Three Fernley runners qualify for State cross country meet

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

Under normal conditions, cross country running requires speed, endurance and the willingness to push limits.

Friday’s North Region Cross Country Championship at Shadow Mountain in Sparks added the need to just keep shoes on.

Despite rainy, muddy conditions, the Fernley cross country team had a successful day with three runners qualifying for next week’s state meet in Las Vegas.


“We kind of figured we’d have at least one girl and one boy, but we were hoping for more, and we got one more girl in, so that was a success there,” Fernley coach Todd Wright said. We talked about it, no matter what the weather was, they needed to be ready for it, and they were.”

Jonathan Roach had the best finish for Fernley, finishing 12th in the 3A boys race with a time of 18:49 to finish as the fourth at-large qualifier for the state meet.

In the girls race, Piper Crook and Grace DeLeon each qualified for the state meet.

Crook finished 14th overall with a time of 22:01 and was the second individual qualifier, while Grace DeLeon finished 18th and was the fourth individual qualifier with a time of 22:15.

DeLeon had expected to contend for a medal, but sprained her ankle during warmus for the race when she stepped on an apple.

“Of all things, yeah,” DeLeon said. “So we had to tape me up and it kind of messed me up mentally. I was telling myself, ‘You can do this, you can do this, you’re strong.’”

A steady rain fell throughout the day, further soaking a course that had been drenched by overnight rain Thursday.

Crook said she thought about the possibility of her shoes coming off in the mud.

“I thought they were, so I tied them even tighter before the race,” she said.

The State berth is the first for Roach in cross country, although he’s competed in the state track and field meet.

“I felt like I ran pretty good,” he said. “It was kind of tough with all the mud and everything. It probably slowed me a down a little, but not that bad.”

Where normally runners can either gain speed or conserve energy running downhill, the Fernley runners said the mud made that the most difficult part of Friday’s race.

“I slipped like five times down the hill,” Roach said.

“I was contemplating, should I stay on the inside of the mountain and try to run where it’s not muddy, and I did that for two laps, but on the last lap I went on the outside of the mountain because I was slipping so much and my arms were flaring,” DeLeon said.

Several of the Fernley runners appeared near exhaustion at the finish line.

“My coach calls it looking up to the heavens, because my eyes are all the way in the back of my head,” DeLeon said.

The State meet will be held next Saturday, Nov. 5 at Craig Ranch Regional Park in North Las Vegas.

Roach said his goal will be to beat his personal best time. Crook wants to run in the low 20s, and DeLeon is hoping her ankle has healed.

“I definitely want to get on the podium at State, and I think I can do that with better weather conditions and just like, going in there mentally strong,” DeLeon said.


Fernley boys results
Jonathan Roach, 12th place, 18:49
Josh Kirk, 29th, 19:52
Ethan Hunter, 33rd, 20:02
Justin Turner, 34th, 20:12
Jay King, 35th, 20:24
Cyrus Crain, 42nd, 21:06
Liam Maldonado, 43rd, 21:08

Fernley girls results
Piper Crook, 14th, 22:01
Grade DeLeon, 18th, 22:15
Taylor Zolyniak, 23rd, 22:51
Gillian McCoy, 30th, 23:38
Baylee Ringer, 34th, 23:46
Paitin Smith, 36th, 25:323
Stephanie Gaitan, 38th 26:20
Boys team Scores

1. Spring Creek
2. Elko 58
3. Tahoe-Truckee 64
4. Dayton 117
5. South Tahoe 124
6. Fernley 143
7. Lowry 178
8. Churchill County 193

Girls Team Scores

1. Spring Creek 38
2. Tahoe-Truckee 39
3. South Tahoe 62
4. Elko 90
5. Fernley 113
6. Churchill County 189

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