The top runners in Northern Nevada kick off the two-week postseason today at the NIAA Regional Cross Country Championships at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno.
Racing begins at 10 a.m. with the 1A/2A girls race followed by the 3A girls at 10:45 and the 4A girls at 11:25. The boys' races start at 12:35 with the 1A/2A followed by 3A at 1:15 and 4A at 1:50.
The top three teams and the top five runners not on advancing teams will qualify for the state meet which is scheduled for Nov. 5 at Rancho San Rafael Park.
Carson High coach Pete Sinnott said that both of his teams have an excellent opportunity to advance today.
The girls team was dealt a blow earlier this week when Sinnott disclosed that April Shonnard, the team's top runner, wouldn't race today. Shonnard has been suffering from shin splints. Sinnott didn't want to Shonnard to risk further injury by running.
"With April we were a dominant team," Sinnott said. "Without her we are one of the better teams. We have a good group of girls. They are all good competitors. I think we're still a strong team."
The loss of Shonnard means that Alex Drozdoff and Cindy Juchtzer will have to pick up the slack. Both should finish in the top-10. Erika Sosa, Chelsea Gordon, Mallory Wilson and Shelby Brown round out the Carson roster.
"Erika is running as well as she ever has," Sinnott said. "Mallory is tough."
Sinnott said the biggest competition team-wise will come from Galena, McQueen and Douglas, which is led by freshman sensation Lindsey Adams, senior Sadie Gastelum and senior Cara Dunkelman.
The Carson boys team, led by Taylor Bradshaw, Michael Shonnard and Nick Greene, also figures to be in contention to advance as a team. Carson barely missed out at advancing last year.
"The boys team has done really well," Sinnott said. "They've gotten their times down significantly since the start of the season."
The Douglas boys enter the meet without their top runner, Andrew Coburn, who apparently has a torn meniscus, according to Sinnott. Coburn was a lock to advance to state this year. Douglas sophomore Brandon Pankey was fifth in last week's dual, while Cole Peck was ninth and Lane Peck was 12th.
Dayton doesn't figure to advance as a team in the boys race, but Aaron Elissa and Joe Law could contend for individual spots.
On the girls side, Katrina Breithaupt will contend for one of the individual spots.
Sierra Lutheran has two runners - Nathaneal Williams and Becky Grabow - who should contend for the individual titles in their respective races. Both qualified for state last year.
The Falcons will need strong runs by Donovan Harris, Luke Barulich, John McRae and Jonny Harms to move on.
Grabow is complemented by Erin Henry.