Coronado girls team struggles to overcome flu

Coronado appears to be the clear favorite in Friday’s Sunrise Region girls cross country meet — if it can field a healthy team.

The Cougars have been plagued all season by the H1N1 virus.

“I hope it does not hit any more kids, or I am in trouble,” Coronado coach Mark Tondryk said. “So far the 1 to 5 runners have been out with the flu. I have had seven positive swine flu kids, and I am sure more have had it.”

The Sunrise and Sunset Region meets are Friday at Veterans’ Memorial Park in Boulder City. The first of the four 3.1-mile races will be the Sunset girls contest at 9 a.m.

The top two cross country teams and five individuals from nonqualifying teams in each region will clinch spots in the state meet Nov. 7 in Reno.

In the Sunrise, the most competitive battles could be for second place, with Coronado’s girls and Green Valley’s boys the clear favorites.

Green Valley’s boys team boasts a veteran lineup with seniors Julius Kim, Jason Ferraro, Matt Campa-Moreno, D.J. Padillo-Montello and Cagen Combs.

All five finished in the top 15 at regionals last year, and they were the Gators’ top five at state, where Green Valley placed fifth.

“All of our varsity boys have run their fastest times this season and much more consistently compared to our past seasons,” Ferraro said.

Foothill, Tech and Coronado probably will race for the Sunrise boys runner-up spot.

Coronado’s girls were state runners-up in 2008 and have been the No. 1 or No. 2 team in Southern Nevada all season. The Cougars are led by Lauren Lucas, Kristal Hosaka and Erin Smith.

Even if the flu is a problem, Coronado’s depth makes the team a threat. At the recent Southeast League meet, the Cougars placed six runners in the top 15, with Lucas and Hosaka placing first and second — both breaking the course record.

The battle for second behind Coronado probably will come down to Green Valley and Foothill.

Green Valley is led by Alyssa Rapovy and Morgan Oswald. Foothill’s top two are Cheyanne Jones and Sage Long.

In the Sunset boys race, Arbor View, Centennial and Shadow Ridge are likely to battle for state berths. Palo Verde and Durango also are in the mix.

Arbor View won the Northwest League meet, beating Shadow Ridge and Palo Verde convincingly. Durango won the Southwest meet but trailed the four Northwest leaders in comparison times.

Centennial’s Nick Hartle is clearly the Sunset boys front-runner. He has not lost to another Sunset runner this year.

Arbor View and Shadow Ridge head the Sunset girls field.

The two Northwest powers dominated the league race, combining to take second through 10th in a race won by Palo Verde’s Kelsi Koch.

Shadow Ridge’s veteran quintet of Michelle Schenck, Mallory Reese, Elaina Vlassopoulos, Palolo Prince and Leanna Morrison would appear to have the advantage of experience over Arbor View’s Amberly Halstead, Kourtney Willey, Taylor Inghram, Tiffany Carmona and Randi Withoft.

Only Inghram and Willey were on last year’s team.

Palo Verde’s Koch and Clark’s Elisa Vazquez, the Southwest individual winner, are among the best runners in Southern Nevada and could give their teams a shot at an upset in the Sunset girls meet.

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