Kuskie, Lara win titles at Northern 3A Regional Cross Country Championships

Kuskie, Lara win titles at Northern 3A Regional Cross Country Championships

Kuskie, Lara win titles at Northern 3A Regional Cross Country Championships

After dominating the Northern 3A for a decade from 2000-09, the Lowry High School cross country has not been able to duplicate those results in the years after that incredible run of winning 17 out of 20 state championships.

However, it was a bright moment for the Buckaroos this past Friday at Shadow Mountain Park near Reed High School in Sparks at the Northern 3A Regional Championships.

Lowry provided two individual champions and the Buckaroo boys finished second in the team standings and will be sending their entire squad to the NIAA State Championships this Saturday at the same Shadow Mountain Course. 

The Lowry boys advanced to the state championships as a team for the first time since 2009.

“Friday was the perfect day for racing and the kids made us proud,” said LHS coach Kathy Norcutt. “It is awesome to have the boys and girls champion and fantastic to have the team qualify.” 

Senior Jovi Kuskie dominated the girls race, winning by nearly two minutes over Truckee’s Sonny Strusinski. Kuskie finished with a time of 20 minutes, 11 seconds, while Strusinski stopped the clock at 21:52.

“Jovi had a phenomenal start and took control like she has all season,” Norcutt said. “She essentially ran alone and finished way ahead of the girl from Truckee. Jovi looked strong and confident. She got the win and the advancement to state which was her goal for the day.”

Spring Creek’s Kiely Munson was third at 22:04 and South Tahoe’s Noosa Higgins (22:04) and Maya Burkett (22:21) rounded out the top five.

Freshman Natalee Formby was the other runner for the Lowry girls and she finished 44th in a time of 27:36.

“Natalee competed as a freshman and we wanted to have her experience a big race,” added the coach. 

Spring Creek won the regional championship with 41 points and will be joined at the state championships with South Tahoe (49), Truckee (66) and Fernley (95).

The boys 3A ran before the girls on the day and junior Ivan Lara kick-started the day for the Buckaroos, winning the regional championship in a time of 17:49. He was the only runner to crack the 18-minute mark. 

Spring Creek’s Liam Hamilton was the runner-up at 18:01 and Lowry senior Eduardo Martinez-Calderon was just one second behind in third with a time of 18:02.

“The Bucks had a great start as a team and Ivan and Eduardo led the race from the beginning,” Norcutt said. “Those two got out quickly and took control. Ivan was in the lead from the start. Liam (Hamilton) from Spring Creek made a run at Eduardo in the final 200 meters and just got him at the line. That finish was a real nail biter.”

South Tahoe’s Max Menke was fourth at 18:08 and Spring Creek’s Joel Herman was fifth at 18:16.

Lowry senior Angel Huerta was 16th overall with a time of 19:08, Kaid Sanchez placed 19th at 19:23 and Tyler Morrison rounded out the Lowry finishers in 23rd in a time of 19:35. Norcutt added that all three runners had great races and Morrison stepped up for the Buckaroos.

“Kaid ran the whole race with a bloody nose,” Norcutt said. “It started when the race started. He just powered through because that’s what we do.”

 Spring Creek won the team title with 43 points, while Lowry was second at 59. Elko (79) and North Valleys (88) also advanced to the state championships as a team. Fernley (109), Truckee (113) and Dayton (186) rounded out the team standings.

The NIAA 3A State Championships start at 10 a.m. with the boys 5A race at Shadow Mountain Park. 

The 2A boys follow at 10:35 a.m. and the 3A boys run at 11:10 a.m. The awards ceremony will take place at 11:50 a.m.

The 5A girls run at 12:20 p.m., the 2A girls at 1 p.m., and 3A girls close out the championships at 1:40 p.m.

“We lost Austin (Formby) due to an injury, so we only have five guys competing but those five guys are focused and driven,” Norcutt said. “They are running really well right now and we’ll just keep grinding away this week.”