North Tahoe cross country | Lakers host 36th annual meet |

North Tahoe cross country | Lakers host 36th annual meet

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunNorth Tahoe sophomore Noah McDermott nears the finish line in fourth place out of 188 runners in the varsity boys' race at the North Tahoe Kiwanis Invitational on Friday. Find a photo gallery from the event at

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; Among the throngs of young cross-country runners, coaches and parents scattered about the North Tahoe softball field on Friday, Warren Mills could be picked out of the crowd with relative ease as he hustled around in his signature flimsy yellow hat.

Even after 36 years of hosting the annual North Tahoe Kiwanis Invitational, thereand#8217;s still plenty to oversee for the longtime Lakers head coach. This yearand#8217;s meet, after all, featured 28 high schools and 10 middle schools from across Northern California and Nevada, with more than 1,000 runners total. And yet it wasnand#8217;t even the biggest ever.

and#8220;It was pretty close,and#8221; Mills said. and#8220;It was a pretty big meet.and#8221;

There were 188 finishers in the varsity boysand#8217; race alone and 125 in the varsity girlsand#8217; race, both of which featured a 5,300-meter course (3-plus miles). The course began near the football field and snaked through the woods behind the school before ending along the outfield warning track of the softball field.

North Tahoeand#8217;s defending 2A state champion boys held their own despite graduating several impact seniors from a year ago. Led by sophomore Noah McDermottand#8217;s fourth-place individual finish, the Lakers placed fourth as a team behind California schools Ponderosa (69 points) and Bret Harte (109 points) and 2A rival Sierra Lutheran.

and#8220;Sierra Lutheran beat us, but not by much,and#8221; said Mills, whose boysand#8217; team posted 137 points to Sierra Lutheranand#8217;s 124. and#8220;Theyand#8217;re our main competition, but weand#8217;ll be in the hunt (at the end of the season).and#8221;

North Tahoeand#8217;s boys were followed by Fernley (154), Elko (157), Incline (185), Atwater (230), Fallon (262) and Spring Creek (285) rounding out the top 10 out of 19 teams. Results of the top five individuals count toward the team scores.

On the varsity girlsand#8217; side, Elko runners swept the top two spots individually to take the team win ahead of Ponderosa, posting a low score of 61 points to Ponderosaand#8217;s 85. South Tahoe (94) came in third while Incline (104) was fourth and the Sugar Bowl Academy (137) fifth. They were followed by Spanish Springs (138), Bret Harte (164), Atwater (196), Spring Creek (229) and Sierra Lutheran (263) rounding out the top 10 of 14 teams.

Elkoand#8217;s Shelbie Dorsa won the race with a time of 23 minutes and 57 seconds, while Katie Cochran (25:15) of Incline placed seventh and Cassidy Cichowicz (26:06) and Laurel Fiddler (26:07) of the Sugar Bowl Academy finished 15th and 16th, respectively, to lead the North Shore contingent.

Katrin Larusson (26:58) of the Sugar Bowl Academy finished 29th, while Truckee junior Ruby Wood (27:04) led the Wolverines with a 31st-place finish. Danielle Nivinski (39th, 27:35) and Joelle Romo (55th, 29:33) rounded out the Sugar Bowl Academyand#8217;s five.

Jeff Schloss, head coach of the Sugar Bowl Academyand#8217;s cross-country and Nordic teams, said he was impressed with his teamand#8217;s performance.

and#8220;We just finished two hard weeks of ski-specific training, so we went into this race with no real running training under our belts,and#8221; said Schloss. and#8220;I was pleased with how well everyone pushed even without the specific running training. We train for skiing first and then just jump into these races for training, and it is pretty impressive how well everyone did.and#8221;

Nathanael Williams of Sierra Lutheran won the varsity boysand#8217; race ahead of Mammothand#8217;s Toby Qualls, posting a time of 19 minutes and 52 seconds to Quallsand#8217; 20:16. McDermott (21:16) came in a minute later to take fourth place overall.

and#8220;Noah is driven,and#8221; Mills said of his sophomore. and#8220;Heand#8217;s got some ability and talent, and heand#8217;s a team leader too. He and Patrick (McElravey) are really pulling us through.and#8221;

North Tahoe junior Patrick McElravey wasnand#8217;t far behind, finishing ninth in 21:54, while fellow Lakers Fletcher McConnell (22:57) placed 20th, Sean McDermott (23:49) was 39th and Dominic Antonucci (25:29) was 83rd to round out their five. Among Truckeeand#8217;s varsity boys, Alex Kopytko (23:47) finished 36th and Kyle Jorgensen (23:55) was 42nd.

and#8220;Iand#8217;m really pleased,and#8221; Mills said. and#8220;Weand#8217;re really thin. I donand#8217;t have that many kids this year, and we finished fourth in the varsity boys and I donand#8217;t have a senior on the team. I have two juniors and four sophomore, so Iand#8217;m pleased with how they did.and#8221;

In a display of sportsmanship and hospitality after their race, Sean McDermott, McConnell and freshman Brock Johnson stood at the edge of the finish chute and high-fived and congratulated opposing runners as they went by.

See a photo gallery from the race at

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