Warriors, Vikes are both on track for state titles this weekend in Reno
It’s not a question of if a South Shore student-athlete will win a state track and field title; it’s a question of how many championships will be claimed Friday and Saturday at Damonte Ranch High in Reno.
Whittell High can become only the third Nevada 2A high school to win four straight state girls’ team championships. Previous four-time champions are The Meadows (1997-2000) and Bishop Manogue (1980-83 and 1992-95).
After capturing their fourth straight girls’ regional title last weekend in Winnemucca, the Warriors definitely have the numbers and the caliber of athletes to make it four in a row. Whittell produced seven regional champions and had several more athletes place in the top four in their events to qualify for the state meet.
The Warriors will be led by sophomores Shannon Marshall and Hannah Daly, each of whom won two individual regional titles, were members of the first-place 4×400 relay team and were runners-up in one event.
While the Warriors are heavy on state qualifiers, the South Tahoe Vikings are light on numbers for the 4A meet. But in senior Kate Lambdin and sophomore Kelsey Smith, South Tahoe has quality over quantity.
Lambdin and Smith each won their first 4A regional championships last week – Kate in the 3,200 meters and Kelsey in the 1,600. They both qualified for state in each event, giving the Vikings a shot to finish high in the girls’ team standings.
It will be Lambdin’s first state meet since her freshman year.
“I’m really excited. Some friends are going down, and they are going to get to see me run,” Lambdin said. “I’m just glad I’ve had a successful year, and I’m just having lots of fun.”
Before the track season began, Lambdin decided that she’ll run for San Jose State next season. Lambdin said that decision lifted some of the pressure from her life.
“There’s not as much stress, and it’s more about having fun right now. Now I end up running really great races,” she said. “Right now, I’m happy with fact I’ve done so well this season and gotten so much support from the community. I’m just glad to have made it to state in two events.”
Both Smith and Lambdin ran personal bests in the 1,600 meters at regionals. Smith’s winning time was 5:13.13, while Lambdin was third at 5:16.08.
Even though Smith and Lambdin have been neck and neck in some races this spring, they are training partners, friends and teammates rather than rivals.
“I know I’ve gotten better because of Kelsey, and I hope she’s gotten better because of me,” Lambdin said. “It’s great that we can work off each other. When one of us isn’t feeling good, we have somebody else there who pushes you through those bad days.”
Warm weather is expected to move into the area this weekend, but the two Vikings are thankful that they won’t have to run both of their races on the same day, like they did at regionals. The 3,200 meters is on Friday night at 8:25 and the 1,600 meters on Saturday at 11:50 a.m.
“The mile is definitely going to be a tough one. All the girls from the South are fast,” Smith said. “In the 3,200, we’ll have the altitude on our side. The Southern girls are coming up (in elevation) a little bit, and that’s going to definitely help us.”
The meet, which includes all four classifications, starts at 3 p.m. on Friday and resumes at 9 a.m. on Saturday.