Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
By the time they lined up to start the 3A girls race at last Saturday’s State Cross Country Championships at the Shadow Mountain Sports Complex in Sparks, Janae Derley and Piper Crook had a chance to watch the runners in four races before them.
What they saw helped them to strong showings, as Crook finished 10th and Derley came in 16th, with nearly identical times to their qualifying marks.
Crook outran Spring Creek’s Larissa Mauer to finish a step ahead in identical times of 21 minutes, 22 seconds, while Derley crossed in 21:51.
Coach Todd Wright said both Crook and Derley ran smart races, avoiding the temptation to start too fast.
“I was watching all the other races before and they all went out really fast,” Derley said. “I feel like a lot of people did go out too fast, and it boosts your confidence when you pass them, because you know they didn’t run smart, and you did.”
Derley beat her regional meet time by four seconds, while Crook finished three seconds off her regional pace.
But it was a sprint to the finish line to pass Mauer that enabled Crook to place in the top 10.
“I ran it smart, I didn’t kill myself in the beginning and I had a lot of extra in the end,” Crook said. “She’s not the nicest person, she’s not good sportsmanship, so like, I’ve got to beat this girl.”
Both Crook and Derley said they were satisfied with their performances.
“This is my first state meet, so I felt good,” Derley said.
“I feel like I maybe could have done a little better, but I left it all out there,” Crook said. “I really wanted to get top five because I got seventh and I medaled last week, but I feel like I did good.”
Wright was likewise pleased.
“I was happy and I think they were both happy too, time and effort wise,” he said. “You’re always hoping for places, but you can’t control everybody else.”