Viking tracksters emerge strong out of the gates |

Viking tracksters emerge strong out of the gates

David Gignilliat, Tribune Staff Writer

The South Tahoe track and field team broke out of the wintry cocoon of Lake Tahoe and turned in some sizzling – and somewhat unexpected – performances in their season opener Saturday at Carson High School.

“The potential is there for a really explosive team,” said STHS coach Rick Brown, whose team competed against Carson Douglas and Wooster. “Even the kids that didn’t finish in first and second places, all have the potential to improve and get better. This was a great start.”

Jake Hurwitz had a banner day, placing first in the 100-meter dash (11.03) and first in the long jump (19″). Hurwitz also finished second in 200-meter dash (22.96) and anchored the 400-meter relay (45.26) to a second-place mark.

Viking James Clemmer, who hadn’t high jumped since the seventh grade, finished third in the event with an impressive 5-foot-8 leap. Clemmer may be able to go 6-4 by the end of the season, Makley said.

“There was a lot of talk about James’ performance at the meet,” Brown said. “Coaches from other schools were just amazed at how much clearance this basketball player seemed to get over the bar.”

South Tahoe’s Manuel Lomeli finished first in the 1,600-meter run, pacing the field with a 5:13.5 mark. Senior Corey Martin earned third place in the shotput with a 43-1 toss.

Despite outdoor practice time at a premium (and a minimum), several Vikings have already surpassed their 1998 best times with strong performances in the team’s season opener.

“It was a fantastic start to the season. The times and distances that were recorded were by far better than what I expected given that we haven’t been outside too much,” he said. “We are way ahead of schedule. The future for this team is very bright and I’m very excited about it.”

Bus breakdown delays Warrior tracksters

Sometimes just getting from point A to point B is a difficult task.

The Whittell track and field team’s bus broke down en route to its season opener Saturday, and it was nearly two hours late before the team arrived at host Hawthorne High School. Because of the transportation difficulties, the Warriors missed the 110 hurdles, long jump and high jump events but were still game for several excellent individual performances.

“It was just one of those things,” said GWHS coach Dan Makley, whose team will travel to Fernley next Saturday. “I was talking to the Hawthorne coach and I told him that I’ve never had a breakdown in 25 years of coaching. He’s coached for three years, and he said he’s had one every year. So I guess I’ve been real lucky up until now.”

Warrior Erin Zaskoda made an excellent recovery from a fall in the 400-meter relay to take first place in the triple jump with a 31-1 leap. Zaskoda also finished third in the 300-meter hurdles with a 54.7 time.

Zaskoda slipped on the track after a bungled hand-off during the relay.

“She came back really tough. I wouldn’t have been surprised or mad if she would have called it a day after that,” Makley said.”But she was ready to go 15 minutes later. Needless to say, I was very impressed with her toughness as well as her ability.”

Whittell’s Sarah Sufka also put in a fine season-opening performance, placing first in the 400-meter dash (65.7) and scoring a pair of thirds in the 200 (28.9) and 100 (14.2) events.

Luke Forvilly captured first in the 300-meter hurdles with a 45.5 mark. And Karin Kaleta added a third in the high jump (4-8) and a fourth in the triple jump (30-3) for the Warriors.

“Our kids that are experienced had an excellent day, and our young athletes who have never really been to a high school meet got their feet wet and saw what it’s all about at this level,” Makley said.

Even on an off day, dicsus thrower Bob Linkul’s efforts were good enough for first place. Linkul, a center on the Warriors’ ’98 basketball team, finished first with a throw of 130 feet, 8 inches. Linkul’s other two throws included a pair of fouls that eclipsed the 150-foot mark.

Lady Vikings receive outdoor lessons

The South Tahoe girls softball team found its classrooms changed to a diamond over the weekend, as the squad gained some valuable outdoor game time at the Norm McKenzie Tournament in Las Plumas, Calif.

“Overall, it was a good experience, more of a learning experience than anything,” said STHS coach Jan Johnson, whose team lost all four of its games Friday and Saturday. “We were there to get some playing time in and work on some things and I think we were able to do that.”

Upperclassmen Missy Johnson, Kathryn Baer and Megan Humphreys shined in the South Tahoe losses, combining for 12-of-23 hitting, with four doubles, two triples, three runs scored and three runs batted in.

South Tahoe (0-4) will look to start off the league season with a W when it faces Douglas on the road Tuesday.

“We ran into the kinds of teams that we’re going to be up against in league play,” Johnson said. “The teams were aggressive, very intense and were really going for the win. At times, I think some of our younger players were a little bit tentative.”

In the first game, the Vikings fell to Foothill by an 11-1 count in what Johnson termed a “sloppy” game. South Tahoe yielded nine walks, four errors and a number of errant pitches, giving up 11 runs on just five hits.

“That was our first one out of the chute,” Johnson said. “I think we were getting a little ragged at times, getting our feet wet for this season.

The Vikes lost the second game Friday, falling to Corning by an 8-4 margin. Johnson’s team was late to the game, and their pitcher didn’t have a chance to warm up.

“I thought that was a game we maybe could have won,” he said.

In the third and final Friday game, the Vikes trailed just 2-0 after four innings before giving up runs in the game’s latter stages to a balanced Pleasant Valley team.

In the team’s final game against Wood Creek, the Vikings jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning before falling to the Sacramento-area squad, 10-2.

“I think we learned something from the tournament. It will help us out in the games to come,” Johnson said. “We’re fortunate to get this tournament in before we start league play.”

Jensen’s homer goes for naught

The South Tahoe High baseball team opened the 1999 season with a rocky start, losing a trio of weekend games to 4A powers Reed and Fallon.

The Vikings ended the three-game set with a doubleheader loss against the Raiders on Saturday. In the opener, shortstop Jeff Jensen’s three-run homer gave the Vikes an early 4-3 lead, but they could not hold on as Reed exploded for 12 more runs in a 15-5 win. Pitcher Chris Hannum went 2 for 4 against the Raiders, while infielder Thrace Ramsey batted 2 for 3.

In the final game Saturday, Reed dominated the Vikings in a 25-6 victory, although Ramsey connected for a first-inning three-run tater. Hannum ended a successful weekend at the plate, going 2 for 2. Pitchers Dustin Skiles and Jarred Uppendahl bore the brunt of the Reed barrage in the loss.

On Friday, South Tahoe fell victim to a dynamite mound performance from Fallon lefty Pat Spacher, dropping their season opener to the Greenwave by a 9-1 mark.

Spacher, a senior, struck out 12 Vikings and walked only one in the complete-game win.

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