Kokanee to host only home meet Friday
The sign at South Tahoe High welcomes visiting athletes above 6,000 feet, and few are more likely to feel the change than cross-country runners.
So, while Lake Tahoe Community College will be able to count on eight strong runners for its home meet Friday, it has one more valuable ally – the home-field advantage. Several small colleges will make the trip to the South Shore to play king of the hill with the Kokanee, but LTCC head coach Terry Adams-Schmidt likes her team’s chances.
“I think we have a strong chance of winning as a team because we’ve got five strong guys,” Adams-Schmidt said.
“We’re, of course, amped,” she said. “This is our home, and we want to do it now.”
The meet starts at 3:30 p.m., and takes place on the high-elevation trails around South Tahoe High. They’re the same trails where LTCC runner Dusty LaChapelle – who will lead the Kokanee men – set a personal and course record during training earlier this week.
“I told him if he can run like that, I think he’s got it,” Adams-Schmidt said.
Michael Shalvoy, Phil Boyer, Nathan Coats, and Dan Wolfers round out Lake Tahoe’s team behind LaChapelle. While there is a clear front-runner, cross country is a sport that depends on teamwork, and LaChapelle’s mates aren’t far behind.
“Dusty’s a little bit out in front, but the rest of the guys are getting closer and closer,” Adams-Schmidt said.
LTCC won’t be able to field a full team in the women’s race, but that shouldn’t hurt the Kokanee: neither will any of the other teams in the meet. Patty Martinez, Allison Foddrell and Jenna Kramer will run for LTCC in the women’s team race, where the top three runners from any of the colleges will take home the title. Kramer, in particular, was impressive in a training run at Spooner Summit on Friday.
“That should kind of get her through this weekend,” Adams-Schmidt said.
Getting through the weekend, though, is where the Kokanee have a decided advantage over their competitors at the meet. Race fans can watch runners at several points along the course, and can see the runners on the trails, passing behind the stadium.
The course has been brutal, in the past, on runners who have traveled up to South Lake from lower elevations, and some have been unable to run the whole way. The men’s course is four miles, the women’s 2.3, but both contain the same hills and tough parts. While some schools have trained their runners at elevation, it’s tough to duplicate the experience off the hill.
“It’s also hard for them to find hills like we have,” Adams-Schmidt said.
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