State titles within Vikings, Warriors’ grasp
They are the hunters rather than the hunted.
Two South Shore cross country teams are in that promising position heading into Saturday’s state championships at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno. The Whittell High boys and South Tahoe girls each finished second last week at their respective regional championships; now they have an opportunity to use last week’s near titles as motivation to win it all.
A strong Sage Ridge squad stands in the way of Whittell possibly winning its second state boys championship in three years. The Reno private school placed four runners in the top 10 to overpower the Warriors at regionals in Carlin last week.
Whittell coach Lindsay Wines, however, doesn’t believe the Scorpions are unbeatable.
“Sage Ridge is gonna be a tough team to beat, but I don’t think it’s impossible,” Wines said. “Historically, the last three or four times we’ve run at Rancho San Rafael, we’ve run well. The kids have had a good week of practice. They don’t seem to be nervous, and they aren’t overconfident either.”
The Warriors have thrived behind the running of senior David King, sophomores Adam Kingman and Adam Laub and freshman John Robinson. Chris Crawford and Allen McLeod will also figure prominently in how the Warriors fare at state.
Wines said the Warriors’ chances hinge on how the younger runners perform, particularly the team’s five and six runners.
“It’s nice to have three sophomores that have a state and two zone competitions under their belts,” she said. “Chris Crawford and Allen McLeod will be important factors for us; they need to pick off guys in front of them.”
Sage Ridge and Whittell have combined to win the past three state championships with no more than a 15-point separation between the schools each season.
Defending state champion Reno will be the STHS girls’ main obstacle in trying to win their third state championship in four years. The Huskies breezed to their seventh consecutive regional championship last week.
Megan Mathis and Joelle Slater’s 3-4 finish was too much for the Vikings to overcome as they ran fatigued following a trip to Southern California the previous weekend.
“I knew we would be running tired after the Mt. Sac race and two
days at Disneyland, so I was very pleased to see them run as well as they did last week,” said Viking coach Dan Wilvers, whose team has finished runner-up to the Huskies at regionals in all four of his seasons. “But make no mistake we will need to use those fresher legs this week to make a statement.”
That shouldn’t be a problem, especially since the league’s top runner Kelsey Smith lost a Nevada race for the first time all season last week and senior Kate Lambdin – who finished sixth – was several places off her customary position.
“We’ll need everyone of the girls to improve their race this week,” Wilvers said. “If we lay down a big race this week and lose, then that’s how the chips fall. But if we don’t run to our potential, then I will be extremely disappointed. You don’t start training June 1 to run less than your best at state.”
Shannon Marshall leads four Whittell girls into the state meet after placing fourth at regionals. She’ll be joined in Reno by Natalie Daly, Morgan King and Miranda Flores as individual competitors. “I think we’ll have a couple of girls in the top 10,” Wines said.
Viking senior Patrick Reilly will be making his third appearance in the state meet. He is competing for the second time as an individual after running one of the most satisfying races of his career last week at the Northern 4A regionals. He came from near the back of the pack to place 12th and grab one of the precious five state individual qualifying slots.
The four-hour meet begins at 10 a.m. with the Northern 2A girls’ race.
STHS’s girls will run at 11:25 a.m., the WHS boys at 12:30 p.m. and Reilly will toe the start line at 1:45 p.m.