Long distance runners expected to carry Vikings
The numbers might be too low to challenge for a Northern 4A team title, but this season has started unlike any other for the South Tahoe High track and field team.
With the help of Ron Fuller, the track at the middle school was cleared of snow earlier this month. The Vikings actually held their first official practice there last Thursday, two days before their opening meet at Bishop Manogue in Reno.
“Usually we don’t even get on the track before the first meet of the season,” said senior sprinter Mikey Van Gorden. “So that should help us out right there. I think this is the hardest we’ve been working in all the years I’ve been on the team. I think we’ll do all right.”
At that Manogue meet, it became clear that Van Gorden and the rest of the boys will have difficulty tallying enough points to challenge for team accomplishments. In the 400-meter dash, Van Gorden placed fifth and Corey Vermillion came in third, while freshman Alex Sharp took third in the 3,200-meter race.
That was about it for point accumulation. But what South Tahoe lacks in numbers, it makes up for in quality with the athletes it does have.
Senior Matt Bobman, the school recorder holder in the shot put, is returning this season, Vermillion is a state contender in the 300 hurdles and Van Gorden should be among the Northern 4A’s best sprinters.
“I definitely want to get to state,” Van Gorden said. “I don’t care if it’s in the 100, 200 or 400. I just want to get there. I definitely feel I have a good shot. We’re not really worried about times right now. Most of these meets don’t really matter. It’s all about peaking at the right time for regionals.”
Sophomores Kelsey McClurg and Kimmy Arroues are two key members out for track from the Vikings’ state championship girls’ cross country team. Freshmen Jordan Dalton and Kate Lambdin, as well as senior Anna Lambdin, round out the bulk of that group. The Vikings earned all 46 of their points in the girls’ meet at Manogue in long-distance events.
“On Saturday, if it wasn’t for the distance team, there’s no way we would’ve placed where we did,” Anna Lambdin said. “I think the team is looking really good this year. We have a lot of really good and dedicated runners who are willing to work really hard and put together some good relay teams and hopefully we can win state this year.”
The girls’ school record-holding 4×800 meter relay team from last year also remains intact. It is made up of McClurg, Ellen Gallanty, Heather Newman and Megan Hillyard. Last season, Gallanty also finished sixth in regionals in the 300 low hurdles and will look to improve on that mark this season. She could even challenge the school record in that event, currently held by Faye Clapp.
“We should have several top regional competitors, mainly coming from the long distance runners,” said coach Dan Wilvers. “We have some other kids who are looking to have a breakout year this year, but our girls’ distance squad could bring home a lot of points to allow us a top-5 finish at regionals. We’ll just have to see.”
After not making state last year, McClurg wants to get there this season. She admits the transition to high school was difficult to overcome. She also feels that having so many quality runners out this season should help everyone improve.
“It was really shocker because you work so much harder in high school than middle school,” said McClurg, who qualified for regionals in both the 800- and 1,600-meter races. “Everyone is working really hard. It’s so nice because you work harder in practice. You do push each other and you can pace off each during the meet.”
Saturday vs. McQueen, Reed, Douglas at Reed 9 a.m.
March 24 Outer Relays at Fallon 3:30 p.m.
April 2 Fallon Invitational 9 a.m.
April 8-9 Reed Invitational 3:30 p.m.
April 20 vs. Wooster, No. Valleys, Elko at Fallon 3:30 p.m.
April 30 Nevada Union Invitational 9 a.m.
May 7 Northern 4A Regionals 9 a.m.
May 14 Northern 4A Finals TBA
May 20-21 Nevada 4A State TBA
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