Cross Country: Douglas boys headed to state |

Cross Country: Douglas boys headed to state

by Joey Crandall

The Douglas High boys’ cross country team ran its way into the school history books Friday afternoon at the Northern Division I Regional Championships, taking second overall to qualify for state for the first time in at least 15 years.Douglas posted an average time of 17:54 per runner on the 5K course at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno and posted a team score of 81 (the sum of the placings of the team’s top five runners). The Tigers will compete for the state title Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boulder City.“Our boys grabbed ahold of a solid second place finish and we’re heading to state,” Douglas coach Jay Frey said. “Not only is this group getting stronger and faster, but they’re getting tighter as well.“Our top four guys came through the first mile together right around a 5:30. It’s pretty sweet seeing a pack like that up front.“All of our boys ran faster this week than last week on the same course. A lot of them have this big race experience, and their focus and drive has developed into something unshakable.”Galena won the regional team championship with a team score of 37.Reno’s Jordan Cardenas won the individual title with a time of 16:56.Lane Smith was Douglas’ top runner, finishing 10th with a time of 17:35.“Lane had a big breakout race for the boys,” Frey said. “He’s dropped 1:20 off his time from a year ago on the same course.”Jeff Williams was 12th at 17:44, Brandon Pankey was 14th at 17:45, Cole Peck was 19th at 18:00 and Connor Lyman rounded out the varsity scoring in 26th with a time of 18:23.“Jeff dropped 1:01 from last year. Pankey has been our No. 1 all year, and he still had a good race, it’s just that Lane and Jeff really steppd up. Cole has had a couple tough races, but he’s working his way back to finding his rhythm on the course. Connor continues to make huge progress each week and came in as a solid No. 5 for the team.Brian Tubridy, the varisty team’s lone senior in the meet, (18:58) and Zak Sherback (19:06) also ran for Douglas.“Brian and Zak are a solid 6 and 7 for us,” Frey said. “They know the importance of every finishing spot. I have seen it all season, and I have no doubts going into state that every one of these boys will fight harder and dig deeper than they ever have before. “The biggest goals these boys have set all year were team goals, and this is the strongest complete team Douglas has put together. I’m confident in a solid showing at state and we’ll be leaving Vegas with our head held high.”Douglas was dealt a blow in the girls’ race as top runner Aspen Abbott ran with a small tear in her quadriceps. She gritted it out to finish 37th with a time of 22:41.“It bit her about halfway through the race and she fought through it,” Frey said. “It’s tough to see a kid that does everything right all through the season and something like his happens.“She’s a great kid that is handling it pretty well, and she’s ready to kill it in track season.”The Lady Tigers, who qualified for state last year, finished seventh as a team in a tight regional field. McQueen won the girls’ title, followed by McQueen and Carson.“The girls race was a lot closer than the points may show,” Frey said. “Going in, I felt there were seven teams that had a shot at making the top three and I had us in the 3 or 4 spot. I’m still really impressed with our girls for even being in range of qualifying. Aspen was our only returning girl from regionals last year. Five of the other six girls were running high school cross country for the first time.“To bring in a group this young in the sport and have legitimate hopes of a state berth is a testament to their constant dedication and hard work.“It was a really fun group this year, the progress they made on a weekly basis was exciting to see and we’ll have five of the top seven back next year, so we’re really hopeful for next year as well.”Maria Munoz was Douglas’ top finisher, taking 14th with a time of 21:22. Rebecca Corbett finished 20th with a time of 21:41. Allison Meyer, Aspen Abbott and Olivia Abbott were the next three finishers at 35th, 37th and 41st.Galena’s Sara Hanneman won the individual girls’ title.SIERRA LUTHERANDonovan Harrison took 10th place in 18:28 to lead Sierra Lutheran to a fourth-place finish and a berth in next week’s state meet in the Division IV championships.Chris Eckert was 18th (19:18), Wes Stulac was 21st (19:23), Joel Henry 24th (19:27) and Seth Cariga was 40th (20:55).On the girls’ side, Sierra Lutheran qualified third to advance to next week’s state event. Incline won with 24 points followed by North Tahoe with 55, Sierra Lutheran 75 and Virginia City 133.Erin Henry was seventh in 22:16, Heather Kubel was 14th in 23:57, Alesha Martinez was 15th in 24:15, Rebekah Churchill was 19th in 24:44 and Abby Williams was 20th in 24:50.Heather Redman of VC was 18th in 24:25 and Tobi Steele was 20th in 25 minutes.

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