ELKO – The Elko Invitational cross country meet saw a little bit of everything Thursday – sun, shade, a championship for each local 3A school and a course record for the girls.
The race of the day came from the boys division, one in which could be a potential dogfight to the final strides of the state championship.
Elko posted a team total of 40 points, eclipsing Spring Creek’s 41 points by the slimmest of margins at Ruby View Golf Course.
Mountain Home placed third with 74 points, Lowry took fourth at 95 points and Jackpot rounded out the top-five with 127 points.
Mountain Home’s Jacob Criddle held off Elko senior Alex Klekas in the home stretch for the individual title, Criddle winning the event with a time of 16:32 and Klekas crossing second in 16:34.
Senior George Skivington placed fourth for the Spartans with a time of 17:10, Elko sophomore Sean Klekas serving as the Indians’ No. 2 runner with a time of 17:34 for fifth place.
The back-and-forth continued, Spring Creek’s Noah Mahlke crossing second for the Spartans and placing sixth overall with a time of 17:37.
Elko freshman Isaiah Dahl used his long frame to eat up ground and placed seventh, crossing in 17:50.
Spring Creek sent consecutive runners across the line in ninth and 10th, sophomore Secody Charley finishing in 17:59 and senior Logan Allen posting an 18:05.
In his first race since Aug. 30 after returning from an injury, Elko junior Duncan Monroe placed 11th with a time of 18:13.
Spring Creek sophomore Harrison Walund followed one-second later for 12th place in 18:14, Jackpot freshman Hector Ontiveros following in 18:17 for 13th.
The Indians did themselves a major favor in the team standings, sophomore Jimmy Murphy rounding out the top-15 in a neck-and-neck battle.
Murphy edged out senior teammate Peter Neff by a half of a second, 18:35.4 to 18:35.9, Neff finishing in 16th place – Elko locking down the team title in the friendly battle.
Jackpot junior Hugo Sanchez ranked 17th with a time of 18:376, and Spring Creek sophomore Jess Marin’s time of 18:49 rounded out the top-20.
In 21st, Spring Creek freshman Van Williams crossed with a time of 18:50.
Wells junior Matthew James came in 22nd with a time of 18:51, and Spring Creek sophomore Conner Gage followed a lapse in the field with a 19:21 for 23rd place.
Elko freshman Philip Neff came in with a 19:22 for 24th, and West Wendover junior Zach Smith’s 19:29 led the Wolverines at 26th place.
Sophomore teammate Omar Rodriguez ran second for West Wendover in 19:33.6 for 28th place, Spring Creek sophomore Garret Frisbie crossing immediately after in 19:34 for 29th.
Spring Creek sophomore Wyatt Armstrong rounded out the top-30 in 19:40.4, using a last-second kick to overhaul senior teammate Jacob Fisher’s time of 19:40.8.
Jackpot’s Jesus Lopez placed 34th out of 65 runners, finishing with a time of 19:56.5.
“That was a great race. I think both of the boys teams (Elko and Spring Creek) would be in the top-10 in the state in the 4A,” said Spring Creek Todd Mahlke. “We have to keep improving and see what happens the next few weeks, but that one will be quite the battle.”
Spring Creek’s girls were as dominant as could be.
The Lady Spartans posted the best-possible team score of 15 points, blowing away the competition, which has become the usual.
The Lady Tigers of Mountain Home placed second with 57 points, Elko coming up a little short of a tight battle with 63 points for third place.
Spring Creek senior Rylie Lusk lit Ruby Golf Course up with her running shoes, breaking the previous course record by 17 seconds.
Elko’s Kacie Bell set the old record of 19:27 back in 2016, and Lusk shattered it Thursday with a 19:10.
Little sister and sophomore Kendra Lusk nearly broke the old record herself, taking second place with a time of 19:29.
Spring Creek sophomore Emma Little pulled away from junior sister Rosemary Little in the final stages, the younger sibling taking fifth place with a time of 20:17 and the elder crossing sixth in 20:22.
Sophomore teammate Grace Florence posted the fifth and final team score for the Lady Spartans, placing seventh overall with a time of 20:39.
“I think the girls could win the 4A state title,” coach Mahlke said. “They have already beaten Reed.”
Elko sophomore Xandry De Arrieta ran first for the Lady Indians, crossing eighth in 20:45.
Spring Creek senior Mikkala Perchetti closed with a sub-21 run of 20:59 for ninth place, and Elko sophomore Lulu Neff came in 11th with a time of 21:27.
Sophomore Emma Campbell took 13th for the Lady Spartans in 21:47, freshman teammate Payge Walz finishing in 22:41 for 17th place.
The finish began a five-in-a-row streak for Spring Creek.
Freshman Melanie St. Louis took 18th in 22:51 and senior Allyson Burns followed in 19th with a 23:06.3 – fending off sophomore teammate Jaden Pool’s 23:06.69, rounding out the top-20.
Spring Creek senior Jessica Dorohov finished the flurry of Lady Spartans in 21st with a time of 23:07.3, edging out Elko sophomore Karen Salazar’s 23:07.6 in 22nd place.
Elko junior Alexis Castor placed 24th with a time of 24:06, junior teammate Viviana Gavaldon crossing in 24:09 for 25th place.
The Lady Indians packed up, senior Mariela Avila narrowly finishing before junior Marrisa Valdez, the clocks reading 24:25.06 and 24:25.69, respectively, for 26th and 27th place.
Elko went back-to-back again at 28th and 29th, junior Karissa Fadenrecht using a last-second surge to finish in 24:28.69 and freshman Kara Nicola posting a 24:28.9.
Spring Creek freshman Tatum Reagan finished out the top-30 with a time of 24:29.2.
After a break in the runners, Elko sophomore Briana Cortez crossed in 31st with a time of 24:51 for 31st place.
Sophomore teammate Ava Nielson posted a sub-25 time of 24:59 for 33rd, and Spring Creek freshman Elexia Mauer closed out the top-35 in 25:08.
“Spring Creek’s girls are amazing and they’re young. They are going to be really tough and for quite some time. Rylie beat the record by a long way and Kendra was only two seconds away from it,” said Elko coach Cody Krenka. “The boys race will be super tight. We have a couple weeks to get everyone healthy and see if we can slip another kid in there, but we have to improve for regionals and see how everything goes there and hopefully at state.”
The varsity programs will prep for the postseason stretch, the Division 3A North regional championship taking place at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at Rancho San Rafael, in Reno.