South Tahoe boys’ cross country team enjoys best finish ever at Stanford
It was a good weekend for the South Tahoe High boys and girls’ cross country teams.
The Vikings boys came away from the Stanford Invitational on Saturday with a fifth-place team finish, the best the school has ever done there and the girls also topped their previous best with a 16th-place team finish out of 34 schools in their division.
The Vikings’ top boys and girls’ runners competed in the Division III bracket of the meet, which is the largest event of the season with hundreds of runners from dozens of schools.
“This is our best finish ever at this race. Last year, we were seventh,” said boys’ coach Dominique Westlake. “I was very happy with the team’s performance and the way they ran.”
Alex Sharp was the top South Tahoe finisher on the boys’ side at 11th place (16:34), followed by Bryan Kurek at 44th (17:18). Scott Brower was 66th (17:54), Kyle Sullivan finished 71st (17:55), Steven Grant 82nd (18:03), Erik Gallanty 94th (18:12) and Jonathon Pulido 97th (18:16).
“The first mile in this race is always very fast. The leaders came by in 4 minutes, 45 seconds and we came by in 5:10 to 5:20,” Westlake said. “The guys moved up very comfortably during the race. Alex had an outstanding race (and) Bryan … is still battling the end of a sickness. Steven and Erik were not as happy with their races because they know they can run faster, but this will come in time.
“Jonathon was in his first big race and did a great job running with the rest of the team,” he added. “He kept the 6-7 man on our team in sight just as I asked him to do.”
For the 16th-place girls, Megan Hillyard came in 13th overall with a time of 19:34. Kimmy Arroues was 40th at 20:26 and Kelsey McClurg finished 53rd with a time of 20:43.
Lacey Payne finished 152nd at 22:45, Laurel Morrow was 167th at 23:05, Amber Ramos was 176th with a time of 23:38 and Heather Newman was 177th at 23:39.
“Megan’s 13th-place finish was really fantastic because she ran with 213 runners,” said girls’ coach Doug Watenpool. “Another interesting thing is that our top four runners were three freshmen and a sophomore. We were also missing one of our top runners — Anna Lambdin. She was one of 30 students around the state selected to attend the California Youth Leadership Conference. She really wanted to be at the Stanford Invitational, but that was a big honor for her.”
The Vikings also had to replace runner Ellen Gallanty at the last minute due to illness.
“We had to have our alternate step in and run,” Watenpool said. “Laurel Morrow was our eighth runner and she finished fifth for us. I was really pleased with her effort and the way she stepped in at the last minute.”
Although the invitational was a one-day event, the Vikings traveled to the Bay Area after school Friday so the kids could spend some time enjoying the Stanford campus and amenities offered to the athletes such as some time swimming in the pool and eating a pasta dinner.
“We got to run through campus and they got to see what college life is all about,” he said.
The cross country team hosts the South Tahoe Relays on Friday. Several teams will attend and compete in same-sex or coed divisions. Each runner runs 2.2 miles and an exchange is completed by slapping hands. The relay begins at 3:30 p.m.