In past years, the Jim Frank Cross Country Classic has served as a season opener for Tah-Neva League middle school runners. The fifth annual Classic today will go beyond that because six high school teams are scheduled to compete at Spooner Lake State Park.
In all, meet director Tim Tetz says about 400 young runners are expected to compete in the meet, which begins at 2:30 p.m. with a total of 10 races.
"This meet gets a little bigger each year," Tetz said. "We had hoped for a positive response from the high schools and we got it."
The list of entries includes Carson, Douglas, Bishop Manogue, Incline, Carlin, Dayton and Virginia City. Among the individuals to watch will be defending 2A state girls champion Addie Devine of Incline, Patty Capistrant of Carson, who finished 16th at last year's Northern 4A Regionals, and Douglas senior Daniel Sipko, who ran a strong time of 37:31 to place third in the 10K at the Silver State Marathon last month.
The runners will be challenged by Spooner Lake's 7,000-foot altitude as well as a variety of true cross country terrain. It's the type of course that would have been approved by Frank, the former Carson High cross country coach who passed away in 1987.
"This is a course where the smart runner will win, not necessarily the fastest," said Tetz, who ran for Frank at Carson in the 1980s. "It's different than anything they'll run the rest of the season. More than half of it is on single-track trails, you have little rocks you have to watch out for and you have the challenges of hills. With the single-track trail, you need good placement at critical times, otherwise you're not going to have another opportunity to pass for a while."
The goal is to put on a quality show, he added.
"We're hoping to turn this into a premiere early season event in Nevada, a quality event teams save their money to go to and where they stand against everybody else," Tetz said. "We want to put on a first class race and we want it to be fun."