Green Valley boys show improvement at Las Vegas Invitational

Green Valley’s boys narrowed the gap Saturday.
But the Gators didn’t quite have enough to upset a California cross country powerhouse that has made Southern Nevada its second home.
For the third year in a row, Rancho Buena Vista (Calif.) won the varsity large-school race of the Larry Burgess Las Vegas Invitational at Veterans Memorial Park, albeit by a little closer margin.
A year after blowing past Nevada teams, Rancho Buena Vista had a team score of 50 on Saturday. Green Valley took second with 87 points as Nevada runners had a solid showing.
“We gave them a race,” Green Valley coach Blaine Thompson said. “They couldn’t come out and just do a workout. We would have had to be at our best to beat them.
“Rancho ran well and we didn’t run quite as well. No Excuses. I’m proud of them. They did as well as they could for the day.”
In 2008, California teams swept the top three spots and placed 11 runners in the top 15. This year Nevada teams, led by Green Valley, finished second through sixth and placed 12 runners in the top 15. 
Centennial’s Nick Hartle typified the Nevada improvement, leading the 3.1-mile race from the onset before being overtaken at the 1-mile mark by eventual winner Chris Brewer of Rancho Buena Vista.
Brewer won the race in 16 minutes, 47 seconds, which was 20 seconds faster than Hartle, who placed second. Hartle, who was 30th in last year’s race, led Centennial to a third-place finish in the team standings with 108 points.
Just behind Centennial in the team scoring were three other Sunset Region teams —  Shadow Ridge (111), Arbor View (126) and Palo Verde (144). The only other Sunrise team to place in the top 10 was Foothill, which finished ninth with 207 points.
Green Valley’s Julius Kim took fourth in 17:20.
Arbor View’s Greg Marschik (17:22) was fifth. Clark’s Jacob Naylor took seventh in 17:25, followed closely by Shadow Ridge’s Jon Clark (17:26) and Palo Verde’s Sebastian Karbowniczek and Boulder City’s Matt Lundgren, who both finished in 17:27.
Also placing in the top 15 were: Durango’s Jaime Mitchell, 11th in 17:28; Arbor View’s Blaise Hill, 12th in 17:29; Del Sol’s Colin Smith, 13th in 17:36; Green Valley’s D.J. Padilla-Montello, 14th in 17:39; and Shadow Ridge’s Sam Mahar, 15th in 17:41.
In the girls race, Arbor View had the top local showing, taking third place behind race winner Rancho Buena Vista and runner-up Fountain Valley (Calif.).
Defending champion Rancho Buena Vista breezed to the win with 27 points. Fountain Valley had 68, followed by Arbor View (104), Coronado (118) and Shadow Ridge (124).
Shanna St. Laurent of Rancho Buena Vista was the individual winner in 19:41.
The Aggies’ showing was a mild upset. Coronado and Shadow Ridge had been ranked higher in preseason forecasts, but the Aggies have come up with two freshmen, Randi Withoft and Amberly Halstead, to go along with their top three returning runners: Kourtney Willey and Tiffany Carmona, both juniors, and Andrea Gonzales, a sophomore.
All five finished among the top 31 runners, led by Withoft in 10th in 21:18.
Shadow Ridge’s Michelle Schenck had the top local showing, finishing third in 20:12.
For Schenck, who was injured at the end of last season and didn’t run at state, this was a chance at redemption.
“I just wanted to set a better goal and do better than last year,” she said. “I feel much better this year.”
In actuality, Schenck, now a senior, ran 50 seconds faster than she did a year ago when she placed fifth at LVI, over the same course, with a time of 21:02.
As with the boys, Nevada girls did make a better showing this year, at least individually. In 2008 only three Nevada girls placed in the top 15. This year, there were seven in the top 15.
Palo Verde’s Kelsi Koch was seventh in 20:50. Shadow Ridge’s took ninth in 21:16.
Also placing in the top 15 were: Durango’s Stacie Mitchell, 11th in 21:19; Coronado’s Lauren Lucas, 13th in 21:24, and Erin Smith, 15th in 21:37.
Buena Park (Calif.) won the small-school boys race. Laughlin took the small-school girls race.

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