Eagles' Tobler breaks 20-minute mark in Lake Mead Invitational

Jessica Tobler surpassed a milestone Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park.

Tobler became only the second high school girl this season to finish the 3.1-mile course in less than 20 minutes, winning the girls race of the Lake Mead Invitational in 19 minutes, 58 seconds.

Doug Harris of Green Valley took the boys race on a day when Shadow Ridge and Green Valley runners dominated.

Tobler was the lone small-school runner to place in the top 19 of either race and finished one minute ahead of the runner-up, Green Valley sophomore Lindy Eskin.

“I felt good today,” said Tobler, who is expected to contend for the Class 3A state title in four weeks. “It’s been a good year so far. We have a really good coach, good program, and I worked more over the summer.”

Ebonique Diaz of Sunrise Mountain (21:11), Clara Jackson of Shadow Ridge (21:21) and Jackie Sanchez of Pahrump Valley (21:31) rounded out the top five in the girls race.

Shadow Ridge edged out Green Valley 36-38 in the team scoring, as both teams placed their five scoring runners in the top 15. Arbor View, which did not enter its usual top seven runners, finished third with 86 points.

“The girls amazed me today,” Shadow Ridge coach Patrick Fitzpatrick said. “They came to race. We were really proud of them. All the conditions were right. They were ready to run.

“I feel like we’re where we want to be. It’s October, and this is when the races start. We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re ready to do it.”

The boys varsity race was closely contested over the first two miles with a quintet of Green Valley’s Doug Harris, Christian Fortner and Alex Bylina, Shadow Ridge’s Andy Blaine and Desert Oasis’ Frankie Martinez jockeying for the lead.

Harris and Fortner pulled away in the home stretch to give the Gators the top two spots.

Harris won the race in 17:15, four seconds ahead of Fortner. Martinez was third in 17:29. Bylina nosed out Blaine for fourth, with both runners finishing in 17:50.

Green Valley, placing four runners in the top six, won the team title with 29 points. Shadow Ridge’s top five runners were separated by only 27 seconds, and the Mustangs took second with 42 points. Liberty was third with 132 points.

“The thing I’m happiest about is they ran well after not running for a week and a half,” Green Valley coach Blaine Thompson said. “We’re trying to simulate what it is between league, region, and state: two, off, and then two back-to-back.

“The seniors (Harris, Fortner, Bylina) ran really well, and, maybe most important, our two juniors that ran fourth and fifth (Michael Patrino and Tyler Fyock) were so tight to our one, two, and three. I think our spread was less than a minute.”

Laughlin’s girls and Boulder City’s boys won the small-school team honors.

Lake Mead Invitational
At Veterans Memorial Park (3.1 miles)
Large-school team scores: Green Valley 29, Shadow Ridge 42, Liberty 132, Arbor View 140, Desert Oasis 146, Valley 180, Durango 195, Foothill 199, Las Vegas 204, Rancho 250, Pahrump Valley 253, Sunrise Mountain 297
Small-school team scores: Boulder City 24, Laughlin 34, Moapa Valley 66
Top 10 individuals: 1, Doug Harris, GV, 17:15.2; 2, Christian Fortner, GV, 17:19; 3, Frankie Martinez, DO, 17:29; 4, Alex Bylina, GV, 17:40; 5, Andy Blaine, SR, 17:40; 6, Michael Patrino, GV, 17:47; 7, David Peters, SR, 17:51; 8, Benjamin Mazone, DO, 17:52; 9, Nicholas Oberdin, SR, 18:01; 10, Garrett Simpson, SR, 18:03.

Large-school team scores: Shadow Ridge 36, Green Valley 38, Arbor View 86, Pahrump Valley 144, Desert Oasis 156, Las Vegas 172, Durango 175, Rancho 193, Sunrise Mountain 206
Small-school team scores: Laughlin 21, Boulder City 36
Top 10 individuals: 1, Jessica Tobler, BC 19:58.5; 2, Lindy Eskin, GV, 20:58; 3, Ebonique Diaz, SM, 21:11; 4, Ciara Jackson, SR, 21:21; 5, Jackie Sanchez, Prmp, 21:31; 6, Kelsie Harper, SR, 21:40; 7, Stacie Hall, GV, 21:45; 8, Ciera Clayton, SR, 21:53; 9, Mackenzie Zurcher, GV, 21:55; 10, Sage Andress, GV, 22:04.