Cross Country Cup a challenge | NevadaAppeal.com

Cross Country Cup a challenge

Dave Price

Officially, it was called the fourth annual Cross Country Cup. Participants had some other descriptions about the Godspeed Wings youth running club’s event Saturday morning at Western Nevada Community College.

The course was a good test with its variety of hills and sand. A good challenge for any for any endurance athlete, including Carson City’s Bill Penner, who competes nationally as a race walker.

“I did it, even though I don’t remember it,” said Penner, who finished first in the 5-kilometer walk. “That’s one whale of a course, I’ll tell you.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Jonathan Cardenas, who was the overall winner of the 5-kilometer run.

“It was tough, but it was fun,” Cardenas said.

Cardenas, who runs for the Silver State Striders and will be a junior at Reno High School this year, blazed to a time of 18 minutes, 21 seconds over the 3.1-mile course to win the race.

“I thought Jonathan ran a great race,” race director Dennis Brinson said. “His time, for that course, was excellent.”

The 16-year-old Cardenas has rebounded from an injury-plagued spring track season and just last month won the young men’s age group 5,000-meter run at the Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Omaha, Neb., in a time of 15:28.65.

“I tore my Achilles running indoor over the winter and it took me a while to recover,” Cardenas said. “I didn’t run well at state (track finals in May), but I’m feeling great now.”

Reno High teammate Chris Concha was second (18:53), followed by the Carson High tandem of Josh Corder (19:11) and Andrew Pederson (20:10). Shanna Sparks, a senior-to-be at Carson High, was the first overall girl and seventh overall finisher in a time of 20:57. Douglas High senior Taryn Joyce-Mendive was the second woman in 22:34.

Penner, 55, who competed in the national 30-K racewalk championships in Sacramento in May, was the first walker across the finish in 31:45.

“It was a terrific workout,” Penner said. “I’m looking forward to the 10-K at Bowers Mansion (at the Silver State Marathon) next week and this helped me get ready.”

As challenging as one trip around the Cross Country Cup’s 5-K course was, participants in the 10-K had to do it twice.

Brett Long was the overall 10-K winner in a time of 40:03. Long was a standout runner at Hug High who finished as the state meet runner-up in 1995.

Carson City’s Daryl Nourse was second in 42:26. Nourse placed third at the state cross country championships as a senior at Carson High in 2000, but has decided to hang up his spikes since moving on to Montana State University.

“I tried out for the team last year and didn’t make it, so I decided to just concentrate on my studies. I miss racing, but I’m an architecture major and school takes up a lot of time,” Nourse said. “I’ve been running twice a week, three miles with my dad, but that’s about it. I felt it, too; my lungs were not up for the day.”

Cory Avery was the first woman and eighth overall finisher in 47:16.

A total of 116 entrants turned out for the event, which serves as a fund-raiser to help the Carson City based Godspeed Wings. Proceeds will go toward helping the team in its trip to the Junior Olympic national cross country championship in December in Carlton, Ga.

And don’t forget about that challenging course.

“People I talked to seem to like the course,” Brinson said. “It’s challenging, but I think that makes the course unique and almost desirable. People are drawn to challenges because when they’re done, they know they’ve done something.”