SPARKS – Not one, two.
More like No. 1 and No. 1.
The Spring Creek cross country teams each took first place Saturday at the Division 3A Nevada State Cross Country Championships at Shadow Mountain Park in Sparks, the boys claiming a slim, five-point victory over second-place Elko and the Lady Spartans running to a comfortable, 25-point advantage over defending state champion Truckee – which defeated Spring Creek last year at state by one point.
“It’s pretty special to win both races,” said Spring Creek coach Todd Mahlke. “It came down to the wire for the boys. One of our boys lost his number during the race, so they had to go back and look at the video. They announced Elko won at first but they fixed it in the end.”
Spring Creek notched its second straight state title.
The Spartans led the pack with a team total of 43 points, Elko finishing with 48 points.
SECTA took third place with a mark of 103 points.
Along with two team state championships, Spring Creek added some other hardware to the trophy case – an individual state title in record fashion.
Spring Creek senior William Fallini-Haas opened a 42-second lead on second-place sophomore Montana Montgomery of Truckee.
Fallini-Haas’ time of 16:39 not only won the state meet, it also broke the course record at state.
“Will ran a great race. The (Bryce) Odegard kid from Pahrump ran a 15:56 last year at state, but the Craig Ranch Park course was a lot different; it’s flat and it’s fast,” Mahlke said. “Shadow Mountain has a lot more hills and takes a lot more strategy.”
For the Indians of Elko, junior Alex Klekas paced the runner-up effort with a fourth-place finish of his own, closing the run in 17:43 on a badly injured ankle.
Klekas did not run during the regional meet last week on the same course, having to find his strategy and form on the fly.
“What Alex did for us was amazing. To run the way he did with his injury was impressive,” said Elko coach Cody Krenka. “His ankle looked like he had a black sock on it.”
Another local competitor did his part in aiding the Spartans to their state title under similar circumstances, running injured.
Senior Spencer Thomas met with a doctor prior to the state meet, learning he had a stress reaction that would likely turn into a stress fracture in his leg if he competed.
The doctor left the decision to Thomas.
Thomas ran and he ran well, taking sixth overall with a time of 17:55 – finishing off his leg completely – stress fracture in place but a state title for the effort.
Junior Noah Mahlke took third among Spartan runners, ranking ninth overall with a time of 18:14.
There was a gap between Klekas and the next Indian to cross the finish line, Elko competing without its No. 2 boy after a violation of team rules during the trip.
The absence was costly for the Indians, more than likely taking away a state championship by double-digit points.
Senior Curtis Prescott placed 11th for the Indians, finishing in 18:25.
Elko went 13-14, sending senior TJ Stevens across the line in 18:27 and freshman Sean Klekas finishing next with a time of 18:28.
The back-and-forth between the Spartans heated up.
Spring Creek junior George Skivington ranked 18th with a time of 18:33, followed in 19th by Elko senior Trevor Bruch’s 18:37.
Junior Logan Allen also ran an 18:37 for the Spartans, rounding out the top 20.
Spring Creek freshman Secody Charley finished in 18:51 for 22nd, edging the 18:52 in 23rd by Elko junior Peter Neff.
“Spring Creek and Elko placed 10 kids in the top-20 and 12 in the top-23. I said in Elko that the best teams in the state were at Ruby View Golf Course,” Mahlke said. “Cody does an outstanding job with his program and his kids.”
Senior Matthew Henning closed in 19:09 for 28th place for the Spartans, wrapping up the runners for Spring Creek’s roster.
In relief of the suspended runner, freshman alternate Jimmy Murphy closed the show for the Indians with a time of 19:48 for 48th place.
“I am really proud of the way everyone stepped up and came together as a team. They all gave their very best and ran well. What they did considering injury and incident was awesome,” Krenka said. “It was exciting when they announced us as the state champion, but I’m glad they got it correct. Spring Creek rightfully won. It’s always Todd’s and my goal to finish first and second for Elko County, so that’s cool we could do that.”
The Lady Spartans (34 points) rolled to the Division 3A state crown, pitting six runners in the top-15 and all seven in the top-19.
Elko took third place as a team with 77 points, trailing second-place Truckee (59) by 18 points.
Spring Creek junior Rylie Lusk led the way with a fourth-place finish, completing the run in 20:46.
She was followed immediately by freshman sister Kendra Lusk, who crossed in 20:47 for fifth.
Senior Larissa Mauer finished just out of the top-10, taking 11th in 21:22.
Elko senior Raini Jonson closed her career in 12th place with a time of 21:32.
Sophomore Rosemary Little ranked 13th in 21:37, starting a three-in-a-row run of Lady Spartans.
Senior Alandra Mauer placed 14th with a time of 21:49, narrowly besting the 21:50 of freshman Emma Little for 15th.
Spring Creek not only placed six runners in the top-15, it only took a grand total of three families – three sets of sisters, the Mauers serving as the twins.
Elko freshman Xandry de Arrieta finished 18th with a time of 22:08 as Elko’s No. 2 runner, the Lady Indians also losing their original No. 2 runner to a violation of team rules.
In 19th, Spring Creek junior Mikkala Perchetti rounded out the roster for the Lady Spartans with a time of 22:17, capping a comeback season under extremely difficult circumstances.
She had hip surgery, not once – twice – undergoing the procedure on each side in the spring so she could rehab all at once and run for her team this fall.
“I don’t think I could do what some of these kids have done. For Spencer to run on a broken leg and Mikkala to sit in a wheelchair for a month so she could compete is remarkable,” Mahlke said. “It says a lot about the type of kids we have. I think I would be in a cast or a boot and just relax until I was healthy. Their dedication and toughness are incredible.”
Elko junior Kady Allen took 21st place with a time of 22:22, followed by freshman Lulu Neff in 22:27 for 23rd.
Senior Chloe Overlie crossed in 22:32 for 26th, and freshman Abigail Prickett took 28th with a time of 22:39.
Junior Makayla Chacon closed the Elko roster in 24-minutes flat for 40th place.
Congratulations to head coach Todd Mahlke, the Spring Creek boys, William Fallini-Haas and the Lady Spartans on their state championships and kudos to coach Cody Krenka and the Elko athletes for stepping up and taking runner-up honors for the boys and third for the girls without some of their best athletes.