Palo Verde’s Gorczyca musters strength for dominating win at Las Vegas Invitational

Katie Gorczyca didn’t run at 100 percent on Saturday.
And that should put fear into the other girls cross country runners in Nevada.
The Palo Verde freshman, still feeling the effects of a workout on Thursday, ran away with the large-school girls race, finishing the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 45 seconds, at the Larry Burgess-Las Vegas Invitational at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.
“I was feeling really sore from a speed workout this Thursday, and wasn’t really recovered,” said Gorczyca, who finished 44 seconds ahead of second-place Harper Cleves of Rancho Buena Vista (Calif.).
She was recovered enough to finish ahead of the other 148 runners in her race, though.
Gorczyca demonstrated the patience of a wily veteran, sitting back the first mile and letting her competition work themselves to exhaustion, before pulling away with little effort.
“She just has been a leader, from day one,” Palo Verde coach Robert Davis said of Gorczyca.
Arbor View junior Andrea Gonzalez was third in 20:35.
Rancho Buena Vista won the team competition with 28 points. Arbor View was second in the 22-team field with 111, with Green Valley third at 121. Palo Verde, without its No. 2 and 3 runners, settled for sixth with 145 points.
In the boys large-school race, Centennial junior Nick Hartle did his best to try to keep up with Rancho Buena Vista’s Chris Brewer, who put on a record-setting display.
Brewer set a course record, finishing in 16:09, 23 seconds ahead of Hartle and three seconds better than the previous mark of 16:12 set in 2004.
Brewer had the race in hand by the 300-meter mark.
“He’s a beast,” Hartle said.
By the mile mark, the race appeared all but over from Hartle’s viewpoint. The Centennial No. 1’s opening mile time of five minutes was seven seconds off Brewer’s record-setting pace of 4:53.
It was at around this point when Hartle realized he’d have to settle for second, and hold off Del Sol senior Colin Smith, who was using the uphill portions of the race to try to claim the runner-up spot.
“Once (Brewer) took about 100 meters on me, I knew it was over,” Hartle said. “I just wanted to hold off the people who were behind me.”
Smith finished third in 16:58.
Rancho Buena Vista won the boys team competition, as well, with a score of 51. Centennial was second with 70, followed by Canyon View (Utah) at 108.