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Girls cross-country runners capture fifth place in state meet

Boulder City High's cross-country coach Canaan Petersen came into Saturday's Division I-A state meet at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno nervous, just hoping his team could be competitive against what has proven to be a stronger Northern field than in recent memory. Following the event's conclusion, Petersen couldn't help but to smile after the Lady Eagles put together their best effort when it mattered most.

Hoping for at least a third-place finish among Southern Nevada programs entering the event, the Lady Eagles shattered expectations Saturday, finishing in fifth place overall with a score of 143 and a second-ranked finish among Southern Nevada programs, trailing Faith Lutheran with 124 points.

"I just want to say how proud I am of the girls and of their efforts," Petersen said. "Coming into the race we knew it was going to be a challenge to compete with the higher-level teams, but that fact never discouraged the girls. They worked hard not only all week in practice, but all season and it showed Saturday."

Barely holding off Southeast Career Technical Academy (144) by a point for the fifth-place upset, the Lady Eagles' second-place finish among Southern Nevada programs marks their highest finish of the year and their first over the Roadrunners.

"It was the little things that propelled us through that race," Petersen said. "Sierra Selinger has been our star all season long and she really took us to new heights Saturday finishing not only among the top runners in the state but in the top three of all Southern Nevada runners. We hadn't finished ahead of Southeast Career Technical Academy all season, so to do it on the last day on the biggest stage was special."

In a race that was dominated by Northern runners, Selinger stood out among her Southern Nevada competitors grabbing 16th place overall with a time of 21:55, trailing Sierra Vista freshman Sarriah Brown, who came in 15th place by :02 second, and Del Sol senior Ingrid Zarate, who placed 13th with a time of 21:48. The first 12 spots went to Northern Nevada runners.

"Home-field advantage was obviously kind to the Northern runner Saturday, but overall it was anyone's race," Petersen added. "Coming in we feared weather conditions we going to hurt our chances of competing well, but I feel the girls handled themselves well. The weather was very cool, but nice enough to get through and that made a big difference in our success."

After finishing last season's Division I-A state meet in 15th place with a time of 21:19, Selinger found herself in the top of the pack early in Saturday's contest before cramps started to derail her chances of a top 10 finish around the 2-mile mark, causing her to slip :14 seconds off 10th-place finisher Aimee Doren of Spring Creek.

"Sierra ran a great race, make no mistake about it," Petersen said. "She started out very well and was toward the head of the pack midway through the race before it appeared that she had been cramping. From there though she battled through and finished with a strong enough time to help us cause the upset."

Following Selinger was senior Emma Torgeson, who finished in 26th place with an overall time of 22:30. Just as important as Selinger's contribution to the team, Torgeson's time was just over :18 seconds faster than the Roadrunners' duo of sophomore Madison Marsicano (32nd-place finish, 22:48) and senior Carla Gatson (33rd-place, 22:59), guiding the Lady Eagles to a fifth-place finish.

Sophomore Camille Torgeson followed behind with a 40th-place finish for the Lady Eagles with a time of 23:52, while junior Nantke Bonsackn finished in 47th place, with a time of 24:48.

Rounding out the Lady Eagles' core was junior Sabrina Snow (50th place, 27:51), sophomore Lauren Stewart (51st place, 29:10) and senior Breanne Harkins (52nd place, 32:22).

For the boys, although they weren't able to make it to Reno for team competition, junior Tyler Campbell made the trip as an individual runner.

Placing 16th overall with a time of 18:05, Campbell ranked fourth among Southern Nevada runners Saturday and improved last year's state meet finish by :12 seconds. Last year in Las Vegas, Campbell finished in 29th place with a time of 18:17.

"Tyler ran a really nice race," Petersen concluded. "He's improved so much throughout the course of the season and knowing how much of a competitor he is, I know he'll continue to improve heading into next season. I'm very excited about both teams' futures heading into next fall."

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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