Lambdin enjoys unusual state preparation week
If Anna Lambdin isn’t careful she might make the reasonable mistake of following the boys out to the starting line for the Nevada 4A state cross country championships Saturday in Boulder City.
After all, the South Tahoe High sophomore has spent the week leading up to state training with Dominique Westlake’s boys’ team.
The Vikings’ lone female state qualifier even had the privilege — or misfortune — of joining the boys for their annual end-of-the-season run up Tahoe Mountain Road.
“We didn’t want her to feel left out, but I don’t know if the run will become the girls’ tradition,” Westlake said. “She kind of fits right in with our guys. They’re goofy and she kind of laughs at us.”
Lamdin, who will be making her second straight appearance at the state meet, enjoyed the challenge of running against Westlake’s boys.
“That has really been a help. I’m going off them,” she said. “When I’m with the girls’ team I’m petty much doing the same workout, but when I’m going against the guys, it changes because I want to beat them to the finish line.”
Westlake, who is taking the boys’ team to state for the fourth time in five years, welcomed someone with Lamdin’s work ethic to his workouts.
“She worked really hard last summer and that’s the main reason she’s going to state,” Westlake said.
Lamdin attended a running camp last summer at Stanford, inspiring her to become a better runner this fall. She started the season slow but became one of the Vikings’ top runners by season’s end.
“I just know that I’ve accomplished my goal for this year,” said Lambdin, who realized her state qualification by finishing 19th in last Friday’s regional meet in Reno.
As much as qualifying for state was Lambdin’s goal, it was her dad who saw the promising chance she had.
“My dad told me before the season he wanted to watch me run at state this year,” Lambdin said. “I started off the season not very well, but from there I just took off and had a really good season.”
What changed her season was a change of pace. Running too hard from the start zapped Lambdin’s energy later in the race.
“In our first Tahoe race I led the race for the first half mile, then people started beating me and I couldn’t keep up the pace any more,” she said. “I need to start with an easy pace and that’s when I can start passing people.”
Although she wears a watch on race days, Lamdin won’t look at it for fear of losing precious time. Her proper pace comes naturally.
That successful pace likely won’t change Friday, even with the pressure the biggest meet of the season brings. Lambdin doesn’t have high expectations because she’s unfamiliar with the course.
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I’ll see it on Friday and from there I can set my goals,” she said.
Lambdin is on the right course to success.
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