Truckee cross-country | Wolverines set school records at Stanford | SierraSun.com

Truckee cross-country | Wolverines set school records at Stanford

Special to the Sun

While the smoke-filled weeks leading up to the Stanford Invitational were quite a challenge for the Truckee cross-country squads, they did not let it slow them down under the blue skies and oxygen-rich air of Palo Alto.

School records were smashed and nearly every runner earned a new personal record (PR) on the undulating course carved out of the university's golf course. 

Over 2,500 high schoolers from across the Western U.S., New York and even Canada raced along with another 700 collegiate runners representing 43 universities. 

Truckee coach Rob McClendon was impressed with his teams's showing, especially considering the practice constraints.

"Training was really tough these past two weeks due to the King Fire. Practices were either canceled, run inside, relocated outside of the smoke zone, or rescheduled to 6 a.m. before classes," he said.

Defending Nevada state champions Noah Oberriter and Skyler Flora each set new Truckee High School records in the 5K. Oberriter improved on his own PR set last year at state by an astounding 1:15, racing to a seventh place in the Division 4 race with a time of 16:38.  

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Meanwhile, Flora broke her own school record by 19 seconds, placing 14th in the girls seeded race in 18:14. Racing to the second fastest 5K time in school history was teammate Gabrielle Rinne, who placed 20th in 18:25, nearly a minute faster than her PR set the previous week.

The seeded race was won by an unprecedented 34-second margin by Davis Senior High School junior phenom Fiona O'Keefe. She finished in 16:40, which is the fastest 5K in the nation this year. 

The young boys varsity team racing with Oberriter also showed huge improvements. Truckee's No. 2 runner, Hudson Verbeck, improved by 1:04 over last week with a 17:43. Sophomores Ian Smith and Chris Miller each improved by nearly two minutes with an 18:40 and 19:05, respectively. Freshman Tyler Ferrera's 19:15 was a 1:07 improvement over his PR last week. And perhaps most impressive of all, sophomore David Dalicandro improved by 3:29 with his 19:27 finish. 

The girls varsity team also posted impressive improvements. Consistently Truckee's No. 3 runner, sophomore Carrie Bradley posted a 1:20 improvement with her 19:27 finish. Sophomore Julia Veliquette improved her PR by 1:34 in 20:28. Junior Olivia Yale earned a 44-second PR in 21:23. Sophomore Lily Robertson improved by 41 seconds to 22:06 in her debut season. Amanda Rae improved by nearly a minute and a half over last week with a 22:17.

McClendon is eager to resume full training as he looks forward to the next big competitions on the schedule this month, including two high-level California meets, the Clovis Invitational on Oct. 11 and the Mt. SAC Invitational on Oct. 24. The Northern Division I-A regional championships are Oct. 31.

This week the team stays local, traveling to Sparks for the Reed Invitational on Friday, where they will face 20 Nevada teams spanning all divisions.  

After Saturday's performances, McClendon has three nationally-ranked cross country runners under his tutelage. In Nevada, Oberriter is ranked No. 3 among boys, while Flora is ranked second and Rinne fourth among girls. In California, Oberriter is ranked 30th, while Flora and Rinne are 24th and 34th, respectively.

Said McClendon: "This program is really developing some stars in the cross-country world."