RENO — Centennial junior Karina Haymore won just two cross country meets all season.
Fortunately for Haymore, the second win came in the biggest race of the year.
Haymore won the Division I girls state meet Saturday, covering the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 39 seconds to lead the Bulldogs to the team title at Rancho San Rafael Park.
“I didn’t expect it,” Haymore said. “The whole time I was trying to keep a prayer in my heart and really try to be happy. I feel like when you have joy, it’s easiest to run.”
During the first 2 miles of the race, Haymore kept pace with the lead group, headed by teammate and defending state champion Alexis Gourrier.
With less than a mile to go, Haymore made her move and didn’t look back, finishing 13 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Emma Wahlenmaier of Palo Verde, the Sunset Region champ.
“Emma Wahlenmaier was pretty close for a while, but I tried to use the speed that I had from track and finish strong,” Haymore said.
Reed’s Samantha King-Shaw placed third in 20:09, followed by Damonte Ranch’s Caitlin Amburgey and Centennial’s Kayla Roberts, who both finished in 20:21.
Gourrier faded and finished 19th in 20:53, but it didn’t matter for the Bulldogs, who placed first with 40 points. Reno and Palo Verde had 74 points apiece, with Reno earning second place because of the finish of their sixth runner.
Sunrise Region champion Mia Smith of Green Valley finished 11th in 20:41.
DIVISION I BOYS
Green Valley’s Austin Rogers wanted nothing but a first-place finish coming into the Division I state championship race.
Unfortunately for the Sunrise Region champion, things didn’t go as planned. Rogers fought McQueen’s Henry Weisberg all race long but ultimately came up short, finishing nine seconds behind Weisberg, who won the race in 16:31.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” Rogers said. “It’s nice to come in second and all, but when you want your goal to be first, then it hurts a lot more.”
Rogers and two other runners from Northern Region schools battled during the race, with each taking a share of the lead.
“The first mile and a half was fine,” Rogers said. “After the hill, I made my move, and I think I made it a little too early. When I was coming down the hill, I kind of knew I didn’t have that much in the tank, so I should have just stuck with Henry Weisberg and fed off him. I made a wrong move.”
McQueen won the team title with 52 points, Spanish Springs was second with 63 and Green Valley third with 72.
All season long, Faith Lutheran’s Chase Wood dealt with the pressure of being a defending state champion.
In the Division I-A state championship race, it all paid off when the senior was the first to cross the line with another dominant victory, finishing in 16:46, 36 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
“I knew not to start out quick, because I knew I would die,” Wood said. “I just slowly tried to pick it up and keep going throughout the race, making sure not to die at the end.”
Spring Creek’s Cole Campbell was second in 17:22, followed by Churchill County’s Tristen Thomson (17:32) and Pahrump Valley’s Bryce Odegard (17:34)
“I didn’t think it would end,” Wood said of his high school cross country career. “It felt like it was so short. All four years just sort of melded into one another.”
Elko won the team title with 49 points, holding off second-place Spring Creek (53). Clark was the top Southern Nevada team, placing fourth with 87.
In the I-A girls race, Del Sol’s Ingrid Zarate was the top Southern Nevada finisher, placing 13th in 21:48. Spring Creek’s Julia Mahlke won the race in 20:14. Spring Creek won the team crown with 32 points.
In Division III, The Meadows’ Ellen Hirsberg placed fifth in the girls race in 21:27. Sierra Lutheran’s Elaina Marchegger won the race in 20:12. North Tahoe won the team title with 22 points.
In the boys race, Lake Mead’s Shay Rutledge was the top Southern Nevada finisher, placing 15th in 18:56. White Pine’s Samuel Stewart won in 17:16. North Tahoe won the team title with 29 points.