Douglas cross country results mixed

Mental toughness on the course is one point Douglas High cross country coach Keith Cole is trying to pound home to his runners this season.

On Wednesday, the Tigers had a chance to work on that lesson plan when they faced a tough course and one of their toughest Sierra League opponents at a Sierra League double dual meet held at Kingsbury Middle School at Stateline.

The results were mixed, as the Tigers returned home with splits in their girls and boys races against South Tahoe and Damonte Ranch. Perennial power South Tahoe edged Douglas - 26-30 in the boys race and 23-32 in the girls race - and Douglas bested Damonte Ranch 22-26 in their boys race. Damonte Ranch did not field a complete girls team.

"It was an up and down day for us," Cole said. "The boys team could have and should have won the meet. We had some very good individual performances today, but also had some boys who did not run like they should have. We let Tahoe slip away today, and that is unfortunate.

"We have really been stressing with the kids that they have got to be mentally tough out on the course. Cross runners often do not have teammates nearby to turn to for support during a race. You have to save yourself and run through the pain."

The top five Douglas boys did finish within 93 seconds of each other on a demanding 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) course lined with hills. Derrik Jenkins led the way as he turned a time of 20 minutes, 10 seconds to capture third-place, just ahead of teammate Seth White in fourth (20:16). David Williams placed seventh (20:56) to give the Tigers three runners in the top 10. Corey Trujillo also ran 21:35, Scott Lococo 21:43, James Leonard 21:48 and Pat Thielen 23:44.

Kyle Brush of Damonte Ranch won the race in 19:42, followed by South Tahoe's Patrick Reilly, who recovered from a spill on the course to finish second in 19:57.

Meanwhile, the Douglas girls came close against a South Tahoe squad that reigned as the 2005 state 4A champion and 2006 state runner-up (the Vikings lost to Reno on a tie-breaker).

"On the up side, the girls ran really great ... better than I expected," Cole said. "They really competed well against a tough Tahoe program. I thought that (Whitney) Lindsey and (Taylor) Biaggi were solid as always and did a really good job keeping close to the top Tahoe runners."

Lindsey and Biaggi led the way for Douglas as they placed second and fourth with respective times of 21:32 and 24:06. Cassie Hood placed seventh (25:53) and Sarah Allen 10th (26:55) to give the Tigers four runners in the top 10. Anna Chiapella also ran 27:19, Amber Emerson 28:21 and Michelle Lampson 29:31.

Sophomore Kelsey Smith won the race in 21:23 for South Tahoe, which is gearing up for the Woodbridge Invitational on Saturday in Irvine, Calif., a meet that will feature some of the nation's top prep cross country programs.

"I think that the best performances today were by Cassie Hood and Sarah Allen," Cole said. "Both really stepped up and had good races. They were about a minute apart at the finish, a little further than I would have liked, but they showed that they are getting stronger as the season progresses."


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