personal best time of 16 minutes, 42.88 seconds.

McMahan’s time is the second fastest recorded this season, about 40 seconds behind Yerington’s Kutoven Stevens.

Incline finished sixth out of 13 scoring teams, but the five California teams above in the standings have much higher enrollments.

Junior Brendan Pietzke finished in 16th in 17:43.07, about 2 seconds off his personal best set about three weeks ago in the highlander Invitational. Pietzke has the third best time in 2A this season.

Sophomore Josiah McMahon ran a personal best at Flat SAC. He finished 35th with a time of 18:44.5.

Sophomore Andrew Duckworth finished in 74th (20:25.1) in a personal best time. Duckworth has the 21st quickest time this season. Sophomore Owen Graeber also ran a PR (21:05.2) and finished in 86th.

Sophomore Kira Noble led the Highlander girls in 19th place, finishing in 21:38.8.

Incline’s Kira Noble was the Lady Highlanders top finisher this past weekend.

The girls finished in fifth place as a team.

Also for the Incline girls, Lainey Lowden finished 30th in a personal best 22:46.11, junior Catherine Kerrigan was 32nd in a personal best time of 22:59.1, Madison Racich was 47th in a personal best 24:57 and Adelina Laforge was 52nd.

Noble, Lowden and Kerrigan have the second, third and fourth best times this fall season and Racich has the 10th quickest time.

“We wanted to run on a fast course at sea level going into regionals,” Coach McMahon said. “We’re shooting for the kids to peak these last few races.”

Lainey Lowden runs this year for the Highlanders.

The Highlanders prepared for Friday’s race in Sparks on their own early this week. With no school on Monday due to snow, the kids got together and worked out on their own.

“The kids have worked really hard all season,” McMahon said. “There have been many challenges this year and we’ve had great parental support. Assistant coach Kendra Brodsky has been a huge help and has brought a lot of great ideas to the table. And we’ve been fortunate with COVID and injury issues.

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