Cameron Walker might never have been so happy to finish in second place.
The Foothill senior was beaming after finishing second to Basic’s Kourtney Campbell in Friday’s Class 4A Sunrise Regional boys cross country meet at Veterans’ Memorial Park in Boulder City.
The reason: Walker’s effort helped the Falcons win their first regional title.
Foothill nosed out three-time defending champion Silverado 63-65 to win the boys title. Coronado won the girls title, with Foothill taking second.
The top two teams and top five individuals from nonqualifying teams advance to the state meet next Saturday in Reno.
“We came into the season knowing we had a great shot (of winning regionals),” Walker said. “This is just amazing.
“We’re living in the moment now, but on Monday, we’ll get our minds set for state.”
Campbell and Walker jockeyed for position during much of the 5,000-meter race before Campbell pulled slightly ahead in the final 500 meters.
“We’ve gone head to head a few times,” Campbell said. “This time, I didn’t want him to have a chance. I gave it all I had.”
Campbell finished in 17:31, two seconds ahead of Walker. Silverado’s Jaime Reeves was third in 17:37.
Campbell’s older brothers, Kasey (2005) and Kolby (2000), also won individual regional championships.
“I was not expecting first place,” Kourtney Campbell said. “There were a lot of great runners in this race.”
The focus shifted quickly to Foothill, the first team to get five runners across the finish line. Each of the four Foothill runners after Walker finished less than a second ahead of his nearest competitor.
One small slip by any of the five probably would have cost the Falcons the title.
“We had a game plan of trying not to get out too fast,” Foothill boys coach Kevin Soares said. “We wanted that pack to stay together as long as they could.”
In the girls meet, Foothill’s Leah Leedy retained her individual title, pulling away from the field to win in 20:01, 43 seconds ahead of Coronado’s Michaelanne Laurent.
“I’m always worried that I’m running slowly because I don’t have other people around,” Leedy said. “It was a tough course, but I’m happy.”
The Cougars had four of the top eight runners in the race to capture their first regional crown. Coronado had 41 points, Foothill 53.
“Our top four ran even better than I expected,” Cougars coach Mark Tondryk said. “They’re a solid bunch of girls.”Preps Central