South Tahoe boys cross country shines at Nevada Twilight Classic, wins small school title
SPARKS, Nev. — Under the lights at Shadow Mountain Park, the South Tahoe boys cross country team shined brightly. The Vikings’ boys won the varsity small school race at the Nature’s Bakery Nevada Twilight Cross Country Classic on Friday, Sept. 4, capturing the title by a wide margin.
South Tahoe won the 4,000-meter race with a score of 36 points, finishing 40 points ahead of second-place Dayton. Five Vikings finished in the top 14 and were separated by only 65 seconds, led by junior Dillon Lemons’ third-place effort.
“I have watched our top pack of boys mature as runners and a team,” Vikings coach Amanda Hammond said. “They have always been good at having camaraderie and pushing each other — but now they are on a higher level.”
Lemons ran a 14:13 to finish third overall, 34 seconds off the time turned in by winner Jackson McIroy from Sonora (Calif.). Seniors Orion Maxwell (seventh) and Paul Mutz (eighth) finished in an identical 14:27, while senior Mario Mangiaracina (12th, 15:08) and sophomore David Holmes (14th, 15:18) rounded out the South Tahoe’s top five.
“Their ability to pack up and keep each other in view is their strength,” Hammond said. “They are taking this season very seriously and are indebted to each other to do well.”
Seniors Paul Hoefer, Griffin Hobson and Chase Stalter, along with junior Freeman George, also raced for South Tahoe in Friday night’s event. Hoefer (21st) and Hobson (24th) each finished in the top 25.
On the girls side, four South Tahoe runners competed at the Twilight Classic, including a pair in the varsity small school race. Sophomore Ally Sullivan delivered the Vikings’ top performance, finishing fourth by running a 16:57.
“She kept a very good pace,” Hammond said of Sullivan.
Senior Riley Rettig ran for the Vikings in the varsity race as well. She placed 12th with a time of 18:30.
“Riley amazes me with her ability to always race well,” Hammond said. “She just gets on the starting line and does what needs to be done.”
In the girls junior varsity race, junior Alexzandria Balme and freshman Sarah Carlson made their high school cross country debuts. The duo finished seven seconds apart, led by Balme’s run of 21:24.
The ninth-annual Twilght Classic featured a record 930 athletes that raced in 10 different divisions. University of Nevada, Reno hosts the event that is one of the biggest South Tahoe will compete in this season.
“Twilight is a huge event and an honor to be a part of,” Hammond said. “It was our second race of the season, but a true season opener, because we see a lot of our competition there.”
South Tahoe returns to action Friday, Sept. 11, in a meet at North Tahoe High. The meet is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.