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STATE TRACK: Nikodemus, Crusaders roll to I-A girls title

CARSON CITY — Cayla Nikodemus had only one event Saturday, which afforded the Faith Lutheran junior the opportunity to kick back and revel in her team’s success.

“It was a good weekend for our school,” Nikodemus said.

Nikodemus capped off an outstanding performance at the Division I-A state track and field meet by winning the 100 meters at Carson High, to help the Crusaders roll to their second consecutive girls team title.

Faith Lutheran scored 134 points, easily outdistancing Truckee (87 points).

“We had some elements the other teams didn’t,” Nikodemus said. “We trained hard at practice and were really technical. We knew what we needed to do coming out here so there were no surprises, and we just got the job done.”

Nikodemus and Clarissa Maxey finished 1-2 in the 100, and Haley Vinson was first in the triple jump with a mark of 35 feet, 10 inches for the Crusaders.

Nikodemus blew past Maxey after 30 meters and set a meet record in 12.12 seconds in her only race of the day. It was the second meet record for the junior and her third individual title of the weekend.

Sunrise Mountain’s Brittany Veal edged Maya Brosch of South Tahoe by four one-hundredths of a second in the girls 300 hurdles, winning in 44.55. The Miners finished fourth in the girls team standings with 59 points.

Pahrump Valley’s Sydney Sladek held off Gabrielle Rinne of Truckee to win the girls 800 for the second straight year (2:14.60). Cheyenne won the girls 400 relay, edging Desert Pines by three one-thousandths of a second (50.512 to 50.515) in the closest race of the day. The Desert Shields tied for fifth with Pahrump in the team standings with 42 points.

Mark Rubalcaba won two events Saturday, but Faith Lutheran’s boys were unable to overcome Dayton’s depth in the throws and finished second in the team standings. Dayton had 100 points, followed by the Crusaders (84), Desert Pines (79) and Sunrise Mountain (73).

“I think we only have seven male athletes up here, and to be competing for a state championship with only seven athletes, I couldn’t be more proud of my team for that,” Rubalcaba said. “We came in knowing it was going to be a battle and we would have to perform our best, no doubt. We all came out and did our best, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The highlight of the day for Rubalcaba came in the boys long jump as he broke the meet record, which was set in 1972, with a mark of 24-0¾. Rubalcaba defeated Desert Pines’ Eric Wilkes by one-hundredth of a second in the boys 200 in one of the most exciting races of the meet. The two were even coming off the curve and went stride for stride in the homestretch before Rubalcaba won in 22.07.

“I have the utmost respect for Eric. We’ve been battling since regionals, and today I just got the upper hand,” Rubalcaba said. “Throughout the race, I was just telling myself to run my race and not get caught up and try to force myself to run faster than I’m capable.”

Faith Lutheran’s Chase Wood reeled in Aaron Elissa of Dayton in the final 20 meters to win the boys 1,600 in 4:32.84 and also ran a leg on the Crusaders’ 3,200 relay that finished second to Sunrise Mountain.

Sherman Nash set a meet record in the boys 400 in 48.67 for Sunrise Mountain, which saw its hopes for a top-two finish in the team standings disappear in the boys 800 relay when the Miners missed the final exchange and were disqualified.

Desert Pines also was disqualified from the same race for an exchange-zone violation, but would have set a meet record with a time of 1:29.03. Chaparral’s team of Richard Nelson, Torrin Owalabi, Casey Acosta and Javier Quinonez was first in 1:30.19.

Pahrump’s Devon Montgomery bounced back from a difficult race in the 300 hurdles Friday to successfully defend his title in the 110 hurdles (14.59).

In Division III, The Meadows’ girls 1,600 relay team of Delaney Gosse, Jeneke Heerema, Kaitlin Herndon and Hanna Thistle finished first (4:15.58), and Bailey Gosse won the girls 3,200 to finish the meet, but White Pine had already built an insurmountable lead by that point.

The Mustangs, who also got first-place finishes from Dani Chami (girls pole vault) and Delaney Gosse (girls 800), finished 10 points behind White Pine.

“We just wanted to do our best,” said Chami, who set a personal best at 9-3 in her event. “It would have great to win, but for the amount of people we had, we did great.”

Calvary Chapel, which set a meet record in the girls 400 relay and received first-place points from Talia Sapp in the girls triple jump, was fifth overall. Cameron Murphy successfully defended his title in the 400, and Noah Frizzel won the high jump as Calvary Chapel’s boys finished fourth.

Taevion Jackson won the 110 hurdles to help Spring Mountain finish second behind Sierra Lutheran in the Division IV boys team standings.

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