RENO - Once the scores for the Northern 4A Championships were posted and Chad Shroy's name was not marked in yellow, it was time for the Carson High boys cross country team to celebrate.
Only the top five individuals' names on non-qualifying teams were marked in yellow to indicate that they had qualified for next week's NIAA State Championships. Since Shroy finished fifth overall and his name wasn't marked in yellow, that could mean only one thing - Carson's boys had qualified for state.
It was mission accomplished for the Carson boys and girls cross country teams on Thursday at Rancho San Rafael Park, where the boys took fourth and the girls third. The top four teams qualified for the state event to be held Saturday, Nov. 5, at Rancho San Rafael Park.
The Galena boys took second and Galena's girls were fourth as both teams also qualified for state. Reno won both boys and girls events. Among other top local finishers was Galena's Dan Geib, who took second in the boys race, covering the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, 37 seconds.
Galena's Alyssa Abbott took third in the girls race in 20:32, while Carson's Christy Works was 12th (21:20). The Douglas girls also had a strong showing, finishing fifth and will send two runners to state - Whitney Lindsey (ninth, 20:57) and Taylor Biaggi (14th, 21:26).
The boys race for the third and fourth spots was a tight race between Manogue, Carson and Elko. All three teams were packed in tightly together and Carson coach Dennis Brinson was actually ready to tell his team how well it had run, but had just missed out on going to state.
"I was not getting my hopes up," he said.
But all of Carson's runners turned in an impressive effort and the final results were Reno (26), Galena (51), Manogue (109), Carson (115) and Elko (125).
"We didn't worry about Reno and we didn't worry about Galena," Brinson said.
Carson's runners ran the course on Sunday and the extra work paid off.
"They had to run their brains out," Brinson said. "They had to run smart and fast. I just couldn't be happier for them. I'm thrilled."
After Shroy, a mere 20 seconds separated the next four Carson runners as Ethan Graber was 24th (19:31), Rusty Turner 27th (19:37), Zack Mapes 30th (19:43) and Caleb Carter 33rd (19:51) to round out the team scoring. Also for Carson, Tyler Davies was 47th (20:13) and Sam Saunders was 65th (21:16).
"My goal was to go under 18," said Shroy, who finished in 17:49. "I'm very pleased. I've been placing in the top 10 for the entire season. I figured top seven would be an average finish for me. I think my position was a little better than I expected."
Shroy's race strategy was simple.
"My strategy was to go out nice and relaxed," he said. "I felt good. I had a strong finish. My overall race strategy was to qualify (for state) pretty much."
At next week's state meet, Shroy said he's shooting to finish in the top 15. "I'd say top 15 is definitely a good goal," he said. "Top 10 I would really llike that."
There wasn't nearly as much suspense for Carson's girls as it became clear they qualified for state with their strong showings.
"Just like we planned it," Brinson told his girls after their race. "That one went well. I don't think there's any doubt on that one.
"They just ran so well. They just seemed to automatically run as a team. When you run that tight of a pack, you're going to do pretty darn well."
Brinson also said it was impressive to finish behind Reno and South Tahoe, both among the West Coast's top teams. "We're amongst the best in the West," he said.
A total of 51 seconds separated Carson's pack of five scoring runners - Gloria Sosa (21st, 21:54), Annie Brinson (22nd, 21:57), Hannah Riedl (25th, 22:00) and Kristin Dockery (28th, 22:09). The team's No. 6 runner, Meagan Myer (32nd, 22:23), was only a few seconds behind, and of significance, she aided in the scoring by finishing ahead of Galena's No. 4 and No. 5 runners. Also for Carson, Jenny Mital took 44th in 23:51.
Reno's Mel Lawrence, one of the nation's top runners, easily won the girls race as expected in 18:35. Reno's Joe Parker won the boys race (17:26).
Fernley's Tony Yori won the 3A boys race in 18:08.
Also on the 3A level for Dayton, Nathan Kato took 11th in 19:14 in the boys race to qualify for state and Stephanie Schall was 11th in the girls race in 24:12 to qualify for state.
n Contact Charles Whisnand at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1214