Carson runners going coast-to-coast |

Carson runners going coast-to-coast

Staff reports

Carson High School cross country will literally be running coast-to-coast today when the Senators compete at both the Stanford Invitational and at the Great American Cross Country Festival in North Carolina.

The defending Nevada 4A state champion Carson girls received an invitation to the Great American Cross Country Festival, with some 5000 runners from 40 states, Canada, Great Britain and Mexico are projected to run over two days at the Ballantyne Resort, located outside of Charlotte, N.C. The meet began with races ranging from elementary school through open the division on Friday and concludes today with high school races on all-grass cross country courses that weave through wooded sections adjacent to the Ballantyne Resort’s golf course.

Carson is entered in the girls Race of Champions, a 28-team field that includes 2001 national high school champion Saratoga, N.Y.

Meanwhile, Carson’s varsity and J.V. boys and J.V. girls teams will run at the high-powered Stanford Invitation. The meet, co-hosted by Palo Alto High School, will feature 304 high school teams and 75 collegiate teams making it one of the largest cross country meets in the nation. A total of 156 high school boys teams and 148 girls teams are entered in the meet, which will be held at the Stanford Golf Course.

“We’ve got them all over the place, but that’s good. It doesn’t matter where they go because they’ll be running against good people and I guess that’s what it’s all about,” Carson coach Todd Ackerman said with a chuckle. “The girls, being the defending state champions, were invited to go back to North Carolina and run against some great teams. And the boys have the opportunity to run against some very good teams, too.”

Shanna Sparks, Sheena Bonaldi, Annie Brinson, Amanda Benson and Tiffany Halen will run at the Great American Cross Country Festival. Sparks was the Nevada state champion as a sophomore in 2000 and state runner-up in 1999.

Carson’s boys will run in the large schools Division I race at Stanford. The Senators are led by senior Josh Corder, who placed third at last year’s 4A state meet in Reno. Corder was fifth at a three-way Northern 4A conference meet held Wednesday at South Tahoe behind a close-knit pack of four runners from defending state champion Galena. Fellow senior Andrew Pederson was seventh in the race.

“It will be a good race for both Josh and Andrew; they’ve both been running really well,” Ackerman said. “We’ve had some young kids step up and do well lately, so it will be good experience for them as well.”

The University of Nevada women, who have already won their first two meets of the year, will also run at Stanford against a talented field that includes No. 4 Stanford, No. 11 Duke, No. 15 UCLA and traditionally strong Wisconsin.