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Runners are off to Vegas

Lara Mullin

The largest contingent of Truckee runners in recent TTHS history will hit the strip this weekend, looking to win big at the Nevada 3A State Track Championships.

Coach Rich Silver and 20 Wolverine tracksters will travel to Las Vegas today for two days of fierce competition against 3A athletes from the Northern and Southern Leagues.

Elias Silver and Casey Nelson, two vital links to the boys’ 4X400 relay team, will be looking for a three-peat State Championship in this event coupled with Evan Birchard and Danny Shannon, who are new to the relay this season. The dominating foursome will step onto the field on Friday with the fastest posted League time in the 4X400, and “will be the team to beat,” according to Coach Silver.

The combination of Nelson, Birchard, Kyle Shane and Colin Flauta also boast the fastest time in the boys 4X200 relay heading into States, after a first place finish at Regionals.

Individually, Silver swept the field in the qualifiers with a breakaway win in the open 800 m event and is the favorite heading into this weekend’s competition. Casey Nelson also came off a solid relay run to qualify in the boys’ open 200 with a fourth place effort.

For the girls’ team, Kristine Bena will head up a strong field of Truckee runners after winning the open 400 m with a season best time of 59:99 at Regionals. Bena also claimed a first place split in the 100 m event, finishing in a dead heat with her rival Chelsea Wilson of Spring Creek.

Other qualifiers for States are Kyle Shane in the high jump, who completed a 6’0″ jump for a PR and third place finish at Regionals and Jacqueline Diez in the long jump. Diez pulled out a second place 15’6″ long jump to move onto States.

The boys’ 4X800 team of Michael Hackley, Ryan Campbell, Iran Manzano and Silver bested their quickest time this season by five seconds with a third place finish on Saturday – earning a lane on the track at States.

In the girls’ 4X400 relay event, a surprisingly speedy finish by Betsy Van Blarigan, Julie Rueckheim, Krista Anderson and Katie Grodan was good enough for a fifth place standing and a place among the best this weekend. The newly formed foursome cut over 50 seconds off their best time this season, leaving Coach Silver ecstatic.

“When those girls finished fifth and qualified for States, it made my whole season,” Silver said.

The 4X200 meter combo of Diez, Kendrick, Ruckheim and Bena raced in for third place at Regionals and will have to run their best race in Vegas to beat out strong teams from Spring Creek, North Tahoe and Lowry.


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