South Tahoe outduels Carson in cross country
CARSON CITY — In cross country, it’s not where you start that counts. It’s where you finish.
With that goal in mind, South Tahoe High coaches Dominique Westlake and Doug Watenpool were upbeat after watching the Vikings outduel Carson in both the boys and girls’ races Friday during a Northern 4A three-way meet at Edmonds Sports Complex.
South Tahoe’s girls slipped past Carson by a 25-31 score, while the Vikings won the boys’ meet by a 21-39 score over Carson in a duel between teams that are perennial frontrunners in the North.
Carson’s girls were state champions in 2001 and finished second at the regional meet in 2002. South Tahoe was fourth last year, one spot short of qualifying for the state meet.
“We tried so hard last year and we could never beat Carson City,” Watenpool said. “They’re always strong, so it was great to win today.
“It was an exciting race to start the year. The five girls in the lead pack all went back and forth.”
South Tahoe freshman Kelsey McClurg finished strong to win the race in a time of 22 minutes, 31 seconds over the 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) double loop course around Edmonds Complex. Sophomore teammate Meg Hillyard was a step behind in second place, timed at 22:32. Freshman Kimmie Arroues placed fifth with a time of 23:00 and Anna Lambdin sixth at 24:00 to give South Tahoe four of the top six spots. Ellen Gallanty ran 25:59 to finish 11th and round out the team scoring.
The Vikings also grabbed top individual honors in the boys’ race, as juniors Bryan Kurek and Alex Sharp swept the top two places. Kurek, who had battled illness all week, ran 18:35 and Sharp was second in 18:49 on the grass surface of the Edmonds soccer fields.
“This course isn’t fast just because there’s so much grass,” Westlake said. “I wanted the kids to run smart today, to run the first mile under control and then maintain the rest of the way.”
That they did.
South Tahoe’s Steven Grant placed fourth in 19:41, Scott Brower was sixth in 20:03, Kyle Sullivan was eighth in 20:15 and Erik Gallanty ninth in 20:22.
Still, Westlake pointed out the objective is to be ready at the end of October.
“I was pleased with their performance,” Westlake said. “We worked hard this week so they were probably a little tired today.
“We’ve got a young team, so I’m going to bring them along slow. I don’t want to burn them out with hard workouts now. I want them to slowly progress as the season goes on and have them ready for regionals,” he added, referring to the Northern 4A Regional Championships Oct. 31 at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno.
The Vikings run again Wednesday at the Reed Invitational in Sparks.
More results from South Tahoe boys’ cross country can be found on page B4.