Girls set sights on goal
Mission almost accomplished.
The Douglas girls’ cross country team is one big step away from realizing the goal it set shortly after finishing second at the state meet last season.
On Saturday, the Tigers, who have their top five runners back from last season, will try to bring home the first state cross country title in school history. The 1998 NIAA/U.S. Bank State Cross Country Championships will be run at Indian Springs High School near Las Vegas.
“The kids are very optimistic,” said coach Ellen Lucas. “If everybody puts it together like they have all year, we should be pretty competitive.
“Of course, there’s a certain amount of nervousness, but at the same time there’s a confidence. They work hard for what they get and they don’t take it for granted.”
Working in the Tigers’ favor will be the fact that they raced – and won – at the same Indian Springs course earlier this season.
“I think that was really important,” said senior Kelly Mogab who finished second overall at the zone meet Thursday. “We really know what to expect. It’s easier to prepare for the race, mentally, because we know what’s coming around the next turn and we can prepare for it.”
Lucas said the Southern Nevada course is easier than the one the Tigers won the zone title on Thursday at Rancho San Rafael County Park in Reno.
Mogab and fellow seniors Annie Gastelum and Kathleen McSweeney led the Tigers to the zone title with a 2-3-4 finish and were only 18 seconds apart. Senior Jenny Smokey also turned in an excellent performance with a sixth-place finish. Junior Jenelle Timmons crossed the line 18th overall, nearly four minutes faster than her previous best time on the same course, to complete Douglas’ scoring.
Freshmen Christene Timmons (50th) and Rebecca Pope (56th) also ran well for Douglas at the zone meet.
Lucas said Melissa Nichols, who ran in the junior varsity race at zone, earned back her position on the varsity’s seven-person lineup with her effort Thursday. Back problems had slowed Nichols earlier in the season. Pope likely will make the trip to Las Vegas as the team’s alternate, according to Lucas.
Gastelum admitted that the Tigers are at least a little apprehensive about the trip to state.
“I think we’re really confident, but inside I think we’re all a little scared because we have more pressure on us to win,” she said.
But they’ve been working hard to deal with that pressure all year, said Mogab.
“I think we’re in the top shape we need to be to go down to state,” Mogab said. “Everybody is peaking at the right time. I think it’s going to be a good race.”
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