Inside look at the last cross country meet by head coach Kirk Elias
Oct. 30, 2012
RENO, Nev. -
Ranked eighth in the Mountain West Conference’s August Pre-Season poll, and sixth in last week’s Pre-Championship Poll, the steadily improving Nevada Wolf Pack finished fifth in the Conference Championship on Friday in Las Vegas. Led by Sam Diaz’s school record performance that placed her seventh, the Pack put together a tough effort throughout the line-up on a day when the apparently lightning fast course, proved anything but.
The Silver Bowl Park course, apparently inspired by the good folks at IHOP, rectangled its way around a dozen soccer fields, flat as the proverbial pancake. Though without any discernible terrain that would indicate that this was anything but a track laid out on grass, the course ran slower than expected, likely due to the athletes battling a combination of wind, soft ground due to some recent flash flooding, and grass, who’s last date of manicure seemed to have been missed.
Diaz’s 35 second PR (personal record) was a significant break-though for the seasoned junior. Lopping 30 plus seconds off one’s time usually happens to freshman or sophomores, not fourth year juniors. Blending fierce race tactics, a high level of fitness, and growing confidence, she was put together, by far, the best race of her life. Running with the large lead pack of around 40 from early in the race, Diaz was 14th at the halfway mark. Though gapped at times across the final two kilometers, the junior from Ponderosa HS/Shingle Springs, CA drove through the wind, taking down opposing athletes one at a time to cross the finish line in seventh, earning a MW first team All-Conference award.
But Diaz was not the only member of the Pack to take home some hardware. Freshman Emily Myers, who had her training disrupted due to a quad strain sustained in the race two weeks prior in Arkansas, was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, for being the top placing freshman. Myers lack of training over the previous fortnight became evident only 1000 meters into the race, as she was not able to hold onto the lead pack of 40. Not panicking, the heady frosh from Cabot, AR, just kept grinding away, eventually re-establishing contact with the pack. Though not on top of her game, she continued to pass competitors through the last 1000, finishing 30th.
Demerey Kirsch, also sidelined much of the time since Chile Pepper, ran a tough, competitive effort that almost came apart when her gas tank ran dry in the final kilometer. Sliding backwards through the field in the final straight, the sophomore from Reno HS gamely held on for 33rd.
Cutting 10 seconds off her best, freshman Erika Root continued her clock-like progress. Remarkably steady, the Reno High grad finished as Nevada’s number four runner for the fourth time in five meets.
Senior Christy Works grabbed a 15 second PR closing out the Wolf Pack’s scoring in 48th. Works was a quiet hero in the latter stages of the race. The Carson HS grad had a home straight drive that took down several athletes, including Wyoming’s fifth runner, helping Nevada beat the Cowboys by two points, and enabling the Pack to squeak into fifth place.
Also of note, Mariah Gramolini, a sophomore from Silver Stage HS, known more for her exploits across 800 meters on a track, notched a 28 second PR, putting together the best cross country race of her career. Junior Julie Pedersen, a transfer to Nevada in 2011, finally got to race after two frustrating years. Obviously rusty after a lengthy battle with injuries sustained early in her 2011 track season prior to transferring, the Galena HS alum, looked under control and ready for bigger things ahead.
The Wolf Pack will spend the next two weeks preparing for the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship to be hosted by Colorado State on Friday, November 9th. Ranked 14th in the most recent regional poll, the improved Wolf Pack will look to crack the top 10 in the region.
A 2000 meters loop run three times, the course was extremely flat, but the ground a bit lumpy and soft after some recent flash flooding. The grass was long. Temperature in the low 60sF/17C, with a steady breeze.
New Mexico 35, Colorado St 63, Boise St 72, Air Force 92, Nevada 149, Wyoming 151, Fresno St 204, San Diego St 210, UNLV 278
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS 74 finishers
Name/Yr Place Time Notes
Sam Diaz/Jr 7 21:10 School Record by 5”, 35”PR……the former school record was 21:15 set by Emma Gerard in 2002 at the Stanford Invite.
Emily Myers/Fr 30 22:09 3” PR, MWC Freshman of the Year!
Demerey Kirsch/So 33 22:13
Erika Root/Fr 44 22:42 10” PR
Christy Works/Sr 48 23:03 15” PR
Mariah Gramolini/So 55 23:11 28” PR
Julie Pedersen/Jr 57 23:19 First race in 2 Yrs
Nicole Painter/Sr 66 23:54
Caitlin Devitt-Payne/So 69 24:17
Think Great. Act Great. Be Great!