When first-year Carson High School cross country coach Dennis Brinson introduced his team to its season schedule in August, he emphasized a handful of races that would be especially important.
The Northern 4A and state championship meets in November were top priorities, of course. The 31st annual Stanford Invitational was ranked highly as well, and Brinson was pleased with the way the Senators responded to their challenge on Saturday.
"I had hoped that they would all run to new personal records," Brinson said. "Firstly, they have all done the hard work in their training. Secondly the race was at sea level, and thirdly, everyone gets pretty psyched up with all the excitement of being at a big time race. They all went out and p.r.'d. I was really pumped up watching them come in."
To gauge the meet's quality, more than 4,000 collegiate and high school runners participated on the Stanford Golf Course, and a total of 22 races were staged during the day.
Carson's girls finished 14th out of 22 teams in the large schools Division I "seeded" race. The Senators finished 42nd in the overall standings out of 129 total girls varsity teams entered in five divisions.
Furthermore, they ranked third among Northern 4A teams, behind only South Tahoe and Reno. To show the strength of Northern Nevada cross country, South Tahoe won Division III and ranked No. 2 overall among all the high school girls teams behind only Southern California power Murrieta Valley, while Reno won Division II and ranked No. 3 overall. Reno sophomore Marie Lawrence posted the fastest time of the day among all high school girls with a blistering 17:28 clocking.
"We're a sold third in the North, but they're only taking two to state (from the Northern 4A Regionals)," Brinson said.
All seven Carson girls ran personal best times for 5,000 meters, led by Christy Works with a time of 20 minutes, 22 seconds to finish 44th in the field. Annie Brinson finished 59th (20:49), Patty Capistrant 76th (21:14), Gloria Sosa 93rd (21:45), Hannah Works 101st (22:01), Christa Casci 118th (22:34) and Amanda Benson 126th (22:55).
"Hannah had our race of the day for the girls," coach Brinson said. "She is normally eighth on the team, but she finished fifth today and her time was about three minutes under her previous best."
Douglas finished 27th in the Division II girls team standings (106th in the overall), led by Harmony Bennington's 22:36 effort.
In the Division I "unseeded" boys race, Carson finished 25th out of 38 teams (100th overall). Again, all seven Carson runners ran personal best times, led by Chad Shroy's 17:55 clocking for 86th and Ryan Turner's 17:58 for 90th. Doug Holderman finished 134th (18:35), Rusty Turner 167th (18:58), Shelby Moulden 171st (18:59), Brad Williams 186th (19:12) and Caleb Carter 202nd (19:21) in a race that had 270 entries. By breaking 18 minutes for the first time, senior Ryan Turner had the "race of the day" for Carson's boys, according to Brinson.
The Douglas boys finished 37th in Division II, led by seniors Mike Freeman in 111th (18:13) and Kevin Carlson in 172nd (18:53). Niles Crow was 199th (19:19), freshman David Williams 212th (19:31) and Kevin Hackler 232nd (19:56).
Galena finished 20th in the overall boys team standings, led by junior Daniel Geib (31st in 16:16) and Michael VanAntwerp (40th in 16:22).
Carson races again Friday at the South Tahoe Relays, then hosts its own Carson Invitational the following Friday, Oct. 8, at Western Nevada Community College.