RENO " Carson boys and girls cross country coach Pete Sinnott preached how important every runner was all this week heading into the Northern 4A Championships.
Nobody " not Sinnott or Carson's sixth place runner, David McMasters " could have ever imagined how right Sinnott was.
For the second time in three years, Carson nosed out Galena for the second and final spot to advance to next week's NIAA 4A State Championships on Thursday at Rancho San Rafael Park. Reno High won with 38 points and after the Senators and Grizzlies five scoring runners finished, both teams ended up tied for second with 63.
But McMasters, Carson's sixth place finisher, placed ahead of Galena's sixth place finisher, Cameron Mullins, to allow the Senators to win the tiebreaker and head for state.
Despite an outstanding effort, Carson's girls weren't as fortunate as they settled for third behind champion Galena (55 points) and South Tahoe (64). Manogue was fourth (77) and Reno was fifth (103).
The Senators finished with 69 points. Carson's Yvonne Hollett and Amanda Gordon did qualify for state as individuals.
Sierra Lutheran's boys behind Wade Meddles dominated in winning the Northern 2A title and the Falcons got an added bonus when Becky Grabow qualified for state in the Northern 2A girls race. Meddles was one of the fastest runners in any class in easily winning the Northern 2A boys race.
Two years ago, Carson nosed out Galena for the second and final spot for state when the Senators beat the Grizzlies by one point to take second. "It's de ja vu," said Richard Shroy, who covered the 3.1-mile course in an oustanding time of 16 minutes, 37 seconds to take fourth for Carson.
"Two years ago, one point. Now it comes down to a tiebreaker. That's amazing. It's awesome."
Bryan Tibaduiza, the defending state champion, blazed through the course to win in 16:02. Carson received an assist from Elko's Eric Sandall (16:24), who beat out Galena's Bryan Jordan (16:26) for second.
If Jordan had beaten Sandall, then it would be Galena going to state, so the difference between the Senators going or not going to state was essentially two seconds.
When asked jokingly if he would take Sandall out to dinner, Shroy said, "That would be nice. Thank God he came on there."
But just as important as Sandall was the effort of the rest of the Carson runners. Nick Schlager took seventh (17:06), Brent Moyle was 10th (17:23), Logan Philippi was 14th overall and 13th in the team standings (17:34) and Evan Richards was 33rd overall and 29th in the team standings (18:34).
So it came down to McMasters, who finished 38th overall (18:51) while Galena's Mullins was 43rd (19:02).
Shroy, last year's state runner-up, admitted he was a little disappointed with his finish. "I wanted to do a little better," he said.
But Shroy definitely wasn't disappointed in his teammates. "They stepped it up," he said. "They ran their hearts out. We just said all week we have a shot. It just came through."
"I told them everybody matters like every vote counts," Sinnott said. "I thought all of the boys ran a great race today and I think all of them have a better race in them still."
Along with Carson just missing state as a team, there was more heartbreak as senior Jenny Mital ran her last race. Despite finishing 10th overall (20:34), Mital didn't qualify for state as she wasn't one of the top five overall finishers on nonqualifying teams.
Carson's Hollett (20:00) took fourth and Gordon (20:31) was ninth to qualify for state. Douglas High's Taylor Biaggi also qualified for state as she finished seventh in 20:26.
Galena was led to the title by Madison Knight, who was sixth (20:12) and Julie Pedersen, who was eighth (20:27). Also for Carson, Laura Sosa was 28th (21:48), Erika Sosa was 32nd (22:02) and Haleigh Ward was 39th (22:31). Defending state champion Kelsey Smith of South Tahoe won the zone title in 19:20.
"They ran real well," said Sinnott about his girls. "Galena and South Tahoe, they're both tough. The beginning of the year they (South Tahoe and Galena) were probably eight to nine minutes ahead of us. They (Carson's girls) ran big in the big races, especially today."
Meddles had the third fastest time of the day in 16:25 behind Tibaduiza and Sandall. "It was a little bit slower than I wanted," Meddles said. "It was obviously what it was meant to be. I'll just accept it."
Sierra Lutheran had four of the top eight finishers in the 2A boys race. Michael Kubel was third (17:53), Nathanael Williams was fifth (18:13) and Levi Grabow was eighth (18:24) for the Douglas County school. Also for the Falcons, Preston Lyons was 15th (18:44), Andrew Deterding was 20th (19:12) and Bob DePaoli was 30th (20:12).
In the girls 2A race, Grabow took ninth (23:07) to qualify for state. Also in the girls 2A race, Silver Stage's Mariah Gramolini was sixth (22:10) and Virginia City's Alexa Ballinger was 10th (23:11) to qualify for state.
Silver Stage's Clint VonLinsowe also took sixth (18:20) in the 2A boys race to qualify for state.
Both Dayton's boys and girls finished among the top four teams to qualify for state in the 3A races. Dayton's Logan Ingersoll took second (17:45) to lead the Dust Devil boys to a third place finish (68) behind Lowry (25) and Spring Creek (63).
Four other Lyon County runners qualified as individuals as Yerington's Daniel Romero and Dylan Ralston and Fernley's Logan Woodward and Hazyn McGrath all made it to state.
Dayton's girls took second (56) behind Lowry (42) behind Theresa Hardy (fourth, 22:31), Savannah Pritchett (sixth (22:57) and Brenda Cid (ninth, 24:26). Fernley's Jackie Herzig, Sara Thompson and Shayla Kahn and Yerington's Grae Matheus all qualified for state as individuals as well.