Centennial’s Nick Hartle and Galena’s Bryan Jordan figured to have a close race for the Class 4A boys state cross country title.
But no one could have expected it to be as close as it turned out Saturday.
Coming from behind, Hartle caught and barely passed Jordan at the tape to win the race as both runners were clocked in 16 minutes, 28 seconds over the 3.1-mile course at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City.
Hartle’s efforts helped Centennial capture the team title as Southern Nevada schools swept the individual and team titles in the state’s top classification for the first time since 1978.
Hartle and Jordan, the pre-race favorites, broke away from the pack at the midpoint of the race.
The Galena senior surged with a mile to go and took what looked to be a commanding lead. But the Centennial junior stayed within striking distance and overtook the Northern Regional champion with a tremendous surge of his own in the final straightaway.
“I was kind of scared when he (Jordan) was on me like that for the first two miles, and then he took off,” Hartle said. “I thought he had me. But I just kicked it as hard as I could. For me, it was all about team. Our seniors have worked so hard this year. They deserve it a lot.”
The rest of Centennial’s team came through, too, making the team race nowhere near as close.
Centennial had 43 points to easily outdistance runner-up Coronado (88), third-place Galena (93) and fourth-place Reno (110).
Senior Kyle Merritt, the Bulldogs’ No. 2 runner, finished seventh. Seniors Dominic Lopez (14th) and Bryce Fessler (15th), and freshman Jackson Carter (20th) all finished in the top 13 for scoring purposes.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Centennial coach Mike McGuire said. “Jordan winning with, what, 800 meters to go, way out in front. Nick in that final kick. What an effort. I’m speechless right now.”
Coronado also had a solid day, placing second thanks to a tight pack. The Cougars’ top runner was 14th in the scoring, but Coronado’s fifth runner wasn’t far behind, scoring 22nd.
“I knew we were going to be up there. I was thinking third, so I’m happy,” Coronado coach Mark Tondryk said. “We ran slower than last week. It happens. We pack up well.”
Rounding out the top five individually were Jordan Cardenas of Reno (16:44), Carl Greene of Foothill (16:52) and Kyle Wilson of Shadow Ridge (17:04).
In the Class 3A race, Moapa Valley senior Josh Thompson successfully defended his 2009 individual title, winning easily (17:00) over teammate Chase Witter (17:44). South Tahoe won the team title with 38 points; the Pirates took second with 50.
North Tahoe won the 2A team title, with Sierra Lutheran second. John Robinson of Whittell (16:38) won the individual 2A title, and Nathanael Williams of Sierra Lutheran (16:46) was second.In-depth high school sports coverage