Cross Country: Adams wins gold, Douglas girls second at state
RENO – Lindsey Adams and the Douglas High girls cross country team saved their best for last at the NIAA State Championships on Saturday.
Adams emerged as the gold medalist in the 4A girls race and Douglas placed second as a team to bring the curtain down on a banner season at Rancho San Rafael Park.
Adams surged into the lead with just over a mile to go and went on to win with a 19:46 clocking over the hilly 5,000-meter course.
“We told the kids beforehand, they’d met their goal, they’d made state, and this is the encore,” coach Jay Frey said. “You know, the encore is sometimes the best song of the concert and that was absolutely the case here.”
Carson edged Douglas 67-77 to win the team title and Galena beat Coronado on a tie-breaker for third-place – giving the North a sweep of the race. Carson’s girls team extended a trend of winning state titles in odd-numbered years – 2007, ’09, and ’11.
“It’s an honor to be in the same conversation with some of those teams,” coach Marc Walling said. “Galena and Carson are always good. They earn a lot of respect with their programs and the way they’ve done things, so to be at the same finish line with them, it’s fun to see our kids succeed and be part of that.”
Showing balance, Douglas’ five scoring runners logged an average time of 21:21 – by comparison, Carson’s average was 21:19. The top six Tigers finished 2 minutes, 37 seconds apart.
“It was just an awesome race, top to bottom,” Frey said. “They packed up really well today. This was absolutely their best race of the year.”
Adams followed the same race plan that won at the regional meet one week before. The main difference this time came when Centennial sophomore Sydney Badger set a blazing pace over the opening mile.
“That start, I was a little worried,” Adams said. “Six-minute pace is what I ran at Stanford (at sea level), so it was kind of shocking when I heard it up here.”
That fast start didn’t phase her one bit and Adams took the lead for good when she charged past Badger on a long uphill climb with just over a mile to go. She still had enough left to accelerate over the top of the hill.
“I think I felt like I needed to gain more on the downhill since I didn’t quite gap her enough on the uphill,” Adams said. “I had a lot of encouragement up there; (supporters) telling me to do my 10 hard steps at the very top of the hill to get back to my fast pace.”
In the end, Badger dropped to sixth while Carson sophomore Alex Drozdoff moved up to second-place in 19:59.
Sadie Gastelum placed 11th (19:46), Aspen Abbott 30th (21:47), Cara Dunkelman 34th (21:57) and Bre Chabot 43rd (22:14) to round out the team scoring for Douglas.
Abbott played a key role as she moved up to become the team’s No. 3 runner. She was nearly two minutes faster than the week before at the regional meet when she was the team’s No. 6 runner. The junior has been slowed by lower leg issues through much of the season, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday when she showed the speed that resulted in a 2:23 clocking for 800 meters at the regional track and field meet back in May.
“I ran in my track spikes for the first time all season,” Abbott said. “I felt great. I felt like I was flying out there.”
She was excited to have played a role in her team’s success.
“I love this team; we’re like a family,” Abbott said. “We set the goal at the beginning of the season; we were going to make it to state, and we did. Then this past week we said, ‘We can do this,’ and we got second. It’s such an awesome feeling.”
Senior Bre Chabot completed the team score as she finished 43rd in 22:14, which was 17 seconds faster than what she ran one week before. Audrey Moore, another senior, finished 63rd in a time of 24:41 that was 32 seconds faster than her regional time.
“We have five seniors on this team; this is just a perfect way for them to go out,” Frey said.
While Douglas girls won the state girls state championship in 1998, Adams becomes the program’s first state individual gold medalist.
“These girls ran with so much heart and they have so much fun with it,” Frey said. “They love what they’re doing and they’re running with their friends.”
NOTES: Adams is only the second state cross country champion Douglas has produced. Ryan Bentley achieved the feat in 1993. … Bryan Carroll was a two-time state runner-up in 1979-80.
Douglas also had dual state runner-up finishers at Rancho San Rafael Park in 1983 with Dean Miller and Michele Trimble. Of interest, Trimble set a school record on the track for 800 meters (2:19.41) in 1985 that stood until Dunkelman broke it in 2009 (2:17.97). After leaving Douglas, Trimble went on to earn All-America honors in cross country and on the track at Occidental College in Southern California.