SPARKS — Sierra Lutheran High’s Jared Marchegger successfully defended his 2A/1A division boys title on Saturday at the NIAA Cross Country Championships in Sparks.
Marchegger ran a time of 17:04 over the 5,000-meter course at Shadow Mountain Sports Complex to win the small schools race on a cool and overcast day. The junior was seven seconds slower than his winning time one week before at the region meet on the same course; however, the ultimate goal was achieved.
“I was just excited to win; it was a great way to end the high school season,” Marchegger said. “I wasn’t insanely worried about my time because I thought it would be a lot colder today; I even saw a forecast that called for snow. As it turned out, the weather was perfect.”
Marchegger surged to the lead early and crossed the finish ahead of North Tahoe senior J.C. Schoonmaker in second place with a time of 17:24. Schoonmaker has finished as the runner-up behind Marchegger at region and state each of the last two years.
Also for Sierra Lutheran, sophomore Teagan Hansen placed fifth in 17:51, an improvement of six seconds from the region meet. Freshmen Andreas Gilson and Jacob Tack also finished 31st and 41st with respective times of 20:25 and 21:36, while Zachary Houghton took 47th in 28:00.
Sierra Lutheran finished fourth in the boys team standings with 62 points. North Tahoe captured its sixth straight state team title with 29 points.
In the 2A/1A girls race, Emily McNeely and Taylor Davison placed fourth and 12th respectively for Sierra Lutheran. McNeely, a junior, clocked a time of 21:36 and Davison 23:29.
After concluding his race, Marchegger remained next to the finish chute and congratulated other runners as they came through — teammates and opposing runners alike.
“I usually do that,” he explained. “Everybody has worked hard to get to the state meet and they deserve to be here. And it’s always nice to get to know other runners. I’ve met a lot of great people through this sport.”
Marchegger has two postseason races to look forward to, the NXR Nike Regional Championships on Nov. 18 in Casa Grande, Ariz., and then the Foot Locker West Regional meet on Dec. 2 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.
STATE 4A BOYS
Douglas senior Sean Dunkelman achieved his goal in the Class 4A boys race when he placed 14th in a time of 17:34.
Dunkelman, who placed eighth at the Northern 4A Region race, came in with a goal to finish among the top 15 and achieved that as he moved up from 21st midway through the race.
“It was a good race, a good one to go out on,” said Dunkelman, who was the Tigers’ only state qualifier. “I wanted to be patient and run stronger in the second half of the race. When I reached the hill the second time, I started charging from there.”
Spanish Springs swept the top three places in the race, led by Andrew Ribeiro’s 16:52 effort, and won its second straight team title, this time by a 53-91 margin over Arbor View.