North rises again in boys, girls races

RENO — Brian Whitaker is not a coach who likes to make excuses.

“I suppose the North has a home-course advantage here,” the Silverado boys cross country coach said at Saturday’s Class 4A state meet at Rancho San Rafael Park. “But that doesn’t change the fact that the kids still have to go out and run the race. The North is obviously very, very strong.”

How strong?

Well, the Northern Region swept the top three spots Saturday and has won nine Class 4A boys state titles in a row. Galena won its second state title, led by Bryan Tibaduiza, who set a course record at 16 minutes, 22 seconds for the 3.1-mile course.

Galena’s 39 points are the third-best score in the 12-year history of Class 4A. Carson (82) and Reno (102) finished behind Galena.

Silverado finished fourth, followed by Centennial, Shadow Ridge and Foothill.

“We were the top Southern team to finish,” Whitaker said. “For us, that is quite an accomplishment and something to hang our hats on.”

The Skyhawks’ top three finishers were senior Sean Whitesitt (14th, 17:38), freshman Jorge Damian (16th,

17:43) and senior Jaime Reeves (20th, 17:52).

The first Southern Nevada runner to finish was Centennial’s Nathan Williams. The sophomore finished third in 16:50, two seconds behind Carson’s Richard Shroy. Shadow Ridge’s Tyler Bernard was fifth in 17:01.

“It was a difficult course,” Williams said. “The hills and the altitude were tough. The hills weren’t very steep, but they were long.”

The Northern Region also dominated the Class 4A girls race. Carson finished first, winning the school’s eighth state title and first since 2001. The eight titles are the most in Nevada history for girls cross country. The Senators’ championship also was the seventh straight Class 4A girls’ state title for the Northern Region.

Coronado, which won the Sunrise Region title, finished fourth and Centennial, the Sunset champ, fifth.

Spring Valley’s Kourtney Moody was the first Southern girl to finish. The senior was eighth in 20:25. Moody, who won the Sunset Region individual title, was proud of being the first South girl to finish.

“I think I did a good job for the South,” she said. “It was a good race, a great day. There wasn’t any snow or rain, which you can get up here.”

The Northern Region also won the Class 2A and 3A boys and girls races. Lowry won the 3A boys and girls races. The Buckaroos have won seven of the last eight girls state titles and the last five boys titles.

Moapa Valley’s Josh Thompson was the first South runner to finish the boys race, placing sixth in 18:19, 42 seconds behind winner Matt Pike of Lowry (17:37).

The Faith Lutheran boys finished second behind Lowry.

“We’re a very young team,” Faith Lutheran coach Matt Wiltse said. “I think our guys got a chance to see what it takes to win this.”

Faith Lutheran also was the top Southern team in the 3A girls race. The Crusaders finished fourth behind Lowry, Dayton and Spring Creek.

Pahrump Valley’s McKenzie Dean won the 3A girls race in 20:51. It was the second consecutive individual state title for the junior.

“This feels real good,” said Dean, who added that she is being recruited by Utah and UNR. “It was a tough course, one of the toughest I’ve ever raced on. It was a little colder at the start of the race than I’m used to. And the altitude (about 4,500 feet) really got to me.”

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