Douglas High cross country coach Jay Frey expected to see a fast and closely contested Division I girls race Saturday afternoon at the NIAA State Cross Country Championships. As it turned out, the race exceeded those expectations.
Even though the Tigers fell short in their bid to bring home a team championship, their third-place performance on a 70-degree and sunny afternoon at Rancho San Rafael Park became more significant after Frey crunched some numbers afterward.
“Honestly, looking at the times, the girls ran faster than they did the previous week, they were just outmatched,” the coach said on Monday. “The South came up with two strong teams and they ran very well. That was just a smoking fast field, team-wise and individually.”
Arbor View edged Centennial 68-73 to win a Southern duel for the title. Douglas placed third with 87 points.
How fast was the race?
“Comparing the times, our team that took second at state two years ago (on the same course) would have been eighth on Saturday,” Frey said.
Carson coach Pete Sinnott, whose Senators finished sixth in this race, pointed out the team’s time was faster than the state championship times they logged in 2007 and 2011.
“Arbor View deserved to win,” Sinnott said. “They weren’t exactly the favorite to win, but they came through today and ran a great race when it counted.”
Centennial’s Sydney Badger won the individual gold with an 18:40 clocking over the 5-kilometer course. Her time was the second fastest ever by a female runner on the course.
“I have a lot of respect for Sydney,” Sinnott said. “She had never won a state cross country or track championship before, but she’s never lost the will to be good. She came up here this summer to run this course at the UNR camp, just so she’d be ready to run this race.”
Lindsey Adams placed fifth for Douglas with a time of 19:31. The junior went out fast from the start in her bid to repeat the state championship she won in 2011.
“Lindsey’s winning time from two years ago would been seventh in this race,” Frey said. “We knew coming in there were five or six girls who could win this thing, so Lindsey took a risk and she pushed it (from the start). It was a gutsy move she made, it just didn’t pay off. But sometimes you’ve just gotta take a shot at it.”
Reno freshman Kyra Hunsberger, Badger and Adams passed the first mile in 5:48. They passed the two-mile mark together in 12:24. Badger never slowed a step, either, as the senior finished 19 seconds ahead of Hunsberger in the runner-up position.
For Douglas, Madison Cote ran 20:38 to place 14th, Moriah Munyan 20:46 for 15th, Lizzy Byrne 21:08 for 25th and Rebecca Corbett 21:34 to place 40th. Each of the Tigers ran faster than they did at regionals, highlighted by Cote’s improvement of 31 seconds.
“Madison ran a phenomenal race,” Frey said. “And Lizzy dropped her time by 18 seconds. So overall, the girls ran very well.”
The future appears promising for this Douglas team, too.
“The cool part is most of these girls will be back next year,” Frey said. “None of our point scorers are graduating so they’re going to be back stronger than ever.”
The Sierra Lutheran girls placed fourth as a team in the Division III/IV race. Camille Cassidy led the team with an 11th place effort of 23:08. Freshman Clare Davison ran 24:18, the second fastest time by a freshman and good enough for 21st place. Sisters Hannah and Alesha Martinez finished 27th and 29th respectively.