Wet winter slowed Vikings’ progress
April 15 is a day South Tahoe track coach Dan Wilvers remember wells. And not because it happened to be Easter Sunday.
When Wilvers drove by the middle school that day, the local pastor saw 16 inches of new snow on the track. Coupled with that April snowstorm and above normal precipitation in March, the Vikings didn’t start practicing regularly until April 20.
“We didn’t start working out consistently until two weeks before the regional qualifiers and three weeks before the regional finals,” Wilvers said. “We’ve basically had one month of what would be a three-month season.”
While a wet Tahoe winter may have complicated their schedule, the Vikings made the most of their abbreviated season.
Five female athletes qualified for this weekend’s 4A state championships in Reno. On Friday, the 4×800 relay team comprised of Heather Newman, Kimmy Arroues, Kylie Noll and Kelsey McClurg will run at 2:45 p.m. About two hours later, McClurg will race in the 1,600-meter run.
Jordan Dalton, who ran one leg for the relay team last weekend at the regional finals, will be an alternate at state. She acknowledged the weather made things difficult, but that it also may have helped the team in other aspects.
“I thought the weather was something we had to work around … not a problem, just an obstacle,” Dalton said. “We’re not coming into state on top but as an underdog. We’re not all super strong individually, but together we are very strong.”
South Tahoe has the fourth-best regional time (9 minutes, 59.25 seconds) of the eight teams in the state meet. Sunset Region champion Cimarron-Memorial of Las Vegas is seeded first (9:38.70), while Reno (9:45.42) and Elko (9:45.57) come in seeded second and third, respectively.
“I feel we have a chance to place at state,” said Newman, a senior who will run track next year at Weber State University in Utah. “If we had a longer season, then we could’ve hit our goals sooner. But for the time being, we just get what we get.”
Wilvers said his team’s lack of track time has contributed to significantly slower times for three girls in particular.
He mentioned sophomore Kate Lambdin ran the 800-meter run last year as a freshman in 11:26, but her personal-best this year was 11:43. Noll, a freshman, ran a 5:20 mile as an eighth-grader and is only now getting close to that time. Wilvers predicted that Arroues, a sophomore, would’ve dropped to a 5:15 mile from last season, though her personal best this year is 5:32.
“They are just starting to get it back,” Wilvers said. “They are a talented enough group that five of them qualified for state, but they could have been a lot faster. No doubt.”
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