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Cross country runners improve times in NIAA 2A State Championship competition

November 29, 2018

BOULDER CITY — Needles’ girls placed fourth in NIAA 2A state cross country competition held at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City, Nev., on Nov. 3.

The girls from North Tahoe took first in the 2A with 16 points; White Pine second with 57, Coral Academy of Science third with 66. Needles’ score was 106. The lower scores win in cross country running.

Needles High School freshman Payton Sahlstrom shaved nearly a minute and a half off her qualifying time on the same course the week before. She ran the 5,000 meters in 25:42.9 to capture 23rd, exactly halfway through the 46-runner field. Classmate Lynsey Federico finished 35th in 29:10.3, an improvement of almost 42 seconds. Freshman Ashleigh Blackwell, juniors Aliyah Rentas and Imperia Phillips finished in a clump at 43, 44 and 45. That sort of grouping and its implications for drafting techniques is always a goal for cross country teammates. Blackwell improved by 39.4 to run the course in 32:01.3. Rentas was off her previous week’s pace by five seconds, turning in a time of 32:03.8. Phillips improved by more than two minutes: taking her previous week’s time of 37:15 down to 35:04.9. Collectively, they more than justified Coach Chuck Stahl’s confidence in his fledgling runners.

It appears NHS freshman Collin Leivas and senior Christian Zuniga repeated their drafting performance of the week before, finishing 30th and 31st respectively with exactly a second between them at 20:26.6 and 20:27.6. They were closer but slower the week before in the qualifier when Zuniga led, finishing in 20:53.5 and 20:53.7.

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