Smith takes 11th in Manhattan Invitational |

Smith takes 11th in Manhattan Invitational

Steve Yingling

Kelsey Smith has raced in plenty of big meets before, so a big-time high school meet in the Bronx on Saturday didn’t unnerve the South Tahoe High freshman.

Smith nearly broke into the top 10 at the Manhattan Cross Country Invitational – perhaps the deepest field this fall outside of the upcoming national championships.

“She was unbelievable in that race. That was who’s-who of runners on the East Coast,” said STHS coach Dan Wilvers.

Smith placed 11th in 14 minutes, 45.1 seconds, leaving her only 30 seconds behind winner Hannah Davidson of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (14:15).

“It was really amazing how fast they went,” Smith said. “I just went out really fast at the start, and on the downhills I just went real fast. I just tried to stay with them.”

Two other Vikings placed in the top 60 of the prestigious field, with sophomore Kylie Noll taking 38th (15:23.2) and Kate Lambdin finishing 56th (15:41.0).

Their results helped the Vikings finish 13th out of 27 teams.

Senior Kimmy Arroues wasn’t far behind her teammates, placing 111th in 16:25.5.

“It was OK. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” said Arroues, who celebrated her 17th birthday on Sunday. “We are always nervous before any race, but this race was pretty intense.”

Like most of their races this season, South Tahoe had trouble delivering a high result from its fifth runner. Vikings’ senior Kelsey McClurg came into Saturday’s race as questionable because of bad back and had to drop out 3/4 of a mile into the race after her back locked up.

However, juniors Jordan Dalton and Courtney Cichowicz were able to compete, leaving their nagging injuries behind in South Lake Tahoe. Dalton responded with a 169th-place result. Two other Vikings didn’t make the trip to New York.

Midlothian, Va., was the surprise winner of the meet with 148 points. Eleanor Rosevelt, Md., was runner-up with 172 points and defendinng national champ and current 2004 Nike Team Nationals champion Saratoga Springs was third with 190. Hilton, the defending NTN champ and current No. 1, was fourth at 2003.

When they weren’t preparing for their big race or competing, the Vikings did some sight-seeing, checking out Ground Zero, the Empire State Building, Times Square on a Saturday night and the Statue of Liberty.

“It’s been a cool experience, one that I hope the school allows us to take again some day,” Wilvers said. “It does enrich kids to have experiences like this, let alone compete in a race like this.”

STHS boys second at Bella Vista

South Tahoe’s boys nearly won the Bella Vista small division title on Saturday in Folsom.

Behind Patrick Reilly’s fourth-place finish, the Vikings continued their late-season assault by placing runner-up in the 13-team meet.

The Vikings, who scored 86 points, only trailed Placer’s 80. Rio Americano was third with 92, Del Oro third (93) and Union Mine fifth (98).

“They had to run tired and they had to learn how to run tough,” said STHS coach Dominique Westlake. “It’s critical for any athlete, to learn how to run when you are tired. That’s something you can’t coach and has to come within, and they did that today.”

Reilly’s 5-kilometer time was 17 minutes, 58.8 seconds. Winner Will Marquardt of Union Mine was timed in 17:10.64.

Junior Chris Gamage and senior Kyle Conroy finished 10th and 12th, respectively, with times of 18:34.66 and 18:39.82. Also for the Vikings, Joey Summerhill was 32nd (19:31.7), Ben Sullivan came in 37th (19:47.92) and Matt Arroues 57th (21:08.21).

Jordan Yingling (16:20) led the Vikings to the junior varsity title with a fourth-place result. Zildgan Borromeo was next in sixth place at 16:24, Rand Norberg 12th at 16:48, Austin Pearce 13th at 17:01, Adam Kern 27th at 18:27 and Will Caglia 38th at 21:14.

“They are pretty jazzed to go down to a big meet and come home with some hardware and medals,” Westlake said.

The Vikings will wrap up their Sierra Division dual schedule with a Wednesday meet at Damonte Ranch in Reno. The meet starts at 3 p.m. with the boys’ race.

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