No denying Vikings shot at defending title |

No denying Vikings shot at defending title

By Dave Price

Tribune News Service

RENO – Kimmy Arroues wasn’t overly enthused after she crossed the finish line at the Northern 4A Regional Cross Country Championships on Thursday afternoon.

Even though Arroues was one of four South Tahoe High runners who had finished among the top 12 individually, the Vikings appeared to have fallen short in their team quest for a top-two finish to qualify for the state championships on a cool afternoon at Rancho San Rafael Park.

When the results were posted minutes later, however, the Vikings were celebrating a solid second-place performance and making plans to run again at the state finals next week in Las Vegas.

“I ran hard. This was one of my best races of the year,” said Arroues, a senior who has earned all-state recognition each of the last three years. “But I didn’t think we were going to make it. When I heard (the scores), I was happy … a lot … We were all really excited.”

Reno ran off its fifth straight regional girls team title with 52 points in what shaped up as a three-way battle out front. Two-time defending state 4A champion South Tahoe, hindered by injuries and illness all season, captured second-place by a 57-69 margin over Carson.

Three Vikings cracked the top six, paced by runner-up Kelsey Smith with a time of 19 minutes, 32 seconds over the hill-lined 5,000-meter course. Sophomore Kylie Noll placed fourth in 20:17, junior Kate Lambdin sixth in 20:29 and Arroues 12th in 21:09. Jordan Dalton sealed the deal for the Vikings as she ran 23:19 to finish 43rd overall to complete the scoring.

This may not have been Dalton’s best race, but the junior delivered when it counted, coming off an assortment of injuries that have prevented her from racing regularly until the last 2 1/2 weeks. Also, Arroues fought through a virus this past week. And Kelsey McClurg has not raced since mid-season due to a back injury.

South Tahoe still came close to outdistancing Reno, which had two of its regular runners out due to injuries. Meanwhile, the Vikings had to withstand a scare from improved Carson, which had six runners crack the top 25.

“I was very concerned,” South Tahoe coach Dan Wilvers said. “I knew they were capable of getting us.”

Carson coach Pete Sinnott tipped his cap to the Vikings afterward.

“The girls will be disappointed they didn’t make it as a team, but they shouldn’t be,” Sinnott said. “Our kids have worked hard, but they’ve (South Tahoe) worked hard for a long time. They deserve to go.”

As expected, Reno’s Marie Lawrence ran 18:09 to earn her third straight Northern 4A regional gold medal.

In the boys’ race, South Tahoe settled for fourth-place as a team and was unable to secure any individual qualifying berths to state. Two teams and five individuals from nonqualifying teams qualified for the trip to Las Vegas.

Patrick Reilly finished 14th (17:59), Kyle Conroy 16th (18:03), Chris Gamage 25th (18:43), freshman Evan Rabbetts 34th (19:05) and Joey Summerhill 40th (19:22). Reilly missed a state berth by three places.

Meanwhile, Conroy closed the book on his senior season on a solid note, according to coach Dominique Westlake.

“Kyle ran a great race,” Westlake said. “This was a great way for him to finish up. He’s our only senior and our team leader. He’s been a great asset. He helped bring this team along with his leadership.”

But there is one more week for South Tahoe’s girls.

“It’s going to be a crapshoot,” Wilvers said. “We ran where we were supposed to today, but we’re capable of more. We will race better as a team next week, I guarantee it.”

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