Carson is no longer the third city. Not even the second second. When it comes to girls cross country, Carson is No. 1.
The NIAA 4A State Championships were expected to come down to Reno High and South Tahoe and although the Carson were given slight consideration that they may challenge the top two teams, no one outside the Senators themselves really thought they could break through.
But they crashed the party on Saturday at Rancho San Rafael Park, edging the Huskies and the Vikings in a three-way battle for the state crown. It was a banner day for Carson, which ended when Richard Shroy took second in the boys race to lead the Senators to a second place finish. It was also an outstanding day for runners from Dayton and Sierra Lutheran.
Carson finished third at last week's zone meet behind South Tahoe and Reno, but on Saturday, the Senators turned things around. Led by Yvonne Hollett's fourth place finish, Carson finished with 64 points, edging Reno (67) and South Tahoe (69).
It was the first state team title of any kind for CHS since the school last won a state crown in girls cross country in 2001. It was also the eighth state title for Carson in girls cross country, the most of any school in the state.
It was also an impressive won for Carson, which beat two of the West Coast's top programs. So now Carson can claim as being one of the West Coast's top programs.
"We all believed we could do it," Hollett said. "All of us just ran a perfect race and that was just enough to overtake everyone else.
"We knew we could do it even though everyone said we were third. Carson is first in the race that counts the most."
The Vikings' Kelsey Smith won the state title, covering the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, six seconds. Douglas High's Whitney Lindsey, who beat Smith last week for the zone crown, was second in 19:42. South Tahoe's Kate Lambdin was third in 19:49 and Hollett was fourth in 20:05.
Carson had five scoring runners in the top 26 and all seven runners finished in the top 30. The finish of every one of those runners was vital.
Amanda Gordon was 16th (21:15), Gloria Sosa was 23nd (21:35), Jenny Mital was 25th (21:37), Christy Works was 26th (21:44), Haleigh Ward was 27th (21:46) and Kat Vonrumpf was 30th (21:48).
Even though Ward and Vonrumpf were nonscoring runners, they were able to finish ahead of enough Reno and Viking runners to give Carson the title.
Hollett's finish was also key as she moved up one spot from her fifth place finish at zone. "I took out one more girl," Hollett said. "We just all did our part."
As expected, Galena dominated the boys meet, winning the state title with 39 points. But Carson was a convincing second as it had 82 points to outdistance third place Reno, which had 102 points. Last week at zone, Reno edged Carson for second by 12 points, 72-84.
Galena's Bryan Tibaduiza shattered the course record of 16:30, winning the race in 16:22. Shroy was second in 16:48. Shroy actually gained two seconds on Tibaduiza from last week's zone meet.
"I did better than last week," Shroy said. "I have to give my congrats to Bryan. He ran the perfect race. I'm just glad to be able to follow him most of the way."
Galena had four of the top seven runners as Josh Scelling took fourth (16:43), Joe Abbott was sixth (17:09) and Nathan Jordan was seventh (17:10).
For Carson, Logan Philippi was 25th in 18:10, Zack Mapes was 27th in 18:16, Ethan Graber was 29th in 18:20, Nick Schlager was 33rd in 18:25, Wade Smith was 38th in 18:33 and Caleb Carter was 42nd in 18:44.
"We were a little bit in the shadows," said Carson coach Pete Sinnott, commenting on how his girls and boys teams were able to move up at the state meet.
"They all performed great at the big meet. That's an important thing. That's a great lesson to take with you in whatever you do after you've done running."
Sinnott also said the leadership of Carter, a senior, was a big reason was Carson was able to take second. "He helps the other kids to train hard," Sinnott said.
Sinnott also gave much of the credit to his teams' success to his assistants, Jeanne Stelzer and Tom Sullivan.
In the 3A girs meet, Dayton had an oustanding effort. After finishing third at zone, the Dust Devils moved up to finish second at state. Lowry won with 49 points whiel Dayton was second with 60. Theresa Hardy, who won last week at zone, took fifth in 21:51 to lead Dayton.
Dayton's boys settled for fourth, but still had an outstanding meet, narrowly missing a second place finish. Lowry won with 33 points and was followed by Faith Lutheran (66), Truckee (69) and Dayton (74). Logan Ingersoll had a fantastic race to lead Dayton as he finished third in 18:05.
Sierra Lutheran's Taylor Love and Sage Ridge's Nathan Chellman continued their friendly rivalry in the 2A boys race. The two equaled their results at zone as Chellman won in 17:26 and Love took second in 18:04.
Michael Kubel also had an outstanding race for Sierra Lutheran. After finishing 12 at zone last week, Kubel too fifth on Saturday, finishing in 18:24.