On Thursday, Oct. 12th, the Lake Tahoe School cross country team competed at the Tah-Neva Middle School Cross Country Championship meet at the Kahle Park Cross Country Course in South Lake Tahoe. Two courses were set for the championships, with the 7th grade division covering 2.2 miles and the 8th grade division running 2.6 miles. The championship meet was comprised of 20 schools competing from areas in the Tahoe basin, including Reno, Lake Tahoe, Douglas County, Virginia City, and Carson City.

This was our largest Bobcat team ever with 54 students competing this year. Although XC can sometimes be viewed as an individual sport, our Bobcats aim to focus on the team championship aspect. This year, our school won three division titles – 7th grade boys, 8th grade boys, and 8th grade girls. The 7th grade girls finished runner-up.

In the 8th grade boys race, the Bobcat team had three runners finish in the top 10 led by Lachlan McConnon finishing 3rd, Noah Harssema close behind in 4th, and Oliver Pietzke in 8th. This team won the overall championship with teammates Zak Weimer, Nate Lager, and Hudson Palmer contributing to their excellent results.

The 8th grade girls team raced well over the 2.6 mile course and won our school’s third team championship in the past three years. Shelby Erikson was the standout runner in this division all year, winning all six races and being crowned the Tah-Neva 8th grade girls champion. Gisele Francl had her best run of the season returning from injury and finishing in 7th.

The 7th grade boys team had the biggest squad on our Bobcat team. In the championship race, we had two Bobcats finish in the top 10 with Brooks Erikson finishing 5th and Miles Cooper 10th. Scoring points for our team and helping to win a team championship was Jenner Piro in 17th, Sundance Jennings 20th, Kade Wolfe 26th, and James Pietzke and Owen Francl 31st and 33rd respectively. This team easily won the D1 small school division championship. A special mention to Artyom Zhakov for winning the 7th grade boys open race. He was closely followed by Dean Leahy finishing 2nd and Fletcher Hardie close behind in 3rd.

The 7th grade girls had a fantastic season. This group was led by Georgia McLeod all season; unfortunately, Georgia sustained an injury prior to championships and could not run. In her absence, Elisabeth Higginbotham was the only 7th grade girl on the team and raced well. The rest of the team was 5th and 6th grade girls. They each stepped up to have their best runs of the season and help secure the runner-up title. The first three finishers at championships for this team were all 5th graders – Josephine McConnon in 17th, Whitney Foroughi in 22nd, and Claire Higginbotham in 26th.

Coach Kris Nugent reflected on the season, “This was an incredible team this fall. We battled injuries, tough meets, and hard competition but the positive team culture never wavered. To win three team championships and have a runner-up is a testament to how hard all of our runners worked.” Coach Nugent added, “I’m so proud of this team. In particular, I’m especially happy for our 8th grade runners. They were our leaders and were able to finish their final cross country season on a high note.”