Members of the Truckee girls 4x800 relay team were in preschool through first grade when Lowry set the 3A state record back in 2002.
Last Friday at Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Quinn Parker, Skyler Flora, Olivia Yale and Gabrielle Rinne demolished the existing state record by 11 seconds with a commanding win in the opening event of the at the NIAA state championship meet, establishing a new record at 9:39.83.
In fact, it was the second-fastest 4x800 time of the season in the entire state of Nevada, among all divisions. Division I powerhouse Coronado in Las Vegas, with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, bested Truckee by less than 4 seconds with a 9:35.86 to win the Division I state championship title on the same day.
It set the tone for a successful state showing for Truckee in the newly expanded and highly competitive Division I-A (formerly 3A), consisting of over 20 schools, many of which are three to four times the size of Truckee.
“Our athletes showed they could still compete against these large powerhouse schools who have depth, speed and a proper facility to train on,” said Truckee coach Diana Yale.
Truckee had 10 top-three (podium) finishes, including three gold medals and two state relay records. Overall, the girls placed fourth and the boys 12th.
Flora, a sophomore, was the Truckee powerhouse of the meet, winning two individual event titles, in the 1,600-meter run (5:14.67) on Friday evening and the 3,200 (11.42.11) on Saturday afternoon. She also placed an impressive third in her newest event, the 800 (2:20.23).
Joining Flora on two individual event podiums was sophomore teammate Rinne, who earned two silver medals, finishing less than a second behind Flora in the 1,600 (5:15.57) and placing second in the 800 with another new personal record (PR) of 2:16.05.
Flora registered the third-fastest 1,600 time and the fourth-fastest 3,200 time and Rinne registered the third-fastest 800 time and the fourth-fastest 1,600 time among all divisions.
The addition of the 10 larger schools in the Southern region posed a challenge for Parker, who entered as the defending 3A champion in the 100, 200 and 400. In a climate that doesn’t encourage distance running, Las Vegas schools focus on the sprint events. Parker still excelled with two podium finishes in both her individual events, finishing third in the 200 (26.51) and second in the 400 with a new PR of 58.04.
Teammate Ashley Harris placed sixth in the 400 with a time of 1:02.24.
The girls 4x400 team, also defending 3A state champions, broke both their 2012 record (4:11.22) and the old 3A state record held by Spring Creek since 2000 (4:06.77), with a time of 4:03.60.
Still, it was not quite enough for the win with the new I-A sprint specialists from the South. The 4x 400 team of Harris, Yale, Rinne and Parker placed third behind Faith Lutheran and Cheyenne.
The girls 4x100 relay team of Sara Lade, Natalie Seelenfreund, Nichole Rathbun and Harris placed eighth with a time of 54.88.
“Our girls had only eight competitors and still placed fourth out of 18 teams, some with squads of over forty girls,” Yale said. “Our distance squad, along with Parker in sprints, scored a lot of points, and they were clearly a dominant presence at state. I am especially proud of the 4x8 state meet record. Those girls are true competitors. Quinn, Gabi and Skyler showed their strength and determination by coming back and medaling in three other events.
“Also, Ashley Harris and Sara Lade, both seniors, proved themselves strong competitors as first-year athletes. And freshmen Olivia Yale, who earned two medals, came back very strong in the 4x400 relay. With three freshmen, including Natalie Seelenfreund and Nikki Rathbun qualifying for state, I am very excited about next year’s potential.”
Coach Yale was impressed by the boys performance as well.
“The boys team held their own against some very fast Southern schools and still medaled and scored points,” she said.
Adam Morgan continued to improve in the 400 with a yet another new PR of 50.44, earning him a third-place finish. Javier Virrey finished sixth in the long jump with a 19-05.00 leap.
The boys enjoyed success in their relay endeavors, with two fourth- and two fifth-place finishes. The 4x100 and 4x200 sprint relay teams were all seniors: Morgan, Virrey, Jake Pettit and Tyler Griffin.
In the 4x100, they finished fourth in 44.23 and in the 4x200, they finished fifth in 1:31.88.
“It’s sad to see our top sprinters graduate,” Yale said. “So we will have to build up the speed side of the team.”
The composition of the 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams changed slightly from regionals to state. Mid-distance standout Toby Ziegler was sidelined with an injury so he was unable to compete in his two relays and the individual 800 contest. The 4x400 team of Morgan, Pettit, Griffin and Ian Wilson finished fourth with a time of 3:30.69. The 4x800 team of Wilson, Oscar Sanchez, Colin Deurlington and Noah Oberriter finished fifth in 8:31.56.
There were five Truckee performances named “elite” by track and field statistics website DyeStat.com during the state meet, three relay teams and two individuals. Not surprisingly, both the girls’ 4x400 and 4x800 record-breaking performances, as well as the boys’ 4x200 time were deemed elite-level performances. Individually, the new PRs by Parker in the 400 and Rinne in the 800 also earned the elite status designation.
“It’s amazing what these athletes have accomplished without a proper track to train on,” Yale said, as Truckee is the only Division I-A school without an all-weather track. “We run in halls, in the gym, on roads, and we carpool to Reno High once a week. Running on the roads is unsafe and causes injuries. It’s not possible to run really fast on any dirt track, even on our grass fields.
“Our throwers throw medicine balls in the gym or shot puts out on the grass, and our long and triple jumpers jump onto a mat. Without a long jump pit, shot ring and discus circle, we have great difficulty scoring points in field events.
“Our athletes still seem to do well because they are tough and are used to it. Yet I always wonder what we could really do if we had an all-weather track facility to train on.”