Vikings struggle in South Tahoe Relays
They enjoyed the format. They dug running in front of family and friends for the only time on the schedule. But Reno and Galena weren’t supposed to steal the show in the South Tahoe Relays on Friday afternoon at South Tahoe High.
The Huskies swept the boys and girls varsity titles and captured the coed division. Galena demonstrated why its program is on the rise by winning the JV boys division and finishing runner-up in the boys varsity race and third in the girls varsity run.
The Vikings, a squad that notoriously prefers to peak later in the season, finished a disappointing fifth in the girls varsity race and fourth in boys varsity run.
“Right now, Reno is almost untouchable,” said Kathy Bluethman, whose Vikings have yet to beat the Huskies this year. “They could have done better. I just think they’re just a little scattered right now, and they really need to refocus. This kind of race shows that they need to reorganize their priorities and get going with this program.”
The relay format required the participants to complete their 2.3-mile loop before the next member of the four-person teams could take off.
“This is definitely my favorite race because it’s our only relay to run and it makes it a lot more fun to run,” said Viking senior Marin St. Michel. “This race is kind of hard to push yourself because there’s really no one to try and stay up with. Everyone kind of runs their own race.”
Contributing to a stress-free competition.
“It’s just more relaxing,” said STHS junior Jackie Marshall. “It’s just not like I’ve got to do this, I have to get the points … it’s the whole team thing.”
“There’s teamwork involved,” said STHS’s Andy Stockdale. “Some people will run faster than others and will gain places and give the slower people a chance to look like they’re doing good.”
Stockdale pulled off a unique double, finishing eighth in the individual race and then volunteering to run with a coed team. Obviously, the Viking sophomore was out of breath at the finish line the second time around.
“The first one was pretty cool, but the second one I did I was hurting really, really bad,” Stockdale said. “But because of running this I get one more race at varsity and I get my varsity block.”
Testing the first-timers on the course were Upper and Lower Humongous, steep hills near the Pet Cemetary. The unprepared usually found themselves walking up the dusty slopes, while the course veterans knew this was where they could make up time.
“Upper Humongous is the one that gets everybody,” said Viking junior Chris Cosmi, who along with teammate Hudson Wilvers, were two of the course’s fastest runners Friday. “It’s so steep at the end that everyone starts walking and can’t make it up anymore.”
The Huskies won the boys four-member relay in 53 minutes, 6 seconds. Galena was second in 54:33, followed by Carson’s 54:56 and South Tahoe’s 55:44.
Reno was even more impressive in winning the girls division, completing the relay in 1:01:38. Carson was second in 1:03:31, Galena third in 1:7:30, Douglas fourth in 1:08:21 and South Tahoe fifth in 1:08:21.
The Vikings will get another shot at the Huskies on Wednesday in Reno.
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In “Powder Days,“ author Heather Hansman looks at past, present and very uncertain future of ski town life.