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Returning runners solidify teams’ chances

The Boulder City girls cross-country program is expected to be one of the better teams in Division I-A this season, ranked tied for second coming into the 2015-2016 year with Southeast Career and Technical Academy and Clark High School by the Southern Nevada Cross-Country Coaches Poll courtesy of Runnerspace.com.

Returning five letter winners from last season's Division I-A Southern Region championship squad, Boulder City head coach Canaan Petersen feels the ranking is justified with an influx of talent back for this season for another state tournament run.

"We're looking for a repeat or at least near repeat of our strong season last year," Petersen said. "We have a lot of strong runners returning to this year's team, and while we lost a talented senior (Jessica Embro), we've been able to fill her large shoes with a series of others. So far that's worked very well for us."

Leading the way for the Lady Eagles, which finished fourth last season at the Division I-A State championship meet, will be sophomore Sierra Selinger, who, after a phenomenal freshman season, could be among the top runners in the state this year regardless of classification.

"Sierra, in my opinion, is easily one of the top runners in this area of Southern Nevada," Petersen said. "She's going to do great things for us this year and be a key reason for our success."

Last season, Selinger compiled a pair of top three finishes on the standard 3.1-mile course at the Division I-A Southern Regional meet (20:53.9) and at the Sunrise League Finals meet (20:36.0), with one top five finish, three top 10 finishes and one top 15 finish on the season.

Also returning to the Lady Eagles will be sophomore Camille Torgeson and senior Emma Torgeson, who both will provide the team with much-needed help at the top of the pack to support Selinger.

"Both of them are strong runners and will provide our team with leadership throughout," Petersen said. "With them returning, we have a nice group at the top."

Last season, Camille Torgeson had a top five finish at the Sunrise League Finals meet (21:23.6) and a top 10 finish at the Division I-A Southern Regional meet (22:19.6) and a top 25 finish at the Las Vegas Invitational (25:26.0). Emma Torgeson also had her bright spots last season, compiling a top 10 spot at the Sunrise League Finals meet (22:28) and a top 15 finish at the Division I-A Southern Regional meet (23:09.2).

Also expected to contribute this season will be junior Sabrina Snow and sophomore German foreign exchange student Nantke Bonsack.

"I believe heavily in both of them," Petersen added. "Sabrina is one of our returning five and should be ready to go, while Nantke has a lot of potential. Should be fun to see what we get from both of them this season. Overall, I think we're in good shape as a whole."

While the girls team is already an established power with an influx of talent, the boys team is on the verge of becoming an up-and-comer in Division I-A.

Ranked fourth by the Southern Nevada Cross-Country Coaches Poll courtesy of Runnerspace.com, Petersen doesn't feel the boys are too far off from competing in their fourth state tournament since 2011 despite featuring one of the youngest rosters in the state.

"We're one of the younger teams in town, but I know we can hold our own against most of the teams in our division," Petersen said. "We have some very stiff competition coming from the large schools this season, but as a group I believe we'll be fine. If everyone does what they're supposed to, we should have some success this year."

Leading the way for the boys will be junior Tyler Campbell, who is one of the region's top track participants too. As a state qualifier last year as an individual runner, Campbell hopes for a repeat performance this season at the very least.

"My hopes are that we can make it to state as a team, but in the very least I'd like to participate again," Campbell said. "I'm highly motivated to get back there. I've been scoping out the competition to see where I need to be, and I've put in the work to return this year."

Last season, Campbell finished in the top five at the Sunrise League Finals meet (18:20.2) and in the top 15 at the Division I-A Southern Region meet (17:54.3).

Also returning to this year's team to round out their core will be senior Joren Selinger, junior Caleb Shamo and sophomores Dawsen Goodfellow and Tyson Morris.

"Behind Campbell, Selinger is expected to be our next go-to runner after a great junior season," Petersen said. "After that, our three, four, five rotation will come down to our three remaining returners. We have talent on this team, we just need to work hard and results will come."

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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