Truckee’s Egan, Birnbaum run to regional gold

Truckee senior runs toward a sweep of the the hurdles events at the Northern Region championships on Saturday.
Justin Scacco /

SPARKS, Nev. — Truckee’s track and field team struck hurdles gold at last weekend’s Northern Region Championship at Reed High School in Sparks.

Senior Julia Egan swept the hurdles events and defended her 300-meter hurdles title from a year ago; while sophomore Joseph Birnbaum added to his trophy case with a second regional championship in the 300-meter hurdles.

“We’ve missed out on some crucial training, but we’re still fighting,” said Egan of the team’s track being covered in snow for much of the season.

Egan led the Lady Wolverines to a Northern Region runner-up finish as a team, claiming individual wins in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.

“It means a ton,” said Egan. “We’ve had so many setbacks this year and it just shows how resilient we are and how strong we are as a team.”

On Friday, the Truckee senior outpaced the field by 0.35 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 15.49 seconds.

“I almost fell on the last hurdle. I’m sure once I get that problem solved I’ll do better,” joked Egan. “But I’m super excited for states.”

Egan has been a runner-up in the event the past two years at regionals and was second place at last year’s state championship meet.

On Saturday, she posted a season-best time of 46.16 in the 300-meter hurdles to defend her regional title in the event. Egan trailed Elko senior Tyra Christean as the two turned toward the final stretch, but managed to track her down across the final 50 meters to claim first place.

“(Christean) is great,” said Egan. “She was my competitor last year too. She’s super strong and I’ll definitely have to look out for her next week. It’s nice having someone to push you.”

Going into next weekend’s state championship meet, Egan owns the fastest times in Class 3A in both hurdles events.

Birnbaum entered Friday’s start of the two-day meet as the defending Northern Region champion in both hurdles events and defending state champion in the 100-meter hurdles.

A false start during Friday’s 110-meter hurdles spoiled Birnbaum’s bid to repeat as regional and state champion in the event, leaving the sophomore hungry for a chance at gold when he hit the starting blocks the following day for 300-meter hurdles.

“This was redemption time for me,” said Birnbaum, who went on to set a personal record in the event with a time of 40.21, torching the field by more than a second and a half.

Truckee sophomore Joseph Birnbaum races toward a first-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles at the Northern Region championships meet.
Justin Scacco /

Birnbaum’s time in the race is the fastest in Class 3A by nearly a second as he seeks his first state championship in the event.

“It’s going to take a good attitude overall, because this is a hard race,” said Birnbaum. “I just have to have a strong attitude and a strong mindset.”

The Truckee boys’ team also qualified for state in the 4×200 meter relay with a third-place finish, and 4×400 meter relay with a fourth-place finish..

On the girls’ side, freshman Sierra Strecker set a personal record in the 1,600 meters, finishing third with a time of 5:37.18 to qualify for state. Freshman Jillian Chalstrom also qualified for state in the event, finishing fourth place with a time of 5:40.80. The Truckee girls’ team also qualified for state in the 4×100-meter relay with a third-place finish, the 4×200 meter relay with a second-place finish, the 4×400 meter relay with a second-place finish, and the 4×800 meter relay with a third-place finish.

In the field events, junior Paige Willcox finished runner-up in pole vault, clearing 9 feet, 6 inches. Willcox also qualified for the state meet in triple jump with a leap of 31 feet, 2.50 inches to take fourth place. Senior Ashley Estabrook set a personal record in shot put with a throw of 29 feet, 5 inches to finish fourth and earn a trip to the state meet.

As a team, the Truckee girls finished in second place with 110 points. Elko captured the regional title with a high score of 128 points. The Truckee boys’ team finished ninth with 30 points. Spring Creek took the team title with a high score of 192 points.

Truckee’s state qualifiers will now head to Liberty High School in Henderson for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association State Boys and Girls Track and Field Championships. The two-day meet will begin Friday.

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