North Tahoe cross country | Laker boys win Northern Regional |

North Tahoe cross country | Laker boys win Northern Regional

Courtesy of NTCCCarson Clark led the Laker boys in third place at regionals Thursday. The North Tahoe boys captured first place.

RENO and#8212; Much to the chagrin of opposing coaches around the state, semi-retired Warren and#8220;Madmanand#8221; Mills isn’t going anywhere.

The North Tahoe High boys’ cross country team directed by Mills moved one step closer Thursday to winning another state championship trophy. The Lakers ran away with the Northern 2A regional championship at Rancho San Rafael Park by placing five runners in the top-12 finishers.

North Tahoe totaled 35 points to finish well ahead of the North’s other state qualifiers, Incline (73), Sierra Lutheran (78) and Sage Ridge (79).

and#8220;Next week is the goal. We haven’t won since and#8216;98,and#8221; said Mills, a 39-year coach. At one point in school history, the Lakers won 16 of 18 state championship from 1981-1998. Mills coached 14 of those teams.

and#8220;They keep screwing up my retirement plans,and#8221; Mills said. and#8220;Four years ago I was going to retire and these seniors came on as freshmen, and now I’ve got these three other (young) guys.and#8221;

Mills’ latest team is thriving with a good mix of senior leadership and fast-improving underclassmen.

and#8220;The seniors have all run for four years, and these guys have come in and just lit them up a little bit,and#8221; Mills said. and#8220;They don’t understand how good they are.and#8221;

Leading the way at regionals was senior Carson Clark, who finished third behind Nathanael Williams of Sierra Lutheran and Whittell’s John Robinson at 18 minutes, 6 seconds. Clark had plenty of company in the top 10 as teammate Hugo Ramirez was fifth in 18:46, Noah McDermott placed seventh in 18:49 and Patrick McElravey finished eighth in 18:50.

When Luke Funicella crossed the finish line in 12th place at 19:07, North Tahoe’s scoring was complete. Incline and Sage Ridge only had two finishers at that point.

and#8220;This is a good group. They are young group, and they’ve come a long ways. They are tough runners, and they are smart,and#8221; Mills said.

Fletcher McConnell was 14th for North Tahoe and Griffen Lancaster placed 35th.

Behind Spencer Wilson’s fourth-place result and Eric Baron’s sixth-place performance, Incline was able to advance to the state meet with a regional runner-up trophy.

In the 2A girls’ meet, Incline decimated the competition with four of the top six finishers and five girls among the top 10.

Melanie Swick led the Highlanders with a runner-up finish to Sierra Lutheran’s Becky Grabow. Swick completed the looping and swerving 5K course in 21:49.

Incline’s Chloe Dodge was third in 22:06, Madison Kwasny finished fifth in 22:33, Kate Balan took sixth in 22:56 and Amy Lindsey was 10th in 23:38. Kelsey Tokunaga was sixth for Incline and 14th overall at 24:39.

Four of Incline’s top finishers are underclassmen.

Team scores were Incline 26, Sierra Lutheran 66, Virginia City 88, Sage Ridge 106 and North Tahoe 108.

North Tahoe was led by Carly Leininger, who finished 12th in 24:03 and qualified for state as an individual. Taylor Lewis placed 24th, Roxanna Cabrera was 25th, Michelle Cahill finished 31st and Christie Collins was 36th.

In the 3A regional meet, the Truckee girls finished fourth and#8212; one place out of the state-qualifying mix. Elko was first with 35 points, South Tahoe second with 55, Spring Creek third with 78 and Truckee fourth at 96.

Three Wolverines advanced to the state meet as individuals: Gabby Garcia, 10th, 23:07; Carly Clusserath, 13th, 23:28; and Ruby Wood, 15th, 23:36. In addition, Truckee’s Lilly Doerner placed 33rd in 25:18, and was followed by Erika Klenk, Jennifer Gallagher and Fenja Haas in 38th through 40th places.

Kyle Jorgensen turned in the top performance for the Truckee boys’ team, finishing 29th in 20:41. Simeon Murphy was 44th and Dylan Jones 54th.

South Tahoe, which was reclassified in the 3A starting this fall, won the boys’ championship with 45 points. They were followed by Elko with 70 and Fernley with 95.

The state meets are set for Saturday, Nov. 6 in Boulder City.