North Tahoe cross-country: Lakers’ dynasty lives on | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe cross-country: Lakers’ dynasty lives on

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

Warren Mills, once again, will start from scratch on another bushy, gray horseshoe mustache.

As tradition goes, the longtime North Tahoe cross-country coach allows his runners to shave his mustache after every state championship they win. It never gets old.

"My quote when someone asks me how many (state championships) we've won is, 'It's not enough.' That's the only answer I'm going to give until I die," said Mills, freshly shaven after his Lakers earned dual team titles at the Division III/IV state championships in Reno on Saturday.

North Tahoe's boys claimed their fourth consecutive state championship. The girls won their second straight. That extends North Tahoe's NIAA record to 28 state championships combined — 19 for the boys and nine for the girls, all under Mills' tutelage.

"It was a good year," Mills said. "I told the kids the reason they win is because they work harder. It's just that simple."

North Tahoe's girls placed all five of their scoring runners in the top eight to run away with the title with a low score of 22 points to runner-up Sierra Lutheran's 44. The Meadows finished a distant third with 81 points.

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Junior two-time defending state champion Quinn Lehmkuhl led the way with a second-place finish, covering the 5K course at Rancho San Rafael Park in 20:19.

Lehmkuhl was followed by North Tahoe's dynamic freshmen trio — Sophia Sanchez in third (20:21), Elan Lindsey in fourth (21:00) and Ella Carr in sixth (21:35) — while senior Kaya Williams rounded out the team score in eighth (22:26). Sophia Tallarigo was 18th (24:05) and Xochitl Luna 19th (24:13).

Elaina Marchegger, a junior from Sierra Lutheran, won the individual title with a time of 20:12. Mills said Lehmkuhl and Sanchez chased Marchegger down the final grassy straightaway but could not close the gap.

"It was lots of fun," he said of the race. "Our girls are just incredible. There's no other way to describe how tough they are."

North Tahoe's boys won by an even larger margin. Led by senior Cam Goldstone's second-place finish with a time of 17:18 — just two seconds behind Samuel Stewart of White Pine (17:16) — the Laker boys placed all five of their scoring runners in the top 12 for a winning score of 29 points to runner-up Silver Stage's 72. Sierra Lutheran was third with 75 points.

"Cam ran that guy to the wire. The kid just out-kicked him," Mills said. "But Cam tried his best to steal that race."

Following Goldstone were North Tahoe teammates Julien Bordes in fifth (17:52), JC Schoonmaker in eighth (18:27), Andrew Morgan in 10th (18:35) and Jackson Shaw closing the team score in 12th (18:39). Ryan Heisinger was 17th (19:04) and Alex Whitham 26th (20:00).

While the North Tahoe boys will lose four of their top five runners to graduation — Goldstone, Bordes, Morgan and Shaw — the girls are set to return a powerhouse team led by Lehmkuhl and their three standout freshmen, who are sure to be gunning for their coach's mustache.

DIVISION III/IV STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Individual results

Girls (top five plus North Tahoe)

1. Elaina Marchegger, Sierra Lutheran, 20:12

2. Quinn Lehmkuhl, North Tahoe, 20:19

3. Sophia Sanchez, North Tahoe, 20:21

4. Elan Lindsey, North Tahoe, 21:00

5. Ellen Hirsberg, The Meadows, 21:27

6. Ella Carr, North Tahoe, 21:35

8. Kaya Williams, North Tahoe, 22:26

18. Sophia Tallarigo, North Tahoe, 24:05

19. Xochitl Luna, North Tahoe, 24:13

Boys (top five plus North Tahoe)

1. Samuel Stewart, White Pine, 17:16

2. Cam Goldstone, North Tahoe, 17:18

3. Trevor Martin, Silver Stage, 17:34

4. Julien Bordes, North Tahoe, 17:52

8. JC Schoonmaker, North Tahoe, 18:27

10. Andrew Morgan, North Tahoe, 18:35

12. Jackson Shaw, North Tahoe, 18:39

17. Ryan Heisinger, North Tahoe, 19:04

26. Alex Whitham, North Tahoe, 20:00

Team results

Girls

1. North Tahoe 22

2. Sierra Lutheran 44

3. The Meadows 81

4. Wells 85

5. Agassi Prep 139

6. Laughlin 150

Boys

1. North Tahoe 29

2. Silver Stage 72

3. Sierra Lutheran 75

4. West Wendover 101

5. The Meadows 106

6. Incline 113