Viking tracksters plan on taking it the distance in 2001 |

Viking tracksters plan on taking it the distance in 2001

Steve Yingling

Tracking the Vikes

Coach: Rick Brown and Julie Pope

Key returners: Girls, Karen Dalmacio; Danielle Kelleher; Jackie Marshall

Cindy Davis; Courtney Carrell. Boys, Jake Hurwitz; Jerry Seeley; Manuel Lomeli; Jeff Cosmi; Hudson Wilvers; Adam Wexelblatt; Daniel Chia

Key to season: How well the results match the 65 team members’ preseason enthusiasm

Opener: Saturday at Carson City

During a season where Julie Pope and Rick Brown must handle 65 South Tahoe High track and field athletes by themselves, they are grateful that their role models – the long-distance runners – are maximizing their practice time and not taking advantage of reduced supervision.

“These guys are incredible,” Brown said. “There’s not a whiner in the whole group. They never give up and they do a cheer at the end of practice. It’s like being in a middle football game with these guys.”

Seniors Jeff Cosmi and Manuel Lomeli and sophomore Hudson Wilvers are setting the pace for what could be a banner year for the Vikings in the distance events.

“They’re as thick as mud and they’re is no question they are dedicated,” Brown said.

Cosmi got a jump on some of his competition by participating in several indoor meets in Reno. He’s already 18 seconds ahead of last year’s pace in the 1,500 meters and has his eyes fixed on Greg Hitchcock’s school record of 4 minutes, 18 seconds.

“His best last year was 4:34 at divisionals, but he’s ahead of schedule without doing much road work and not much speed work,” Brown said.

Last year, Pope and Brown had the luxury of using Dominique Westlake to coach the distance runners. However, Westlake’s position wasn’t in the budget this season and the cross country coach is serving as a volunteer until his South Tahoe Middle School season starts.

Over the past two years, Westlake has built one of the state’s best cross country programs, leading the Vikings to state and zone titles in 1999 and a state and zone runner-up finishes in 2000.

“Adversity seems to be one of the things we get to put up with in the spring, whether its the weather or whatever,” said Brown, whose team has lost several gym workout sessions this week because of freshman testing.

Without the gym, Brown and Pope resourcefully had their kids either watch technique videos, swim or lift weights.

South Tahoe also possesses two of the fastest sprinters in the state in sophomore Karen Dalmacio and senior Jake Hurwitz.

Dalmacio came on strong in her freshman campaign to finish runner-up in the 100 (13.11) at zone and eclipsed the 13.0 barrier for the first time en route to a seventh-place state finish.

“With the way the state meet falls we have to decide which four events Karen is going to qualify in,” Pope said. “She certainly run the 100 and 4 by 200, but after that we’ll be throwing her into everything and finding out what best fits Karen.”

Pope welcomes back all four runners from the school-record-setting 4-by-200 relay team. Dalmacio, Lindsey Hitt, Danielle Kelleher and Jackie Marshall came in third at zone with a record time of 1:49.68 seconds. But Marshall competed at less than 100 percent last season and is healthy again.

“Jackie couldn’t swing her arm in full rotation because of a ripped tendon,” Pope said.

Hurwitz is a two-time defending zone champion in the 100 meters, rebounding from nagging hamstring injuries last year to win his No. 1 event in 11.09.

The versatility and athleticism of Hurwitz worked against him last season when he aggravated an early season hamstring injury in the triple and long jumps.

“We are going to be somewhat tentative on his triple jumping. As soon as he experiences pain, he is to let me know. He is not going to jeopardize his 100-meter championship again,” Brown said.

Browns reports that Hurwitz is in the best shape of his prep career.

“He’s working more on his flexibility and stretching a lot more than before. That will help him support the strain of the events he does,” Brown said.

The Vikings open their season at a four-team meet Saturday at Carson High.

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