Local Incline Village students from Incline High School, Lake Tahoe School, and Incline Middle School have spent the summer break training for the opportunity to qualify for the USA Track & Field (USATF) National Jr. Olympics.

“It’s truly awesome to watch local kids from the three different schools in Incline come together and strive for a common goal of competing at the national JO’s. Our team has grown over the past few years, and I’m so proud of how each athlete has represented our town on the regional, state, and soon to be national level,” said Coach Kris Nugent, who works locally as Lake Tahoe School’s Assistant Head of School.

Over the past few weeks, the team has traveled to Reno, Fresno, San Mateo, and Concord in an attempt to qualify for the USA National Jr. Olympics, which will take place in Greensboro, North Carolina, in late July.

The final two qualifying meets were elimination style. Over the weekend of June 22-24, the team competed in the Pacific qualifier, with the top 8 athletes in each event then moving on to the next stage.

The Lake Tahoe Bobcat team had 20 athletes compete at this meet, with 11 progressing to the next round: Dylan Cleary and Orion Barger in the 400m; Millie Jenkins in the high jump, 100m hurdles, and long jump; Brayden Snearly in high jump and long jump; Brenda Martinez-Ruiz in the 400m hurdles; Niklas and Brenda Pietzke in the 3000m; Harrison Fung in the 100m hurdles and 200m hurdles; Micah Bergstrom in long jump; Jimena Elizarraraz in the 800m and 1500m; Madeleine Patrick, 3000m; and the 15-16 4×400 relay team of Brayden Snearly, Orion Barger, Niklas Pietzke, and Dylan Cleary. A few members of the team narrowly missed qualifying: Nicholas Patrick ran a remarkable 3000m, finishing in 10th place; Jack Ludviksen ran a nice 1500m and finished in 22nd place; Orion Barger and Trey Casini ran against a competitive field in the 800m and finished 13th and 18th.

On the weekend of July 7-8, the eleven qualified athletes represented the team in Fresno at the final qualifier for Region 14. Against great competition and in stifling heat, our local team competed fiercely and achieved amazing results. Eight athletes qualified for National Jr. Olympics for individual events and the 4x400m relay team.

Millie Jenkins qualified for National JO’s in all three of her events, finishing 2nd in the 100m hurdles, and 4th in long jump and high jump. Brayden Snearly won the high jump and finished 2nd in long jump. Jimena Elizarraraz finished 4th in the 1500m and narrowly missed out in the 800m by finishing 6th. Brenda Martinez-Ruiz set a personal best in the 400m hurdles and finished 2nd. Madeleine Patrick set a new PB of 11:46 in the 3000m to win the 11-12 year old 3000m. Harrison Fung finished 3rd in the 100m hurdles and 4th in the 200m hurdles. Orion Barger finished 2nd and Dylan Cleary 3rd in the 15-16 year old boys 400m and the 4×400 team, comprised of all freshmen, won the relay with a time of 3:35.

These eight fine young local athletes will now represent Incline Village and Lake Tahoe in North Carolina during the seven-day National JO’s from July 23rd to 29th.

“I’m excited to see our local kids compete against the best track and field kids in the country. I just know that they will have a blast and represent our team with pride,” said Coach Kris.

The Lake Tahoe team also competed in the AAU West Coast National Championships at Reed HS in July. Athletes from all over the country attended this meet, and there were a number of outstanding results for our local team, such as: Brenna Ritchie and Evee Propst finishing 4th and 5th in the 200m hurdles; Mattison Lampe winning the 14y girls long jump; Noah McMahan winning the 12y boys 3000m; Brendan Pietzke finishing 2nd in the 13y boys 3000m, Lincoln Fung finishing 10th in the 11y boys 200m; Micah Bergstrom winning the 9y boys high jump; Ethan Horvath finishing 3rd in the 9y boys 1500m, and Jimena Elizarraraz finishing 2nd in the 13y girls 800m and 1500m races.