Tigers set for state run
November 7, 2013
Division III/IV boys 10 a.m.
Division I-A boys 10:40 a.m.
Division I boys 11:20 a.m.
Boys awards ceremony noon
Division III/IV girls 12:30 p.m.
Division I-A girls 1:15 p.m.
Division I girls 2 p.m.
Girls awards ceremony 2:40 p.m.
Division I preview
Teams to watch: This shapes up as a potential duel between Douglas and Centenntial. Arbor View should be right in the mix after trailing Centennial 35-41 in the Sunset Region meet. Never count out the Carson Senators, who have won the last three girls state titles at Rancho San Rafael Park in 2007, ‘09 and ’11, especially if Alex Drozdoff is able to come back from her foot injury. Green Valley edged Coronado 32-33 to win the Sunrise Region title.
Individuals to watch: Eight juniors and one sophomore comprised last year’s state top 10, including defending state champion Katie Gorczyca (who also won state as a freshman for Palo Verde in 2010). The runner to beat on paper is Centennial senior Sydney Badger, the Sunset Region champion whose 18:04 at the Stanford Invitational is the fastest 5K time by any Nevada female runner this season. Lindsey Adams of Douglas won the gold in 2011 and is back as a junior bidding to add another. Reno freshman Kyra Hunsberger lost in Nevada for the first time last week, trailing Adams by 5 seconds after waging a neck-and-neck race. Sunrise champion Sara Dort of Coronado placed third at the 2012 state meet. Carson sophomore Eveline Delgado is another talent to keep an eye on.
The X factor: Reno’s 4,700-foot altitude. By comparative times from the region meets, Centennial and Arbor View are faster, however, the altitude and hills at Rancho San Rafael Park are an equalizer for the North. The key to victory could still be the team that has the best performance by five, maybe even six, runners.
Teams to watch: Centenntial is favored to defend its title. The Bulldogs won the Sunset race with 19 points behind a sweep of the top four places by Dajour Braxton, Jackson Carter, George Espino and Seth Wright. Coronado edged Green Valley, 59-60, to win the Sunrise title. Four-time Northern region champion Galena bested Centennial to win at state in 2011. McQueen is another team to watch, as is an ever-improving Douglas squad.
Individuals to watch: McQueen junior Kai Benedict will be tough to beat based on his first-place effort of 16:24 at the Northern region meet, not to mention his Division I victory at the Stanford Invitational (15:49 5K). He ran even faster to place 11th at the Clovis Invitational (15:32). Sunrise champion Eddie Esquivel of Eldorado was last year’s state runner-up. Centennial’s Braxton won the Sunset race and placed third at state last year. Teammate Carter placed fourth at state in 2012 and fifth in 2011. Galena senior Matt Paulsen has been a top-10 finisher at state the last two years.
Fast times at Rancho San Rafel Park: Benedict’s 16:24 last week ranks among the fastest ever run during postseason competition at Rancho San Rafael Park. The fastest, according to the NIAA record book is 16:03 by Galena’s Bryan Tibaduiza at the 2008 region meet. Wade Meddles of Minden and Sierra Lutheran High school, ranks second with his 16:06 at the 2009 state meet. The all-time girls record of 18:09 was set by Reno’s Marie Lawrence in 2006.
Lindsey Adams will try to achieve something on Saturday no other Douglas High School cross country runner has ever achieved. At the same time, she will join with her teammates in an attempt to outrun all comers at the NIAA State Cross Country Championships in Reno.
Douglas will also be represented in the Division I boys race, which is set for an 11:20 a.m. start at Rancho San Rafael Park. The Division I girls race is at 2 p.m.
The Douglas girls, coming off a victory at the Northern Region meet last week, are now looking to become the second team in school history to win at the state. The Tigers won their other girls team title in 1998.
"The girls are stoked," Douglas coach Jay Frey said. "They really want to bring home that state championship."
Meanwhile, Adams is bidding to become the first Douglas cross country runner to win multiple individual state titles. Adams won gold as a freshman in 2011, and now, would like to help the Tigers improve on their second-place team finish (Carson edged Douglas by a 67-77 score in 2011).
"It's exciting," she said. "I think our team is the strongest it's ever been.
Adams won the regional race in a time of 19:33 that ranks No. 5 all-time in postseason competition for 5K at Rancho San Rafael Park, according to the NIAA record book. By comparison, Whitney Lindsey won the 2007 state race for Douglas in 19:42 and Adams won her regional and state races with times of 19:43 and 19:46.
One of the key factors for the Douglas girls this season has been Moriah Munyan, who transferred over the summer from Hesperia, Calif. (Sultana High School) and has been the team's first or second runner all season. The junior placed fifth in the regional race (20:49) with a solid performance.
"Moriah ran a great race for being out there all by herself," Frey said. "Nobody was within 25, 20 seconds of her either in front or behind, and that's the toughest way to run."
Madison Cote and Lizzy Byrne also cracked the top 10 with solid performances — seventh (21:09) and ninth (21:26) respectively — while Rebecca Corbett was close behind in 11th (21:29).
Meanwhile, the Douglas boys come in as the third-place finisher from the Northern Regional. Frey believes the Tigers still have a better race in them.
"The boys are capable of running a better race, " the coach said. "I think they will, too. They've run well as a pack all year and now that pack is is moving up more and more."
Austin Croxall paced the team with his eighth-place effort (17:28), while senior Lane Smith ran 17:51, freshman John Munyan 17:51, Cole Peck 18:03 and senior Brandon Pankey (18:04). Pankey, who is running at state for the third straight year, has been progressing steadily since sustaining an early-season injury.
The Tigers ran without Kaleb Morris, who has been nursing a sore knee. He could be available to run in the state race, according to Frey.
"There is a chance; if he's healthy and ready, he will run," Frey said. "We've got 10 guys who are close enough, we're not taking a step back if any of them are out there."