Lakers show class at state meet
North Tahoe’s track team took a trip to the school of hard knocks for the Nevada State Championship at Reno High School Friday and Saturday.
With four medalists in the state finals, head coach Warren Mills was happy with his kids. He was happy with their effort, happy with their class and proud of them.
But in discussing the weekend’s championship, it seemed as if Mills was fighting back the tears.
“It was an incredibly emotional day,” Mills said.
Both the Laker boys and girls finished in ninth place overall.
The boys finished with 23 points in a field of 12 teams. The girls wound up with 39 points in a field of 14 teams.
Dayton took the boys state title with 116.5 points, and Spring Creek took the girls championship with 104 points.
North Tahoe medalists were Carly McCready, who took third in the 3,200 with a time of 12:51.2. For McCready, running the 3,200 came only after she fell ” or was taken out ” in the 800 and failed to qualify for the state meet.
McCready used her frustration at the divisionals to qualify for the state meet in the 3,200 and wound up with a bronze medal.
Also taking third place in greater Nevada was Kindra Henry, who threw the discus 103’6″ for her bronze medal.
Kelly LeFevers came in at fourth in the discus, right behind Henry, with a throw of 101’10”.
The girls 4×200 team of Shannon Stack, Heather McKenney, Morgan Poulsen and Lauren Robinson took fourth with a time of 1:53.99.
The heartbreak, according to Mills, came in the girls 4×400 relay.
The team posted a 4:16 the week before at divisionals, the fastest time in the state for 3A competitors. Heather McKenney, Erin Altick, Shannon Stack and Carly McCready looked poised to continue that domination through the state final.
As the race started, a medal looked to be a certainty, and a title looked to be a possibility.
It was not to be. Aggressive running by the three teams in the lead, Lowry, North Tahoe and Spring Creek, resulted in North Tahoe taking the lead and Lowry falling, causing a yellow flag to be raised.
When the race ended, North Tahoe had won.
Then the announcement came over the speaker: “Disqualification, North Tahoe.”
“The team was aggressive, and that’s OK,” said Mills, his frustration obvious.
A 35-year veteran of coaching track, Mills knows that heartbreak is a part of athletics, and perhaps the most important aspect of youth athletics. He wouldn’t speak out against anyone, but that doesn’t make posting the best time in competition and then walking away with no medal any easier to take.
Mills said his kids did not protest, and they took the blow like the champions they proved to be on the track.
“The kids were classy across the board,” Mills said.
So with yet another season passed, Mills is looking towards next season. He said he’ll lose some great kids, but he also has a core of very strong athletes coming back.
While Mills could not hide his disappointment, he also knows some things are simply out of our control, and where his athletes had the opportunity, they took control and gave everything they had.
“I was proud of them,” Mills said.
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