Runners set for zone meet
While it may be a little presumptious, the top three boys and girls cross country teams in today’s Northern 4A Championships at Rancho San Rafael Park will likely be using the meet as a stepping stone for next week’s NIAA 4A State Championships.
Northern 3A and 4A runners will compete today, with the Northern 3A girls race beginning the action at 3 p.m.
Galena, Reno High and Carson are favored to finish in the top three for the boys while South Tahoe, Reno and Carson will be favored to finish in the top three for the girls. The top four teams will advance to next week’s state meet, also at Rancho San Rafael Park.
Carson coach Pete Sinnott said Galena is the clear favorite in the boys race while South Tahoe is the clear favorite in the girls race. But Sinnott also didn’t rule out Reno and his team’s from making a run at the favorites.
And Carson also can’t take for granted its position in the top four, with several other schools in both races looking to be in at least the top four and possibly even to crack the top three. “Everybody will be gunning for the top three,” Sinnott said.
South Tahoe’s boys could be considered a slight favorite to grab the fourth and final spot, but Douglas, Manogue and Elko also can’t be counted out. For the girls, Galena, Manogue and Douglas should also be contending to finish in the top four.
Galena’s boys are coming off a second place finish at the Mt. SAC Invitational and the Grizzlies’ Bryan Tibaduiza took second at that event. Galena has three runners who have run a 3.1-mile course in under 16 minutes this year in Tibaduiza, Joe Abbott and Josh Schelling.
Tibaduiza and Abbott are also among the state’s top runners in track. Those three runners will be favored to be among the top finishers along with North Valley’s Rene Rangel, another one of the state’s top runners in track, and Carson’s Richard Shroy.
Tibaduiza is carrying on a family tradition. Galena’s coach, Domingo Tibaduiza beat Frank Shorter, the 1982 Olympic marathon gold medalist, in the 10,000 meters at the Pan American Games.
Carson’s boys will have a lineup of Shroy, Zack Mapes, Wade Smith, Caleb Carter, Ethan Graber, Nick Schlager and Logan Philippi. Sinnott said Mapes, who has a sore thigh, may rest for the state meet. If Mapes doesn’t run, freshman Brent Moyle will take his place.
South Tahoe’s girls also took second at Mt. SAC. The Vikings’ Kelsey Smith and Kate Lambdin went 1-2 at Mt. SAC will be favored to do the same today.
Other runners who could finish in the top five are Douglas High’s Whitney Lindsey and Carson’s Yvonne Hollett. Carson’s girls had an encouraging finish last week when it sustained close losses to South Tahoe and Reno, losing to the Huskies 28-29.
But Hollett didn’t run in that race, sitting out with a sore knee, but she’s healthy for today. Carson’s boys also had encouraging results last week, beating South Tahoe and losing a close meet to Reno.
Rounding out Carson’s lineup will be Christy Works, Jenny Mital, Gloria Sosa, Amanda Gordon, Kat Vonrumpf and Haleigh Ward.
“I think we have five girls that could get in the top 10,” Sinnott said. “That’s pushing it. If our girls have a good day we’re going to be competing with everybody, including South Tahoe.”
Sinnott admitted he’s looking a little bit ahead to the state meet. “I think we can make it a little more competitive next week at the state championships,” said about his boys and girls teams.
But Sinnott also has high expectations for today. “They’re all pretty determined,” he said. “I think we’re ready.”
Carson will open the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs at 2 p.m. Friday against McQueen at Damonte Ranch.
The last time Carson played at Damonte Ranch, the Senators were stunned by the Mustangs, losing 1-0. Carson coach Randy Roser said he hoped any residual effect from that game was removed on Tuesday in an 11-0 win over North Valleys.
“We tried getting rid of that (the loss to Damonte) last (Tuesday) night the best we could,” Roser said.
Roser said his team has shown a much better attitude this week. “We came out with a little rougher training on Monday,” he said. “Today (Wednesday) they were looking good. All of them are working hard. I’m really confident going into Friday.”
But Roser isn’t taking anything for granted even though his team beat McQueen 2-0 early in the season. Carson advanced to the playoffs as the Sierra League’s No. 2 seed while the Lancers are the High Desert’s No. 3 seed.
There’s also last year in which McQueen beat Carson 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs. “They’re a good, well-coached team,” Roser said. “They’ll give us a good run.”
And even though Carson went 9-3-2 in league, it’s actually been somewhat of a disappointment since the Senators went 19-1 in 2005, losing to Galena in the zone finals, and won the league title last year.
“Losing three games in one season was actually devastating for them,” said Roser about some of the players who have experienced the past success.
Carson will be without Kayla Sanchez and Emily Field, who are still serving a suspension for violating an unspecified school policy. If Carson beats McQueen, the two would return for Wednesday’s semifinals against either High Desert League champion Reed or Douglas.
But the Senators still have plenty of weapons, including Helaine Berris and Brandi Vega. There’s also versatile Brenda Luquin, who can play at midfield or forward.