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Viking track preview

Michael Traum

When Northern Nevada league foes look at the 1997 South Tahoe High track team, they’ll see something that they haven’t for quite some time – the Vikings have a complete team.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm this year. More than 60 kids have come out. It’s been very enjoyable,” said head coach Rick Brown, who emphasized the potential strength of the 28-girl squad. “If they all stay really healthy, it’s going to be scary. I think they can give Carson and Reed a run as a team at zone. I can’t remember when the South Tahoe girls, as a team, made a run.”

The Lady Vikes are led by some impressive athletic combinations. Three-sport star Faye Clapp joins Kelly Horan and Shannon Hoverston as team captains. Clapp and Hoverston, with Dawn Hock and Tirah Samura are all capable of airing at least 5 feet in the high jump, with roughly 5-2, 5-3 being a state-qualifying height. Clapp and Horan return with Robyn Lindner and Launa Giordano to form last year’s fifth-place zone 4-by-100 team. Shelbie Brown and Samura will be up-and-coming hurdlers.

Individually, Clapp should excel in the 300 hurdles and 4-by-400 team, along with high jump and 4-by-100. Horan returns as the fifth-place zone finisher in the 100 and 200 sprints. Lisa Orr has also shown promise in the distance events.

“I look for them to work hard and be proud of what they’ve done,” said first-year girls mentor Karen Watt, who comes to Tahoe after a coaching stint in Indiana. “The kids are very accepting of me. We’ve set goals for the season. I believe you feel much better about yourself once you accomplish a goal and can see the results.”

Watt emphasized the need to maintain the team feel.

“Track can be an individual sport. I’ve been mixing them together so they’re a team and will root each other on. There’s some good leadership and you’re definitely more competitive when you’re together as a team,” Watt said.

On the boys side, last year’s marquee squad of David Schafer, Jess Lucas, Ryan Moore and Jeff Seitz – the group that broke a 15-year-old Northern Nevada 4-by-400 record with a 3:25 and change – is no more.

But in their place stands seniors Seitz and Elliott Hubler. The two triple-jumpers are the best in the state, and, with continued improvement, can make a run at a top-25 national ranking by season’s end.

“We’ve set high goals so they have something to strive for,” Brown said. “They’re two different people yet they push each other more than anyone else. They genuinely like each other.”

Hubler said the friendship has grown from the competition.

“Both of us are really confident coming in,” he said. “We push each other and root for each other. We’ve become close friends. Whomever wins, wins. It’s all for one.”

Brown expects to receive other positive performances from his improving boys squad, results which he said, “May pleasantly surprise me.”

Joining the coaching staff will be Anthony Davis and Mike Benasa.

The Vikes first meet of the season is Saturday at 10 a.m. in Carson City vs. Carson, Reno and Lowry.


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