RENO — As advertised, the NIAA Division I state girls cross country race on Saturday was a closely contested affair.
Douglas ran to third-place with 87 points and Carson placed sixth with 124 in the team standings to lead the Northern girls on a 70-degree and sunny afternoon at Rancho San Rafael Park. Arbor View edged Centennial 68-73 to win a Southern duel for the title.
“Arbor View deserved to win,” Carson coach Pete Sinnott said. “They weren’t exactly the favorite to win, but they came through today and ran a great race when it counted.”
To show how competitive this race was, Sinnott pointed out the Senators actually ran faster than the state team times they logged in 2007 and 2011 — when Carson won state championships on the same course.
Centennial senior Sydney Badger won the individual gold with an 18:40 clocking over the 5-kilometer course. Douglas’ Lindsey Adams placed fifth in 19:31 and Carson’s Eveline Delgado was close behind in 19:34 to place sixth.
Reno freshman Kyra Hunsberger, Badger and Adams set a blistering early pace as they passed the first mile in 5:48. In the end, Badger finished 19 seconds ahead of Hunsberger and with the second fastest time ever run by a high school girl on the Rancho San Rafael Park course.
“I have a lot of respect for Sydney,” Sinnott said. “She’d never won a state cross country or track championship before, but she’s never lost the will to be good. She came up here this summer to run this course at the UNR camp, just so she’d be ready to run this race.”
For Douglas, Madison Cote ran 20:38 to place 14th, Moriah Munyan 20:46 for 15th, Lizzy Byrne 21:08 for 25th and Rebecca Corbett 21:34 to place 40th. Each of the Tigers ran faster than they did at regionals, highlighted by Cote’s improvement of 31 seconds.
Carson senior Cindy Juchtzer ran 20:49 to place 17th. Shelby Brown ran 21:16 for 30th, Alex Drozdoff ran 21:54 for 45th and Athena Favero 22:00 to place 48th. Alison Greene ran a personal record 22:01 and Jiavanna Wong-Fortuno 23:30 for the Senators.
“The girls all ran faster than they did last week,” Sinnott said. “We would have liked to have finished higher, but the still girls ran well.”
Drozdoff returned after missing last week due to a foot injury, however, she was far from 100 percent. The senior still persevered to finish the race, and according to Sinnott, was an inspiration to her teammates.
“Alex had a sore foot, but she ran the best race she could,” the coach said of Drozdoff, the state runner-up in 2011.
Douglas placed fourth in the Division I boys team race with 117 points. Centennial beat Galena for the title, 39-64.
Austin Croxall ran 17:26 to place 20th and lead a close-knit Douglas pack. Lane Smith ran 17:43 to place 28th, John Munyan 17:45 to place 30th, Brandon Pankey 17:59 to place 38th and Cole Peck 18:10 to place 42nd — a gap of 44 seconds.
“It was a good day,” Douglas coach Jay Frey said. “There’s no question, these boys run with 100 percent heart. When the gun goes off, they go out and give it their best.”
In the Division I-A competition, Dayton senior Aaron Elissa ran 17:57 to place 12th.
In Division III/IV, Sierra Lutheran finished second to North Tahoe. Leading Sierra Lutheran was Ricky McNeely (18:17) in sixth. Christopher Eckert was eighth in 18:28, Jacob Rodriguez was 22nd at 19:43, Blake Ranalla was 27th in 20:12, and Daniel Barulich and Tyler Waite completed the course in 21:06, finishing 36th and 37th.
The Sierra Lutheran High School girls placed fourth overall. Camille Cassidy (11th) finished in 23:08. Clare Davison was 21st at 24:18 and sisters Hannah and Alesha Martinez finished 27th and 29th places respectively.