CARSON CITY, Nev. — Take away the “field” in the Division I-A state track and field championships, and the record-setting Truckee girls are celebrating their first state title.
With a team of nine athletes, only one of whom competed in a field event, the Truckee girls finished second to a large and powerful Faith Lutheran squad at the state meet in Carson City this past Friday and Saturday.
“This second-place girls’ finish is our best showing ever at a state meet. The results speak for themselves,” said Truckee coach Diana Yale, whose girls claimed the school’s first regional title the week before. “The underclassmen performed like seasoned champions, and everybody performed above and beyond our expectations. I am very proud of the entire team. What an outstanding and amazing team effort by all.”
The Faith Lutheran girls accumulated a winning score of 134 points to Truckee’s 87 and third-place Spring Creek’s 66. Competing with a team of 16, the Crusaders earned 63 points in the field events, compared to Truckee’s 2.
Nevertheless, the Truckee girls dominated the distance events and relays, bringing home five state titles and nine medals, and setting four records along the way.
Junior Skyler Flora was on her game both days. The defending state champion in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs defended both titles while also helping lead the 4 x 800 relay team to victory with a DI-A state-meet record of 9:32.68. That mark smashed the previous record, held by the 2013 Truckee team, by seven seconds.
Flora, who was joined on the 4 x 800 team by Olivia Yale, Brenna Wapstra Scott and Julia Veliquette, also set a state-meet record with her win in the 3,200, as she distanced herself from her competition to finish with a time of 11:22.20. Flora set the Truckee school record, of 10:56.01, during the regular season.
“I was more running it to win; I wasn’t going for the record,” said Flora, who raced the 3,200 with a sore knee after finishing fourth in the 800 (2:18.67) about two hours prior. She said she tried to build a sizable lead in the 3,200 well before the finish so she didn’t have to put extra stress on her knee. “It (the knee) was fine because of the slower pace.”
On Friday, Flora and a familiar competitor, junior teammate Gabrielle Rinne, entertained the large crowd on hand with their tightly contested finish in the 1,600. Flora reached the line first, posting a time of 5:11.78, while Rinne was second in 5:11.90.
Rinne also narrowly missed winning her best event, the 800, on Saturday. She, Pahrump Valley’s Sydney Sladek and Sunrise Mountain’s Ebonique Diaz ran neck-and-neck down the final stretch of the race. Sladek took the win in a photo finish, posting a time of 2:14.60. Rinne finished second in 2:14.82, and Diaz was third in 2:14.92.
Rinne, however, aggravated a hip strain during the race, which prevented her from powering through the finish line as she normally does. She was the top state seed entering the event. The hip strain also forced Rinne, who placed sixth in the 400-meter dash (59.92), to sit out the 3,200.
Senior speedster Quinn Parker, meanwhile, came through in her strongest events, the 400 and the 4 x 400 relay. She captured the state title in the 400 while setting a new school record with a time of 57.76.
Parker then anchored the 4 x 400 relay squad, which included Yale, Wapstra Scott and Veliquette, to victory with a new school record of 3:57.65. Faith Lutheran’s anchor, Brenna Rohnkohl, closed the gap on Parker on the final lap, but Parker turned on the burners the final 100 yards to steadily pull away.
“This is always my favorite event,” Parker said of the 4 x 400. “It’s always exhilarating. Our girls are so awesome. We all did what we were supposed to.”
Parker also finished fourth in the 200 with a time of 26.25 and was fifth in the 100, in 12.91. The top four finishers in each event received a medal.
Also racing in her last meet for the Wolverines, freshman Wapstra Scott, who is moving to Washington after the school year, finished seventh in the 400 (1:00.18). Another freshman, Heather Pendleton, finished seventh in the high jump (4-08) in Truckee’s only field event.
Four Truckee boys competed in the state meet, Noah Oberriter, Eli Yale, Nathan Ariza and Colin Deurlington. The foursome made up the 4 x 800 relay team, which earned a fourth-place medal with a time of 8:24.31. Oberriter also placed fifth in the 3,200, in 10:26.62.