Truckee Tracksters sprint to state meet | SierraSun.com

Truckee Tracksters sprint to state meet

Staff reports
Photo submitted by Melinda MaehlerSenior Maria Goodpaster leaps her way to a first place in the long jump.
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The Truckee High Track team faired well at the regional meet in Lowry May 13 and 14, with 43 medal winners and a third-place finish for both the boys and girls teams. Twenty-four athletes qualified for the state meet in Las Vegas by placing in the top five in each event.

“In early March,” said Truckee High track coach Diana Yale, “we told the kids we hoped to bring a bus-load of them to state ” and now we are. The coaches are so proud of this team. Every athlete ran their best. They wanted to qualify for state; they wanted to score points for their team. When one has desire and determination, great things can happen.”

And great things did.

The big medal winner of the meet was senior Kellen Bonham. Winning three golds, in the 100, 200, and 4×200 meter relay, Bonham has proven himself a true competitor. A newcomer to track and out for his first competitive sport, Bonham has found his niche out on the track.

“Kellen has perfect sprinting form, and he’s fast,” Yale said. “He also has motivation to win and improve every time he steps into those starting blocks. With all that on his side, he’s got another great opportunity at state.”

Also on the gold-winning 4×200 relay were Randon Nunez, Cole Froelich, and Jamie Maehler. Maehler ran four races the first night and two the second, also winning silver in the 100 and bronze in both the 200 and 400.

“Jamie is a hard worker who gets the job done,” Yale said. “We’ve been working on his block start to help him get out faster. With last weekend’s outstanding performances, he is ready for state.”

Nunez, one of many team leaders and also a dedicated, hard worker, gave the 4×200 a strong start and also qualified in the 200 and long jump. Froelich, a first-year sophomore, ran a very strong leg in the 4×200 and also placed third in the 300 hurdles with a personal record of 43.35.

Said Coach Bob Blount, “Cole is a natural hurdler, a natural athlete with great potential on the track.”

Also qualifying in the 100 was Daniel Ballou, who placed fourth with a season-best time of 11.96.

“To have three guys from Truckee qualify for state in the 100 and 200 is awesome, considering we’ve been sprinting in halls and on roads,” Yale said.

In the distance events, senior Gordon Neelands placed fourth in the 1600 after leading the 4×800 relay of Michael O’Connor, Kyle Britto, and Sean Estabrook to a fifth place finish to qualify for state. After Neelands handed off the baton, the others all ran personal bests in their relay legs. Neelands also placed fifth in the 800 with a personal record of 2:02.5.

Distance coach Robbie McClendon said, “Gordon has been putting in the work the last two weeks, and I’m pretty sure it will pay off at state if he can go out there and compete.”

On the girls side, junior Maisha Goodpaster won gold in the long jump and placed fourth in the triple jump.

“Maisha is also another natural athlete,” Yale said. “With little jumping practice this season, Maisha just went out and won.”

Goodpaster, along with Cammile Ganham, Whitney Brixey, and Melanie Lashbrook, also helped her 4×800 team earn silver, just behind Spring Creek. Running third, Ganham came from behind to pass Spring Creek in a gutsy, personal record performance. Brixey, also a very hard worker and a newcomer to track, competed in her first two-mile race ever, placing third and looking to improve her time at state.

Lashbrook, a freshman, is competing in four events at state.

“Melanie has so much talent, and she’s a tough competitor,” Yale said. Lashbrook also placed third in the 800 with a personal record time of 2:30.8, dropping close to 10 seconds off her previous best time. Lashbrook also placed third in the 400 and anchored the 4×400 relay to a third-place finish, along with Vanessa Blount, Katie Flaherty, and Lindsay Holt.

Coach Blount said of the 4×400, “They stepped up and dropped their time by eight seconds.”

Holt, a talented freshman with natural running form, will also compete in four events, as she placed fourth in the 200, fifth in the 400, and anchored the 4×100 to a third-place finish and personal record, along with sister Shannon, Ally Flauta and Erin Gamet.

In the girls 4×200, Shannon Holt also helped her team, along with Lauren Altieri, Kalei Cofer and Brandie Macken, to a fifth-place finish to qualify. Macken also qualified in the 100, placing fourth and setting a personal record of 13.71.

“All four of our girls relay teams were awesome, setting season-bests in all,” Yale said.

Cofer, also qualifying for state as a freshman, placed fifth in the 100 high hurdles with a personal record of 17.7.