Vikings showcase speed at regional qualifying |

Vikings showcase speed at regional qualifying

Jared Green
South Tahoe High junior Mikey Van Gorden, left, takes the hand-off from Cory Vermillion as the Vikings won the 4x100 relay at regional qualifying Saturday at Reed High School in Sparks.

SPARKS – The South Tahoe High boys’ 4×100 relay team is king of Northern Nevada – for at least a week.

The Vikings’ team, made up of Grant Swinney, Kevin Capellino, Corey Vermillion and Mikey Van Gorden, scorched the Reed High track in running a 43.39 at Saturday’s regional qualifiers, the best time in Northern Nevada this season and third best in the state.

Running in the second heat with rival and previous regional leader Hug High already done, the Vikings got out fast with Swinney making up his stagger and handing Capellino a short lead. Capellino quickly extended the lead to five meters, then Vermillion and Van Gorden brought it home on the last two legs. Hug qualified in second place with a time of 44.28.

“We were definitely aiming for the (region’s) best time,” Van Gorden said. “We want to place at state and this was the first step.”

The Vikings beat their previous best time by more than four-tenths of a second, surprising when one considers the injuries they’ve endured. Capellino sat out the first meet of the season and Swinney immediately went down with a hip flexor. When Swinney came back, Vermillion had gone down to a calf contusion suffered during soccer season. In fact, the top four runners hadn’t competed as a team before Saturday.

Van Gorden, for one, believes the relay team can better its time in the next two weeks.

“Our handoffs are still pretty rough and we can work on that a lot,” he said. “I think running head-to-head with Hug next week will push us to be even faster.”

The four had solid individual weekends as well. Swinney, Capellino and Van Gorden all finished in the top eight in the 100-meter dash to qualify for the regional final on May 15, while Van Gorden and Capellino also qualified in the 200. Dan McCullough took Swinney’s place in the 4×200 relay team that took third place, although Swinney will likely reclaim his spot this Saturday.

Vermillion hit the only rough patch in his hurdles races. He hit a hurdle late in Friday’s 110 and barely qualified in eighth place, then hit two more hurdles down the stretch of Saturday’s 300 and missed out on the final by one spot. The junior hadn’t practiced hurdles in more than three weeks leading up to the qualifiers and left on Saturday with a pronounced limp.

“Corey’s timing was just way off,” South Tahoe coach Melissa Berry said. “Hurdles are so technical that you have to be in the right rhythm to get it done.”

Swinney said his hip flexor had tightened up a bit by Saturday afternoon, but said his chances of competing in both relays and the 100 at the regional finals is “pretty close to a sure thing.”

Junior Matt Bobman nearly equaled his personal best in the shot put, coming up five inches short at 50 feet, 1 inch, and qualified in third place.

On the girls’ side, Ellen Gallanty finished in eighth place in the 300 hurdles in her first competitive attempt at the event. Kimmy Arroues and Anna Lambdin qualified in the 3,200, while Kelsey McClurg made the 800 final and just missed out in the 1,600.

The regional finals will take place at Reed High on Saturday. The top three finishers in each event will qualify for the state meet on May 20-21 at Reed.

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