Six vikings head to zone |

Six vikings head to zone

Michael Traum

While the South Tahoe High track and field team will have just six athletes at this weekend’s Northern Nevada 4A zone finals, don’t be surprised if the same six compete in the state finals the following weekend.

The Vikings bring in the top two triple jumpers in the state and a girls 400 relay team and 300 hurdler who could run past some unsuspecting foes.

“These kids have been great this year. They’ve been working really hard. We’re anxious to see what happens,” said girls coach Karen Watt.

In what arguably will be the marquee event of the day, Elliott Hubler and Jeff Seitz will duel to see who’s the best in Northern Nevada. Seitz, the purest of the two jumping-wise, is coming off a torn left hamstring. But he said continued and concerted rehabilitation has left him more focused and ready to fly.

“It’s driving me more. It’s my senior year and I’m just going to go all out every time,” said Seitz, who admittedly will look to just qualify for the state finals. “The bigger goal is state. But we’re both going for it and just going to live for the moment.”

Hubler has had a super season, breaking school records and leaving many coaches’ jaws on the ground. The senior technician is clearly the event’s best and won’t be satisfied with anything but a zone title.

“There’s a lot of tension and aggression to let out. But I’ve learned to focus that really well this year,” said Hubler, who posted a sign that reads, “50 feet,” next to his bedroom door. “It’s all about motivation. What I’d love to do is break the zone record (49 feet). I have a chance if I hit my mark. But I just want to win zone. If anything else comes with it, that’s great.”

Tahoe’s head coach Rick Brown said the pair are the kids to beat.

“Jeff feels a lot better physically than he did last week (zone qualifier). He could jump what’s average for him and finish in the top three. We want him to just qualify and then rest,” Brown said. “At the qualifiers, Elliott turned in the best three jumps I’ve seen for a kid from the North (46-3, 46-1, 45-7.5). On all of them he took off about a foot-and-a-half behind the mark and they were still two feet better than anyone else. He can go 48 feet no problem and he wants more.”

Junior Faye Clapp will compete in the 300 hurdles. The hurdler is consistently in the top four and has been working to improve her explosion to the first obstacle.

“It all depends on the start, if I don’t stutter and don’t stride before the first hurdle. It’s one of those things where it’s just you. If you trip or fall, you’re done,” she said.

Added Watt, “Faye can take seconds off her time. We’ve fine-tuned her form and I think she can get a personal best.”

Clapp will also run the lead in the 400 relay, handing to Kelly Horan, with Tirah Samura and Launa Giordano. The girls know the whole race will come down to the exchanges.

“Faye and Tirah are running the curves well and we’re pulling through them well. If we can pull off the hand-offs, we’ve got a good chance to go to state,” Horan said.

The zone finals are scheduled to begin with the field events at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Reed High in Sparks. The top four performers in each event will continue to the state finals in Las Vegas.

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