Lindsey Adams was back in a familiar position Saturday afternoon at the Division I Northern Region Cross County Championships — on top of the victory podium — and this time she was joined by the rest of her Douglas High School girls teammates.
Adams won her second individual gold medal in three years to help Douglas capture its first regional cross country girls team title since 1998. Meanwhile, Austin Croxall continued his newfound role as pace-setter for the boys team, which placed third to round out a successful day for the Tigers at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno.
Both teams earned the right to come back again this Saturday to run at the state meet. This is the first time since 1994 Douglas has had both teams qualify for the cross country state final. Adams was equally excited to qualify for state as part of a team.
“I think it’s a lot sweeter going as part of a team,” the junior said. “It helps to work together as a team and have somebody to work with.”
Adams clocked a time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds over the hill-lined 5-kilometer course to outduel Reno freshman Kyra Hunsberger and win her second region title in three years (she played soccer last year).
“It wasn’t what I expected, but it turned out well,” Adams said. “My plan was to have a faster pace, but at the same time, I wanted to stay in contact with Kyra.”
Adams surged into the lead with about 150 meters to go and won by 5 seconds.
“Strategically, Lindsey ran a great race,” Douglas coach Jay Frey said. “She kept calm and just sat right with Kyra the whole way, then when they made that last turn Lindsey made a move, and it was a decisive one.”
Frey added that the pace even slowed at one point as the two runners appeared to invite each other to take the lead.
“We were both hesitant to take the lead,” Adams said. “I think she wanted me to take the lead, but that wasn’t my plan. I was pretty confident toward the end that I would have a good kick.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers were dominant as a team as they won the team title with 33 points as all five of their scoring runners finish in the top 11.
Croxall placed eighth in 17:28 — equaling 5K personal record he set last month at Stanford — while seniors Lane Smith, Cole Peck and Brandon Pankey along with freshman John Munyan finished among the top 23 to help the Tigers grab their state berth. The top three teams and five individuals from non-qualifying teams qualified for the state meet.
While the Douglas boys have run well as a pack all season, Croxall has surged to the front in the past month and helped pull that pack along with him.
“This second half of the season, he’s made huge progress,” Frey said of the junior. “He’s started taking off and running his own race, which is something we’ve been looking for all season.”
Croxall believes his breakthrough race came in late September when Douglas hosted its All Class Races at Lampe Park. He ran to second-place in the junior race, which earned him a trip to the Stanford Invitational. On Saturday, Croxall said he moved up from 15th at the mile mark to 10th after two miles.
“I’m getting stronger and more confident all the time,” he said. “I’d like to improve my time this week and I think it’s possible with the (state) competition that’s going to be out there.”
Notes: Galena captured its fourth straight regional boys team championship. Kai Benedict of McQueen won the race in 16:24, followed by Galena’s Mason Labadie (17:03) and Matt Paulsen (17:13). Paulsen has run for all four of those Galena regional championship teams. … Sierra Lutheran’s girls and boys teams are both state-bound after their respective third- and fourth-place finishes in the Division III/IV races. Camille Cassidy, a junior, led the girls team with her 23:18 effort for sixth-place. The boys were paced by freshman Richard McNeely, who placed eighth in 18:21.