Unique relays give runners their due | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Unique relays give runners their due

Steve Yingling

If you’re a late-arriving spectator, then you better not be a cross country running fan.

Twenty minutes behind schedule and you can miss an entire race.

That’s why Dominique Westlake’s and Kathy Bluethman’s South Tahoe Relays are parent-, friend, and fan-friendly. For years, the South Tahoe High coaches have been holding the relays, which take several hours to unfold.

Rather than sending off all the varsity runners at once as is customary, the format requires that teams send one runner at a time. The next member of each team can’t take their turn until the previous runner completes the course.

This format really showcases cross country as a team sport and gives the appropriate recognition to the runners as they take their individual turns on the trails. STHS makes the runners feel extra special as they come off the hilly trails by staging the finish inside the spectator friendly Field of Dreams.

STHS sophomore Andy Stockdale enjoyed the special treatment so much Friday that he ran the 2.3-mile race twice.

“I like this one better than the other ones because it’s more fun and you actually tag people instead of running the course and finishing,” Stockdale said. “And it gives the slower people a chance to look like they’re doing good.”

Without any other relay formats to experience during the season, the Vikings like their unique meet.

“It changes it up; it’s not as monotonous,” said Karen Grant, a Viking junior runner.

Here’s one spectator that hopes that they keep the format for years to come.

Olympic flames burning for the “Palm”

Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan are the mainstream superstars making comebacks, but extreme sports athletes can pull off comebacks, too.

Reportedly that is what snowboarder/mountain biker/motocrosser/snowmobile racer Shaun Palmer is attempting to realize in the halfpipe.

Apparently, “The Palm” is trying to qualify for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

With snowboarders limited to a few events for the Winter Games, Palmer reportedly been training in the pipe at Mount Hood. One of the world’s top boardercross racers and a three-time winner of the event at the X Games, Palmer is attempting to overcome an eight-year layoff in the halfpipe to qualify for February gathering of the world’s elite winter athletes.

Considering the “Palm’s” track record, don’t bet against him.

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