The prep cross country season begins Saturday morning with the Las Vegas Labor Day Classic at Palo Verde.
“When we came up with the idea for the Las Vegas Labor Day Classic,” meet director Robert Davis said, “our goal was to create a race that would allow spectators to get close to the action and generate some real excitement about the upcoming cross country season.
“With programs from Arbor View, Clark, Green Valley, Laughlin, Liberty, Palo Verde, Pahrump Valley, (Tech), Shadow Ridge and Spring Valley competing in class races, we expect it to be the best race of the year that no fan of cross country will want to miss.”
The first race is scheduled for 8 a.m. No team scores will be kept, but the meet should provide a good look at a number of strong programs.
One highly anticipated matchup over the 2.8-mile course will be the final race of the day, which will feature Pahrump Valley’s McKenzie Dean, the reigning Class 3A state champion who will compete in 4A this year, against a quintet of other top seniors — Green Valley’s Shannon Ritter, Tech’s Ana Mata, Shadow Ridge’s Ashley Graf, Arbor View’s Katie Carrell and Laughlin’s Jessica Gnadt.
The senior boys race also should provide clues to the upcoming season when Palo Verde’s Zack Smith and Daniel Wicks race against Tech’s Eduardo Cordova and Jose Escamilla.
The junior boys race will feature Clark’s Jake Naylor, Shadow Ridge’s Sam Mahar and Green Valley’s Julius Kim among the boys. The junior girls race will match up Green Valley’s Morgan Oswald and Renee Moser, Tech’s Claudia Perez and Clark’s Kira Espinoza-Levy.
Sophomore girls to watch include Palo Verde’s Kim Coombs, Nicole Vanderstelt and Kelsi Koch and Shadow Ridge’s Caity Richards.
A pair of touted freshmen girls, Clark’s Julianna Thornock and Palo Verde’s Kristen Martinez, will make their prep debuts.