Pete Sinnott is in a position all cross-country coaches would like to be in.
The veteran coach didn’t lose a single runner to graduation from his talented girls team which finished fifth in the state last year, and that usually bodes well for a successful season.
Leading the returners are Eveline Delgado, who was third at regionals a year ago, and Alex Drozdoff, who finished fourth. The duo is joined by Cindy Juchtzer, Athena Favero, Allison Greene and Maritsa Mora. Newcomers to varsity are Jessie Balkwell, Samantha Phelps, Giovanna Wong-Fortunato, Lake Shanks, Tiffany DeRosa and Rebecca Matley.
During the track season, Drozdoff was sixth in the 3200, Delgado was seventh in the 1600 and Juchtzer was eighth in the 3200, all at regionals. Drozdoff, Balkwell, Delgado and Juchtzer were fourth in the state in the 3200 relay, which shows there is some speed there as well as stamina.
“The girls have as good a shot as anybody to win state,” Sinnott said earlier this week. “We’re going to be good, but we have a lot of work to do. We haven’t had one time trial. We were able to do a little hill work before the weather got bad and forced us inside.
“Cross country is different than other sports. You can have two or three good players in basketball and be good, but in cross country you have to have five good runners — no, seven good runners to be a championship team. They (the girls) are good competitors. They had a good summer of workouts.”
One thing that will help the Carson girls and the rest of the Northern Nevada runners is that state is at Rancho San Rafael this year, and the league meet and regionals are at the same venue.
“I think it helps a lot,” Sinnott said. “I don’t like to run the same course every day. In track, the course is level. Every cross country course is different. I like Rancho San Rafael. It’s a good course to watch a meet at and it’s a good course to run. We always run tough on that course. Nice to get it three weeks in a row.”
On the boys side, Tony Cacioppo, Tylar Chester, Porfirio Jauregui, Daniel Jauregui, Tony Xie and Bryen Holloway return from last year’s team. The newcomers to the varsity team are Keifer Catron, Michael Leiken, Ethan Lopez and Ian VanRensselaer, who is recovering from a broken leg suffered while skiing.
“They are all running pretty well,” Sinnott said of his boys squad. “We’re a lot stronger as a (boys) group this year.”
At first glance, Cacioppo would have the best opportunity to advance the furthest.
The season starts Friday with the annual class races at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, but Sinnott doubts that will happen because of the bad air quality.
“It will be too bad if we can’t run,” Sinnott said. “That’s usually a fun race and a little shorter than normal races, and it’s a flat course.”