Vikings sprint to regional relay title |

Vikings sprint to regional relay title

Steve Yingling

SPARKS – An adequate handoff would have given South Tahoe High a school record in the boys’ 4×100 relay on Saturday.

As flawed as the second-leg exchange was it didn’t cost the Vikings a rare Northern 4A regional sprint relay title at Reed High School.

Turbocharged by a rocket start by Grant Swinney, the Vikings led from beginning to end to win the loop around the track in 43.17 seconds. Galena was runner-up in 43.59.

“It definitely means a lot,” said STHS junior sprinter Mikey Van Gorden. “We’ve been working hard, trying to get good enough to be able to win. Now we just got to try and go win state.”

A delayed exchange between Swinney and Kevin Capellino prevented South Tahoe from being faster, but the miscalculation gives the Vikings incentive to eliminate the problem so they can run faster at the state meet.

If they do, the school relay record of 43.10 will likely fall.

“If me and Grant would have had our handoff perfect, we would have had it today,” Capellino said. “We switched our marks. Grant wasn’t used to me running so fast from the start so he had to catch me. I turned around and I had to grab it because we were almost out of the exchange zone.”

Coach Melissa Berry expects the mark to fall this week because her sprinters will be rested.

“Three of the four guys were right off the 100, so I know they could have ran faster had they been fresh,” Berry said.

Swinney, Van Gorden, Vermillion and Capellino also qualified for state in the 4×200 relay. South Tahoe nearly shaved 2 seconds of its regional-qualifying time to finish in 1:30.43, coming in second to McQueen’s 1:30.11.

South Tahoe’s only individual to qualify for state was junior shot putter Matt Bobman. Despite not practicing all week because of a wrist injury, Bobman finished third with a best heave of 47 feet, 9 1/2 inches, which was more than 2 feet less than his regional qualifying mark. Ryan McKinley of Reno was first at 53-11.

Swinney, the 2003 Northern Nevada 4A rushing champion, missed qualifying in the 100-meter dash by .05. He and his Viking teammates, Van Gorden and Capellino, simultaneously converged on the finish line. Swinney was fourth in 11.44, Capellino fifth at 11.46 and Van Gorden sixth in 11.47.

“It’s definitely nice when three of us get in the finals for the 100,” Van Gorden said. “We know we’re gonna be quick.”

Isaac Porter of Hug won the 100 in 11.11.

Only the top three finishers from the Northern region qualified for the state meet.

Fatigue set in by the time Van Gorden and Capellino toed the line for the 200-meter final during the afternoon session. Following the disqualification of Porter, Capellino crept to within a place of making state, taking fourth in 23.13. Van Gorden was sixth in 23.49.

“I never had a meet with everything so close and everything going so fast,” Van Gorden said. “It worked us pretty good, but it paid off.”

Reed’s Jason McGee, who won the 400 earlier, claimed the 200 title in 22.68.

For the STHS girls, freshmen Kelsey McClurg and Kimmy Arroues made strong bids to qualify for state.

McClurg used a late burst in the 800 meters to better her best time by 3.5 seconds. She was fifth in 2:24.53.

Meanwhile, Arroues ran a gutsy, fast-paced opening three laps in the 3,200 meters, but couldn’t keep up the pace. Arroues, who qualified for state in cross country in the fall, finished fifth in 12:23.49, leaving her 36 seconds off the final state qualifying time.

“I had really bad shin splints, so it was really hard to keep up the pace … into the race it got worse,” Arroues said.

Anna Lambdin showed a strong kick to take seventh in 12:53.40.

Sophomore Ellen Gallanty exhibited enormous promise in the 300 hurdles, placing sixth in 49.98. In her second prep hurdler race ever, Gallanty bested her previous time by 2 seconds and came within 2 seconds of Faye Clapp’s school record.

“She has two years to get it and she will,” STHS coach Dan Wilvers predicted.

Reno captured the girls’ title by winning seven events, while Galena took home the boys’ top hardware. South Tahoe’s boys were eighth and the girls tied for 11th.

“The Reno program is as good as any sport in Northern Nevada in anything,” Wilvers said. “They have four girls who are nationally ranked.

“If we had a boys’ basketball team like that, it would have been better than the South Tahoe team in 1992. That’s how good those girls are. They finished third in the nation this year in the 4×800.”

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