Girls cross country goes to state championships |

Girls cross country goes to state championships

by Chuck Smock

Douglas sophomore Rebecca Pope and Tiger freshman Taryn Joyce-Mendive added an extra week to the cross country season with their performances at the Northern 4A Zone meet Thursday at Reed High in Sparks.

Pope finished fifth overall in a time of 21 minutes, 15 seconds on the hilly, 5,000-meter course. Joyce-Mendive crossed the line ninth overall in 21:50.

Both girls earned a trip to next Saturday’s NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A state championships, which will be run on the same course at Reed High, by finishing among the top five individuals who weren’t on state-qualifying team. The top four teams also advanced to the state meet.

“It feels good to be going to state,” Pope said. “I’m kind of nervous, but I’m excited.

“It’ll be fun to have someone to go with me,” Pope added after learning that Joyce-Mendive had also qualified for state.

“I’m really excited about going,” Joyce-Mendive said. “I thought I had a slight chance (of qualifying) if I worked hard.”

Pope will be making her second appearance at the state cross country meet. She also qualified for the state track meet as a freshman last spring.

“I’m thrilled,” Douglas coach Ellen Lucas said about having two runners qualify for state. “I knew Rebecca would be there if she ran the way she’s been running all year. She did exactly what she needed to do to qualify without pushing it too much.”

Joyce-Mendive passed several runners in the second half of the race to earn the right to run at state.

“Taryn ran an excellent race, like she’s capable of running,” Lucas said. “She’s very coachable, she has a lot of talent and, mentally, can put that to work.”

Tiger sophomore Betsy Carlson finished 51st in 24:35 and senior Krista Edling was 56th in 24:56. Sophomore Becky Koepnick (67th, 27:13), senior Kim Smith (70th, 27:42) and junior Chelsea Rowe (73rd, 28:28) rounded out the Tigers’ top seven.

Douglas sophomore Darren Muren was the first Tiger across the line in the boys’ race. He finished 26th overall in 18:59, 10 seconds behind the runner who claimed the fifth and final individual berth in the state meet.

Douglas’ Collin Muren finished 35th (19:13), Mike Hackler was 40th (19:27), Andrew Hines was 75th (21:24), Brandon Angues was 76th (21:27), Josh Daddabbo finished 84th (22:11) and Tyler Hines was 91st (24:57).

In addition to the hilly course, runners also had to deal with a strong wind and much cooler temperatures than they’ve been training in the for the last several weeks.

“It was hard with the wind,” Darren Muren said. “I just tried to run behind big guys.”

Pope said she didn’t mind the drop in temperature.

“It was windy, but it felt good to be cool and not hot like it has been,” she said.

Carson freshman Shanna Sparks ran away with the girls’ title. She completed the 5,000-meter course in 19:39, just 22 seconds off the course record of 19:17 set by Green Valley’s Abby Miller on Nov. 1, 1997.

Tatyana Tibaduiza, the senior from Galena, finished second 20:55. Reno freshman Karen DeMartini was third in 21:04 and Galena junior Abby Parker edged Pope at the wire to take fourth place by one second, 21:14.

McQueen won the girls’ zone team title with 57 points. Reno finished second with 86 points, Carson was third with 97 points and Galena took fourth with 120 points.

The Douglas girls finished seventh with 188 points.

Lowry’s Brett Ferrier won the boys’ race in 17:23, while Justin Fricke of McQueen was second in 17:27 and Carson’s Daryl Nourse took third place in 17:30.

South Tahoe’s boys cruised to the team title by placing five runners in the top 17 overall, including three in the top 10. The Vikings finished with 50 points.

Reno took second place in the boys race with 70 points. Carson was third with 83 points and McQueen finished fourth 118 points.

The Douglas boys finished 10th in the team standings with 252 points.