Runner set for state meet
Just 30 seconds could be all that separates the Carson High girls cross country team from winning a state title. Carson coach Pete Sinnott hopes his runners can make up that 30 seconds.
The same could be said for the Carson boys. A 30 second improvement by a large pack of Senator runners could put them in contention to finish second in the state.
Sinnott knows that everything has to go perfectly for his girls to have a chance at winning the state title and his boys to finish second, but he’s not ruling anything out. It all unfolds when the NIAA 2A, 3A and 4A Championships in boys and girls cross country takes place on Saturday at Rancho San Rafael Park. The action begins with the 2A girls race at 10 a.m.
Carson finished third in last week’s zone even in both the boys and girls races. Reno High won the girls event with 52 points while South Tahoe was second at 71 and Carson was third at 79. In the boys meet, Galena was first with 26 points, Reno was second with 72 and the Senators were third at 84.
But Sinnott said the Southern teams will be a factor as well. In their section race last week, Centennial had five of its girls finish in the top 12 and Sinnott said the other Southern team competing, Coronado, is also strong.
Centennial’s boys are also strong with five of their runners finishing in the top 20. Foothill is the other Southern boys team in the race.
Northern teams have normally dominated the event when it has been held in the North. “The Northern course will work a little bit to our advantage,” Sinnott said.
But the “blogosphere” has even worked its way down to high school cross country and the Southern runners have had to read on the Internet how they’ve never done that well in the North.
“I’m sure they’re looking to prove a point this year,” Sinnott said. “I’m sure they’re preparing pretty well for it.”
Carson’s girls will be represented by Yvonne Hollett, Christy Works, Amanda Gordon, Jenny Mital, Gloria Sosa, Kat Vonrumpf and Haleigh Ward. Hollett finished fifth in last week’s zone event and Sinnott said she could be in contention to finish in the top five again this week.
The rest of Carson’s runners run in a tight pack and Sinnott said if they can all improve their time by 30 seconds over last week, the Senators could be in contention to finish first. He said all of his runners are capable of running 30 seconds faster.
Douglas High’s Whitney Lindsey will look to add a state title to the zone crown she won last week. Among her chief challengers will be South Tahoe’s Kelsey Smith, who took second at zone.
Carson’s boys will be represented by Richard Shroy, Zack Mapes, Nick Schlager, Logan Philippi, Ethan Graber, Wade Smith and Caleb Carter. Shroy finished second at zone last week to Galena’s Bryan Tibaduiza.
Again, the rest of Carson’s runners run in a tight pack and Sinnott said if they all run 30 seconds faster than last week, the Senators will have a shot to finish second behind Galena. Sinnott said Galena is the overwhelming favorite.
Ironically it was Carson last year that beat Galena by one point for the second and final spot to the state event that gave the Grizzlies extra motivation, Sinnott said.
“Galena’s just too good,” Sinnott said. “They took it seriously. They really deserve whatever results they get out of it. They’re a good example of doing what needs to be done to be good.”
Shroy had an encouraging effort last week, finishing only 28 seconds behind Tibaduiza. But Sinnott noted that the South has at least two state title contenders, including the runner who finished second to Carson’s Chad Shroy, who’s now at the U.S. Naval Academy, at last year’s state meet. Those two runners equaled Shroy’s state winning time last week.
“Richard wants to give everybody a run for their money,” said Sinnott about Shroy, who took fifth at last year’s state meet. “Richard’s a really good competitor. Richard’s running really well right now.”
Sinnott said several of his boys runners were all still recovering from injuries last week and could run as much as a minute faster this week. He said Carter, who was running on two sore ankles, is much healthier this week.
“He had an average run,” said Sinnott about Carter’s effort at zone. “He could make a big difference for us.”
“We’re kind of lurking in the shadows,” said Sinnott about is teams. “We’re actually in a pretty good spot.”
The Northern 4A playoffs will be held Friday and Saturday at Galena. On Friday, Galena will play Reno High at 3 p.m., Manogue will face Damonte Ranch at 4:45, Carson will play McQueen at 6:30 and Fallon will face Douglas at 8:15.
The semifinals and finals will be played Saturday. Only one team will advance to the NIAA 4A State Championships.
It’s been a somewhat frustrating year for the Senators, who have sustained five-game losses this season to McQueen, Galena and Damonte Ranch. But Carson has broken through for a five-game win against Reno.
Carson coach Shana Wilkins noted that Carson’s loss to McQueen came early in the season and the situation is “totally different” now. McQueen went unbeaten in High Desert League play. “We’ve been practicing hard and trying to work out the kinks,” Wilkins said.
The Senators will face a strong offensive team in the Lancers. Carson should counter with its defense and try to set up its middle attack and blocking with Nikki Keller and Kailey Taylor.
“Nikki has been doing real well,” Wilkins said. “If we can pass well and run the middle we should be successful. We know what we’re up against. We’ve just go to play good defense.”
Other key players for Carson will be libero Mavil Diaz and setter Shannon Earwood. Carson will also look for a balanced attack from its outside hitters in Breanna Anderson, Morgan Nuckolls, Blaike King and Nicole Carlevato.