The runners who have been strong all season were strong once again. But there was a little more on the line this time — the Division I North league championships.
McQueen’s Henry Weisberg won the High Desert League boys’ race; Reno’s Kyra Hunsberger won the High Desert girls’ race and Damonte Ranch’s Caitlin Amburgey won the Sierra League girls’ race on Friday at Ranco San Rafael.
The biggest surprise was Galena sophomore McKennion Melton winning the Sierra boys’ race. It was the first race he has won all season.
Hunsberger seems to be back at full strength after suffering from illness during the middle of the season. She won in 19 minutes, 48 seconds. Samantha King-Shaw from Reed was second in 20:14
Hunsberger said she was suffering from exercise-induced asthma, but a doctor has her using an inhaler now.
“I felt OK. I was just trying to stay smooth and strong, but still pushed it,” Hunsberger said. “Just make sure this (meet) is strong and work out the kinks and then next week start to taper a little more.”
Melton won in 17:14. John Munyan from Douglas was second in 17:20. Galena and Douglas tied with 43 points, but Douglas’ sixth-place runner gave the Tigers the tiebreaker for the league title.
Melton, who moved to Reno last summer from Colorado Springs, was confident before his race.
“I always tell myself before a race, I’m going to win, even though I know I probably won’t. But I figured I might win this one,” Melton said.
His time was a personal best by 48 seconds.
Weisberg had the closest race as he won in 16:51, pulling away over the final 200 meters to edge Reed’s Anthony Ocegueda in 16:53.
“I decided I really wanted to get the win,” Weisberg said. “It’s league, so you can’t think too hard about the results.”
The real test comes Oct. 31 at the Northern Region cross country meet, also at Rancho San Rafael, although on a slightly different course.
Spanish Springs won the High Desert boys team title with 42 points, while McQueen had 43
Amburgey, the only senior to win, has given a verbal commitment to compete for UNLV. She posted a time of 20:04 after she overtook Bishop Manogue’s Hannah Covington in the last mile. Covington finished second in 20:14.
“Overall, a pretty good race. I got out and me and my teammate Erin (Moyer), we try to hang onto each other. We go back and forth. She was pushing me. Hannah set the pace pretty fast,” Amburgey said. “Strategy-wise, we did well. Our team really closed the gap. We did a really good job today. We’ve just got to put it on the table at regionals.”
The Damonte Ranch girls had six of the top 12 finishers in claiming their first league title.
The Reno girls were equally as dominating, with six runners in the top 11 to take the team title.
The top three at the Northern Region races will advance to the state meet on Nov. 7, also at Rancho San Rafael.