Carson High track hosts regional qualifier Saturday

When it comes to Saturday’s regional qualifier at Carson High in event after event, CHS boys and girls track coach Steve Nelms said the same thing over and over again.

“That’s going to be a battle,” he said about a number of events in which the field is extremely tight.

The meet that gets underway at 8:30 a.m. is a combination league championships for the High Desert and Sierra Leagues but also a qualifier for the Regional Championships to be held Saturday, May 11 at Reed. This week also begins the process in which athletes qualify for the State Championships to be held in Southern Nevada the weekend of May 18.

This Saturday, the Sierra League and High Desert League events will be held separately. The top two finishers from each event will advance to next week’s regionals. In the short distance running events and relays, the next top four finishers overall will make up the top eight at regionals.

In the 800, 1600 and 3200, the next top eight finishers overall will make up the top 12 at regionals. In the field events the next top five finishers overall will make up the top nine at regionals. The top three at regionals will advance to state.

Carson High’s girls figure to have a chance to win the Sierra League Championship and may even be in the running for the regional championships. But a lot will depend on how many athletes Carson — and other schools such as McQueen and Reed — advances to the regionals on Saturday. “We’re looking really, really strong in the girls races,” Nelms said. “We should have a lot of people advancing.”

Based on past performances and rankings, Carson’s boys could also finish as high as second in the North. Reed looks to be the top boys team in the north, but again that could all change on Saturday.

And while Carson would obviously like to finish as high as possible in the North standings, its main objective is to qualify as many athletes to state as possible, which has been a challenge for Nelms as he’s tried to place his versatile athletes in the right events to give them the best chance to qualify for state.

“Hopefully, right?” said Nelms when asked about giving his athletes the best chance to qualify for state.

Carson’s athletes are peaking at the right time but as Nelms noted, “Everybody peaks late.”

The CHS girls will be led by Abby Pradere and Ashley Britt. Pradere, the defending state champion in the 800 and 1600, will be favored to win those events.

Britt is ranked No. 1 in the north in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, setting a season best of 16.09 to win the 100 hurdles at the Big George Invitational last Saturday at Douglas High. Britt also has a season best of 46.96 in the 300 hurdles.

Pradere will focus on just three events as she’ll also run the 4x400 with Britt, Annika Wick and Katherine Oppedahl. “She’s had a great season for us,” said Nelms about Oppedahl, who will also run in the 200, 4x100 and 4x200.

Oppedahl also has an excellent chance to advance to the regional finals in the 200.

Carson’s 4x100 relay of Oppedahl, Erica Basa, Taryn Encinas and Natalyn Wakeling rank second in the north with a 50.91 behind Reed’s 50.46.

The 4x200 team of Oppedahl, Wick, Encinas and Britt rank fourth in the north at 1:48.37, less than a second out of the first place time of 1:47.6 and just .26th of a second out of second.

And those four didn’t run the relay last week. Because of prom and to stay fresh, many of Carson’s athletes skipped the Big George Invitational.

Carson’s 4x400 team of Wick, Oppedahl, Britt and Pradere are ranked second at 4:15.61. “We’re easily capable of running under 4:10,” said Nelms about the team that hasn’t run since March 30.

Carson’s Merce Tarrayo is ranked third in the north in the shot put and fourth in the discus after finishing third at the Big George Invitational with a personal best of 112-06. Nelms said Tarrayo is also capable of throwing more than 36 feet in the shot put.

Wakeling is also fourth in the 100 at 13.18 while the second place time is 13.05. “I think she’s going to run extremely well,” said Nelms about the freshman.

Encinas is also tied for third in the north in the high jump.

Ben Granados, who will sign to compete in track with NAIA Jamestown University in North Dakota, is among the leaders for the Carson boys and will run the 100, 200, 400 and 4x400 relay. Granados, who finished third in the 100 last year to qualify for state, has the sixth fastest time in the north which he set last Saturday in winning the Big George Invitational at 11.17. “I have no doubt he can run 10.9s, 10.8s,” Nelms said. “That’s realistic for him.”

Granados’ best time in the 200 is 22.82 while the third best time in the north is 22.5. “He should be running in the 22.2s,” Nelms said.

Granados is second in the north in the 400 at 51.3. Nelms said Granados is capable of running in the 50s or even the 49s.

In the 800, Hunter Rauh is ranked fifth, Ethan Byasse seventh and Zach Sever 9th. Sever is second while Byasse is third in the 1600. Sever also has the top time by five seconds in the 3200 at 9:48.34.

Carson’s 4x400 team of Rauh, Granados, Hunter Matthies and Nick Batien rank third at 3:32.5, but the fourth place time is 3:32.8.

The future looks bright for Carson’s boys as they won the junior varsity Northern 4A Championship. Batien and Matthies each ran in the 50s in the 400 in that meet.

CHS has an excellent 4x800 team of Sever, Byasse, Rauh and either Gryphon Matthies or Walker MacKenzie, but the 4x800 also has a loaded field.

Jakob Heller is also fourth in the north in the triple jump at 41-9 while the third place mark is 41-9 3/4 and the second place mark is 41-11 1/4.


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