Vikes’ Smith a double state winner
RENO – Now that Mel Lawrence is in college, let the Kelsey Smith state track distance running era begin.
Smith, a South Tahoe High sophomore, won her first two Nevada 4A girls’ state championships Friday and Saturday at Damonte Ranch High School.
Smith started her memorable weekend by edging Viking teammate Kate Lambdin for the 3,200-meter title. The two ran together until Smith used a burst over the final 200 meters to cross the finish line first. Smith was timed in 11 minutes, 29.46, while Lambdin was right behind her at 11:30.83.
“It was a good race,” Lambdin said. “She’s a speedy little girl.”
About 15 hours later and with temperatures climbing into the mid-90s, Smith used a strong kick over the final 200 meters to win the 1,600 meters in 5:17.34. Coronado junior Michaelanne Laurent led for most of the race, but Smith continued a propensity to finish off close races.
“I just tried to put my kick on her so I could try and win the thing,” Smith said. “I think (the kick) is from all of this extra training we’ve been doing, and the new track definitely helps motivate me.”
Her winning time was less that 13 seconds off Lawrence’s stadium record. Laurent was second in 5:19.47, and Lambdin used a strong late push to nearly catch Laurent to finish third in 5:20.47.
“My legs are tired,” said Lambdin, who capped her South Tahoe athletic career with her best state performances. “If I would have had another day, I’d been fresher. But third place is good.”
Smith and Lambdin did very well carrying the South Tahoe program on its back. The Vikings’ only two state entrants produced 34 points in their two events.
Their efforts enabled the Vikings to finish fifth in the team standings, only 21 points behind state champion Reno, which scored in eight different events.
“They did what I thought they were capable of doing,” said STHS distance coach Dan Wilvers, who missed the state meet so he could watch his son, Hudson, run his final college race.
“They had already seen competition twice as good as they saw at state, so they were ready for it.”
Other highlights from the 4A meet included:
• Galena senior Joe Abbott posted one of the nation’s top times in winning the boys’ 800 meters in a state meet record clocking of 1:50.78. Runner-up Jordan Rincon of Spring Valley also bested the state meet mark with his time of 1:51.14.
• Hug’s 4×100 boys’ relay team broke Clark’s 26-year-old state meet record with its winning time of 41.53.