Whittell boys cross country advances to state, Sanchez moves on as individual
RENO, Nev. — The Whittell boys cross country team used a complete team effort to advance from the NIAA Div. III/IV Northern Region championships last Friday at Rancho San Rafael Park. Whittell was tied with Sage Ridge for the last state qualifying spot, and advanced on the strength of its sixth runner.
“I was so proud of them — I was so happy for those boys that they actually did it,” Warriors head coach Lindsay Wines said. “Their reaction was incredible — they were pretty down and out and pretty disappointed.”
Whittell finished the 5k race with 120 points to create a tie with the Scorpions. The tiebreaker was the sixth runner — and Warriors’ freshman Andrew Carlisle came in three spots ahead of Sage Ridge’s Xun Russell.
“Had any one of those top six guys not passed one more runner, we wouldn’t have gone,” Wines said. “All of those boys contributed to that accomplishment.”
For Whittell, it marks the first time the boys team has qualified for state in six seasons. After the race, the Warriors didn’t immediately realize their accomplishment.
“When the race was over, all the kids kept asking but we all had a pretty certain feeling inside that we hadn’t qualified — we were pretty disappointed,” Wines said. “We went over to look at the individual times, and we figured out that we had qualified as a team.”
Sophomore Cole Snyder was Whittell’s top finisher. Snyder placed third with a time of 18:33 and a mile pace of 5:59.
“He ran really well,” Wines said. “His time was slower than usual, and wind might have been a factor — he was a little bit deflated afterward.”
Freshman Julio Loera took 19th with a time of 20:20. Junior Gabe Rusk (28th place, 20:44), freshman Nick Petty (20:46) and sophomore Sam Berry (41st, 22:20) rounded out Whittell’s top five.
Carlisle’s 48th-place finish in a time of 23:05 ended up sending the Warriors to state. Sophomore Scott Harrison (52nd, 23:24) also raced for Whittell at the meet — North Tahoe was the top team, placing first with 36 points.
In the girls 5k race, one of Whittell’s four runners advanced. Junior Mary Sanchez was the Warriors’ lone state qualifier, placing 28th with a time of 26:09 to earn the last individual spot — senior Melissa Petty finished a second behind her in 29th.
“This is their first year of cross country and they’re my two best performers at the zone championships — you can’t ask for much more than that,” Wines said.
Seniors Keatzia Morales (31st, 27:14) and Aisha Ceron (33rd, 28:33) rounded out Whittell’s top four. North Tahoe took home the girls’ team title, finishing with 39 points.
Whittell’s boys team along with Sanchez advance to the Div. III/IV State championships Saturday at Sunset Park in Las Vegas. The girls race is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the boys race scheduled for 1:55 p.m.
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