Smith 13th at Stanford Invitational |

Smith 13th at Stanford Invitational

Steve Yingling

PALO ALTO – The conditions couldn’t have been much better to run a cross country race than what South Tahoe High encountered at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday.

The talent-laden meet attracted some of the top schools in the country and gave the Vikings a chance to compete at sea level and run on the plush fairways of the university golf course.

Naturally, the Vikings were at their best as Patrick Reilly, Kyle Conroy, Chris Gamage and Evan Rabbetts each re-established their peronal-record times.

“We’re all starting to group together. Everyone is picking up their times, so it’s really fun to see,” Reilly said. “I wanted to run my race. I didn’t want to get caught up in everyone else. It’s more serious than any meet we go to and the competitive spirit is unmatched here than in any meet I’ve been to.”

South Tahoe’s Kelsey Smith placed 13th in the Division I Sweepstakes race to lead the Vikings to 10th place.

Reilly finished the relatively flat 3.1-mile course in 16 minutes, 43 seconds to place 36th in the Division 3 meet. Conroy, a senior, and Gamage, a junior, also cracked the top 100 to help the improving Vikings to a 13th-place standing. Conroy’s 73rd-place time was 17:23, while Gamage finished 97th in 17:46.

“Those guys ran some solid races today,” said pleased STHS coach Dominique Westlake.

The winner in the 215-runner field was Palos Verdes’ Fawad Khan in 15:49. Palos Verdes also won the team title.

South Tahoe was also aided by the varsity debut of Rabbetts, a freshman. Rabbetts ran a comfortable first mile, then started picking off racers the rest of the way. He nearly caught junior teammate Joey Summerhill at the finish line as the they placed 110th (18:05) and 112th (18:07).

“I thought I was going to do really bad in my first big race,” Rabbetts said. “I started slow, but the last K is when I started to kick it up. I was able to stay with the group and watched people die.”

Also for the Vikings, junior Joe Young place 138th in 18:27 and junior Matt Arroues was 182nd in 19:50.

Westlake plans to take a seven-member varsity squad to Clovis on Saturday, so Wednesday’s home meet could rearrange a few spots on the varsity team.

“Some of these guys can’t be content with where they are running because they could get bumped,” Westlake said.

Whoever makes the trip south, Conroy is confident that they’ll make a good showing.

“This really sets us up nicely for the Clovis meet next weekend and if this is any indication, we’re going to be really strong there, too,” Conroy said.

One JV runner in bumping position is freshman Ben Sullivan, who finished 21st in a 208-runner field Saturday. His time in the 3K was 10:35.

“I’m hooked for sure,” Sullivan said. “I ran way faster than I thought I would. Our whole team ran a really good race and we’re going to have a great team in the future.”

He was followed by Jordan Yingling in 61st place (11:17), Rand Norberg 79th (11:31), Austin Pierce 89th (11:38), Adam Kern 148th (12:28) and Will Caglia 194th (14:02).

South Tahoe was 15th overall out of 29 teams.

The STHS girls were shooting for a top-three finish in the Division I sweepstakes race but couldn’t put together the collective effort it has the past two seasons in winning back-to-back state titles.

No. 2-ranked Corona del Mar dominated the meet with a 70-point victory.

Reno senior Mel Lawrence took individual honors, winning the 5K in 17:06 – 21 seconds faster than Lauren Saylor of Buchanan.

Smith, a freshman, was timed in 18:24, Kylie Noll 22nd (18:43) and Kate Lambdin 29th (18:52). Senior Kimmy Arroues also made the top half of the field by placing 81st in 19:57, but the Vikings’ six-runner squad’s next-best result was 150th.

Reno with a worst result of 78th placed seventh overall, 39 points ahead of the Vikings.

In the Division 3-5 girls’ JV race, South Tahoe’s Courtney Cichowicz placed 40th in 13:04.

Later Saturday, former South Tahoe star runner Hudson Wilvers made a solid return to his sport. Wilvers of Long Beach State finished the 8K race in 82nd place (25:31), only 2 minutes behind winner Neftalem Araia of Stanford. The race attracted 222 runners.

Long Beach State finished seventh, with Stanford winning the meet.

Injuries have kept Wilvers from running the past several seasons.

Shasta Community College’s Anna Lambdin, a member of STHS’s 2004 state championship and nationally ranked team, placed 22nd in the women’s 5K race in 20:36. Amber Steen-Moore won it in 18:05.

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