Vikings leave Reno in Twilight zone
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
The ebb and flow that is the South Tahoe-Reno girls’ cross country rivalry took another turn on Friday in the Nevada Twilight Distance Classic in Reno.
South Tahoe only brought the minimum five runners to the season-opening meet but still bested the defending state champions on their home course at Rancho San Rafael Park in taking the team title.
“We didn’t expect to win,” said STHS coach Dan Wilvers, whose Vikings officially finished three points ahead of the runner-up Huskies. “We had a very casual mindset. Because we were under the lights, because there were collegians running before us, it had a big-time meet atmosphere and it really inspired the kids.”
Three Reno runners finished among the top six racers, but the Huskies weren’t able to prevent the Vikings from finishing 1-2. Sophomore Kelsey Smith won the 4-kilometer race in 15 minutes, 35 seconds and senior Kate Lambdin was runner-up in 16:19.
“Kelsey dropped the hammer and Kate was the biggest surprise of the night,” Wilvers said.
Smith’s time, in fact, was better than all of the collegiate women. Cristina Olivas of UC Riverside was the women’s top 4K finisher in 15:43.
“She beat some good athletes, and she did it by herself and they did it in a pack,” Wilvers said. “She made a name for herself; I’m sure she got the coaches’ eyes.”
Freshmen Cheldon Rabbetts and T.J. Zaccor made impressive varsity debuts. Like they repeatedly did in middle school, Rabbetts and Zaccor came in succession. Rabbetts was 14th in 17:16 and Zaccor 15th in 17:19.
“Cheldon and Torry have more in their tanks than they know and they still ran fantastic,” Wilvers said.
Senior Jordan Dalton placed in 25th in 18:14, but a reported mix-up in her results dropped her to 30th in 18:31. Wilvers said if her result had been corrected, the Vikings would have been at least eight points better than Reno.
Senior Chris Gamage led the STHS boys to a seventh-place team standing. Gamage’s 20th-place time for the 4K was 14:50.
Other STHS runners to compete were senior Patrick Reilly, 32nd, 15:12; senior Matt Arroues, 39th, 15:21; freshman Brady Hiob, 43rd, 15:25; sophomore Erich Baumann 44th, 15:26; senior Joe Young, 51st, 15:34; and junior Rand Norberg, 92nd, 17:32.
Galena and Reno finished second and third, respectively, to meet winner Woodcreek of Roseville.