Depth paid off for the Douglas High cross country girls with a team championship Saturday night at the University of Nevada Nature’s Bakery Invitational in Sparks.
Performances from all five scoring runners helped Douglas win the large schools varsity girls title at Shadow Mountain Park, as the Tigers outdistanced a 12-team field that included the entire Division I Northern Region.
Coupled with a sixth-place finish in the varsity boys race and second-place in the junior varsity boys division, the Douglas program enjoyed a successful season opener, according to coaches Jay Frey and Marc Walling.
“The kids ran real well, especially for the first time out,” Frey said. “We had some kids step up, and they all learned a lot from their races, so it was a good night for us overall.”
The Douglas girls bested Carson, 82-96, in what could be the first round in a series of close encounters this season between the Sierra League rivals. Three Carson runners finished in the top 12, however, the difference for Douglas was packing its scoring five into the top 30.
Lindsey Adams placed second with a time of 15:35 over the 4-kilometer (2.48 miles) course. She finished six seconds behind Reno freshman Kyra Hunsberger in 15:29.
“It’s good to have Lindsey back,” Frey said of Adams, who played soccer last fall after winning the state championship as a freshman in 2011. “She’s got a different outlook now, she’s a more mature runner, and it showed (Saturday) because she ran a real good race.”
Madison Cote ran 17:12 and Lizzy Byrne 17:21 to finish 18th and 20th respectively in their first high school cross country race. Maria Munoz 17:24 to finish 22nd and Rebecca Corbett 17:40 to finish 29th. Cristina Munoz also ran 18:12 and Geneses Diaz 22:15 to round out the team’s top seven.
Meanwhile, the Douglas boys showed depth to edge Carson and McQueen in a tie-breaker for sixth-place in their large schools division race.
“They’re a real tight group,” Frey said of the boys team. “Now, that tight group has to start moving up.”
Douglas, Carson and McQueen each finished with 204 points, however, the Tigers won the tie-breaker when Jeff Williams emerged as the fastest No. 6 runner.
Cole Peck was Douglas’ top finisher with a 14:40 effort to finish 37th. Kaleb Morris and Austin Croxall ran 14:47 to finish 40th and 41st respectively, followed by Lane Smith in 14:50 and Parker Dixon in 15:10.
This was the first cross country race for Morris, who had his 2012 football season ended by a torn ACL.
“He’s a tough kid who has a lot of raw talent,” Frey said of Morris.
“Austin (Croxall) had a breakout race. He looked real comfortable,” Walling added.
The Tigers’ No. 6 and 7 runners turned in valuable contributions as well. Williams ran 15:16 to provide the tie-breaker advantage, while Josh Cassity was only a few steps behind in 15:18. To take those performances one step further, Williams finished ahead of McQueen’s No. 3 runner and Cassity beat McQueen’s No. 4 to provide displacement points that enabled the Tigers to create the tie.
Placer (Auburn, Calif.) bested Galena to win the team title, while Spanish Springs (154) and Damonte Ranch (159) finished third and fourth. Galena is the defending region champion.
“It was a lot closer than it looks,” Frey said. “The North is going to be a tight, tight race. There’s five or six teams fighting for three spots (to qualify for the state meet).”
The Douglas JV team finished second behind Del Oro (Loomis, Calif.) by a 45-51 score. Weston Stulac placed third in 14:54 and Nolan Greth fifth in 15:08 to lead the Tigers. Conner Lyman and Lars Ponsness were close behind as both clocked in at 15:29 to place 11th and 12th respectively, while Danner Hillman ran 15:43 to place 20th.
The Douglas JV girls finished ninth as a team with 254 points, led by Katie Hill’s 19:37 effort.
Notes: Host-Nevada was dominant in the collegiate women’s race, as the Wolf Pack swept the top four places and seven of the top 10 to post a team score of 17. Samantha Diaz was the individual winner in 14:27. Becky Grabow, a Sierra Lutheran High graduate who is now a sophomore running at Pacific, placed fifth in 15:50. … The Tigers compete again this Saturday at the 51st Nevada Union Invitational in Grass Valley, Calif.