State Cross Country Capsule
When: 9 a.m. Today
Where: Rancho San Rafael Park
Division I preview
Teams to watch: This shapes up as a potential duel between Douglas and Centenntial. Arbor View should be right in the mix after trailing Centennial 35-41 in the Sunset Region meet. Never count out the Carson Senators, who have won the last three girls state titles at Rancho San Rafael Park in 2007, 2009 and 2011, especially if Alex Drozdoff is able to come back from her foot injury. Green Valley edged Coronado 32-33 to win the Sunrise Region title.
Individuals to watch: Eight juniors and one sophomore comprised last year’s state top 10, including defending state champion Katie Gorczyca (who also won state as a freshman for Palo Verde in 2010). The runner to beat on paper is Centennial senior Sydney Badger, the Sunset Region champion whose 18:04 at the Stanford Invitational is the fastest 5K time by any Nevada female runner this season. Lindsey Adams of Douglas won the gold in 2011 and is back as a junior bidding to add another. Reno freshman Kyra Hunsberger lost in Nevada for the first time last week, trailing Adams by 5 seconds after waging a neck-and-neck race. Sunrise champion Sara Dort of Coronado placed third at the 2012 state meet. Carson sophomore Eveline Delgado is another talent to keep an eye on.
The X factor: Reno’s 4,700-foot altitude. By comparative times from the region meets, Centennial and Arbor View are faster, however, the altitude and hills at Rancho San Rafael Park are an equalizer for the North. The key to victory could still be the team that has the best performance by five, maybe even six, runners.
Teams to watch: Centenntial is favored to defend its title. The Bulldogs won the Sunset race with 19 points behind a sweep of the top four places by Dajour Braxton, Jackson Carter, George Espino and Seth Wright. Coronado edged Green Valley, 59-60, to win the Sunrise title. Four-time Northern region champion Galena bested Centennial to win at state in 2011. McQueen is another team to watch, as is an ever-improving Douglas squad.
Individuals to watch: McQueen junior Kai Benedict will be tough to beat based on his first-place effort of 16:24 at the Northern region meet, not to mention his Division I victory at the Stanford Invitational (15:49 5K). He ran even faster to place 11th at the Clovis Invitational (15:32). Sunrise champion Eddie Esquivel of Eldorado was last year’s state runner-up. Centennial’s Braxton won the Sunset race and placed third at state last year. Teammate Carter placed fourth at state in 2012 and fifth in 2011. Galena senior Matt Paulsen has been a top-10 finisher at state the last two years.
Fast times at Rancho San Rafael Park: Benedict’s 16:24 last week ranks among the fastest ever run during postseason competition at Rancho San Rafael Park. The fastest, according to the NIAA record book is 16:03 by Galena’s Bryan Tibaduiza at the 2008 region meet. Wade Meddles of Minden and Sierra Lutheran High school, ranks second with his 16:06 at the 2009 state meet. The all-time girls record of 18:09 was set by Reno’s Marie Lawrence in 2006.
– By Dave Price